One of the reasons I really like Gail Simone’s writing is that she is willing to let things build, even simmer, for a while. The Birds of Prey and the Secret Six have crossed paths several times over the last few years, in and out of costume. There have been various hints and signs that Catman and Huntress would like to see a great deal more of each other, mutually out of costume.
This finally gets some attention in Birds of Prey 11, although not at all in way you’d think, which is what you should expect from Ms. Simone. On a personal note, I’m wondering about how the people on the DC Boards who are constantly whining about this book being all about Black Canary will react to this issue, as Dinah is in something like six panels total. Not pages, panels.
Most of the issue is Huntress working a robbery/hostage taking. She crosses paths with Catman early on, and they more or less work together. Throughout, Huntress is noticing that Catman is not at all how she remembers him. He’s been much darker over in Secret Six since the “Cat’s in the Cradle” arc (hugely recommended, by the way, it was an amazing story, if very dark and twisted).
She’s still very much attracted to him, but is concerned at first, working towards disgusted, with the changes in him- darker, harsher, more violent. There is some nicely done dialogue throughout, with Huntress urging him to really think about what he’s doing, even giving him the cross she so prominently wears while in costume. Even the resolution isn’t what it seems. Huntress puts together a few clues along the way, and realizes that Catman was in on the heist, only turning against it when the unplanned abduction by a potential rapist was added. In a nicely done scene, he breaks down, tells her about some of what happened to him from the Cradle story I mentioned, and asks for her help. She turns him down and tells him to stay away from her, as Canary and Oracle hear all this via the coms, and feel bad for her. After she storms off, we see another layer revealed: Catman set all this up to show Huntress how bad he was now, to make her give up on him and leave him alone; more of the self-castigating behavior he’s been showing since Cradle.
What I liked and what I didn’t:
This was a great issue on many levels. For all the action, it was largely about character, specifically Huntress having lines she will not cross, and Catman seeing himself as irredeemable of late. Mind you, I think it says more positive about him than he’d want to admit that he staged this entire charade for her benefit. There were a lot of nice little touches here, like the thugs being higher caliber than “henchman #2,” which makes perfect since if Catman hired them- he knows where to find talent from being with the Six. Another great touch, which I give credit to both Gail Simone and Bryan Q Miller for: in this day and age of disintegrating continuity throughout the industry, and specifically at DC, these two built in a few little details to reward the attentive reader. In both BOP and this week’s Batgirl, Barbara is feeling a bit sick. Nothing big, no major mystery illness, just a mild flu. Further, one of the clues Huntress and Catman follow up on is a thug called Richard Lowell. In Batgirl, in one of the scenes of Oracle at BOP HQ in Kord Tower, you see Babs working on screens about a Richard Lowell. It’s not a crossover, it’s not a big clever event, it’s just a nice touch that makes us think that maybe, just maybe, not only is this the same Barbara Gordon in both stories, but that at least SOME of DC’s writers actually talk to each other. So kudos to both of them, however this came about. Oh, long as I’m mentioning it, Batgirl is a very fun book, and I highly recommend it. It’s reviewed here on the site by our own Claire Smith (or I’d be doing it myself), check out both her reviews and the title itself.
What I didn’t like is pretty short on this one. While I get it, I wish Catman would cut himself some slack. He went after some very bad men who kidnapped his son and threatened to kill him, after beating up Thomas’ ex. The art gets a bit out of hand in this issue a few times- there’s one scene where it looks like Huntress is flying, or at the very least leaping from street level to the roof a building, with no lines being used. That’s a bit much, in my view. And honestly, it seems like she turns on Catman a bit hard and fast. He’s part of a robbery; well, he’s not a good guy and she knows that, or should. He does try to rescue an innocent hostage, which is to his credit I would think. Her reaction just seems a bit over the top to me.
But hey, overall, a great issue.
A COMIC BOOK BLOG RATING
|Huntress and Catman together, the diaglogue and action||Huntress flying? and the over reaction|