Sunday, 29 October 2017

Birds of Prey, Volume 3: A Clash of Daggers Review (Duane Swierczynski, Gail Simone)


Birds of Prey, Volume 3: A Clash of Daggers is the most braindead DC comic I’ve read since the last one; so, since yesterday! It stars a group of morons who, when they’re not arbitrarily fighting each other, are fighting a series of cookie-cutter villains in one repetitive story after another. It’s books like this that cause non-comics readers to look down on superhero comics in the first place.

There are three yawn-tastic storylines here: the Turds of Prey fight the Court of Owls, a shadowy and sinister organisation of lethal assassins; the Dagger Clan, a shadowy and sinister organisation of lethal assassins; and Basilisk, a shadowy and sinister organisation of lethal assassins. And each are as forgettable and uninteresting as the last!

But wait, it gets worse! The Turds themselves are among the most boring protagonists you’ll ever read. Batgirl and Katana are your average ass-kicking heroines while Starling remains as bland as bland can be. Black Canary is the only one given any kind of character development as her sonic powers are in flux because of painful memories of an ex. On the edge of your seat yet?

There are the two new characters: Strix, a former Talon and named after a genus of owl, and Condor, also named purely to keep the “Birds of Prey” theme going. Strix is a crap Cassandra Cain knockoff while Condor is arguably the stupidest character here (and no-one here’s gonna be splitting the atom any time soon!), who, despite fighting the Turds at every turn, becomes an unconvincing member of the group!

Duane Swierczynski’s writing is uninspired and rote at best. Worse, in trying to make them seem more cool and exciting than they are, he makes a good case against their existence after they blow up a power station and wander off saying that they’d better leave the repairs to the pros. Good work guys, onto the next civil engineering disaster!

And I don’t know if it’s an editorial or writer error but in one panel, Starling – who can’t fly - falls off a building, nobody catches her, but she somehow survives the fall and appears fine in the next scene??? It just speaks to the lack of care and effort that went into this book. Accompanying the bad writing is equally unimpressive art done in DC’s forgettable house style.

The awful third New 52 volume of Birds of Prey only highlights why it doesn’t have much of a fan following. It’s a dreary comic that reads like the workmanlike product that it is.

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