Celebrating the Unpopular Arts

Review: Birds of Prey #4 2023: Fight Time!

Birds of Prey #4 cover
Canary cuts loose. Variant cover by Chris Bachalo Image copyright DC Comics

Birds of Prey #4

Writer: Kelly Thompson
Art by: Leonardo Romero
Colors by: Jordie Bellaire
Letters by: Clayton Cowles
Variant Cover art by Chris Bachalo

The reason fight scenes work is because they’re all about character and, in Birds of Prey #4, there are terrific sequences that are all about spotlighting the individual strengths of this new Birds of Prey team.

The story so far: Black Canary has put together a new team to sneak onto Themiscyria to rescue her foster daughter/sister, Sin, from a horrible fate that’s been foretold by Meridian. Everything explodes this issue as Wonder Woman finally arrives and she’s not happy (to say the least) that her supposed friends choose to invade her home instead of asking her for her help.

Each team member attempts to fight and/or slow down Wonder Woman so Canary can free Sin, to take her off the island. This results in their ultimate defeat but not until we get those wonderful battle scenes. My favorite is Cassandra Cain/Batgirl who manages to slow down Diana, against all odds. It’s sort of like a Batman/Superman fight where it should be over in only a few seconds but it’s not.

Or perhaps my favorite is Big Barda and Wonder Woman facing off, with Barda arrogantly assuming she can defeat the Amazon and instead ending up tied in the golden lasso.

Wonder Woman, once she’s won, considers the problem, and keeps Sin by her side while she investigates the threat that she’s been warned about. (Aside: from her characterization in this issue, I now wish for a Kelly Thompson Wonder Woman run.)

But then the threat that’s been looming over the entire team for four issues finally makes its appearance.

What I also love about this series is the relationships between them. These aren’t hardened fighters, they are friends or family or allies however reluctant. Canary’s reunion with Sin is warm and loving, despite the danger. Canary also trusts Diana to watch over Sin despite the Amazons having imprisoned her team.

Big Barda essentially takes the “little bat” Cassandra Cain under her wing and protection. Harley provides commentary but never takes over the story. Zealot is torn by conflicting loyalties. The only one who remains a mystery is Meridian, a future version of Mia (Maps) from Gotham Academy. the time-traveling team member who insisted Diana could not know about Sin’s danger.

And the villain? It makes an appropriately terrifying entrance:

Birds of Prey #4 cliffhanger
This is not gonna be easy. Image copyright DC Comics

Romero’s art continues to be outstanding, as you can feel the blows between Big Barda and Wonder Woman, Cassandra’s stealthy movements, and Canary’s frustration at the situation. And, of course, the final image is perfect, showing just what kind of villain they’re up against.

Verdict: I suppose I could wait for the collected edition but I’m too impatient for that, so I’ll keep buying the issues as they come out.



    1. Call Me Carlos the Dwarf

      The Josh Williamson takeover has been pretty damn brilliant.

      It’s crazy that it took this long for DC to realize that all they had to do to fix things was take the status quo back to when comics were ACTUALLY good:

      When I was a teenaged boy!

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