Birds 9 and 10

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Batgirl and the Birds of Prey #9
Written by Julia Benson and Shawna Benson
Art by Rogue Antonio

Wow it looks like Blackbird has taught Black Canary to use her powers in ways I don’t remember her ever having including manipulating the sound waves so she can hover off the ground and directly destroy certain objects. It’s all a ruse though as she plans to steal Canary’s powers. Blackbird could become one of the most powerful metahumans ever if she keeps this up. It looks like Black Canary’s pre-New 52 upbringing is still not back in continuity…I can’t wait till the idea that she was raised by a JSAer returns.

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Batgirl and the Birds of Prey #10
Written by Julia Benson and Shawna Benson
Art by Rogue Antonio

The Birds of Prey team up with Nightwing and Green Arrow to defeat Blackbird who is a formidable foe for them. I do think how she was defeated in this issue was way too easy – why doesn’t the Huntress do that hypno thing with all the villains? I mean I guess she said she could only use it once right but still. Meanwhile, it looks like Gus the new Oracle’s secret is about to be revealed soon.

 

Birds Undercover

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Batgirl and the Birds of Prey #8
Written by Julia Benson and Shawna Benson
Art by Rogue Antonio

Nightwing guest stars in this issue as the Birds team up with him to fight Gemini who tells them about a metahuman doctor named Black Bird. Once again, I have to point out how great the editors are at keeping continuity in he DCU these days. Nightwing’s relationship developing in his solo series is mentioned here as are his past relationships with Babs and Helena, both of whom he also had a thing for Pre-Flashpoint. This series continues to be in the top 5 Rebirth books for me. This Blackbird seems like an interesting foe for the Birds of Prey (I love how the Bensons have consistently had Bird motif villains so far in this book.) as she is able to steal metahuman powers. Meanwhile, Black Canary goes undercover working for Roulette reminding me of one of my favorite Justice League Unlimited Episodes.

Oracle and the Birds of Prey 1 – 7

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Batgirl and the Birds of Prey #1
Written by Julie Benson and Shawna Benson
Art by Claire Roe

As much as I HATE the idea of Barbara Gordon being Batgirl instead of the great Cassandra Cain, and I think Babs’s current costume is ugly, and she works much better as Oracle…this comic book was a ton of fun. A new person going by the name Oracle is working for Gotham’s mobsters so Barbara Gordon recruits her old team mate Black Canary to figure it all out when they run into the Huntress. Babs and Dinah don’t seem to know Helena anymore (Memories being erased by Dr. Manhattan I suppose) so this basically allows for them to redevelop their team again and Huntress will probably go through the same growing pains she went through in Gail Simone’s run on Birds of Prey but hey at least she has a much better costume this time. I mean now that her abdomen is not exposed…God Hush ruine so much. Anyways, I love that Rebirth has returned Barbara’s time as Oracle to continuity and is bringing our Birds of Prey back together, in the Gotham Clocktower where they belong too! It is a shame that this means that really only Chuck Dixon’s run on Birds is the only one really in continuity….well unless it turns out the rest of their history has just been erased from their memory. But I gotta say the Bensons write some charming dialogue here with these characters and they are complicated on some amazing art by Claire Roe. If this series remains as good as this first issue, it might be the best of Rebirth outside of Detective Comics!

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Batgirl and the Birds of Prey #2
Written by Julie Benson and Shawna Benson
Art by Claire Roe

Okay the second issue did not disappoint! More happens in this comic than in six issues of the Justice League of America book. The dialogue is funny and witty just like during Simone’s run. I still hate Barabara as Batgirl instead of Oracle and I probably always will…especially with that costume. How can you be the Dark Knight Damsel running around in purple and yellow? The answer is you can’t because only Cassandra Cain is a real bat. I am so not used to Barbara looking and acting so young it is kind of jarring for me but I am liking this book a ton.

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Secret Six 32 – 36

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Secret Six (Volume 3) #32
Written by Gail Simone
Art by J. Calafiore

The Secret Six travel to hell in a fantastic issue. I forgot how much I missed reading this book with it’s hilarious but dark characters and it’s beautiful artwork. I loved how Bane seemed shock that he might be damned to hell because he considers himself to be good. I loved that Ragdoll doesn’t want to return to earth because he is going “sane.” I loved it all.

