Sunday, June 26, 2005

BIRDS OF PREY #83

The best issue of the arc thus far. And not just because Helena finally has her midriff covered again.

Gail Simone's seasoning the Dinah-Ted dialogue with a much lighter hand when it comes to the "I remember you in diapers"/"Uncle Ted's favorite niece" routine and the result is something a lot closer to a partnership instead of a family business. Which is good, under the circumstances, because their adventure in Singapore before this has been an object lesson in why Batman is right about personal involvements clouding judgment. Their plan to simply remove the drugs from the global flow sounds a little simplistic, but sometimes simple is good and we never got to see it work out anyway.

Back in Gotham, Helena, having been out of town during War Games, is being a bit more clever as she sows the seeds of a mafia combustion, although I'm still not sure what's up with her bevy of hunky flunkies. I'm hoping she's got a part in what shakes out of the last page -- Crutches versus Huntress -- beyond just being The Fling. Helena deserves better than that. I trust Simone to make more sense of this than Devin Grayson, but I don't know what anyone can do with Dick Grayson being undercover as Dick Grayson.

The Brainiac!Babs continues to baffle, although now we get the added extra of OMAC and Brother I. I like the idea of OMAC being used to neutralize Babs should she figure out what is going on, but the Brainiac infection... even if this does eventually tie in to the morass over in Outsiders and Teen Titans, I can't say it will be worth it. Hooking Babs and Brainiac up wasn't an exciting storyline when it was introduced, didn't improve in subsequent appearances, and yet it just keeps sticking around, like the nanotech rash that it is.

And finally, this was the issue where I nailed down precisely what bothers me about Joe Bennett's work on this title. His faces. Bennett's men's faces are studies in creases and angles, wrinkles and hair. His women have no lines. They don't even have real noses except in full profile. They have no cheekbones, no crinkles, and their eyebrows are eerily thin. All in all, it makes them a bit freaky-looking because it messes with their expressions, giving them an unfinished and stupid look -- what's important is below the neck, anyway. Which is perhaps not the message you want to send on the highest profile Grrrl Power book.

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