Birds of Prey # 71 Review

Reviewer: Matt Morrison
Story Title: Insanity Defense (Between Dark and Dawn, Part Three)

Written by: Gail Simone
Penciled by: Ron Adrian
Inked by: Rob Lea
Colored by: Hi-Fi Design
Lettered by: Jared K. Fletcher
Editor: Joan Hilty
Publisher: DC Comics

Long time readers know that Birds of Prey is one of my favorite titles. I’ve been a fan of Gail Simone’s work since back in the day on Comic Book Resources and I have yet to see her do an unexciting issue of this comic.

Even the “We’re doing it just for the sake of doing it” one page cameo of Superman (who airlifted a catatonic Barbara Gordon to the hospital) does nothing to draw away from the engaging mystery that lies at the heart of Simone’s plot. A number of teenagers associated with a mysterious spiritual organization have been found dead, wearing the costumes of dead teenage superheroes. Huntress, who was sent to infiltrate the cult, is now finding herself at odds with the heroine Vixen, who was also investigating and is now drawn into the religion’s belief of Celebrate Peace And Love With Us”¦ or we’ll kill you. (Hmmm”¦ isn’t that MOST religions, come to think of it?)

Meanwhile, Black Canary is worried about Barbara Gordon’s mental state in the wake of some form of attack as she was trying to hack the computers of said religious organization. Now Barbara claims to be having visions on her screen”¦ even when it is not turned on.

And just because we can’t have a Gail Simone book without one good comedic moment, we also get to check in on Savant; a super-genius super-villain Oracle is trying to turn to the side of the angels, as he attempts to learn the arts of subterfuge while fighting drug dealers. He later admits that he has much to learn about undercover work, as his method of breaking up a crackhouse involves walking to the front door, asking very loudly if he can purchases some illegal drugs and then asking the man at the door with a shotgun if he can speak to the local crime boss.

All of this is beautifully rendered by the temporary art team of Ron Adrian and Rob Lea, whose work is similar enough to that of the usual artists so as not to jar the readers but still dissimilar enough to draw interest. I don’t recognize their names, but if they aren’t sticking around on this title, I hope they will be put on another monthly book.