Who's it by?
Birds of Prey #1 is written by Duane Swierczynski (Cable, Young X-Men) and drawn by Jesus Saiz.
What's the history?
Birds of Prey first appeared in November 1995 with the publication of the Black Canary/Oracle: Birds of Prey, and following a successful miniseries and several oneshots, Chuck Dixon launched a full ongoing series in 1999.
The title starred former Batgirl Barbara Gordon, under her new moniker of Oracle, teaming up with Dinah Lance, the Black Canary, as crimefighters in Gotham city.
Gail Simone took over as writer on the series in 2003, and during her critically-acclaimed run she introduced several new main characters including Huntress and Lady Blackhawk.
Simone eventually left after Birds of Prey #108, following which Sean McKeever and Tony Bedard each had short stints on the title until its cancelation in February 2009.
DC Comics revived the series in January 2010 for a new volume, with Simone once again behind the reigns, in a run which saw Hawk and Dove join the team.
Marc Andreyko took over from Simone from Birds of Prey #14 up until the series was cancelled ready for DC's 'New 52' relaunch.
The most noticeable change for Swierczynski's take on Birds of Prey is the introduction of brutal vigilante Ev Crawling, who goes by the superhero name Starling.
The character joins original Birds of Prey member Black Canary as the two founding members of a new team, which will eventually include Katana and Poison Ivy.
Another big change is the absence of Barbara Gordon, who has returned to her Batgirl identity, although the character does make an appearance in this opening issue.
Birds of Prey #1 opens with the introduction of journalist Charlie Keen, who has been investigating the formation of new covert team of female superheroes.
Keen soon unwittingly becomes trapped in the middle of an all-out brawl between the Birds of Prey and an unknown unit of assassins.
This opening issue also features a guest appearance by former Oracle Barbara Gordon, who declines an offer to join the team but makes an unexpected recommendation to Dinah.
What's the verdict?
Swierczynski's first issue of Birds of Prey is an exciting, if slightly underwhelming, introduction to the DC Universe's premier female crimefighters.
Readers are introduced to the team through the eyes of naive reporter Charlie Keen, who, while initially irritating, quickly translates into a tragic character by the issue's conclusion.
Barbara Gordon's brief appearance in this opener helps saves Birds of Prey #1 from mediocrity, but her absence from the title could prove a problem if new characters like Starling aren't fleshed out quickly enough.
Having said that, Swierzynski quickly develops a strong rapport between Black Canary and Starling, which suggests the two will make an entertaining duo moving forward, but the writer desperately needs to add some more team members sooner rather than later.
Jesus Saiz's artwork is decidedly average for much of the issue, although his final few panels work tremendously well at conveying Keen's confusion and helplessness.
Birds of Prey #1 does a fine job of setting up the new status quo without Oracle, but needs to speed up the plot progression if readers are expected to stick around long-term.
> Buy the digital version of Birds of Prey #1
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> Read our review of Batwoman #1
> Read our review of Batman and Robin #1
Watch a teaser trailer for Birds of Prey below: