“Cutting ties that bind and hinder me from discovering my true strength. Now I can ascend to the next level.”
Batgirl And The Birds of Prey #8 sees the Birds team-up with Nightwing to take on Gemini. But, in the midst of their battle, they learn there is a far greater foe pulling the strings.
Writers Julie and Shawna Benson and artist Roge Antonio send us on a high-speed chase straight from the get-go. And the chase is full of twists and turns, both literally and figuratively. It keeps you on the edge of your seat as you wonder what new twist will be on the next page.
The Bensons with Antonio script out some excellent combat scenes. Gemini’s abilities are on full display as she alone is a match for Nightwing and the Birds of Prey. She pushes the team to their limit and forces them to use superior strategy over brute force to dispatch their foe.
What makes this encounter even more meaningful is the reveal of the new villain – the one who Gemini answers to. If Gemini can do this to Nightwing and the Birds of Prey, just imagine what kind of damage the person she answers to will be able to dish out. It’s a great way of really setting up the danger factor and providing at least the illusion of real harm done to our heroes.
In fact, that’s one of the stand-out points in this issue. The heroes don’t come away unscathed after their tenacious fight with Gemini. They are beaten and wounded.
The dialogue throughout is pretty solid. The back and forth between Nightwing, Batgirl, and Oracle is even a tad comical in the beginning of the issue. In addition, it also highlights the difficulty in letting another take on your previous role and the trust issues the team has in general with the new Oracle. This is highlighted throughout the issue.
There was one part where the dialogue did struggle a little bit. Just when you think Huntress is getting into a serious conversation about the trust with Oracle, it diverts into a completely different conversation just out of the blue. It doesn’t transition well at all. And, when they bring up the issue just a page later, Julie and Shawna Benson quickly move away from it again. It’s like they are playing a game of cat and mouse with the reader, baiting and teasing us but not delivering on the confrontation between the Birds and this new Oracle.
Roge Antonio’s artwork definitely does the title service. The opening action sequence is highly engaging and fun. He’s able to do a great job of dictating the pace with his panel selection. He speeds it up with larger horizontal panels and slows it down with smaller square panels. He makes great use of inset panels to show multiple actions occurring in almost real time.
His facial features can be quite expressive especially when he ensures they are the highlight of the panel. For example, he blows up Nightwing’s eyes in one panel that captures the sheer shock he’s experiencing.
Antonio also excels at using body language to convey emotion. You can see the emotions Nightwing and Barbara have for each other just by a touch of the hands, or Oracle’s anger as he gestures with his hands and pinches his eyes closer together.
Batgirl And The Birds of Prey #8 is definitely a fun, entertaining entry with plenty of things going on. It is your quintessential comic book with an epic fight scene, the introduction of a menacing and truly superior foe, and the positive team bonding and group interaction as the team plans out their next moves. The dialogue for the most part is very good; however, it does struggle when the team begins to discuss Oracle only to be brushed aside a number of times. Stylistically this art isn’t my favorite, but it does a good job of conveying emotions and the action scenes in the beginning were just great!
- Introduction of a threatening, evil villain
- Fantastic action scene to begin the issue
- Some really stand out pieces of dialogue that tap into what our heroes are facing internally as well as externally
- Avoidance of any confrontation with Oracle