I am beginning to see that not reading these in order may indeed have its drawbacks. This set appears to be the start of the Birds of Prey proper, with Huntress unconvinced that she really wants to be a part of it and Batman making a rather unexpected appearance (well, unexpected for me; I know nothing about Bats in comic-world). It also spans the Infinite Crisis… thing… about which I know nothing, except that a year is skipped and all of a sudden Black Canary is off doing weird things in a nameless Asian jungle while the mysterious Shiva is scaring the pants off people in Gotham.
In terms of plot, occasionally hard to follow for someone with little to no backstory, and also not a nice continuous arc like the previous Birds of Prey (Dead of Winter) I read. The art was usually pretty fun, although I did feel uncomfortable with some of the shots of Black Canary and her kicks. It’s nice to see a group of women working together with no arguments about who gets the guy (well, ok, some arguments, but ‘getting the guy’ in this case means ‘kicking the guy’) – they’re by no means perfect, and there is some dysfunction, but it makes sense. So that’s definitely a plus.
Starts off with only a slightly off-kilter telling of Sleeping Beauty – I really liked the focus on the fairies/witches at the start here and moves into the castle and surrounding area essentially becoming a refuge for people who have nowhere else to go, or nowhere else they want to be. The reader arrives via o
ne such, a pregnant woman who later gives birth to a rather… peculiar… baby. But for me, this set of stories is really all about the bearded nuns.
Yes, bearded nuns. Never did I think that someone could have the sympathy, and the art, to draw very attractive women with beards, but such is the accomplishment of Linda Medley. This order of nuns is begun by women escaping an unhappy fate and continues to present just such a chance for other unhappy women. There are many things I loved about the bearded women, just one being that the idea of a man loving one of them was perfectly natural – they are by no means freaks to anyone in the book except those who are clearly immoral/unpleasant/otherwise non-relateable anyway. There’s a nice variety within the bearded women community – the beards and being female are about the only thing they have in common, except that a few of them have also experienced being in the circus. If for nothing else, Medley won me as a fan for this aspect.
She does win me for other reasons: the art is delightful without being distracting or overwhelming; the numerous sub-plots are nicely woven, and I love that the knight in armour is actually a horse.
I look forward to reading more.