 

Secret Six (Volume 3) #33secretsix33
Written by Gail Simone
Art by J. Calafiore

In this issue, Catman goes to make sure that his father is in hell where he deserves to be only to find that his mother is in hell too – she eats his father every day as a lioness to torture him. Etrigan tells Catman this is heaven for his mother. I guess his Dad got what he deserved! That is some dark humor there and I love it. We even get to see the personal hells of all of the Secret Six. Some were sad like Bane’s but then Gail Simone – the master 0f writing comedic relief – shows King Shark’s hell as a vegetarian restaurant. Anyways, Lady Blaze tells Scandal her other girlfriend’s soul will soon belong to her in hell. I can’t remember who Scandal’s other girlfriend was.

secretsix34Secret Six (Volume 3) #34
Written by Gail Simone
Art by J. Calafiore

Did Jeanette quote Julian of Norwhich in this issue? Scandal sure did lie to her girlfriend in this issue didn’t she? Anyways, this was a heartwarming issue in a dark heartwarming disturbing way only the Secret Six can bring. Bane goes on a date and gets in a fight. Jeanette seems to have decided to turn good? And it was just a lot of fun.

 

 

Secret Six (Volume 3) #35secretsix35
Written by Gail Simone
Art by J. Calafiore

In this issue, Bane decides to lead the team in another assault Batman after realizing that he never got to really break the Batman like he wanted to back in the day. They start by drafting the Penguin to join the team. I enjoy the way Simone writes Penguin…it reminds me of Batman Returns a bit. And that is my favorite Batman movie. This was a fantastic issue.

 

Secret Six (Volume 3) #36 secretsix36
Written by Gail Simone
Art by J. Calafiore

This is the final issue of a great series that I will miss. Gail Simone is a creative genius. You writes complex characters who are so well-rounded it is like they are real people. She is truly a gem in the comic book world. Also, she has a scene in this where they feed a man to King Shark on a fishing hook. So she is hilarious too. The part where Scandal decides she wants to marry both Knockout and Liana was a tad strange though but hey these are crazy people this book is about. The only problem I had was it is really hard to believe all of those supeheroes would show up to fight the Secret Six like they are Darkseid or something. But they sure got their asses handed to them and this villain team went out in a blaze of glory. What a fitting finale to an amazing series!

 

Birds of Prey 11-15

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Birds of Prey (Volume 2) #11
Written by Gail Simone
Art by Pere Perez

If Catman is suppose to be so hot, why does Pere Perez draw his abs so strange in this issue. That is my only complaint about this beautiful book. In this issue, the Huntress and Catman work together and Helena is debating whether to fall for him or not…ultimately Catman purposely shows her he is not worth her time. It was a sweet story. I love the continuity of Catman mentioning how he used to be fat.

 

rco001_1468987111Birds of Prey (Volume 2) #12
Written by Gail Simone
Art by Jesus Saiz

Gail Simone begins a new arc bringing in the Question to the Birds of Prey team and a scary villain in Ragdoll’s daughter. Did she appear in this book or Secret Six? I can’t remember but I remember thinking this villain was freaky before. And this whole issue was very unsettling but exciting. I usually enjoy Jesus Saiz but I found his art lacking a bit in parts of this issue.

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Birds of Prey (Volume 2) #13
Written by Gail Simone
Art by Diego Olmos

This was an action packed edge-of-your seat issue as the Huntress and the Question try to get to the basement of the building where Black Canary and Dove are fighting Junior who nearly murders Dove. Oracle calls Catman for some advice who tells her Junior hates being seen. It works, but the Birds decide in the end they need to go back in and go after Junior. It was a lot of fun to read but why does this book keep changing its artist?

 

rco001_1469152306Birds of Prey (Volume 2) #14
Written by Marc Andreyko
Art by Billy Tucci and Adriana Melo

So the last issue ended on a sort of cliffhanger and now we get an issue that is completely unrelated and not written by Gail Simone? In this issue the Birds of Prey go to a veteran’s benefit. A woman tells her Black Canary’s mom, the original Black Canary, was an inspiration during the War….I think Black Canary debuted in 1947…after World War 2. I guess she means a different war or Andreyko did not do his research. Also why would this woman know it was her mom…is Black Canary’s secret identity not so secret? Anyways the art in this was clearly rushed because it is not very good and very inconsistent. And this isn’t event a one and done issue. Gail Simone just abruptly left this book?!

rco001_1469152248Birds of Prey (Volume 2) #15
Written by Marc Andreyko
Art by Billy Tucci and Adriana Melo

Ugh this is the final issue before DC made the dumb mistake of making Barbara Gordon Batgirl again. Andreyko is not a bad writer by any means but this was a rush job and very disappointing. As far as I am concerned this is the last issue of the real Birds of Prey ever (the whole point of the Birds is Oracle) so this is a sad sad ending.

 

Batman Incorporated 5-8

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Batman Incorporated #5
Written by Grant Morrison
Art by Yanick Paquette

In this issue we are introduced to “The Hood” who I immediately mistook for being Azrael at first and Batwing who is the Batman of Africa. I did not realize it but Bruce and Kate aka Batman and Batwoman had never met before this issue. At least since Kate has become Batwoman. How did I not notice that? Paquette draws a great Batwoman. Anyways, like usual Morrison’s story doesn’t make sense until the very end when the clues will come together. We still don’t know what Doctor Dedalus’s plan is or what exactly Leviathan is but there a ton of interesting clues in this issue. Can’t wait to see where this goes!

