Or – “There Are Some Resurrections That You Just Don’t Complain About…”


Normally, I tend to rant about bringing characters back from the dead. It’s a convention that generally doesn’t work, and I think it’s no coincidence that the two forms of entertainment most guilty of using it (Comic Books and Soap Operas) have stigmas attached to their fanbase. But, frankly, Ice’s death was a cheap 90’s sales ploy carrying just about as much emotional weight as a chromium-embossed Bloodshot cover, and as hypocritical as it might make me seem, I’m gonna chalk up her return in the win column. Of course, she’s currently crazy, and ready to kill both Birds of Prey and Secret Six, so I supposed we have to call it a mixed blessing.

bp1.jpgPreviously on Birds of Prey: Oracle is confronted by old college frenemy Katarina Armstrong, now going by the name Spy Smasher. Smasher knows all about her Oracle activities, and threatens to falsify a case against O’s father (Commissioner Gordon) unless Oracle and all her agents work for her. Under her command, the Birds of Prey head to Azerbaijan, an old Soviet republic, on a super-secret mission only to run afoul of the Secret Six. The Six have been hired by a former Communist general known as “The Butcher” to provide security for his “auction,” really a cover for a mystic ritual to revive none other than Tora Olafsdotter, former ice goddess and Justice Leaguer Ice. The Sis and the Birds butt heads while the General calls in the Rocket Red brigade to kill them all As for the various players, I could run it down for you, but Gail Simone did it already, and I figure, why try and one-up the master?


“I forgot which side of weirdos I was apposeda be fightin’ on!” Harley cries, as all hell breaks loose. I SO love Harley Quinn in this book, by the way… While the teams try to figure out how to keep the fifty foot ice golem from killing them all, Oracle talks with her pilot, Lady Blackhawk about how frustrating it is to be stuck in a support role. Lady B is just a few miles away from all the chaos, and wants to commandeer a vehicle and change the odds, but Oracle tells her to wait. “That Spy Smasher dame? I don’t like her none too much,” drawls Blackhawk, and Oracle replies, “No one does.” So why wouldn’t you turn your own powers against her, Oracle? This is a woman who threatened to put a man in prison for not wanting to get her coffee, surely she has SOME skeletons in her closet. Spy Smasher breaks in, telling Oracle that Ice is not in her right mind, and that she may have to kill her to stop her. “You risked EVERYTHING to RESCUE her!” replies a disbelieving Oracle… “Not everyone gets a happy ending,” replies Smasher Deadshot makes a smart remark about how she’s a woman after his own heart, and Spy Smasher tells him he makes her sick. “Wait’ll you see me naked,” he replies. Heh… Meanwhile, Ice’s patience with these schmucks is officially finished.


Huntress makes peace with Catman, and helps him limp back to the fight, while Manhunter beats Ragdoll within an inch of his life. “Oh, please, don’t stop,” he cries creepily, with a look of ecstasy on his face. “I’ve almost finished.” Ewwww, Manhunter and I cry out in concert. Meanwhile, Harley and Misfit continue their hilarious taunting as they fight, with Harley yelling, “I’ll sink your battleship!” and Misfit replying “You must have, like, the worst complexion EVER!” Back at General Kerimov’s castle, the news of Ice’s return and rampage bring the old man to an emotional epiphany…


As weird revenge plots go, this one at least makes sense, sort of. Meanwhile, the Rocket Reds have arrived to wipe out the Six and Birds, but they’re still busy fighting against one another. Knockout and Big Barda especially refuse to cease their hostilities, and finally, the Huntress has to get involved…


Another reviewer remarked that he didn’t understand why Ice was being resurrected in this book, given that she has no connection with any of the players here. I have a two-part answer for that: First, and less important, Huntress and Ice were teammates in the JLI back in the day, and were stuck together on an ice floe in the ocean for several days, nearly dying together. They may not be best of friends, but they did have at least one memorable experience together. Second, I’ve never understood the theory that characters should only return in books where they (or their associates) appear. Life doesn’t work that way, in my experience. Sometimes things happen at random… Oracle feeds Huntress one question, acknowledging how cruel it is, and Huntress complies. “Do you think GUY GARDNER would want to see you like this? As the Reds prepare to fire, BOTH of Huntress’ tactics come through…


