I remember feeling pleased when my young teenaged son expressed an interest in BIRDS OF PREY. My boy, comfortable with powerful women, is prepared for the 21st century! Then I realized that the superheroines of this title are mostly extremely buff, chesty, and use thong swimwear as their daily attire. (Well, mothers must take minor victories where they can — my son, the heterosexual!)
Unfortunately like so many other titles all over the publishing world, BIRDS OF PREY is not long for this world, doomed to be discontinued sometime in 2009. When it began it was a minor milestone — the first all-female action comic that was successful. Furthermore, the central Bird, Barbara “Oracle” Gordon, is handicapped and confined to a wheelchair — a two-fer! BIRDS started excellently (I commend the trade paper collections to you) but like all serial titles has had its ups and downs. The recent appetite for mega crossovers had its usual malign effect; the title is popping along reasonably well and then suddenly all this irrelevant stuff about Final Crisis or Breaking the Bat rolls nonsensically in.
Approaching its last hurrah, #125 seems to be harking back to the glory days. Irrelevant plot lines and uninteresting supporting characters are pushed to the side and the core heroines return: Black Canary and Oracle. Even the cover has that “Thelma and Louise” vibe, with the two in a speedy car apparently soaring down from a height. The end is near, but we are driving fast and not paying terribly much attention to how rational everything is, just like we did a hundred issues ago. And this is fine. Comics is the genre where coolness is everything; if something is sufficiently cool it does not have to make too much sense. (There are so many examples of this that in the interest of keeping this Short, readers are invited to contribute examples. I will just point out that Wolverine’s blades cannot really be done.)
If BIRDS OF PREY had clung to this, instead of wandering off into the wilderness of espionage or getting sucked into the crossovers, it might well have survived the upcoming purge.