Birds of Prey (comics)

Birds of Prey (comics)

Infobox comics organization
name=Birds of Prey

caption=Promotional cover to TPB "Birds of Prey: Blood and Circuits". Cover art by Stephane Roux.
publisher=DC Comics
debut="Showcase 96 #3" Mar 1996
Ongoing: Jan 1999
creators=Chuck Dixon
Gary Frank
base=Clocktower; Aerie One
members=Core members
Black Canary
Lady Blackhawk
Rotating members
Big Barda
Black Alice
Lady Shiva
Power Girl
Blue Beetle
Green Arrow
Green Arrow (Connor Hawke)
cat= teams
subcat=DC Comics
sortkey=Birds of Prey|

"Birds of Prey" is a comic book published by DC Comics that features the adventures of the superhero Oracle and her group of superheroines. The group is initially based in Gotham City and later operates in Metropolis and then relocates once more to "Platinum Flats", California, a new locale introduced in "Birds of Prey" in 2008.

The series was conceived by Jordan B. Gorfinkel and originally written by Chuck Dixon. Gail Simone scripted the comic from issue #56 to #108. Sean McKeever was originally to replace Simone [ [| "Gail Simone Talks "Birds of Prey" Exit] , Newsarama] [ [ Sean McKeever Talks "Birds of Prey"] , Newsarama] , but McKeever has since decided to leave the project, and will only write issues #113-117; Tony Bedard, who wrote issues #109-112, will become the title's regular writer starting with issue #118. [ [ Tony Bedard Named New Regular Writer on Birds of Prey] , Newsarama] . Artists have included Butch Guice, Greg Land, Ed Benes, and Joe Bennett; Nicola Scott began a stint as artist with issue #100.

Despite the title of the series being "Birds of Prey", the phrase is not mentioned in the book until issue #86, when one of the group's members, Zinda Blake, suggests that it might be a fitting name for the team. However, the other characters get sidetracked and do not respond to her suggestion. Oracle, the team's leader, refers to the group by that name in a conversation with the new Blue Beetle, Jaime Reyes, [Blue Beetle #4] and later within the series. ["Birds of Prey" #101]

The team's greatest strength comes from Barbara's connections to other heroes across the DC Universe from her tenure as Batgirl, ranging from Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman to specialized rosters adapted to best suit her present mission. After Black Canary's departure, Huntress remains as the staple member and field leader, alongside new "core members." Despite the all-female central roster, male allies of Barbara such as Nightwing, Wildcat, Savant, and Creote frequently assist missions.

Publication history

Chuck Dixon era

The title series began with Chuck Dixon's one shot "Black Canary/Oracle: Birds of Prey" (1996). Initially, the two heroines featured were Barbara Gordon ("Oracle" and formerly "Batgirl") and Dinah Lance ("Black Canary"). From the beginning, Canary was written as passionate and idealistic, and Oracle as more level-headed and pragmatic. In an interview with Comics Bulletin, Dixon described this choice as a fertile clash of values: "Oracle ... is very "means to an end" oriented. She sees that sometimes you have to kill to save lives. She's not comfortable with that but accepts it... That pragmatic aspect of Babs' character, contrasted with Dinah's more idealistic approach, is at the heart of this book." [ [ Chuck Dixon Chats With Loren Di Iorio] , Comics Bulletin]

Gail Simone era

When Gail Simone took over the series in 2003, she added The Huntress to the "BoP" lineup. In her first arc entitled "Of Like Minds", Simone let Black Canary walk into a trap set by Brian Durlin, known as Savant and his assistant Creote. With Black Canary now critically injured and chained, Savant begins listing demands, the most significant of which is the true identity of Batman. [cite book |last= Simone |first= Gail |authorlink= Gail Simone |title= Birds of Prey #58 |year= 2003 |publisher= DC Comics | pages= pg. 11] In the end, Huntress, Canary, and Oracle defeat their enemies, and form a trio.

