The “Blackbird” arc has done a good job so far giving a new villain for the Birds of Prey to go up against. Blackbird has not only delivered on being a good villain but has also pushed Black Canary to develop her powers in ways we haven’t seen before. Now the question is if Black Canary will continue to be by Blackbird’s side or will she help her friends stop the new villain? With Green Arrow and Nightwing helping Batgirl and Huntress out things should only get more interesting when it comes to how this will turn out personally for everyone involved. Let’s see how exactly the “Blackbird” arc ends with Batgirl and the Birds of Prey #10.
Writers: Julie Benson and Shawna Benson
Artist: Roge Antonio
Colorist: Allen Passalaqua and John Rauch
Story Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 7.5 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: Oracle leads Batgirl, Huntress, Green Arrow and Nightwing to the location of Blackbird’s nest. When the team arrives they find the place empty.
While searching the empty Blackbird’s nest they find Owen cowering in the corner. Huntress is able to make Owen reveal that Blackbird stole his powers and how “Donna” tried to stop Blackbird but she is now gone. Batgirl and Huntress quickly figure out “Donna” Black Canary’s alias.
Batgirl, Huntress, Green Arrow and Nightwing talk about what they should all do now that Blackbird has mind control powers. While Huntress makes a quick call Batgirl reminds a worried Green Arrow that Black Canary is strong.
Oracle is tracks Black Canary’s location to a clocktower. Batgirl leaves Oracle’s drone behind so he can watch Gemini and Owen while they are away.
At the Birds of Prey HQ, Oracle runs out of his medication and calls the person responsible to stop messing with him. The unknown person tells Oracle that they want a meeting with the Birds of Prey asap.
At the clocktower Batgirl, Huntress, Green Arrow and Nightwing find the clock shattered and suddenly hear Black Canary’s Canary Cry.
The four quickly head up to the top of the clocktower where they find Black Canary waiting for them. Green Arrow quickly hugs Black Canary, who says she couldn’t stop Blackbird after she forced her to bring her home.
Batgirl asks Black Canary if she showed Blackbird the secret tunnel. Black Canary says Blackbird saw everything and apologizes. Batgirl punches Black Canary to the shock of everyone.
It is suddenly revealed that “Black Canary” is really Blackbird in disguise. While Batgirl battles Blackbird, Kimi enters the clocktower and attacks Nightwing. The real Black Canary joins in and attacks Batgirl and Green Arrow, showing off her new ability to fly in the process.
Huntress confronts Blackbird, who reveals that Black Canary revealed all of their secret identities to her. Blackbird uses her mind control powers on Huntress but it does not work. Huntress reveals she is using Hypnos to counter Blackbird’s mind control powers.
While Huntress fights Blackbird and Green Arrow defends himself against Black Canary, Batgirl tries to contact Oracle but he is not answering her call for help. After a while Oracle answers and uses his drone to ask Owen how to counter the mind control powers. Owen doesn’t give a clear answer. Gemini then remembers an early Blackbird class where she and the other students were able to overpower Owen by a combined psychic bond.
Oracle passes along the information to Batgirl and tells her to use everyone’s bond with one another to break Blackbird’s mind control powers.
While Nightwing and Huntress team up to disrupt Blackbird, Batgirl and Green Arrow team up to capture Black Canary. Green Arrow grabs Black Canary in a bearhug and Batgirl uses the opening to have Black Canary focus her mind on her. Black Canary’s bond with Batgirl breaks the mind control and Black Canary gets ready to fight back against Blackbird.
Black Canary, Batgirl, Huntress, Green Arrow and Nightwing work together to fight off Blackbird and Kimi. Blackbird tries to use her mind control powers on the five heroes but is unsuccessful as their psychic bond cancels out her power. Black Canary’s Canary Cry is able to blow Blackbird and Kimi back, breaking Kimi out of the mind control trance in the process.
Huntress approaches Blackbird and uses her Hypnos to try to force Blackbird to give the powers she stole back but that can’t be done as Blackbird’s only true power is to steal other powers. Huntress instead uses Hypnos to force Blackbird to forget everything Black Canary told her.
The team then wonders where they can put Blackbird and settle on sending her to Arkham Asylum.