The Rocket Reds are quickly dealt with, and Huntress confronts Spy Smasher. “Why didn’t you just TELL us this was a rescue mission?” Smasher wasn’t sure they’d go if they knew the whole truth, and Huntress is speechless. “The one time you do something GOOD and you think you have to keep it from us?” Unfortunately, The General arrives, and tries to regain control of Ice… The horrified heroes (and villains) watch as he reasserts his mystical power over her. Suddenly, a shot rings out, and the General’s head turns into a fine red mist…


Hmm… I can’t decide whether I like Deadshot’s “Okay, so it was murder!” or the mutual respect between the crazy former Furies better. Either way, I’m entertained… Zinda’s arrival with the truck angers Spy Smasher, who snaps at her that her job was to stay at the play. Lady Blackhawk’s rage busts wide open, and she stands up to Spy Smasher. “Lady, I was a Naval Pilot during WORLD WAR II, dammit! You think I haven’t met a DOZEN tightass tinpots like you?” With her authority being questioned, Spy Smasher immediately responds with unnecessary dictator behavior. “You’re fired, Blake. How does that sound?” Smasher completely misunderstands Zinda’s anger for resignation, and orders her into the truck… there is a second of silence before Lady Blackhawk responds.


Oh… HELL YEAH! I’ve been wanting to knock those sunglasses off her head for like, SIX MONTHS now! Spy Smasher goes for her gun, but Zinda trains her pistols on her before she can blink. “Ah, ah, ah, lady. I wouldn’t. I REALLY wouldn’t. You think, on my WORST day, I’d EVER take orders from someone like YOU? I’m a Blackhawk. An’ you can take your operation and SHOVE it.” Zinda holsters her guns, and just.. walks away. Huntress tries to stop her, but Zinda isn’t interested. “Nope. Had enough… Don’t worry about ol’ Zinda, Huntress. I’ll walk.” The amazing thing is, I honestly believe that Lady Blackhawk has been in worse situations than this, and I really believe that she’ll get home even on foot in the middle of the frickin’ tundra, that’s how awesome this characterization is. Spy Smasher once again tries to regain the upper hand…


Smasher silently boards the plane, and Huntress contacts Oracle about Zinda. Huntress may not be as close to Oracle as Black Canary was, but she’s still got the situation figured out. “She’s had you beat since the moment you went up against her. And worst of all, Babs, you let down the people who count on you most.” Oracle agrees with her, and is gratified to hear that Ice seems to be okay (“Could I have a cup of hot cocoa? If it’s not too much bother?” That panel almost made me cry…) and she finally decides that it’s time to knuckle up and deal with her situation. Making herself a cup of tea and retrieving her deadly Escrima sticks, Oracle asks Huntress to make sure that Ice is safe, and when that’s done…


I do believe that Barbara Gordon is going to be kicking someone’s ass next issue. That alone oughta cover the cost of admission. I’m honestly hoping that Spy Smasher isn’t beyond redemption, and that perhaps having some sense knocked into her head might bring her over to the side of the angels. It’s disheartening that Lady Blackhawk has quit, but I’m not certain that she’s gone forever, and at least her leaving served a purpose.

Gail Simone’s plotting in this arc has been phenomenal, balancing many different characters and doing it with style. Nicola Scott’s art maintains it’s quality and consistency this time ’round, and the sequence with Zinda walking away into the snow was beautifully cinematic. Granted, I love this title and the characters, so I may be biased, but the post-Black Canary issues haven’t lost any of the momentum and quality I’ve come to expect from Birds of Prey. It’s an excellent outing, and the return of Ice is unexpectedly pleasant. Combine that with the plethora of wonderful character moments, and one good right cross, and this is a 5 out of 5 star outing…



About Author

Once upon a time, there was a young nerd from the Midwest, who loved Matter-Eater Lad and the McKenzie Brothers... If pop culture were a maze, Matthew would be the Minotaur at its center. Were it a mall, he'd be the Food Court. Were it a parking lot, he’d be the distant Cart Corral where the weird kids gather to smoke, but that’s not important right now... Matthew enjoys body surfing (so long as the bodies are fresh), writing in the third person, and dark-eyed women. Amongst his weaponry are such diverse elements as: Fear! Surprise! Ruthless efficiency! An almost fanatical devotion to pop culture! And a nice red uniform.


  1. with such a wonderful series and being so many issues now / has dc put any of this series in TPBacks yet?

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