Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Birds of Prey #111

Story: Tony Bedard

Art: Jason Orfalas

DC Comics

[The title follows the life of Barbara Gordon, the original Batgirl after she was cripple by Joker's gunshot. Now she is Oracle, the world's premiere cyber-espionage expert, leading a network of female super-operatives]

Tony Bedard continues his interim run on the title, after Gail Simone's celebrated run, and before Sean McKeever's anticipated arrival. Not stress. No fuss.

''Nerds of Prey' is the first story where I can actually believe he had fun writing. Someone somewhere has hacked a disc with information leading to Oracle's identity and Babs will have none of that. She tracks his trace to an info-geek convention and attends in person to manually delete the information from the offline info network. Sadly for her, Calculator (her arch-nemesis since Infinite Crisis, a high-level intelligence super-broker with super-OCD) is hot on the trail of the same information, and is attending the convention to smoke Oracle out in the open. Of course they will randomly bump into each other, they will chat, dinner, date and flirt, and eventually come to stand-off Mexico-style.

Bedard finally gets the hang of the title, in a story that is ally not editorially-mandated. Babs kicks us, and the Calculator actually has a human voice, and acts as our POV character. He does fall into an easy trap here and steps on a pet peeve of mine:


Now cyberspace has always been a darling comics sweetheart, and I'm always amused/slash/terrified at the different interpretation of the computer interfaces in comics. Technoorganic viruses, cyber-A.I.s who spring to life and materialize, computer programmes who gain sentience, and of course... -as in this current case- computer software who exist as cute on-screen cartoons which duke it out pokemon-style for dominance over the computer network! I cringe, I roll my eyes, I make angry fists at the comics page, but it's still there.

Jason Orfalas is filling in for Nicola Scott on the art front, and doing a better job of it; he sports all of her the good qualities, but none of the hindrances, with a good eye for anatomy and proportions. Babs is finally an attractive young woman, not a nerdy cripple, but a bona fide former superheroine. Here she looks it and she acts it! With more work on facial expressions and breakdowns, Jason'd be an ideal fit for the title.

Fun, but not too fun, Bedard and Orfalas are providing an entertaining supporting act while the main acts switch backstage. But don't get too attached.

Grade: 6/10

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