Guest Review: Birds of Prey #14 - Three Hours of the Condor

Three Hours of the Condor

Original Review by Batwatch from Comic Vine

Just over the past week, I read the first volume of DCNU Birds of Prey, and I was surprised because it was good. The recent issues of Birds have averaged out to be okay, but it is really nothing special. The writer is the same, so how has this series managed to go from being high quality to its meh inducing current quality?

At the moment, I have no answers, but I can say that I go into this issue without particularly high hopes. Birds of Prey #13 was a bit confusing in parts with the ill defined character of Condor, and generic at other points with the ninja hoards which are beginning to become a really stale trope in the Batman universe. There is a hint of something going on in Katana’s past with the Daggers which could be interesting, and this plot element could very well be the springboard for her upcoming ongoing comic, but beyond that, there is little to last month’s issue worth praising other than a fairly good team dynamic. Does this issue move beyond good chemistry and provide a good plot, or is this just another tale of generic ninjas?

In this issue, Condor faces the wrath of the Birds of Prey, and the Daggers plot something evil.



Generic Ninjas Are Generic

There is not much in this issue that is truly bad, but there is even less which is particularly good. The Daggers are still a completely unknown quantity. They are evil ninjas that have some grudge against Katana, and (yawn) that’s just not doing anything for me.

The actions scenes actually have some clever elements, but they are not drawn well. Condor is apparently telekinetic, but this would be difficult to put together from the action sequences. I think part of it is that his powers are sketched as emanating from his face like ripples in a pond whereas when I think of telekinesis, I think of an invisible wall or fist. The way they drew Condor’s metahuman ability suggested telepathy to me. When Condor uses his telekinesis against people, it is very difficult to figure out how they are moving since there is no indication of how he used his telekinesis other than its effects, and the effect it has on people is not always clear. For instance, Batgirl is knocked off a building at one point, but due to the odd angle, I thought she had been simply knocked to her knees on the roof of the building. There were several more moments in the action which caused me to puzzle over what happened, and that is never a good thing.

Watch Your Step

In the fight with Condor, both Batgirl and Starling get knocked off the roof of the building, yet nobody comes to their aid. Instead, Black Canary dives off a building to save Condor, the guy they were fighting with wings on his back. Furthering the confusion, she saves him by grabbing hold of him and releasing her Canary Cry at the ground presumably slowing their decent. My brain is trying to ponder the metaphysics of that, and it cannot quite make it compute.

Back to Dinah allowing her teammates to plummet to their death, I get that Batgirl has a utility belt, so in all likelihood, she should be able to save herself, but Starling has not been demonstrated to have such gear, so letting her fall on her own is a pretty big oversight.

Thankfully, Starling is seen in a later scene, so we can all rest easy.

Eight Hours until Nobody Cares?

In both this issue in the last, readers are treated with an occasional countdown which warns of something dire about to happen, but I find it difficult to care when it is not clear what dreaded thing is supposed to happen when the timer reaches zero. Perhaps if the heroines were aware of the threat, it would add a sense of tension and urgency to the story, but they do not know, and the countdown is just intrusive.

Conclusion 3/5

This book was kind of boring. Diehard Birds of Prey fans should go ahead and pick it up because it has enough good things going for it to make it a worthwhile purchase for them, but everybody else should steer clear.

My Opinion

Cover - 4/5
Art - 4/5
Colors/Ink/Lettering - 4/5
Layout/Flow - 5/5
Story - 5/5
Verdict - 4.6

Unlike Batwatch, I really enjoy Birds of Prey. While not one of my favorite books it does make for a good read. I miss the covers done by Stanley Lau "Art Germ" but this one isn't bad. I'm excited to see where this series is going.

Jeremy Sims is a blogger at https://batwatch.squarespace.com/ and a comic book reviewer at Comic Vine. The use of this review has been authorized by the original writer.

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