Birds of Prey #4 Cover David FinchBlack Canary realizes that she’s been “infected” by the nanite bomb and is about to explode on board a full train.  She is about to leap from the train, but Starling figures out a way to save her; she clocks her and knocks her unconscious.  Trevor Cahill, the handsome doctor introduced in ‘Birds of Prey’ #3, figures out a way to break down the experimental stroke medicine used to trigger the explosives, freeing Dinah from the Inviso-Suit guys’ threat.

Starling informs Dinah that Poison Ivy was responsible for stopping the speeding train then interrogating one of the Inviso-Suit guys… they learn that they call themselves Cleaners and that they report to a guy named Choke.  The nanites aren’t just explosives… the chemicals can be used to turn those infected with them into living microphones, sending anything they saw or heard back to Choke.  Ivy also gained a lead, so the girls regroup, Batgirl joins them and they head toward the Cleaners’ base.  Once inside, Starling explains “Their suits aren’t invisible– they just bend light.”  She then uses a laser device to “stop the bending” and the Birds realize they are surrounded by Cleaners.  However Choke does something to them, to make them forget they were ever there and the Birds find themselves standing unharmed in the exploded remains of the Cleaner base.

Birds of Prey #4 Batgirl Jesus SaizAs characters, the Birds are all written fairly well.  Dinah and Starling are obviously the focus of the book.  Katanna gets a small bit of action, fighting the Cleaners on top of the train.  Ivy comes in handy, but doesn’t get much dialogue.  Batgirl just shows up, no explanation given.  She doesn’t really add much either, so I kind of feel like her cameo was a ploy to boost sales.  I’m hoping she, Katanna and Ivy get a bit more development over time.  Black Canary and Starling are great, but it is a team.

Plot wise, the revelation that the Cleaners aren’t necessarily turning people into living bombs so much as using them as walking cameras and microphones was an interesting development.  The Birds have also figured out a way to foil them.  The plot is so-so.  The real draw is the characters, and like I said, they are handled well.

The art is clean and nice, but as I said about the prior issue, the inks are too thick and dark.  But… I mean, it’s still good.  It’s nice and smooth.  Nice detailing too.  Just the amount of line work in Black Canary’s fishnets is impressive!  Storytelling and angles are nice too.  It’s just good, solid work.

I like this book.  I’m definitely on board for the foreseeable future, but you can probably tell it wasn’t my favorite read this week.

Verdict: Borrow

BIRDS OF PREY #4
Written by Duane Swierczynski
Art by Jesus Saiz
Cover by David Finch, Richard Friend and Sonia Oback