Ricky Church reviews Batgirl and the Birds of Prey: Rebirth #1…
“WHO IS ORACLE” Chapter One: Batgirl and Black Canary are together again, working a case that strikes right at the heart of their partnership! Someone’s uncovered the greatest secret Barbara Gordon ever kept: her time as Oracle, the most powerful hacker on the planet. And not only do they know her secret, they’re using her name to sell dangerous information to criminals! Now one of those deals has brought some major heat to Gotham City…Helena Bertinelli is out of Spyral, wearing the hood of the Huntress, and making mafia blood run in the streets! Everything you thought was hidden will be revealed if the Oracle has their way…
One of the most anticipated comics of DC Rebirth has been Batgirl and the Birds of Prey because it unites the original group of Batgirl, Black Canary and Huntress together again. While it is good to see the trio back together, Batgirl and the Birds of Prey: Rebirth #1 was not as spectacular of a return as some fans might have hoped.
One of the problems with this issue is that half of it was spent rehashing Batgirl’s entire history, from her donning the cape and cowl to the events of The Killing Joke to her recovery. While the Rebirth issues are obviously meant to be jumping on points for new readers unfamiliar with the character’s history, in this case a little too much time was devoted to explaining Batgirl’s crime fighting career. That didn’t leave much room to explore Black Canary or Huntress, the latter getting somewhat pushed to the sidelines in the issue.
The latter half spent its time setting up the series itself, though again not much time was devoted to what the series will be about. There’s an imposter taking on the Oracle name as he or she orchestrates several crimes and Batgirl is determined to find them. While this is an intriguing plot development, its also similar to one played out in one of Batgirl’s final New 52 arcs.
Likewise, the art is a little iffy in some spots. Claire Roe draws a dynamic Batgirl and the action scenes have some good choreography to it, but there are panels where Barbara’s face looks wildly different from panel to panel. Allen Passalaqua’s colours are good though, giving a mix of vibrancy and dark shadows throughout the book. Batgirl’s costume in particular stands out as the brightest thing in the story.
One of the positives of Batgirl and the Birds of Prey: Rebirth, however, is the characterization of the Birds of Prey themselves. Julie and Shawna Benson write a very good portrayal of Batgirl and Black Canary. Both heroines share good chemistry with each other and their back-and-forth banter is refreshing and fun to read. The Benson sisters have a good handle on their dynamic and this will hopefully continue in the series proper.