Sunday, January 22, 2017

Batgirl and the Birds of Prey #4

I have my doubts that television would support Dinah's weight.

That caption wasn't a comment about how fat Dinah has gotten. Sure, she probably put on a few pounds while on the road with Black Canary but she's still looking fit. The caption was a comment about flat screen televisions and their structural integrity. Maybe she could have sat on the screen of a television before flat screens. Those things were massive and sturdy. When I finally purchased my first HDTV a number of years ago, I walked home from the store with it tucked under my arm. When I moved the old television from its stand to storage about fifteen feet away, I nearly threw out my back. Lighter televisions are my favorite thing about the future. After pornography at your fingertips, of course!

Oh, and, um, social change! Social change is the best! Go society! I would be out marching to support all of the women but I don't want to make it all about me. I can make things all about me without having to go out in the cold and the crowds by staying in and vomiting my opinions all over my comic book blog.

This issue begins with Helena Bertinelli giving a lecture on the origins of the Mafia. She isn't doing this out of the goodness of her heart because she knows we're all complete ignoramuses when it comes to the Mafia and she wants us to not be that. She's doing it because it's also the secret origin of her family. The Bertinellis were the original gangsters of Sicily, along with the Cassamento family. Instead of just linking to the Mafia Wikipedia page because comic books don't have the capability of clicking through (although if you're reading this digitally, I suppose they could. What's stopping DC Comics from incorporating that technology?), she fills the first page with ten Narration Boxes full of words that basically say, "The Mafia are like grapes. They were good at first but then they fermented and everybody became drunk with power. The end."

It's these snarky additions to the Location Blurbs that are forcing me to drop this comic book. No more. Please!

The Huntress has decided to set out on her own because Batgirl is all, "We don't kill! Blah blah blah." But the only thing The Huntress wants to do is kill Santo Cassamento. So she ditches the Birds of Prey pointing out that joining them is a mistake and she doesn't make mistakes.

That is, she rarely makes mistakes.

The Huntress comes to the same conclusion about how she, maybe, occasionally makes mistakes. She also gets sexually harassed by a snake-man she's trying to kill.

Which came first? The sexual harassment or the attempted murder? That sounds like a line from an XTC song.

Batgirl and Black Canary arrive to save the day with an antique mirror and Tiffany lamp. Somehow the bulb in the lamp is bright enough to nearly blind the half-snake woman. I guess her eyes are so sensitive to light that sh can only function in the dark. That explains why they took so long to attack the safe house.

The Birds of Prey drive the snake monsters away. Every time I read an issue of this new Birds of Prey where they battle the snake-people, I can't not think of the part in Crowther's Adventure where you drive the snake away with the little bird. This is probably four Batgirl and the Birds of Prey commentaries in a row where I've mentioned it.

Batgirl reveals she knows who The Huntress is and The Huntress is all, "How did you find out?!" Batgirl wipes Dick Grayson's semen from her chin and says, "A girl has her secrets!" Helena decides since they all know each other's secret identities now, it would be stupid not to form a team. I wanted to add "and a theme" to knowing their identities but "Birds of Prey" isn't really a theme when you have a canary, a bat, and a huntress. I suppose if you're ignorant and you believe bats are birds because they're terrifying, I can see you sort of shrugging and buying into it. But a canary certainly isn't a bird of prey. It's a bird that is prey to other birds and snakes and spiders and miners. But what the fuck is a huntress? I guess the theme is that they're all birds which is a slang term for women for some reason. Do women eat worms?

Now that Batgirl and Black Canary know The Huntress's real name, they get to hear every single private detail about The Huntress from her own mouth. The Huntress must be a demon and now Batgirl has gained total control over her by voicing her secret name.

I would keep reading this comic book if it were called "Constantine's Birds of Pray". Constantine would only appear as a speaker telling them their missions but you'd know it was him because he'd swear a lot and smoke would drift out of the speaker. He'd send the Birds to destroy demons and angels who have infiltrated the mortal realm in sunny locations so that the Birds could wear bikinis a lot. Chaz could be the Bosley character of this totally original idea I just made up so you probably don't know who Bosley is.

How are Babs and Dinah following this narrative? Without the pictures, Helena just sounds like she's got dementia.

Of course some gangsters broke in and shot Helena's father in the head so she could have some character development. Daddy Issues rule in the DCU! Her brother was also killed which is disappointing because nobody could make her laugh like he did by showing her a meatball on a fork. The Huntress says, "I will never know why they dragged mama out of the room to kill her." Because they didn't kill her, dum-dum! That's going to be part of a shocking twist later on! Sheesh. Don't you read comic books?

Batgirl gets a new lead on Oracle and The Huntress is all, "Let's go, family!" Batgirl weeps uncontrollably and Black Canary says, "Aren't you going a little fast? You have to buy me dinner before we can do hugs." Then they race off as a new team who totally trusts each other and loves each other! No more wasted story on will she join or won't she join!

The Birds have to fight through some robot versions of Batman's foes to get to Oracle's possible location. For some reason (I know the reason! To set up the joke!), The Penguin robot has been programmed to quack like a duck. Why can't he be on the Birds of Prey? He fits the theme better than two-thirds of the current team. Maybe he can't join because those Bat-grapples have a weight limit. He'd never be able to get around the city. Although judging by his height, Penguin can't way more than Batman in all of his Bat-gear. It's also possible Penguin's belly is mostly just Kevlar padding.

When the Birds arrive at the office of Oracle, they do not find Oracle. But they do find a collection of past Batgirl uniforms. Maybe they'll catch Oracle next issue. And then maybe Batgirl will stop fighting people stealing her identity. That's basically all she's done over the last year and a half.

What Did We Learn?
We learned that we can't believe a single thing coming from any White House press conferences over the next four years. I didn't learn that from this comic book but I figured it was the most important thing I learned yesterday.

The Ranking!
No change.

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