By: Duane Swierczynski (story), Romano Molenaar (pencils), Vicente Cifuentes (inks), Chris Sotomayor (colors)
The Story: Birds in their little nest don’t always agree.
The Review: By all rights, I should’ve dropped this series last month. While Swierczynski’s always treated the characters with respect, he has disservice them with a meandering plot that has resulted in few high-stakes moments for them. In terms of standing in the DC community, they’re almost exactly where they started—only lower. They’ve proven unorganized, without a clear mission statement, and deprived of any notable achievements.
There is one unanswered question I’m still curious about, and which I expected this #0 to address, namely how the Birds came together in the first place. We started this series with Black Canary and Starling already having a working relationship, as well as an association with Batgirl. But as Swierczynski began revealing their backgrounds, it became more and more mysterious how such divergent characters managed to find common ground.
Sadly, this issue does not answer those questions, and I’m not sure if it was realistic to expect it to. Cramming one character’s origin story into a single issue is one thing, but the gathering of a team requires greater investments of time and effort. A writer ideally wants to convey a sense of fate about such a meeting, as if somehow the world depends on it. Instead, the establishment of the Birds comes across forced, sloppy, and rushed, completely without importance.
Take the meeting between Canary and Starling. Since their relationship arguably forms the central, emotional foundation of this series, you’d think Swierczynski would take advantage of the issue to show why they have the connection they do. But they go from shaking hands to tapping each other’s ass (you can guess who does what to who) after some undetermined, presumably brief period of time, and you never see what happens in between. So why you should give any credence to their willingness to trust each other in that pivotal moment at the end, you have no idea.
Ultimately, the whole deal of Canary working for the Penguin, the unseen buyer and the unnamed seller and the “mutagenic bomb”—none of those things matter. They’re just a vehicle to bring the characters to where Swierczynski wants them to be, and not a very convincing one at that. At one point, Canary mentions she “know[s] all too well” what such a bomb can do, but never elaborates. That part of the story just disappears, just like everything else that has to do with the actual plot.
Molenaar provides the most suitable art for the script, which is as generic as possible. There are elements of both Ardian Syaf and Ed Benes in the overt sensuality of the women (pert and buxom and fleshy), though he’s a bit more defined than Syaf and somewhat classier than Benes. You can almost get the full measure of Molenaar’s artistic merit just by looking at how he depicts the women in action: postures and poses that no human body is ever meant to adopt.
Conclusion: And thus ends another female-led title’s run on my pull list, much to my disappointment. I wouldn’t mind coming back someday, but to be honest I’ve just plain lost patience with seeing where this title wants to go. Dropped.
– Minhquan Nguyen
Some Musings: – The only real bright spot of the issue is discovering Starling’s connection to Amanda Waller, which, given her connection to Dinah from the Team Seven series, seems very appropriate. Too bad I’m not interested in sticking around long enough to see how it pans out.