Thursday, June 21, 2012

Pull List Review: Birds of Prey #10

Initially, I was excited when I heard Travel Foreman would be coming on as the regular artist for Birds of Prey. After this issue, though, I'm far less enthused. It's not like Foreman does bad work across the board or anything, and there's actually a few moments of greatness. The full page of the disgusting plant monster attacking, for example, or later when Katana slices her way through a horde of smaller plant soldiers. But when it comes to the other characters, there are some clear inconsistencies, and in the case of Black Canary, some straight-up awkward, unnatural-looking panels. I understand that Foreman makes Canary's mouth unrealistically wide on purpose to display her scream-based powers, but the result is jarring and weird. And her strange, shifting facial features don't stop there, anyway, the worst example being when she's arguing with Batman. Her cheeks seemed stretched, like the bottom of her jaw is barely attached to the top, and while that may have been intentional on Foreman's part, he didn't stick the landing, and she ends up looking like she's made of putty rather than flesh.

The ultimate feel of Birds of Prey #10 is that the art was more concerned with the nameless monsters than the stars of the title, because there's more detail in the plant creatures and, despite being scientific impossibilities, they're more lifelike. Maybe Foreman is getting used to the cast, figuring them out one by one or something, because his Katana is appropriately imposing and even Starling has more good panels than bad, but overall there are too many weak or distracting artistic moments in this issue.

It's not the most stable of narratives, either. This sort of felt like a time-killer issue, not a great choice after last month's "Night of the Owls" crossover which felt very much the same. The Birds are attacked mysteriously in a strange place, and though the final page has Poison Ivy promising to explain the situation, all we get this time out is a drawn out fight/chase scene to set up the new arc. Duane Swierczynski clearly has a longer-term plan for this location and its threats, but for now that plan is wholly obscured, and the new villain or villains are nameless and faceless, which doesn't make a strong case for readers to come back next month.

I did enjoy Swierczynsk's expansion of Black Canary's powers, conceptually at least, but it sort of came out of left field for her teammates and the reader alike. Ditto the flashback with Batman, which I'm not convinced served any narrative purpose other than needlessly tying together last month's issue and this one. And maybe that's the real problem with Birds of Prey #10---it tries to follow a lame, ill-fitting tie-in story, reconnect back with the events that have come before, and kick off a new arc all at once. That may just have been one too many goals, and so the issue as a whole feels loosely cobbled together, in story and art both.

No comments:

Post a Comment