Batgirl and the Birds of Prey has been a series that has continued to get better over time. This recent Source Code story arc has done its job in adding depth to the new Oracle that has been working with the Birds of Prey lately. The introduction of Catwoman into the story has given a sense of unpredictability to the story Julie and Shawna Benson are crafting. Things with Calculator look to become even more complicated with it being revealed that Poison Ivy is also somehow involved in the Birds of Prey’s latest adventure. How will Catwoman and Poison Ivy’s involvement affect the Birds of Prey’s mission? Let’s find out with Batgirl and the Birds of Prey #13.
Writers: Julie Benson and Shawna Benson
Artist: Roge Antonio and Breno Tamura
Colorists: Allen Passalaqua and Chris Sotomayor
Story Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: Inside Terracare, Batgirl, Catwoman, Calculator and Gus are sneaking through the vents but it breaks with all the weight.
Poison Ivy’s vines quickly capture Batgirl but Catwoman breaks her free.
Nearby Poison Ivy explains how Terracare has done to destroy the environment with their creation of a special bee poison to Huntress.
The Terracare CEO, Benedict, lack of care for the bee population further angers Poison Ivy, who unleashes bees on the Benedict and Huntress.
Huntress tries to intimidate Poison Ivy by mentioning that Black Canary has already freed the mother and child she kidnapped. Poison Ivy then shows Huntress she captured Black Canary and still has the others captive.
Batgirl, Catwoman, Calculator and Gus enter the room everyone is in.
Batgirl convinces Poison Ivy that her approach at punishing Terracare is wrong and to let Calculator’s innocent family free.
Terracare security finally arrive on the scene. Batgirl, Huntress and Black Canary fight the security guards off while Calculator’s family gets to safety. At the same time Poison Ivy is able to adjust the pheromones in her body so that the bees in Terracare won’t harm anyone.
Now reunited with his family Calculator is reminded of his deal with the Birds of Prey by Batgirl.
Huntress takes Benedict in and says he will have a lot of things to answer to when he meets a judge.
At the same time, Catwoman takes something from Terracare safe as a ”reward.”
Gus suddenly contacts the Batgirl, revealing that he is leaving for somewhere safe and thanks the Birds of Prey for saving him from the Calculator.
Batgirl realizes that things aren’t over for Gus since Calculator probably knows where he is.
A little later Calculator tracks Gus down at a bus stop. Before Calculator can intimidate Gus to work for him again Gus reveals that the real Oracle, (Barbara Gordon) has returned. Gus goes on to show Calculator that Oracle has deleted all of Calculator’s system and any sort of control he had over Gus.
At Batburger Black Canary, Huntress, Catwoman and Poison Ivy enjoy dinner together. Poison Ivy reveals that Barbara has helped her set up work to fix the damage Terracare has done to the bee population.
As the group talks about what they are doing next Oracle contacts them. Oracle says that there are several problems that have popped up across Gotham City.
Poison Ivy and Catwoman decide to join Black Canary and Huntress in saving the day as Barbara smiles about being back in her role as Oracle again. End of issue.
The Good: Batgirl and the Birds of Prey #13 was a satisfying conclusion to the “Source Code” arc that felt like a season finale. Like any good season finale for a show Shawna and Julie Benson created a conclusion that created further excitement for what comes next in their run on Batgirl and the Birds of Prey.
There was a sense that everything came full circle as Batgirl and the Birds of Prey #13 came to close. The arc around Oracle returning in the form of Gus has been a big part of Batgirl’s story for the last year. By the end of the issue the Bensons were able to make Gus a character that added a new element to the world of the Birds of Prey. At the same time, Batgirl and the Birds of Prey provided Gus with a proper exit as the series adds more well-known characters to the cast that would’ve pushed Gus to the background.
While Gus exits the series his impact on the series will continue on as he helped Barbara Gordon that she can effective as Batgirl and Oracle. The Bensons do a good job reminding Barbara about how effective she is as Oracle with how she solved the conflict with Poison Ivy and Terracare. Having her find a way to talk to Poison Ivy in order to make her realize her approach was wrong showed how conflicts can be solved in other ways than just fighting. Given the smile Barbara gave at the end this may not be the last we see of her as Oracle, which would be a great way to separate her solo adventures with those she has with the Birds of Prey.
Shifting Barbara towards splitting time as Batgirl and Oracle in this series also helps open more room to highlight Catwoman and Poison Ivy in the field. Throughout the “Source Code” arc the Bensons did a great job highlighting all the skills Catwoman brings to the table. On top of being a top notch fighter and thief Catwoman showed she has a unique way of interacting with those around her.
From the way she kept sarcastically talking to Batgirl to the reasonable friend she was to Poison Ivy, there is a lot of room to explore the wild card nature of Catwoman’s character. Her throwing out a previous “engagement” also nicely sets up for the big reveal that she and Bruce are engaged and how the Birds of Prey, especially Batgirl, will react to that revelation.
While only playing a big part in this final part of “Source Code” Poison Ivy also had a nice arc in Batgirl and the Birds of Prey #13. The Bensons did a good job showing that while her cause was noble the way Poison Ivy set about getting revenge was wrong. Having Batgirl help Poison Ivy realize this and give her the opportunity to do the right thing allowed Ivy to turn to the good side by her own accord. Now that Poison Ivy has a more positive route to go the Bensons have a lot of room to explore what a heroic Poison Ivy working with other superheroes is like.
With Catwoman and Poison Ivy getting more of a spotlight in this issue along with Batgirl, I did like that the Bensons did not forget about Huntress. Huntress was once again shown to be growing as a hero as she did her best to reason with Poison Ivy. It was a good way to show how Huntress isn’t just looking to solve everything by shooting things like she did when she was with Spyral.
The final scene with Calculator and Gus does also set up the former to become an even bigger threat to the Birds of Prey down the line. Like Blackbird in the previous arc, the Bensons are able to show how Calculator now has a reason to go after the Birds of Prey. This personal vendetta of losing a valuable asset and being shown up by Barbara makes Calculator a more cerebral threat compared to Blackbird who is more of a physical threat.
Roge Antonio did a very good job in helping elevate all the scenes in Batgirl and the Birds of Prey #13 with his artwork. He gave weight to every decision the characters chose to make, or not make. This is especially the case with how he drew Poison Ivy as she went from revenge filled villain to heroic person who saw the error of her ways.
Breno Tamura also did a good job in doing his best to replicate Antonio’s art style so that there isn’t a big discrepancy. Tamura’s artwork was not as refined as Antonio but it did not get in the way of the story being told.
The Bad: The one minor complaint is that Black Canary did not end up factoring into the events of the issue. It is understandable given how packed this issue was with spotlighting various character arcs. Black Canary was unfortunately pushed to the background, which could upset some Dinah Lance fans. There was also an odd coloring mistake with Black Canary as she was given red hair in one panel even though she was not wearing a wig to hide her identity.
Overall: Batgirl and the Birds of Prey #13 provide the “Source Code” arc with a satisfying ending. Julie Benson and Shawna Benson continue to show their clear understanding of who all Birds of Prey are. With the return of Barbara Gordon as Oracle the Bensons have opened up even more avenues to explore the Birds of Prey’s dynamic, especially with Catwoman and Poison Ivy joining the team. These additions make the future of Batgirl and the Birds of Prey even more exciting.