Birds of Prey 121 review

Joker joins technological terrorists the Silicon Syndicate, new girl Infinity begins to integrate with the Birds and Charlie goes to school in the pleasingly titled ‘Bring on the Bad Guys (if you’re young, that was the name of Stan Lee’s Marvel villains book in the Seventies).

The Joker is massively overexposed across the DC Universe, but I’m delighted to see him in this book, as we’re being teased that there will be a final confrontation with Oracle, crippled by him in the iconic (and overrated, from a story point of view) Killing Joke. Before that, though, we get some lovely bits of Joker business, far superior to anything in the recent Batman movie. The best of these ties in with Stephane Roux’s lovely cover rather well.

I’m still not managing to remember who the Silicon Syndicate members are from issue to issue, but I’m helped in this area by the addition of another familiar DC bad guy (after Titans baddie Gizmo showed up last time), Kilg%re, from the Flash. We’re still not told if that’s pronounced with the ‘per cent’ symbol sounded out, or whether that’s merely a more computery way of writing ‘oo’ and it’s simply ‘Kilgore’ as in ‘Trout’. I don’t suppose it matters . . .

. . . though it might to the computer geeks who rule Charlie’s new school, the cleverly named Babbage High. They’re not too impressed by the new girl and neither are the jocks, though by the end of the issue she’s made a couple of pals and is feeling OK. So guess who then shows up and proves instantly popular? Yup, her alleged sister, fellow Bird and big rival, Black Alice. Who knows, maybe they’ll bond?

Yeah, right. If they do, though, another Bird who’ll be on hand to see it happen is Huntress, Babbage’s newest teacher. I should’ve seen that coming, but didn’t, which made for a decent surprise. The rest of the Birds don’t do much this time out – Zinda gives Charlie a lift to school, Babs continues to be secretive and, well, that’s it really. Not that I cared, I was having too much fun with the school and villain scenes. Writer Tony Bedard is really making this book his own, and new art team Michael O’Hare and John Floyd are settling in nicely – I especially like their Misfit. Heck, any team this side of Steve Englehart and the late Marshall Rogers who can have me enjoying the Joker have to be good.

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