Author Simone commented on the new lineup, saying that each character provided a foil for the two others: "Babs and Dinah respect each other tremendously, and each is capable of great things the other is not. Dinah's not just Oracle's legs, sometimes, she's her conscience, or her muse, or just her best friend. And Oracle is far more to Dinah than just the mission controller. They trust each other, and out of that, there's a friendship that they believe in. Huntress... I see Helena as someone who is not a loner completely by choice. Dinah is so accepting, and so open, that Helena sees an opportunity to be part of something without having to force her way in. There's friction, because once Helena puts the mask on, she's really not very good fitting in. But she likes that they're giving her a chance. Whether she blows it or not, you'll have to keep reading." [ [ Interview: Gail Simone: The Gail Force Taking Comics Readers By Storm] ] Simone was appreciative of her work, saying "BoP" editor Lysa Hawkins "was looking for a slightly tougher Birds of Prey and asked me to submit a proposal. I have a huge fondness for Babs and Dinah both, so it's a bit of a dream come true. I'm really excited by the art, which is very sleek and sexy, with a nice dark tone, by Supergirl star Ed Benes. [ [ The Gail Simone Dialogues] , Comics Bulletin]

The Huntress later meets Oracle in person for the first time while rescuing her from a potentially life threatening situation during the "Sensei & Student" storyline. [cite book |last= Simone |first= Gail |authorlink= Gail Simone |title= Birds of Prey #65 |year= 2004 |publisher= DC Comics] The US government had become aware of the existence of Oracle and formatted a list of suspects to interrogate, one of whom was Barbara. Without any form of due process, two federal agents imply they believe she is the Oracle and that if any evidence is brought to light she will be tried for treason against the United States of America. [cite book |last= Simone |first= Gail |authorlink= Gail Simone |title= Birds of Prey #64 |year= 2004 |publisher= DC Comics] Once again, Oracle relies on the Huntress when no other allies are available.

While Oracle and Huntress share a long history of animosity with one another, Black Canary eventually inspires Oracle to employ her as a full-time agent. The budding friendship is cut short during the "Hero Hunters" arc. In the final issue of the storyline, the Huntress realizes Oracle has been manipulating her psychologically in order to make her "behave" properly, in the same way a teacher attempts to reform a troubled child. [cite book |last= Simone |first= Gail |authorlink= Gail Simone |title= Birds of Prey #80 |year= 2006 |publisher= DC Comics] Despite Oracle's remorse for her actions, Huntress temporarily departs from the group. She later rejoins the team, once again as a full-time agent along with newcomer Lady Blackhawk. Although the personnel on Oracle's team grows and changes, Huntress and Lady Blackhawk remain core agents.

When "BoP" approached the century mark, Simone used the issues #99 and #100 to shake up the lineup. She let Black Canary leave the team with her ward, a little girl called "Sin", and used a prison break arc to introduce superhumanly strong Big Barda, pacifist Judomaster, and rascally Misfit into the new squad, and with the new Spy Smasher as an ambiguous Jack Bauer-like anti-heroine and Lois Lane cornering Oracle into almost giving away her secret identity. Again, the characters were chosen to provide a foil for each other, and affirmed her love for her characters: "The team is a group of individuals, quite unlike the friendship between Dinah, Helena, and Babs. And any team with Barda on it automatically has a certain bull in a China shop tremble, and I love that... The characters don't apologize for being asskickers, nor for being smart, nor for being sexy, nor for being sexual, for that matter. There are always going to be some people who find that not to their taste, but at the same time, "BoP" regularly brings in people who don't otherwise read mainstream comics, a whole audience that may not pick up any other superhero titles, and I love that niche, that little area between good taste and utter shamelessness." [ [ The Simone Files I: Birds of Prey] , Newsarama, January 24, 2007] Finally, Simone stated her agony of leaving the book; "I miss the characters in all the books I've worked on. Writing the last issue of Birds of Prey I'm doing was actually physically painful." [ [ CAPE 3: Gail Simone Interview] ]

