Batgirl and the Birds of Prey #14
Written by: Julie Benson & Shawna Benson
Art by: Marcio Takara
Colorist: Jordan Boyd
A self contained tale involving the duo of Black Canary and The Huntress with a secondary story all about Batgirl in Gotham in their Absence.
What you need to know:
This story marks my personal first view into the Rebirth universe to see the Characters of Batgirl (Barbara Gordon), Black Canary (Dinah Lance) and The Huntress ( Helena Bertinelli). This issue is a self contained story that besides the Team affiliation of Batgirl and The Birds of Prey to the Extended BatFamily does not seem to fit into any larger story arcs or sub plots. Just some good old fashion hi jinks and some fun character work to watch.
What Just happened:
This issue finds Helena ( The Huntress) taking her class on a field trip to the old Historic Gotham City just outside the city limits.Sort of an exaggerated Colonial Williamsburg, for an over night trip with her students. She has her Friend and cohort Dinah Lance tag along for the trip as an adult chaperone. It is not lost on her students that Dinah is the lead singer of the famous Black Canary band, and she is quite popular with the students as a result. It’s a funny scene where a teenage girl explains “CrackleChat” to an unknowing Dinah, who is out of touch with the youth of today. As a parent of a tween I had myself a chuckle as to how I could relate.The story really begins to shift to Barbara. We really get to see her in action in most every facet of her life. She takes a Call from Batman and as Oracle, is able to using her cunning and computer skills to assist Batman and his team out of a Particularly deadly Riddler Trap. Was that Clayface, helping Batman and his team? You know it, and he is going to be quite upset when they find The Riddler!
Next we see Barbara suit up for action.She dispatches various low level threats, and even finds time to rescue a kitten, and help an Old man across the street. Let’s just check for a Text from Helena and Dinah…
The problem with Old Historic Gotham for our Heroines is they do not have cellphones.No text for Batgirl, but these ladies are in the midst of a school field trip.
As the night goes on we have a ghost story set up by Helena by the campfire.Telling us about the Witch Trials that were held here very similar to the Salem,MA Witch Trials of the same era. The story tells of the Deacon Joseph Blackfire, who lead this crusade against Witchcraft.He himself became a Shaman of the nearby tribe and was told to be immortal due to the power of the staff that he carried.
Back to Batgirl who, in way over her head with the other Birds of Prey out of town, calls in the aid of her fellow feminine Crime fighters to rout an angry gang war.This was a lot of fun to see. I will not spoil the surprise of the cameo’s but it was fun to see and I really like the level of respect that Barbra is given from some really unlikely people.
Night falls and finds the students missing from the Campsite. Whom else but the Shaman Blackfire (hmmm haven’t we heard of him before, how convenient) has taken mental control of one of the kids and the others followed to his cavernous hideout just a short ways away from the campsite.
Blackfire attacks them and Helena and Dinah with the help of the students are able to steal his Staff and win the day. Sealing him in his cave most likely to his demise without his mystical source of power.
Shortly afterwards, Barbara decides that she can use some rest and decides to join them. A surprise for them all.
As I mentioned this was my first introduction to the Rebirth versions of theses characters. There was a lot of time spent establishing just who Barabara was, and as I imagine a developing conflict to whom she Eventually wants to be. She is an effective Oracle and Batgirl, I suppose time will lead her to that self discovery. Let’s hope her future will be of her choices and not due to the actions of a sadistic clown this time.
Dinah and Helena came up a bit flat for me. While I have no problem with the story itself, besides it’s convenience, I really didn’t get a good view of the characteristics of what made either of them tick. Dinah was a bit more aloof then I am used to seeing and Helena less intense and obsessive ( that might be a good character move DC).
The art was fun and the tone light. A good style for the story, but the real star to me was the colorist. I specifically enjoyed the Gotham Menagerie and the coloring of the various parts of the Batgirl story. I would have loved to see this a solo Batgirl with some more characterization, because I was digging it!
This is good self contained story and a good jumping on point book. I feel it gives enough about what’s going on to be enjoyable and not confusing for the reader. I think this would be a great book to start off a young reader, due to it’s relatability.