For Your Consideration: DC Birds of Prey collections

Robert Greenberger

Robert Greenberger


by Robert Greenberger

The Birds of Prey started off as an idea by Assistant Editor Jordan B. Gorfinkel. Pair up Oracle and the Black Canary in a Thelma and Louise girl buddy-esque caper. Well, dang, if it didn’t sell and spawn one-shots and miniseries before it earned itself an ongoing series. Under Chuck Dixon and later Gail Simone, it offered some of the smartest female character writing and dynamic artwork you could ask for.

It was ahead of its time when it found its way to the CW schedule but the zeitgeist is ripe for the feature film coming in February, so DC Comics is unleashing a plethora of BOP collections which we call to your attention as they spotlight the various characters.

The Huntress: Origins

The Huntress: Origins


The earliest of the related titles would be a new edition of Paul Levitz’s The Huntress: Origins. Under a lovely Brian Bolland cover, all the stories by Levitz and Joe Staton from DC Super Stars #17, Batman Family #18-20, and Wonder Woman #271-287, #289, #290, #294, and #295 are presented. This version got retconned by the Crisis, but it’s nice to have it back in print.

Birds of Prey: Black Canary

Birds of Prey: Black Canary


The earliest Black Canary stories, once collected as an archive, are absent so we have, instead, Birds of Prey: Black Canary, a more contemporary take by Brendan Fletcher, Annie Wu, Pia Guerra, Sandy Jarrell and Moritat. Here, we have Black Canary #1-12 and Black Canary Sneak Peek #1. This is the DCU take on the classic heroine and has used her canary cry power as a catalyst for her newfound career as a pop/rock/punk performer. The ill-fated series explored life on the road as she juggled heroism and stardom. This is a younger hero, one out to define herself without her legacy or costumed comrades.

Birds of Prey: The Huntress

Birds of Prey: The Huntress


Greg Rucka and Rich Burchett serve up Birds of Prey: The Huntress which collects Batman/Huntress: Cry for Blood #1-6. Rucka can handle crime and crimefighting equally well (go check out his Stumptown from Oni and now on ABC). This is a post-Crisis Huntress, one who comes from a crime family and those tenuous bloodlines are explored in detail here. It also features the Renee Montoya Question. This one stands up nicely in the rereading.

Birds of Prey: Harley Quinn

Birds of Prey: Harley Quinn


From her humble beginnings as a one-off foil for the Joker on Batman: The Animated Series, Harley Quinn has exploded into the company’s go to cash cow, second only to Batman, thanks in large part of writers Amanda Conner and Jimmy Palmiotti along with Margot Robbie’s lovely film interpretation. We have Birds of Prey: Harley Quinn collecting Harley Quinn #1-7 and Harley Quinn: Future’s End #1 and a story from Secret Origins #4 with art by Chad Hardin and Stephane Roux.

For those who haven’t tried this material yet, she is clearly no longer operating as an insane Batman rogue. Instead, the humorous take has her as an anti-hero based in Coney Island, New York, but traveling the globe as whim and opportunity take her. This take arrived with the New 52 and survived into Rebirth thanks to the solid creative team which remained consistent.

Birds of Prey: Murder & Mystery

Birds of Prey: Murder & Mystery


Finally, a collection from Simone’s run, BOP #56-67, arrives as Birds of Prey: Murder & Mystery (for those with long memories, this was previously collected as Birds of Prey: Of Like Minds and Birds of Prey: Sensei & Student). This particular storyline from 2003, illustrated by Ed Benes, Cliff Richards, Michael Golden and a few more folk, pits the team against Savant, a male who appears to be as smart as Oracle and as deadly as the Canary. Seemingly outnumbered, they call on the Huntress for some support. When Canary finds herself in a wheelchair like Barbara Gordon, Huntress has to don the blonde wig to impersonate Black Canary. If that’s not enough, let’s toss Batgirl (Cassandra Cain), Batman, Robin, and Lady Shiva into the mix. For the final chapter, you can add in Gypsy, Katana, and Catwoman, Birds of Prey all.

These stories across the multiple volumes demonstrate the enduring power of DC’s heroines, as they wrestle with moral and ethical quandaries while staying true to themselves and their comrades. Enjoy these before the film (and cross your fingers that one’s good, too.)

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