Birds of Prey #9 Review

“Night of the Owls” falls on Birds of Prey in issue 9! The team faces off against a Talon. Hoo will win?

I’m sorry. I can’t stop thinking of bird puns. But in all the seriousness I can currently summon, issue 9 is pretty sweet. While the ongoing storyline has been pretty good, taking a break to write a “Night of the Owls” tie-in appears to be just what Duane Swierczynski needed.

Here’s the official description from DC (which is really just bullet points):

• “NIGHT OF THE OWLS” continues here!

• BLACK CANARY, BATGIRL, KATANA and POISON IVY risk their lives in Gotham City to battle THE TALON and The Court of Owls!

• A secret is revealed about Black Canary’s husband…Kurt Lance?!

What surprised me the most about this issue was how much fun it was. Starling has been one of the more exciting characters to come out of the New 52, and here Swierczynski lets her cut loose with the jokes. He almost overdoes it: at one point she cracks an ice joke, a la Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Mr. Freeze.

Swierczynski also sets himself apart from the other NotO tie-ins by avoiding a replay of Alfred’s call for help and by ignoring any mention of the Talon’s intended victim. It’s a smart move, as I’m sure everyone reading will be familiar with the situation in Gotham by now.

Also exciting is the debut of artist Travel Foreman on the book. Foreman has been killing the art (and a lot of people) in Animal Man for a while now, and I was eagerly anticipating his work on BoP. It’s a mixed bag, as Foreman’s work remains top-notch, but it’s not quite as suited to the tone as I had hoped. Foreman tends to draw his characters with a bit of distortion, which emphasizes their humanity by distinguishing them from the over-muscled Adonises we typically see in superhero comics. It worked great in Animal Man, where Buddy’s flaws are so crucial to the story, but in Birds, I WANT the women to be perfect. It’s part of the appeal of the book that it focuses on an all-female team. (That’s not the only reason I read it, and Gail Simone would probably kill me for saying that, but I’m positive DC had it in mind when they greenlit the original series back in 1999). But I digress…

Birds of Prey #9, isn’t the best “Night of the Owls” tie-in I’ve read, but it does a great job of setting itself apart from the pack, and it IS the best in terms of pure fun.

Review: 4/5

Zac is a Contributing Editor at Unleash the Fanboy. He goes by gingitsune23 online. Find his other rambles here.