Wednesday, December 11, 2013

BIRDS OF PREY #23 (New 52)

Not long after taking refuge in Condor's workshop, the Birds are attacked by a group of super criminal terrorists from Basilisk.  Piling one betrayal on another, the attackers reveal that Condor was once a member of their group.

Birds of Prey #23: "Dreams That Never Were" is written by Christy Marx, with art breakdowns by Scott McDaniel, pencils by Romano Molenaar, inks by Jonathan Glapion, and colors by Chris Sotomayor.  Ricken provides yet another misleading cover, depicting a battle we don't find within the pages of this issue.

Before going on, I must say this issue is, by a wide margin, the most pink comic I've ever read.

We pick up with the Basilisk team standing over the unconscious Birds.  The young woman named Uplink is using her telepathic powers to keep Black Canary's team incapacitated, but there seems to be even more than that.  While subdued, each one of the Birds begins to dream of their deepest desires, much like the effect of the Black Mercy plants that Mongul is famous for utilizing.  This effect requires a lot of pink energy.  Seriously.

The team leader, Tsiklon, who is described as sounding Russian, which makes sense given the spelling of her name, prevents the brutish Hammerdown and Whipcrack from killing Batgirl and Strix.  Then she lingers over her ex-lover, Condor, and wonders what he's dreaming of.

(It ain't you, lady!)

Yeah, Condor's deepest desires are cooking for Dinah, massaging her feet, and taking her to bed.

Is she dreaming of him?

Ohh... sucks for Condor; she's dreaming about the time she used her power to destroy Gamorra's palace and maybe possibly buried her husband, Kurt Lance, under the rubble.

What a remarkable comeback!  Dream-Kurt absolves her of the needless guilt over his death, allowing Dinah to redirect her lust on the Condor.  Who still lied to her about being a terrorist, but whatever.

Batgirl dreams of dinner with her family.

In this fantasy, she hasn't killed her brother because he's not a psychopath, and her father, Commissioner Gordon, seems healthy and happy for his kids.

Around this time, the transport arrives to pick up Black Canary and Condor.  Regulus tells Tsiklon that Canary is the real target, which is weird, because I thought the point was to retrieve his wayward enforcer.  What ever could the head of Basilisk want with Black Canary (other than revenge for her integral role in the destruction of the nation of Gamorra and everyone living there)?

Strix dreams of her childhood.

I guess Strix doesn't have happy dreams or memories, because even in this state she cannot escape the trauma that created her.  It's enough to break Uplink's control, resulting in a psychic feedback that knocks Uplink out.

Black Canary and Condor have been loaded onto the transport in capsules to keep them unconscious.  Batgirl and Strix recover and fight Whipcrack and Hammerdown.

Strix's sword does little against Hammerdown, who batters her into a wall.

Their primary objective completed, Tsiklon gets her soldiers out of there and the transport takes off, carrying Dinah and Condor to Basilisk's South American base.  Batgirl and Strix can only stand and watch helplessly, wondering what manner of convenient storytelling will help them find their friends next issue.

The issue ends with Dinah crawling out of her capsule, realizing she cannot use her sonic scream.  But the only thing--the only person--who could dampen her power was her husband.  Dinah wakes to find Kurt's body in a stasis pod, and the evil Regulus looming over them both.

The Characters

The dream sequences are a nice, convenient way to show each of the Birds' personal motivations and desires.  Condor, in spite of his criminal past, seems to genuinely love Dinah and wants to spend his life with her.

Dinah still feels the guilt over Kurt's death, but is it abating so she can move on to Condor?  Also, why does she always talk about how Kurt Lance could control her power.  According to Team 7, she only got her power in their disastrous final mission, and Kurt only boosted her power; he never dampened it.  And he only affected her power twice--once to horrible, horrible effect!

Batgirl wishes her family could be safe and happy.  Heh.  Not in Gotham.

Strix can't sing even in her dreams.  That's rough.


After last issue really impressed me, this one takes a step back.  A lot of that has to do with how little is actually in this issue.  There are nine pages of dreams/flashbacks.  Nine out of twenty; damn near half the issue is pink!  Now, some so-so characterization emerges from these dreams, so it's not all bad, but it felt like so much filler.

What I do appreciate about this story is that, despite continuity errors and gaps in logic, it really seems like Christy Marx is trying to tackle the mystery of Dinah's husband and get it over with.  Thank God, man, it's been two years!

Grade: B-


  1. Not a bad issue, the dream sequences [which went on a tad too long, but never mind] did help to flesh out the characters a bit more.
    Yeah it was very pink - but then so was early 80s Legion of Super-Heroes in similar design and thought' I think pink had overtaken green and red as a primary colour to use when colouring laser-beams, death-rays and the like.
    Most obvious cliffhanger? Kurt Lance showing up. After many years of watching soap-operas and comic-books I just knew hed turn up as the 'surprise' on the final page. About as predictable as Christmas.

  2. Hey, what happened to that delightful Alex Toth drawing of Black Canary on your blog header? I liked that.

  3. I like that Toth image, too, and I'm sure I'll use it again some time. But I wanted to redesign the Header for the new year which meant getting some new images.

    However, that pic of Canary by Toth comes from an issue of Adventure Comics which I should be posting and reviewing in early January.

  4. Is that the issue where Dinah becomes a karate instructor to a group of tough looking women, who in turn need her 'help' in staging a robbery? I read that in one of the Adventure Comics Digests, took me years to find the second half of it.

  5. That's the one! Adventure #418 and #419 by Denny O'Neil and Toth. Both parts were included in her Archive edition. I've got the pages scanned and I'll post reviews next year.