By Gail Simone & various (DC Comics)
Dyed-in-the-wool super-hero fans and neophytes alike would be well advised to follow this series, featuring a more-or-less rotating team of DC’s female crime-busters, led and co-ordinated by the mysterious ‘Oracle’ (wheelchair-bound Barbara Gordon, daughter of Batman’s buddy Commissioner Gordon and an ex-super-hero herself) as they target the less flashy and more insidious threats to the DC universe.
This volume (collecting issues #69-75 of the monthly comic series) features a turning point in the fortunes of this idiosyncratic team, as, following the infiltration and eventual destruction of a religious cult that seems to be inducing teenagers to worship costumed heroes and commit suicide, they have to save their own leader from an insidious and overwhelming form of technological possession. Also included are a edgily hilarious change of pace as the girls invade a secret meeting where all the super-criminals’ hench-persons get together to form a union, plus an epilogue to the Batman publishing event War-Games where, following the loss of their secret headquarters in Gotham City, the Birds transfer their base of operations to a airliner and take their mission ‘on the road’, looking for evil pro-actively.
Gail Simone has cornered the market on smart, savvy and capable women who can square off with the best that the testosterone-charged heroes and villains of comics can produce, and yet still keep all the protagonists recognisably female – in word and action instead of merely in shape – although if you do like to look at pretty girls drawn well, a selection of more than capable artists have that well in hand. Indisputably, this is one of the top super-hero series being published today.
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