McKeever/Bedard era

After Simone's departure to sister title "Wonder Woman", Sean McKeever wrote BoP from issues 113 to 117. McKeever used his short stint to pit a new incarnation of "Blackhawk" villain Killer Shark against ex-Blackhawk Zinda Blake and to introduce the location of Platinum Flats, called by IGN "the Silicon Valley of the DC universe and a hotbed of white-collar crime commotted by mysterious villain "The Visionary". IGN called his short stint "enjoyable" and creative. [ [ Birds of Prey #117 Review: McKeever wraps up his enjoyable run.] ] His writing deeds were taken over by Tony Bedard, who stated in a Comic Book Resources interview that he liked the concept of Platinum Flats. Bedard wants to mix the concept of 21st-century white-collar crime with 1930s mob families and has stated that Oracle is his favorite BoP character. [ [ REFLECTIONS: Tony Bedard] ]


Main characters

*Oracle (Barbara Gordon) — formerly known as Batgirl, who was paralyzed below the hips as a result of . She is the founder and brains of the team, possessing a massive information network, a photographic memory, and expert hacking and programming skills. Oracle's identity and appearance are protected by the highest level of secrecy. She is also a skilled hand-to-hand combatant.
*Black Canary (Dinah Lance) — a tough, but good-natured and idealistic streetfighter. Barbara and Dinah are best friends (Barbara having helped Dinah through low periods in Dinah's life) and form the nucleus of the team. In addition to her metapower, an ultrasonic attack known as the "Canary Cry", she is also a highly skilled martial artist. She officially departed the team in issue #99.
*Huntress (Helena Bertinelli) — avenger-turned-vigilante. Prone to use of excessive force, this former mafia princess was devastated at a young age when her family was killed in a mob hit. Trained by her assassin cousin in the art of violence, she declared war on the mob in the name of justice.
*Lady Blackhawk (Zinda Blake) — time-displaced 1940s character, Zinda serves as the team's aviatrix and pilot of the Aerie One. She is an expert marksman, well trained with handling various types of firearms.
*Misfit (Charlotte Gage-Radcliffe) — teenage orphan with teleportation powers, her persistent appearances are initially a nuisance to Oracle, although Barbara's attitude gradually softens. After Barbara discovers her homelessness and personal tragedy, she formally invites her to become a member of the Birds.
*Manhunter (Kate Spencer) - In issue #100, Manhunter joins the Birds of Prey after being invited by Oracle following Canary's resignation. She has stayed on as a core member. Kate Spencer is a vigilante of a more violent sort that her teammates. In her civilian identity, she is a federal prosecutor who became sickened to see criminals escape punishment via the judicial system. Using stolen weapons, Manhunter elects to hunt down and if necessary kill supervillains herself.

