Tuesday, July 30, 2013

BIRDS OF PREY #7 (New 52)


I'm not even going to pretend like I care about what's happened in the first six issues.  This opening story arc has been horrible and simultaneously over-complicated and under-developed.  The characters act and sound like stupid imitations of people.  But at least this issue is supposed to be the climax of the story arc.

Birds of Prey #7: "Brain Damage" is written by Duane Swierczynski, with art by Jesus Saiz and colors by June Chung.  Saiz also provides a pretty good cover for the book.

New 52 Batgirl has nipples on her forearms.
This issue picks up where the last issue ended: Black Canary, Katana, and Poison Ivy are fighting a whole bunch of office workers who have been brainwashed by the mysterious mind-controller known as Choke.  Meanwhile, down in the basement, Batgirl, Starling, and Dr. Trevor Cahill are monitoring the situation.  Dinah understands that aside from being investment brokers, these people are mostly innocent.  They're not in control of their minds or bodies, so the Birds need to show restraint when subduing them.

Hmm… I wonder if the crazy, super villain Poison Ivy is going to have a problem with not killing her attackers…

So Black Canary and Poison Ivy fight, which is usually what heroes and villains do, so this is a surprise only to Dinah.  Why she ever thought Poison Ivy would make a good fit for her team is a mystery that only the writer (or more likely the editor) will ever know.

Poison Ivy gets the upper hand in their fight.  Dinah is saved, though, when Choke orders one of his zombies to target Ivy, presumably to save Dinah.

Down in the basement, Starling reveals that Cahill is Choke because she caught him using his iPad to send messages to his mindless drones.  Somebody here is mind-achingly stupid.  I don't know if it's the bad guy or the ersatz good guys or the storytellers, but somebody's stupid.

They know that Choke specializes in brainwashing and that the cue can be something as simple as a word or phrase.  Why didn't anybody prepare for that?!!

So Batgirl has to fight off Starling, which gives Cahill time to bolt.  Upstairs, Black Canary uses her sonic scream to incapacitate everyone, including her allies.  She then joins Batgirl in the hunt for Cahill.  They track him down in the alleyway where Batgirl finally uses those brains she's famous for.

Batgirl shuts him up before he can literally talk his way out of captivity.  This action is so decisive and so rational that I'm pretty sure Gail Simone wrote these panels without credit.

Dinah tells Batgirl that she had suspected Cahill was Choke for some time based on absurdly flimsy evidence, and chose to endanger many more lives in an effort to smoke him out.  Then the dumbest thing in a long history of dumb things in this series happens.

Ev is the only one Dinah trusts?  WHY?!!  Also, Batgirl has a gunshot wound in her arm.  And Dinah knows--from first hand experience--that Choke can manipulate and brainwash people!  And Choke has ALREADY gotten in Starling's head, sending her into an ambush just last issue!  Why, Dinah?  Why is it so difficult to believe she's been mind-controlled again?

(I now want to bunch this comic book in the face.)

The Birds sans Batgirl take Cahill to their hideout… in the sewer… to get answers.  Wait, what are the questions you need answered?  Cahill mentions sort of off-handedly that Dinah killed her husband, which seems to surprise Katana and Starling.

Forgetting for the moment how dumb she looks by saying she knows everything about him and then immediately asking a question about his motives, Dinah is shocked for the umpteenth time when the bad guy--who specializes in mind control--using voice commands--compromises both Poison Ivy and Starling by speaking.

Poison Ivy's own biology is attacking her and Starling starts trying to shoot her allies almost exactly like Batgirl said had happened.  Dinah has just enough time to look like a moron before--

Pictured above: Katana's application for membership in the Justice League of America.
Katana says that her husband, whose spirit inhabits her Soultaker, can now interrogate Cahill and get the answers they seek.  Dinah reprimands Katana for murdering their prisoner and for how silly her strategy sounds.

Then the next dumbest thing in a long history of dumb things in this series happens.

Starling, you've already been manipulated by Choke before!  Remember when you went to the wrong rendezvous spot!  I hate everyone and everything about this book!

So Black Canary goes to Cahill's apartment to trash his place and bust his TV.  Then Batgirl shows up, because, you know, whatever.

Wait, Cahill wasn't Choke?!!  You mean this story isn't over yet?!!

The Characters

Poison Ivy and Katana both kill people in this issue.  Starling tries to kill her teammates.  Dinah has the nerve to wonder what has become of her wonderful, non-homicidal team.

This seems like the issue where we should have discovered why Cahill/Choke did what he did, who he was, all the classic villain exposition stuff.  We get none of that.  He might have been doing it for fun, but who knows.


WARNING: I'm gonna drop a couple F-bombs here.

I don't like using the word retarded as a pejorative.  I know people with mental disabilities and it's an ugly, often hate-filled word, and everyone deserves better than that.  But all I could think of when I read this issue was the characters are all fucking retarded.  Is there a better word I can use?  I can call them fucktards, right?  That's not offensive to anyone other than the desired target, is it?

Grade: F (for "fucktard")

1 comment:

  1. Three things that irked me;
    Choke using his I-Pad. Just a lame excuse to make the story 'now' and 'relevant', never mind that in several years time that will look out of date.
    Dinah 'realising' Cahill was Choke. Yeah, right. A last minute plot change so's to not make Dinah look an idiot for not realising sooner.
    Katana decapitating him, and the others barely raising a complaint. Not good.

    And an ongoing theme; Dinah using her now uncontrollable Sonic Cry, with the requisite everyone diving for cover. It still hasn't been explained why even in todays books, and anyway Dinah if its so dangerous then ok STOP USING IT!

    Apart from showcasing the most interesting, diverse group of Birds of Prey girls ever, this opening story has been awkward to read.