Review: Birds of Prey #1
With the Birds of Prey having a bit of a moment with a cult love of the recent movie release, you’d think DC Comics would be focused on capturing that wave with a comic that’s accessible, new reader-friendly, and most importantly. Instead, we get Birds of Prey #1, a one-shot comic that’s a part of the “adult” DC Black Label line of comics. It’s also a mess.
Written by Brian Azzarello, the story follows a Mexican drug cartel and their soldiers, the Esposas De La Muerta, as they make a move on Gotham’s drug trade. What follows is a story that is steeped in stereotypes, many bad, and action movie cliches. The drug mentioned is fentanyl, which is the first issue of the comic and highlighting the unfortunate choices from there. While “Mexican drug cartels” might be the “enemy” the current President points to, fentanyl is mainly flowing from China. So, for those who know these things, that detail takes me out of the story. It makes the “bad guys” presented feel even more cliche and not needed.
From there, it’s just bad plotlines like drug overdoses, calls to missed connections just before getting killed, crooked cops (this part doesn’t even make sense), and shoot outs that defy all logic. It’s a poorly paced, badly plotted comic that has so many issues… well, lets try to find something positive.
Azzarello does deliver some nice banter. The interaction between Huntress, Harley Quinn, and Black Canary is fun with some solid banter and dialogue. The lettering by Steve Wands really pays off here. There are also some fun “action film” moments that are enhanced by Emanuela Lupacchino‘s art but so much is steeped in bad cliche and stereotype.
Lupacchino’s art absolutely has its moments but there’s just comically bad moments as well. It all comes together for a rather blah visual experience. The design for the Esposas De La Muerta take from the Dia De Los Muertos. Again the gives us nothing new or interesting, just Mexican visual stereotypes. That extends to speech patterns in Azzarello’s writing.
Birds of Prey #1 doesn’t take flight and instead plays off like an 80s B-movie mixed with really outdated views of Mexicans and just incorrect real world information. It’s hard to overlook the bad here. Take out the Birds of Prey, and you have a bad crime story that’s forgettable in every way. DC had an opportunity to deliver a comic that’d entice movie audiences to discover more but this comic’s end result might be the opposite.
Story: Brian Azzarello Art: Emanuela Lupacchino
Ink: Ray McCarthy Color: Trish Mulvihill, John Kalisz Letterer: Steve Wands
Story: 6.0 Art: 6.0 Overall: 6.0 Recommendation: Pass
DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review