Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Birds of Prey #9 (Sep 1999)

Previously in Birds of Prey...

Birds of Prey #9: "Girls Rules" is written by Chuck Dixon with pencils by Greg Land, inks by Drew Geraci, and colors by Gloria Vasquez.  The cover was done by Land and Brian Stelfreeze.

Dixon and Land open this issue with a splash page of some high-tech security guards pointing guns and calling themselves the Iron Brigade.  Then a double-page splash of Black Canary standing nonchalantly in her cool new outfit with guns and laser sights pointed at her.  Now her one-piece jumpsuit covers her legs and she's got a leather jacket again; and because this comic did come out in the '90s, her jacket and jumpsuit has plenty of pouches and padding.

The Iron Brigade soldiers are the defenders of the nation of Koroscova, whose sovereignty Black Canary has violated.  She doesn't seem too concerned about the soldiers, though, because she can rely on her Canary Cry--not the sonic scream she used to have, but a sonic-weapon that looks a lot like a thermal detonator from Return of the Jedi.

Standing amidst the unconscious bodies of the soldiers, Dinah turns her communication devices back on, having spared Oracle's equipment the harsh feedback of her sonic bomb.  Then a Koroscovan gunship targets Dinah and opens fire.  She sprints across the field into the woods, dodging bullets and missiles and trying to convince Oracle that she's not in any real danger.

Black Canary loses the helicopter by diving into the river.  Oracle tells her that's good because the river will take her to her target and they're in a time crunch.  Black Canary continues on foot, thinking about the last target Oracle sent her to rescue (back in issue #8).  She overhears Oracle getting mail from her cyber-boyfriend, the mysterious Bumblebeeb.

Finally, Black Canary arrives at her target destination, a military prison compound.  She feeds Oracle the layout of the place, especially noting the highly combustible parts of the joint so she can line them up for a shot.

A shot from what?  Well, that brings us to the Pentagon and the characters I have never asked to see more of, Major Van Lewton and his aide, Lieutenant Providence.  The lieutenant tells Van Lewton that someone has accessed Whitehorse, a super secret satellite weapons project.  Van Lewton's cyber-security team figure that the satellite has been hacked by the same person who hacked their network, too.  All Van Lewton and the others can do is watch as Whitehorse is taken over.

At that point, the skies over Koroscova are lit up as a supermassive laser from space shoots down and destroys the fuel plant by the prison.

Black Canary tells Oracle to target the power generators, too, and another blast from the satellite destroys the power station.  Canary heads for the prison while Oracle tells her that Jason Bard should get his sight back eventually.  She also tells her that the target is a science whiz of some sort, and, after Dinah beats the crap out of some prison guards, Oracle gives her the target's cell number.  I mean the number of the prison cell, not his phone number.

Back at the Pentagon, Van Lewton's men tell him they have reacquired control over the Whitehorse satellite.  The project was supposed to be a deep, deep secret so he hopes nobody notices.  At the same time, the premier of Koroscova is woken from sleep by aides telling him about the catastrophe at the Brnsko prison.  The premier guesses the target is Linus Popolynsklinov.

Black Canary finds Popolynsklinov and frees him from his cell, but the scientist refuses to leave the prison camp without freeing one more prisoner.  He leads Black Canary to a laboratory where someone has been imprisoned in something that looks like a bacta tank from The Empire Strikes Back.

Oracle asks what is going on?  Who is coming out of the tank?  And Dinah tells her it sure looks a lot like former Green Lantern Guy Gardner.

Dixon and Land turn the action on in this issue which distracts from the thinness of most of their stories.  Land likes to draw big splashy pages and Dixon writes pretty quick scripts, so I guess they work well together.  The first seven pages or so is Black Canary beating up guards and running from explosions and talking to Oracle about stuff we already know.  I don't care about Van Lewton's team in the Pentagon and had hoped he would go away after Blockbuster handed him his ass.  The final reveal is interesting, but I think it's a misdirect.

I had forgotten who Oracle's online beau was, but I'm almost positive it turns out to be Blue Beetle.

Come back next Tuesday for a review of Birds of Prey #10.

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