DC announced the release of a new Birds of Prey series, wherein Dinah Lance reunites the Birds of Prey with all-new members to tackle an impossible mission.
The Birds of Prey is a comic book version of Charlie’s Angels—a hero team featuring some of the best female heroes of the DC universe. The story lets female characters be front and center, spotlighting some lesser-known ones to boot.
Writer Kelly Thompson is responsible for the latest version of the team. Recently, she teased the team lineup. Black Canary is reuniting the team, along with Cassandra Cain, Big Barda, Zealot, and Harley Quinn.
This comic is an exciting new project with a lot of potential. After all, Birds of Prey is a long-running series with multiple different runs. There are a lot of characters from the past who may make an appearance.
Here’s some speculation on what this new series may be all about.
Who Are The Birds of Prey?Birds of Prey began as a series of one-shots from author Chuck Dixon and artist Jordan Gorfinkel. Barbara Gordon, operating as tech-expert Oracle, teamed up with Black Canary for a series of espionage missions. Later, Birds of Prey became an ongoing series under Dixon and artist Greg Land.
However, Gail Simone created the most popular version of the team. She made the duo into a trio by adding the Gotham antihero Huntress, whose moral grayness played well off the more traditionally heroic characters.
When Black Canary temporarily left the team, Oracle recruited many more female characters. The team changed: no longer a team of just three core characters, it became a shifting roster of all-female characters.
Hence, as a long-running series, there’s a lot of past lore to draw on for this newest version of the team.
Is It As Good As We Remember?
The original run, especially the Gail Simone era, popularized Birds of Prey. The team’s popularity then spread to animated and live-action adaptations. Justice League Unlimited and Batman the Brave and the Bold both featured episodes written by Gail Simone of the team. This girl squad also received their own live-action movie Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of Harley of One Harley Quinn).
However, admittedly, the old series is not without its flaws. There are a lot of elements a newer more modern series can improve upon.
One of the biggest strengths of the old series is its cast of capable and independent characters. Barbara Gordon is a disabled woman in a wheelchair who is an effective team leader. Dinah Lance moved from a side character in Justice League and partner of Green Arrow to having her own team.
Yet, the series is also a product of its time. This is especially apparent regarding the sexualization of its female cast. Dressing female characters in sexy outfits is not necessarily a problem. After all, Black Canary’s most famous outfit is a leotard and fish-nets, and a lot of heroes dress in spandex that reveals their “assets.”
The problem is exploiting the female body for fanservice.
This panel appears in an early issue. A man underestimates Black Canary because she is blonde, when she’s really more than capable of holding her own. The boobs and butt pose and the torn clothes, though? Not exactly empowering. There’s also a scene that shows Penguin’s graphic imagining of the Birds of Prey fawning over him.
These scenes are not in the com ic for the story or characters. They’re there for the audience. A series can contain strong female characters and still objectify those characters. However, the new series can remove this problematic element.
Meet The New Birds of PreyThe official press release for the new Birds of Prey teases this premise for the all-new story.
Dinah Lance is one of the DC Universe’s most elite fighters, and combined with her sonic stream, she’s a fearsome foe in any scenario… but sometimes even the Black Canary needs help. Faced with a personal mission brought to her by a new ally, and up against near-impossible odds, she re-forms the Birds of Prey as an unrivaled group – Cassandra Cain, Big Barda, Zealot and Harley Quinn – with only one goal: extraction of their asset at any cost. What could possibly go wrong?
Obviously, this is only a vague teaser. It leaves lots of room for speculation as to what this new series is about. For example, only the five main members of the team get named. What allies may show up to help them? What villain are our heroes fighting?
The mention of a personal mission, though, might hint that we’re dealing with someone from Black Canary’s past. As Birds of Prey is a long-running series, there’s a lot of past material to draw from.
Who Are These New Birds of Prey?As mentioned, in the new Birds of Prey, Black Canary is reforming the team with some new additions.