Recurring characters

*Batgirl (Cassandra Cain) — The daughter of assassin David Cain and Lady Shiva, she is her mother's equal as a martial artist. In current DC continuity, Cain was the third crimefighter to call herself Batgirl. She temporarily relinquished the name, but after a brief period under mind control, has retaken the title.
*Big Barda (Barda Free) - a New God from the planet Apokolips and former member of the Female Furies and later member of the Justice League. Her husband is Justice League International member Mister Miracle (Scott Free). The character was killed off in "Death of the New Gods", and officially recognized within this series in "Birds of Prey" #112.
* Black Alice (Lori Zechlin) - a magically powered anti-heroine who can temporarily borrow the powers of other magic users. It has recently been revealed that she is a blood relative to Misfit.
*Blue Beetle (Ted Kord) — A former Justice Leaguer with a crush on Barbara. Kord is murdered in "Countdown to Infinite Crisis", and the main characters visit his grave in Valhalla Cemetery in "Birds of Prey" #96.
*Catwoman (Selina Kyle) — A feline-styled anti-heroine, Selina has cooperated with the team on several operations.
*Creote — A former KGB agent, Creote is a devoted servant and only friend to Savant; he is also secretly in love with his master.
*Gypsy (Cindy Reynolds) — Gypsy debuts at the end of "Birds of Prey" #92. She is a metahuman and her powers include creating illusions, camouflaging herself, and others near her, to blend into any background.
* Hawkgirl (Kendra Saunders) - Oracle first solicits her assistance in issue #104 in dealing with the Secret Six, for which Oracle rewards her with a car. Throughout the Russian arc, Hawkgirl serves as a team member and develops a rivalry with Secret Six member Scandal.
*Jade Canary (Sandra Wu-San) — The assassin more commonly known as Lady Shiva took Dinah's spot on the Birds of Prey team as of "One Year Later", calling herself the Jade Canary. After the conditions behind the switch she arranged with the Black Canary had been met, she departed from the team. In a final act, she acquired a new apprentice to train, in the form of Bethany Thorne, Crime Doctor's daughter.
*Josh — A rental car agent who bargained with Huntress — information in exchange for a date. After reluctantly agreeing and (surprisingly) sleeping with him, Huntress has used Josh as an agent in some of her easier tasks against the mob.
*Judomaster - In issue #100, a new female Judomaster joins the Birds of Prey after being invited by Oracle.
*Katana - Katana assists in rescuing Oracle from Senator Pullman. Oracle gave her a card and the promise of a favor if ever required.
*Nightwing (Dick Grayson) — Dashing crimefighter and the original Robin, Dick enjoyed a mutual teenage crush on Barbara that once blossomed into a steamy romance, but has crumbled despite continued strong feelings on both sides. Recently, Barbara and Dick reconciled. As they did, Dick dropped to one knee and proposed; a tearful Barbara said "yes." As of "One Year Later", the engagement has been mutually put on hold.
*Power Girl (Karen Starr aka Kara Zor-L) — Power Girl was Oracle's first operative, before she took in Black Canary. This first partnership was doomed since Power Girl was unable to save a shipload of people. She has worked occasionally with Oracle in subsequent episodes but the two have a very poor relationship; she was invited to return to the team in Issue #100 but stated she would do so "when Hell freezes over", despite begrudgingly appearing before and since to assist Oracle. The animosity between them parallels the traditional Batgirl/Supergirl friendship.
*Savant (Brian Durlin) — Spoiled heir to an enormous fortune, Savant moved to Gotham to become a self-styled vigilante. After kidnapping and brutally torturing Black Canary, he was defeated by the Birds. Oracle made the questionable decision to rehabilitate him, mainly in order to keep his data files on hundreds of real villains. Like his namesake, he is a genius; however, due to a chemical imbalance he exhibits a non-linear memory. Savant has also exhibited feelings for Oracle, probably rooted in his envy of her computer skills.
*The Secret Six — Following their initial appearance, members of the Secret Six have appeared repeatedly in "Birds of Prey". The team composed of Catman, Deadshot, Ragdoll, Scandal Savage, Knockout, and Harley Quinn act as foils to the Birds on one shared mission. Catman and Huntress are potential romantic interests, Scandal finds an enemy in Hawkgirl, and Barda and Knockout have a longstanding rivalry.
*Spy Smasher (Katarina Armstrong) — An old college rival of Oracle's, Spy Smasher boasts a significant number of government and intelligence connections which she uses to manipulate Barbara. Trying to usurp Oracle's team, the two come to confrontation over the status of the Birds of Prey. She is also an expert marksman.
*Vixen (Mari Jiwi McCabe) — An international supermodel and former Justice League and Suicide Squad member, Mari was born in Africa. She inherited her family's "Tantu" totem, a necklace granting the wearer the ability to channel the skills/abilities of any animal. Vixen has been a field agent for Oracle, accompanying Huntress to the Pacific Northwest to stop a meta-human worshipping cult.
*Wildcat (Ted Grant) — Former professional boxer and current member of the Justice Society, Ted serves as a mentor to Dinah and has helped her on several missions.

