Synopsis: For the first time in history, something goes wrong at a strip club!
01. Can Gail Simone do any wrong? I’m not sure she can. Now, I haven’t read everything she’s written, but what I have I’ve loved. And this right here hits the sweet spot. At the beginning of a new arc, Simone has given a succinct little mission statement for the title, her plans for it, and her strengths in how she’ll do it.
02. It’s got intrigue. Figuring she’s let her identity as Oracle become too well known, Barbara decides to initiate a controlled burn, including deceit, a triple agent, and… Batman. So, yeah. Things are pretty intense. Now, things are obviously going to go south, and the issue’s end gives a good hint as to just one of the ways it’s going to, but she’s got a plan. And I want to see how it plays out.
03. And like I said, it’s got Batman. Bruce. Acting as paternally as he’s ever going to with Barbara, we see some great little moments between them. Rarely more than a panel, but incredibly poignant. Simone “gets” Barbara’s voice and her relationships. I don’t want to see her acting all Ballad of Jack and Rose with Bruce every month, but right now, as one issue? It’s a great little splash. After all, it’s Batman Incorporated, and as he makes it clear, that’s going to include Barbara, whatever she calls herself. Hell, she could probably call herself Batman and he’d accept it. I mean, he let a couple of nerds in France and Japan swing around like that, and Barbara could kick all their asses, as she shows this issue by taking down a pack of drug-addled cliches (the awesome kind) without having to even stand up.
04. Plus: strip club! And none of that naked lady crap, either. This is Grade A Man Meat, and it’s fun seeing how the characters play off it. Lady Blackhawk is, of course, insatiable. Dove is embarrassed and passes out. It’s the strength of the creators at play here that lets half the issue be little more than the characters dropped into a situation and not suffer from it. Like the best sitcoms, Birds of Prey has such strong, well-realized characters that Simone can basically do whatever she wants and have it be awesome. She’s like comics’ Greg Berlanti or something.
05. So, yeah. If this is where you’re jumping on, things might seem a little weird. There are people you might not know, and the reasons things are happening might seem pretty vague. But keep with it. I hope there’s been enough to keep you interested, because Things are going to happen, and I want to be able to talk about it with you.