Thursday, August 18, 2005
BoP-ed In The Head (Updated)
I can't say which surprised me more. The fact that after two one-shots, two mini-series, a really bad TV series and some 85 monthly issues, I'm reading and loving Birds of Prey or issue 85's ending.
Birds of Prey has pretty consistently been one of my favorite comics, especially since the addition of Gail Simone as series writer. In my store, the numbers on the book have climbed progressively upwards and that's a wonder in today's marketplace. Especially great is the book's ability to have done so without having the characters resort to getting their ya-yas out in an effort to sell it.
I love that this book has made me consider Black Canary as something other than Green Arrow's girlfriend or a "default" Wonder Woman. I love that this book has done more for the character of Barbara (Oracle) Gordon than a million adventures as her former persona, Batgirl, ever could have. Oracle has become a seriously vital player in The DC Universe, using her wits and intelligence in ways she would have never considered while Batgirl. She's done so while managing a disability.
The last page of Birds of Prey #85 could be the beginning of something many fans have been asking for but not this one. I think it may be a disservice to the character of "Oracle." Before John Ostrander brilliantly capitalized on Barbara's genius intellect in the pages of Suicide Squad, I wondered what would become of the character after having her spinal cord blown to pieces in "Batman: The Killing Joke." I wondereded no more as Ostrander into DC's information broker, Oracle. She went on, arguably, to become even more powerful than Batman. In most worlds, information is king. In The DCU, it's "queen." As Oracle, she did something I never could have imagined for her as Batgirl. She joined The Justice League.
All done, masterfully, from a wheelchair.
I have mixed emotions about Birds of Prey #85. I want to love the last page. I don't. I do. I dunno. The DCU is a place of miracles but just this once, I'd like to see reality play out within a comic book.
(Update: Just to clarify a bit, I'm not totally against this plotpoint at the end of BoP #85. I just hope it is what it may be, a plotpoint. Like when Bane broke Batman's back. It was a plotpoint. When Wonder Woman went blind, it was a plotpoint. Even Barbara's paralysis was, initially, a plotpoint, just one someone didn't choose to ignore. It was one someone used to make the character stronger in a way I didn't think this character could be. Doc Midnite's blindness isn't a plotpoint, I don't think Oracle's paralysis is either.)