Batgirl and Nightwing talk to Gemini and convince her to join a support group in Bludhaven (run by Nightwing’s alter ego Dick Grayson) and Black Canary sets Owen up at Helena’s school to get an education.
Nightwing says goodbye to the team and heads back to Bludhaven with Gemini. Batgirl thanks Green Arrow for his help. Black Canary and Green Arrow say their goodbyes to one another, happy they to know the other is safe now.
On the side, Batgirl and Huntress wonder what they should do about Oracle. They invite Oracle over the Watchtower. Oracle acts snarky and then says a friend of his needs their help. Batgirl says he can fill them in at the Watchtower.
After signing off Oracle can’t believe he is going through with what is about to happen. End of issue.
The Good: Batgirl and the Birds of Prey #10 hits all the right notes to make it a successful end to the “Blackbird” arc. Though the arc was quick Julie Benson and Shawna Benson were able to accomplish multiple things during the course of these three issue. Most importantly they have left the door open for future clashes with Blackbird, who turned out to be a strong new villain for the Birds of Prey to go up against.
One of the things that stood out during the course of the “Blackbird” arc was the bond that the Birds of Prey share. When it comes to team comic books we have seen writers drive home the point of how a team is a family, which has become overplayed at this point. That is where the Bensons are able to separate Birds of Prey as they are friends whose bond with one another is growing stronger the more time they spend together.
That is one of the bigger points that the Bensons drove home with Batgirl and the Birds of Prey #10. With Blackbird heavily relying on her mind control powers the Bensons were able to highlight the strong bond Batgirl and Black Canary share with one another as best friends. It’s that bond which ended up being the team’s greatest weapon. Involving both Green Arrow and Nightwing in the story only helped further this as they helped make the bond with the Birds of Prey stronger since they each have different types of friendships with each other.
This unique way of taking down Blackbird allowed Bensons the opportunity to make the Birds of Prey’s new villain look strong, even in defeat. Seeing how it took not just the Birds of Prey’s bond but the additional ones that Green Arrow and Nightwing shared showed us how strong Blackbird is. Additionally, given the fact that Blackbird still has all the powers she stole she may be an even bigger threat in the future. And I like the fact that Blackbird seemed to use a moment of supposed weakness in front of the Birds of Prey to allow her to have the time to come up with a new plan inside Arkham Asylum.
With how many characters were in play for Batgirl and the Birds of Prey I was impressed with the Bensons ability to balance all the different types of relationships. From Batgirl and Green Arrow quickly learning to work together to Huntress and Nightwing using their Spyral history, there was a strong flow to how each relationship was given time to breathe. This allowed the Bensons to show us how the Birds of Prey work within the greater DCU in a seamless manner uses things established in other DC Comics ongoing books.
While short, it was interesting to see how the Bensons used Oracle’s current status quo to further his ongoing sub-plot of whose side is he really on. The few scenes that we got with Oracle further crack open the door to whatever is going on with him and the mysterious person that he is in contact with. Will it end up just being another persona of his or something more? That is something that will hopefully be answered soon.
Roge Antonio does a solid job delivering a style that elevates the story of Batgirl and the Birds of Prey #10 but also matches the style of artwork we’ve seen in Nightwing and Green Arrow. Capturing that aesthetic of other comic books helps create the idea of how these characters all exist in one world rather than just being guest in what is going on. I was especially impressed with how Antonio drew Huntress busting out her Hypnos ability on Blackbird.
The Bad: The one thing that I was hoping to see more of is the Birds of Prey working together. Something that will help the Birds of Prey continue to stand out from other team books is how differently they work as a unit. We hardly saw that since Batgirl, Black Canary and Huntress were fighting on their own or with Nightwing and Green Arrow. Hopefully with the three working together more we possibly see them do some tandem moves, especially with Black Canary now having the ability to fly for a short period.
Overall: Batgirl and the Birds of Prey #10 delivered exactly what you want from the concluding issue of an arc that features a brand new villain. Julie Benson and Shawna Benson found a creative way to deal with Blackbird while elevating the new villain to be an even bigger threat down the line. The dynamic between the Birds of Prey, along with Green Arrow and Nightwing, helped make this ending stand out even more in a week filled with strong comic books.