Birds of Prey #10
Birds of Prey #10
Publisher: DC Comics
Writer: Duane Scwierzynski
Artist: Travel Foreman

After consistently praising this book for months as one of the most pleasant surprises to come out of the DC New 52 Relaunch, it pains me to say that the cracks are beginning to show. The issue is not bad per se, however the book is becoming a little too static for my tastes.

It seems that sometime previous to her joining the team, Black Canary made a promise to Poison Ivy that she would take the former super villain back to a special location in the Amazon if she were every mortally injured. The issue starts off on a cargo plane and quickly devolves into our heroines running for their lives through the jungle, battling mysterious plant creatures.

Scwierzynski has a tendency to just throw readers into the middle of the story in this book. While it does help the plot to move along at a fair clip, it does have the unfortunate effect of making the reader feel like they've missed every other issue. Things move so fast for the birds that it's hard to truly process or form emotional investments to the various capers they are currently juggling, be it Dinah's sins returning to haunt her, the continued presence of Choke, or Ivy's mysterious requests. Ten issues in, the book remains to be too much action, too little characterization and closure.

Travel Foreman has taken over art duties from Jesus Saiz. And while I loved his work on Animal Man, I have to say, I am not thrilled with his contributions to this title. Birds previously had the distinction of being one of the books DC could proudly point to during the controversy of sexism in the publisher's offerings sparked by Catwoman and Red Hood and the Outlaws all those months ago.

Scwierzynki's kick ass, highly capable characterizations combined with Saiz's powerful and sexy, but not sexualized renderings of the protagonists made this book one of the best examples of empowering portrayals of women in comics. However with Saiz's departure, the book has become a little too cheesecake for my tastes, even through the lens of Foreman's trademark scratchy line work. Characters are given to overtly sexualized poses that were not an element of the book in prior issues, and it's a shame to witness such a departure. That said, it's only Foreman's second issue, so hopefully he'll work out the kinks in the months to come.

For this book to maintain its good will and quality, Scwierzynski needs to slow down a little bit and take the time to flesh out the various plot threads he's juggling, and Foreman needs to tone down his depictions of the female protagonists. I can easily see this book returning to form in the next few months, but if it continues on its current trajectory, I can't say it's long for my pull list.

Grade: C-

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