DC Comics’ Birds of Prey #16 keeps on rolling as one of the best New 52 series. While much of the creative team has changed, writer Duane Swierczynski has been the constant. Joining him on this issue are penciller Romano Molenaar, inker Vicente Cifuetes, colorist Chris Sotomayor and letterer Dave Sharpe. The same artists also provided the cover art.
A switch in team members extends beyond the creative side as the Birds lose Katana, who will have the spotlight in a solo series. In this issue entitled “Lights Out,” the Birds reluctantly welcome new member Strix who was formerly a Talon. If you are unfamiliar with the Talons, they are the owl-themed assassins who have ties to the roots of Gotham City and also previously stalked and attempted to kill the Bat-family in the “Night of the Owls” storyline. Strix has joined the Birds at the behest of Batgirl, much to the displeasure of Black Canary and Starling.
Condor reconnects with the team and joins them as the only male on the team, a fact which Batgirl humorously points out. His unexpected appearance leads to fighting, which readers will have undoubtedly expected. It should also be noted that Condor, similar to Strix, had previously fought against the BoP. People certainly do change. I don’t have much knowledge of his history, but I like what he brings to the team.
After they shake hands and make up, the team moves on to their mission: to stop a Basilisk weapons dealer. They head out to follow up on the intel Condor provided. Their assault on some hired guns is led by Strix, who is nothing short of relentless. Instead of finding the answers they seek, the ending deals with the problems Black Canary has been suffering with her powers. She lets out a powerful scream blacking out part of the city.
Going back to Condor, I like his design, which Romano Molenaar depicts well here. Strix is new and guarded, and as such, she’s silent and distant. Those qualities are represented nicely through the visuals. The action sequences really stand out. There’s a nice flow between the panels and they just look good. Vicente Cifuetes’ inks complement Molenaar’s pencils finely. Chris Sotomayor’s colors finish off the book to give it a darker tone. Their work really shows with through the use of shadows.
I still think this is one of the better DC Comics’ titles on shelves. As previously noted, the art team has been shuffled, but Swierczynski’s writing is consistently strong. I like the cast, particularly Katana and Starling. They were breakout stars to me and while I will miss the spirituality and mystery of Katana, Starling’s go-get-it attitude is still worthy of attention. The primarily female-led team is a strong attribute of this book; one that should pull in new readers. Birds of Prey #16 is another good entry for the series, but one that may be difficult to jump on as a new reader. There are a few aspects of it that recall previous events, but if you’re not too worried that, you should try it out.
This comic book was purchased with my own funds.