Tag Archives: birds of prey

More graphic novels: Birds of Prey and Castle Waiting

Perfect Pitch

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.

Castle Waiting

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.

Comics: Wonder Woman and Birds of Prey

So yes, I’m getting me some graphic novel lovin’.

I don’t have much background in Wonder Woman and her universe; I knew that her people are Amazons, and that was about it. I don’t know whether the origin story posited here was partly or totally a reboot, etc etc. It kinda doesn’t matter, actually, at least not for my enjoyment of the story. There were obviously bits that didn’t have the emotional impact that it might for long-term fans; I could see it was devastating when friends got hurt, or turned on Diana, but I didn’t feel it as much as I might have. And I certainly didn’t have the GASP reaction that I bet others did when the Big Nasties were revealed. t did feel it, though, when the truth about Genocide was revealed; and I certainly got cranky at Zeus and his great big awesome plans for replacing the Amazons.

So yeh, thoroughly enjoyed this. The story is dramatic and action-filled and angsty in good ways. It’s not heavy on character development, but that’s partly what the pictures are for I guess. And I liked the pictures. Yes Wonder Woman has no pants, but she’s rarely posed in such a way that that’s an emphasis, or a sexy sexy thing. And there is an emphasis on the violence of what she’s confronted with, and the fact that she gets a beating is not shied away from.

Going to get me more Gail Simone WW, I think.

Speaking of Gail Simone…

This is clearly part of an ongoing story about the team called Birds of Prey, but it also works as a stand-alone story about them and their missions. I’ve not read any stories before that feature teams of superheroes going up against super villains, and have really only seen this on the screen in X-Men. I really enjoyed the way that the pictures allowed the fights to be shown both in close-up and panoramically, encompassing the entire fight – something that movies manage and that books just can’t get across in words with much impact.

I liked the characters a lot, even though I struggled to keep track of a few of them (they kinda melded together). However, Oracle really was my absolute favourite: a former Batgirl, now in a wheelchair (… well, in a wheelchair here; I know that NOW they’ve rebooted it and she’s able-bodied again) and with awesome techno-fu. And defending her team from a usurper. She’s brilliant.

Again, I really enjoyed the art – some ridiculous costumes but some not, and usually¬†dealt with as if they’re practical, if that makes sense. I enjoyed the story, and I enjoyed the interactions between the characters too.