A new and very fun Birds of Prey book debuted this week. Written by Kelly Thompson and drawn by Leonardo Romero, with some stellar color work from Jordie Bellaire, the new ongoing series finds Black Canary putting together a new team to help rescue her sister Sin, who is currently imprisoned on Themyscira.
We've known exactly who would be in that line-up for some months now, with Thompson slowly revealing each character on her personal Twitter account (there will be no referring to it as X on this website, thank you very much). We previously covered the line-up here, but to quickly recap, the new team is made up of: Black Canary, Batgirl, Big Barda, Zealot and Harley Quinn.
For the most part the first issue is all about getting that gang together. Dinah has put a list together of potential candidates (names that have been crossed off include Barbara Gordon, Huntress, Selina Kyle, Vixen, Talia al Ghul, and many more) and sets about recruiting them one-by-one. The aim is to, in Oliver Queen's words, get a team together that will make their enemies "$@#% in their pants before you say a word or strike a blow."
In practice this means that Dinah shows up to each of the characters in turn and talks them into joining her new crew. Cassandra Cain/Batgirl is instantly sold on the idea ("What's more important than a sister?"), Big Barda agrees when she learns that Sin is in danger, and Zealot joins as she owes Black Canary a favor.
The fifth member of the team is a more controversial choice. Dinah is firmly against recruiting Harley until Cass Cain surprisingly, uh, goes to bat for her occasional enemy, pointing out fairly convincingly that Harley's chaotic spirit will give them a strong element of surprise.
We said up top that the book reveals a secret sixth member, though, and it does on the final page. Just as the gang are preparing for the mission at hand, a new figure enters the room. Meet Meridian - AKA a grown up version of Maps/Mia Mizoguchi from the future.
Mizoguchi was introduced back in 2014 in Gotham Academy #1, where she quickly became that book's breakout character. That Maps was a young girl who idolized Batman and fantasized about being a Robin one day (something that did actually happen in Batman: Black And White #3).
The new Maps is a far more imposing figure, with a bug-like mask, a translucent cape over her suit, and reversed out black speech bubbles. She says that she has come back from the future to rescue Sin before the Amazons accidentally bring about the end of the world - so that's the book's stakes effectively raised.
This is a very strong start to the new series, with Romero's engagingly old school pencils and Bellaire's pop art color palette particularly standing out. As Harley says at one point towards the end of the issue, "I am pumped about this team. It's weird, but it's A-list weird, and I am into it."
Birds of Prey rank high on our list of the best female superhero teams.