Saturday, August 07, 2004
Gail Simone's Birds of Prey
When I first picked up the trade paperback reprint of Gail Simone's debut on Birds of Prey ("Of Like Minds"), I had already heard a lot of great things about her writing.
Although it's sometimes may seem a bit estrogenic (the shrimp scene in the first issue is really as far as it goes), I found that it was indeed a great read. I can see how Simone has gotten so popular. She CAN write. These characters are made of flesh and bone... with minds, to boot! They're intelligent and yet emotional. Oracle, Black Canary and Huntress are made even more interesting and real by Simone's creative storytelling. Especially with her mastery of dialogue. Plus her stories are hardly ever predictable.
The only thing I had a hard time accepting was something that everyone else seemed to love. And that's Benes art. At first glance it reminded me of early Image art. It took me a while to get into it. Now, however, I'm quite fond of his art and have difficulties with seeing someone else do the "Birds".
It didn't take me long to pick up the rest of the series... The "Sensei/Student" story with Cheshire and Lady Shiva was awesome, even though the ending did feel a bit anti-climatic. I loved Simone's interpretation of Cheshire. And her use of Vixen in the current arc is shaping up to be one of the highlights of that character's history.
Also worth checking out is Simone's recent Rose & Thorn mini-series that re-envisions the old Superman/Booster Gold guest star into a more modern, mixed-up heroine. It really brings a new twist to the idea of people with multiple personality disorders.
And Ms. Simone is also currently doing the last story arc for the current Legion series, called "For No Better Reason". It pays homage to Towering Inferno, Airport 77 and just about every other disaster film as the Legion copes with a future where all technology just shuts down.
After reading her Legion story, I have begun to form an opinion that Gail Simone excels most at doing an ensemble cast. The more the merrier as they say.
Here's hoping that DC sees this, too, and gives her a team book to play with.
Perhaps after her upcoming story for JLA Classified they'll get the hint.
Or, better yet... she could just keep having cool guest-stars in BoP. Either way I'm sure we'll still get a fantastic story.
If you're interested in picking up her great comics, Gail Simone started writing Birds of Prey with #56, Legion with #35 and Rose & Thorn was a six issue mini-series. She also did a run on Deadpool/Agent X for Marvel and several Simpsons comics for Bongo.
(Birds of Prey, Rose & Thorn and Legion are all copyright 2003/2004 DC Comics)