Cassandra Cain is Batgirl, another Gotham vigilante. She made several appearances in the Simone era but here she is set to be one of the core group. Cassandra is the daughter of David Cain and Lady Shiva. Originally raised as an assassin, Batman took her in and she later became one of his allies.
Harley Quinn appears with the group in the live-action movie, but this is her first time as an official member. She’s come a long way from her origin as an evil sidekick to the Joker. More recently she operates out of Gotham as an ally to the Bat Family.
Big Barda is a new god from Apokolips. This is the homeworld of the DC villain Darkseid. Granny Goodness raised her to be a member of the Female Furies. However, after meeting Mister Miracle, she reformed. Traditionally she shows up as a Justice League character, though, so this is new territory for her.
Lastly, Zealot is a member of the Wild C.A.T.s. The acronym stands for “Covert Action Team.” They are a team of former soldiers from the planet of Khera. Much like Barda, Zealot is an alien warrior from another world now operating on Earth.
Who Else Might Be On The Roster?There are a lot of female characters from DC’s library who may make an appearance on the team. An interview with Kelly Thompson teased two more characters appearing in the first issue alone. The premise additionally mentions Dinah’s mission is for an ally but doesn’t reveal the ally’s identity.
A fairly new character named Red Canary, introduced in the Dark Crisis event, may make an appearance. Clearly, she shares the “canary” mantle. In addition, the new Green Arrow series also teased her appearance with the rest of the Arrow Family. Green Arrow is already confirmed to make an appearance in the first issue.
Cassandra Cain is a member of the Bat Family. In one cover the BOP are fighting orcs in what appears to be Gotham City. Hence, Stephenie Brown is another candidate, because they recently starred in the Batgirls series together.
Black Canary’s on a personal mission to help retrieve a target. If that target is a person it may be someone from her past. One possibility is Dinah Lance’s young ward Sin, who appeared in the original Birds of Prey comic. There’s precedent for this, too. Dawn of DC already brought back characters from the past continuity, like Lian Harper, another member of the Arrow Family.
Harley Quinn’s involvement means Poison Ivy or Catwoman may appear. In the Chuck Dixon era, Catwoman appeared as a sometimes-ally. In contrast, Poison Ivy appeared as a temporary member of the team in the New 52 version.
Who Are The Bad Guys?
The Birds of Prey tangled with a lot of villains in the past. Thus, this leaves a lot of possibilities for what enemies might stand in the way of their mission.
Lady Shiva appeared as an antagonist to the team in the past. As one of the greatest martial artists, Lady Shiva challenged Black Canary only for Huntress to take her up on her challenge instead. Since she is Cassandra Cain’s mom, she also appears as an antagonist for her daughter.
As there are two aliens on the team the BOP may be crossing into an alien world. As Big Barda is a former member of the Female Furies they may show up. Another all-female team of villains makes a good potential rival to the BOP. Granny Goodness is the woman who raised Barda, which makes her an ideal antagonist. It’d provide a lot of internal conflict to go with the fights.
The Dawn of DC Primer teased Amanda Waller as a greater-scope villain for the DC Universe. She is a government agent and is traditionally in charge of the Suicide Squad. In the new Green Arrow comic she appears as an antagonist to Black Canary’s efforts to track down Green Arrow. She makes another appearance in the latest Titans run.
As a bigger-scope villain, she may involve the BOP in her wider-reaching plans.
The All-New Birds of PreyAs a franchise, Birds of Prey is popular for a reason. It is the DC Universe’s only all-female team.
The original story began it all. With Chuck Dixon serving as the first author and Gail Simone creating the most popular version of the team. However, this new series can always improve upon the original.
With a new cast of characters, there are a lot of possible directions the story can go. We may get the chance to meet even more interesting female characters than the five who were introduced so far. There’s a lot of previous continuity to draw from in creating a new story as well.
Which is what makes this newest relaunch of the Birds of Prey so exciting. There are plenty of opportunities to tell a new story with characters we love.
For those interested, the first issue will release on September 5th!