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Batman Incorporated #6
Written by Grant Morrison
Art by Chris Burnham

Wow Grant Morrison is amazing! Of course the Outsiders would be part of Batman Incorporated! Anyways I loved this issue up until Bruce Wayne tells a group that includes pretty much everyone he cares about that they are his closest associates except Cassandra Cain is not there! But then a few pages later my dreams came true! Cassandra Cain was back with a new identity! She is now the Black Bat – the Batman of Hong Kong! Seriously this is the best thing Grant Morrison has ever wrote. I love the character so much and to see her back in action is incredible. I definitely prefer the Black Bat costume over her present Orphan costume. I sincerely hope Rebirth ends up having Cassandra remember her time as Batgirl and as Black Bat and retaking up the mantle of the bat where she belongs. The best thing about this is it redeems Bryan Q. Miller having Cassandra leave Gotham because Morrison is writing Batman here as trusting Cassandra enough to be her own Batwoman of Hong Kong. She is not a sidekick. She is an equal to him. And that is how it should be. Best issue of this series hands down.

Batman Incorporated #7
Written by Grant Morrison
Art by Chris Burnham

This issue focused on Man-of-Bats and his sidekick Little Raven and I expected it to be dull as shit but I was pleasantly blown away. First of all, Burnham’s art is gorgeous. Second of all, Morrison wrote a really inspiring story about a hero standing up for his community on a low budget. It was really good.

 

 


Batman_Incorporated_Vol_1_8Batman Incorporated #8

Written by Grant Morrison
Art by Scott Clark

This issue is one of those brilliant Duh comic books that you think wow that’s genius but why hasn’t somebody already of that. There is no reason why this couldn’t be a whole series of virtual Barbara Gordon fighting. We didn’t need to stop her from being Oracle to see her in action. This issue even makes more sense today with virtual reality. I say make Cassandra Cain a bat again and put Barbara back as Oracle and if you need to have her in action use this virtual reality. Anyways, we learn Jezebel Jet is behind Leviathan which I didn’t see coming at all.

Batman 709 – 713

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Batman #709
Written by David Hine
Art by Guillem March

In this issue we learn that Dick let a boy he was jealous of get beat up back in his trapeze days. Dick acts so guilty about it but he was just a kid…what was he going to do? He hadn’t been trained by Bruce yet. Azrael realizes that he is being duped by Ra’s Al Ghul and the day is saved. I liked this comic although it was a little too convenient that the guy ended up bringing up “his friend Dick from childhood” to Batman.

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Batman #710
Written by Tony Daniel
Art by Steve Scott

I often forget that it is Dick and not Bruce in these comics sometimes. But Daniel did a good job of reminding us of this when he has Dick just standing around as Batman near reporters. Bruce would never do that. Meanwhile Dick and Selena try to convince Katrina Falcone aka Catgirl to leave Gotham and Two-Face is looking for his missing coin.  Daniel is really mining continuity for his run on Batman and I love it. Steve Scott was an excellent substitute for Daniel’s art too. The issue ends with a surprise return character.

bat711Batman #711
Written by Tony Daniel
Art by Steve Scott

This was another fun issue of Batman. Yes sometimes things can be both dark and fun. Daniel has had a way of balancing that in his run. I love that he mines Batman’s history and his supporting cast. Here we get Riddler’s Daughter, Catgirl, Riddler, and Two-Face plus the Falcones and Gilda Dent. I am not sure I understand why Gilda is with Mario Falcone but I am sure that will be cleared up in the next issue or something.

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Batman #712
Written by Tony Daniel
Art by Steve Scott

You can tell Daniel is wrapping up his run now. Catgirl leaves Gotham, I think the Riddler just killed his own daughter, and Two-Face killed Mario Falcone. Lots of death in this issue. So why would the Riddler shoot his daughter to “restore” himself?

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Batman #713
Written by Fabian Nicieza
Art by Steve Scott, Daniel Sampere, and Andrei Bressen

Here it is the final issue of a series that began in 1940! I hate when they renumber things and hope Batman goes back to its original numbering some day. Why is Cassandra Cain not in the splash page that shows the Batfamily! I mean come on! It shows the Huntress. Cassandra is way closer to Batman than the Huntress ever was! What is it with writers in this period and ignoring the greatest of all Batgirls. It ends up just being a a sweet story about how Dick teaches Damnian an important lesson. But that is so underwhelming for a finale of a comic book this important in history that it is just sad. Plus no Cassandra Cain so I obviously hated this.