Birds of Prey #12

Title: Hostile Takeover, part one
Written by Gail Simone
Art and Cover by Jesus Saiz
Release Date 5/11/2011

After a brief reprieve last month, the Birds leap right back into action, with a guest star–the Question! While Huntress accompanies Q on a mission deep underground Gotham, and tries to recruit her to the team, the rest of the Birds infiltrate a mysterious building, but with dire consequences.

Simone seamlessly integrates horrifying moments (the twins’ Rorschach test responses, which I don’t even want to reprint) with laugh-out-loud hilarity (while Dinah’s hanging from an elevator shaft: “Oracle…that terrified feeling in my bladder? That’s all you”), sometimes even on the same page. The levity and witty comments are not only brilliantly timed, but also lead us into a sense of false security; the Birds are dealing with some really, really twisted people, and even Oracle doesn’t know what they’ve gotten themselves into. 

But the clear highlight in this issue is Question and Huntress navigating the sewers pursuing several rogue cops. Their friendship is evident within the dialogue, and with such a huge cast, Question still manages to stand out with her blunt, clipped sentences and harsher view of Gotham. In fact, the dialogue between the two remind me of the JLU episodes with Huntress and the first Question–and Simone penned the episode establishing them as a couple, “Double Date.” And as always with Simone’s writing, it’s the little things; Question assumes that the leader of the Birds is male, and her conflicted feelings about rogue cops are telling.  (And did I mention the sewers? Her job is far from rainbows and butterflies.) While Q joining the team may make the already large cast one too many, I would love to see her more often, if only on a part-time basis.

Hank got some well-deserved best lines in this issue, particularly while he stalls the receptionist and gets himself into a conversation about teddy bears. Poor guy.

Jesus Saiz’s art is fabulous. I love how he doesn’t try to overdo it stylistically, but the facial expressions are excellent, and there’s little to no gratuitous angles or cheesecake, something we tend to see far too much of in this title. Sometimes the hair seems a little too wavy and over-emphasized, but I’m very much willing to live with it.

Simone deftly builds the tension as both teams reach their respective targets, leading to a horrifyingly familiar villain. I won’t spoil who it is, but I will say this: Secret Six fans, you HAVE to pick this up. Though you probably are already. How this will conclude in only one issue, I have no idea, but I can’t wait to find out.

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