Thursday, June 14, 2012

Birds of Prey #9

Travel Foreman is now working on this title. I probably won't even notice a difference since his style was so similar to whoever the hell was doing the art in this comic the first eight issues. Oh yeah, Jesus Saiz!

Before I read the current issue of a comic, I always reread my commentary on the previous issue. Usually that's the first time I've reread what I wrote and thus it's the first actual edit that any of my pieces receive. And there are almost always a few typos and weird errors. One weird error that I can blame on this laptop keyboard needing a good dusting is leaving out the word "to" occasionally. Where it's supposed to go (I just did it now and fixed it with that "to"!), there will be two spaces between the words before and after its spot. That's because I'm typing it but the "T" and the "O" keys just don't register. I probably have cookie crumbs in my keyboard! I blame most of my errors on that and just typing really fast to keep up with my thoughts.

Oh yeah, back to the editing thing! Reading Birds of Prey #8, I found some of the worst errors I've had yet! I called Poison Ivy "Black Canary", I used the "their" instead of "there", and on my Blogspot Version of this page, I had named Birds of Prey #6 "Black Canary #6"! Which, let's face it, is mostly true anyway. Usually I just correct the errors here on Tumblr, so my Blogspot Version is still riddled with typos and other stupid errors. I look like a real genius over there!

Last issue, Starling found out that Black Canary supposedly murdered her husband even though she'd already known that Black Canary murdered her husband. But there has been a rash of amnesia in this comic for the first eight issues because of the mind control guy named Choke who was never actually captured by the Birds of Prey. So they're currently big failures who murdered a shitload of people in the Cornwell Luxury Apartments last issue when Katana blew it up. C'est la vie. C'est la mort! Que sera, sera! Ooh la la!

But this month, it's Night of the Owls time! So act like a victim of Choke and forget everything that's already happened! An undead Talon is on its way to teach Black Canary a lesson about life, love, and murdering one's husband.

I think Travel forgot he's not doing Animal Man anymore. These birds work in Gotham, Travel! Buildings! Not trees!

The issue begins with a flashback to 1847 where the streets of Gotham are crowded asses to elbones by gang members shanking, squorking, splicking, and shivving each other. That last sentence has a bunch of made-up words! See if you can guess which ones they are! The Narrator, who is a Talon judging by the black narration boxes, says, "The streets are ruled by cruel men," but the fighting doesn't take place in the streets at all! They're fighting under trees and in a park just like Canary and Katana in the future! Maybe Travel is just more comfortable drawing flat trees than he is drawing flat buildings.

The action starts well in the middle as you can see from the panel above (which is the first present day panel). Black Canary has diarrhea, Poison Ivy may be dead (probably not!), Katana's body has become dysmorphic, and Starling is a bitch. Katana has tried to Black Razor the fuck out of the Talon with her katana [Black Razored: verb. To remove somebody's soul using a magic sword] and she's lucky she didn't have her own soul sucked since the Talon is undead. I might reference Black Razor a bit too often. Why don't I ever mention Whelm or Wave, the other magic items in White Plume Mountain? Mostly because nobody really cared much for those items.

So Katana's husband is kind of like a Swiss Army Knife? He can do a little bit of everything? My guess is that Duane Swierczynski is going to bring Katana's husband back on the last page of a future issue as a huge shock. Maybe he'll even be Choke!

Black Canary calls the Talon a "birdface" and then screams at it. But her sonic scream and her schoolyard taunts have no effect on the assassin! But when she asks the Talon, "What the hell are you?", it decides to tell its story! Nice delaying tactic until Poison Ivy can come along and exploit the fungi and spores filling the Talon's corpse, exploding it all over the park!

Except I guess it doesn't actually answer Black Canary's question. It just Narration Boxes all over the place so that the reader can feel a profound, literary moment where the Talon declares, "Nothing changes!" And yet, everything changes is just as true while not really saying much of anything. I'm not sure the Talon has had enough time in the present to make that declaration that nothing changes. What's more probable is that the Talon hasn't changed (of course he hasn't; he's been dead for a century and a half) and thus his perception of the world is affected by his perception of himself.

Too bad they didn't get Red Hood's Talon! Or Robin's Talon! Those fuckers wouldn't shut the fuckity fuck up! This one must be more like Batgirl's Talon. Maybe Henry Ballard (this Talon) also lost his tongue.