Running gags

Birds of Prey features several running gags involving team members:
* Black Canary has little proficiency – and even less interest – in computers.
* Huntress never seems to be lucky with her dates.
* Lady Blackhawk has a strong like for (but not addiction to) alcoholic beverages; in "Birds of Prey #100" she claims she can order beer in 30 languages.


*"Showcase 96" #3 (Mar 1996)
*"Black Canary/Oracle: Birds of Prey" #1 (1996)
*"Birds of Prey: Manhunt" #1-4 (Sep-Dec 1996)
*"Birds of Prey: Revolution" #1 (1997)
*"Birds of Prey: Wolves" #1 (Oct 1997)
*"Birds of Prey: Batgirl" #1 (Feb 1998)
*"Birds of Prey: The Ravens" #1 (Jun 1998)
*"Birds of Prey" (monthly series, Jan 1999 - ongoing)
*"Birds of Prey: Secret Files and Origins" 2003 (Aug 2003)

Other media

TV series

The comic was loosely adapted to a television series, "Birds of Prey". Set in an alternate future of the DC Universe, the show starred Dina Meyer as Oracle and Ashley Scott as Huntress, established partners in New Gotham. Meyer's Oracle was the paralyzed former Batgirl; Scott's Huntress was the daughter of Batman and a metahuman Catwoman, and as such exhibited feline powers.

Joined in the pilot episode by a young psychic runaway named Dinah (played by Rachel Skarsten), the team spent 13 episodes stopping various metahuman threats such as Huntress' old high school friend Shiva and a thinly-veiled Nightwing knockoff, the dangerous "Darkstrike" (previously known as "Nightstrike" until the similarity to Nightwing prompted the change). Other main cast members included Shemar Moore as Huntress' love interest Detective Jesse Reese, and Mia Sara as the villainous Dr. Harleen Quinzel (Harley Quinn). Lori Loughlin was a notable guest star, playing Dinah's metahuman mother: the Black Canary.

The theme song was "Revolution" by Aimee Allen, and the show was developed by Laeta Kalogridis.

"Justice League Unlimited"

Gail Simone scripted the "Justice League Unlimited" episode "Double Date." She originally intended the episode to feature a temporarily house-bound Batgirl (Barbara Gordon) contacting Huntress and Black Canary to complete a case for her, but a character rights issue necessitated removing Barbara from the story and taking it in a different direction (showcasing the Huntress/Question team). []


*"Birds of Prey" (2002) - collects "Black Canary/Oracle: Birds of Prey", "Birds of Prey: Manhunt", "Birds of Prey: Revolution", and a story from "Showcase '96" #3.
*"Birds of Prey: Old Friends, New Enemies" (2003) - collects "Birds of Prey: Wolves", "Bird of Prey: Batgirl" and "Birds of Prey" #1 - 5.
*"Nightwing: The Hunt for Oracle" - includes #20-21
*"Batman: Officer Down - includes #27.
*"Batman: Bruce Wayne - Murderer?" - includes material from #39 - 40.
*"Batman: Bruce Wayne - Fugitive" - includes #41 and 43.
*"Birds of Prey: Of Like Minds" (2004); (#56 - 61).
*"Birds of Prey: Sensei & Student" (2005); (#62 - 68).
*"Birds of Prey: Between Dark & Dawn" (2006); (#69 - 75).
*"Birds of Prey: The Battle Within" (2006); (#76 - 85).
*"Birds of Prey: Perfect Pitch" (2007); (#86 - 90 and #92 - 95).
*"Birds of Prey: Blood and Circuits" (2007); (#96 - 103).
*"Birds of Prey: Dead of Winter" (2008); (#104 - 108).


External links

* [ Canary Noir (Birds of Prey fansite)]
* [ Cosmic Teams entry]
* [ GAIL SIMONE ON BIRDS OF PREY #104] , Newsarama
* [ Birds of Prey origin at]

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