Birds of Prey:
Old Friends, New Enemies

by Chuck Dixon, Greg
Land, Dick Giordano
(DC Comics, 2003)

Old Friends, New Enemies is a mixed bag of Birds of Prey story arcs. This collection, which launches the ongoing Birds of Prey series after writer Chuck Dixon's highly successful mini-series, shows the fledgling team in a variety of actions and settings. The unifying theme here is Dixon's quality writing, which gets this series off to a great start.

For those who missed the mini, the Birds of Prey is a loosely defined supergroup in the DC Universe. The team is led by Oracle (former Batgirl Barbara Gordon), while Black Canary (JSA member/JLA co-founder Dinah Lance) works in the field. Other field operatives (usually female, such as Huntress, Catwoman and Power Girl) are employed as needed. And, at this point in the series, neither Dinah nor any of the other operatives know Oracle's civilian identity.

The collection begins with the Canary in fierce combat with an automated car assembly line, followed by Dinah's decision to take a break from BoP activities. But after a pair of simultaneous but separate adventures -- Dinah defending her ex-husband from the Mob, Barbara fending off a quartet of determined thieves -- the two come back together. The next battle allies Dinah with Batgirl -- which, given that Batgirl is now wheelchair-bound Oracle, might seem confusing -- but of course Dixon has another surprise up his sleeve.

After Dinah deals with the terror of technology, she sets off to bust a slavery/kidnapping ring in Rheelasia -- possibly involving Barbara's ex-fiance, Jason Bard. Barbara, meanwhile, begins contending with a concerted attempt to break into her network and expose her identity. And then there are the villainous Ravens, Kobra, a sunken Soviet spacecraft and ... the Loch Ness Monster?

Dixon packs this book with tons of adventure while, at the same time, fleshing out the protagonists' characters nicely. The BoP series would not keep Dixon for long, but the foundations he laid here would give future writers plenty to build upon.

by Tom Knapp
10 June 2006

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