Gail Simone and Duane Swiercynski use the third storyline as a way to swap the BoP roster around a bit. The book launched with Black Canary, Poison Ivy, Starling, Katana, and Batgirl. I’m not sure what happened with all those folks in the previous stories, as I only made it 2 or 3 issues in before I couldn’t read any more of the first trade. (Swiercynski has things moving along a little better here; while I never loved any particular issue, the story was fine.)
Back to the line-up! The first new member of the team is the mysterious “good” Talon introduced in Gail Simone’s Batgirl series. She’s fine, but it is pretty hard to get too attached to a totally mute character in a full facemask. I know people loved Cassandra Cain back in the day too, but I never really found a way to get interested in her either. (And it isn’t that they are women, I’m not a huge Snake Eyes fan either!) Later in the trade, we meet Condor, who is an affable doofus who seems to be a pretty decent guy. With his bird theme, simplistic view on crime and total lack of self-awareness, Condor is a pretty amusing addition to the team.
The storyline centers on Katana’s attempts to regain her sword from a mysterious clan of ninjas who are fond of daggers. None of the villains make for a very compelling central antagonist, which does weaken the conflict. Plus, the dagger clan totally resembles the Hand from Marvel comics, so I had to remind myself which universe I was reading about.
So average villains plus a non-compelling storyline doesn’t leave the book too stacked with potential. That said, Swiercynski’s use of a few characters does make the book enjoyable to read. I really like Starling (I think she’s new to the new 52?), Black Canary’s power fluctuations are interesting, and it is amusing seeing Talon constantly wanting to kill her own teammates.
Admira Wijayadi, Daniel Sampere, Juan Jose Ryp, Vicente Cifuentes, and Romano Molenaar provide the art for these issues, leading me to believe there were some mad scrambles to meet deadlines. Only Ryp’s art really jumped out at me, with the intricate level of detail and gore that I’ve seen in his Avatar work. I actually think Ryp could be a pretty solid artist on a mainstream super hero book; the battle scenes were choreographed differently than I’m used to seeing.
This is an AVERAGE comic. But the good news is, I was able to finish the entire collection this time! And, I’d even read the next one! That’s a big step up for this book; one that exemplifies my feelings about the new 52 in general.