Black Canary fills the reader in on what happened before the reader got there. Batgirl called Black Canary to let her know about the Court of Owl and the Talons. But the Birds weren't given a name of a person to save, so this book is unlike the others. I'm not sure if Duane read the memorandum about the storyline either because the Bird's Talon went after Poison Ivy and then hunted down Black Canary and Tatsu. So was his target Pam Isley and Dinah Lance and Tatsu Yamashiro? Or maybe this Talon wasn't given a name and was allowed to do some freelance work. Or maybe his need to rid Gotham of street gangs overrode his other mission?

I think in the Comic Book World, none of those previous things matter. As long as the bad guy meets up to throw punches at the good guy, everything is going smoothly.

Black Canary and Katana retreat because even when Katana chops this Talon in half vertically, he keeps his halves together and keeps on coming. They end up back in the church where Issue #1 began. Perhaps the other eight issues will all have been a dream and they'll realize they've been in this church the entire time!

This will probably be a favorite scene for many comic fans. But perhaps I've just become too old and cynical to enjoy watching a chick in a corset yelling popular culture references to herself as she runs down a man in an owl costume. Boy, that scene works much better described in a single sentence than the way it played out!

Maybe I'll start using this line when I get into confrontations. "Prepare to meet your maker, who by the looks of you, is George Lucas!" Or Gene Roddenberry! Or Dr. Seuss! Or my asshole! Or Monet! Or Michelangelo! Because, you know, sometimes the person confronting me will look like a beautifully sculpted marble statue.

Starling runs the Talon over and smashes him straight through the church. She gets out of her barely damaged car which just easily smashed through a stone wall and reaches out to unmask the Talon.
Before the unmasking happens, can we have a frank discussion about the strength of walls in Gotham City? Why is everyone just breaking through every wall with ease? Whether they have a car at their disposal or super strength or they're just merely human? Is it because all of these buildings were built by criminal contractors who cut every corner they could (that was alliteration was accidental. As was that one)? That really is a pretty good theory seeing as how everyone in Gotham is a criminal.

I can say I scanned this much of the page to include Ev's full statement but I really just wanted the crotch shot.

Look! Starling said another name the reader is probably familiar with! She's so clever and in touch with what the kids love. It would be interesting if it were Johnny Depp though. Especially since Starling says, "With my luck...." Well, what kind of fucking luck do you expect to have when you're running people down helter skelter? But now your luck has turned around because you're being choked to death by a Talon! Oh, wait. That's your usual luck. Sorry.

While Black Canary, Katana, and Starling are all getting killed by The Talon, Batgirl swings in to save the day! Yay Batgirl!

I just like keeping these panels nice and tall! Bonus: Black Canary's weird body.

Stringing up the Talon doesn't last long because Batgirl's rope snaps. That just seems dangerous! Her rope never snaps! She uses it to swing all over the city and then it can't take the unmoving weight of a Talon? Batgirl should sue Waynetech for endangering her life. Unless she's using the rope in a way it wasn't meant to be used by swinging all over the city. Except even if it had a warning label, I'm pretty sure you can argue that a rope made by Waynetech which supplies Batman who swings all over the goddamned city on the things should be strong enough to be used so recklessly.

The Birds of Prey run away looking for Poison Ivy to save the day as the Talon follows after. Batgirl knows the secret to stopping the Talon: freeze him. So they head to the train station which is always my first thought when I need something frozen. They find a box car used to ship meat and try to stuff him in but he won't stay stuffed. Not until Ivy gets there and drags him in with her with her plant powers. She says she'll be okay because plants have a hardening power. Yeah, I think she'll be killed by the Talon before either of them freeze, actually. And through the whole thing, Starling just doesn't shut up with the really bad wisecracks and calls for getting drunk. Is that what the Wildstorm universe was about? Wise-cracking vigilantes with guns and problems with alcohol? She's mostly just really annoying.

Birds of Prey #9 Rating: -1 Ranking. Starling sent this one over the edge. She's an idiot. Although I may have to search Tumblr for Starling Fandom pages to see what people like about this bird. Oh well. Next issue, it looks like Black Canary promised Poison Ivy she'd help her out with a trip to the rainforest. See you in 30, birdy!

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