Current Reviews


Birds of Prey #46

Posted: Tuesday, August 27, 2002
By: Jason Cornwell

Writer: Chuck Dixon
Artists: Dave Ross (p), Nelson DeCastro (i)

Publisher: DC

The book opens with Deathstroke deciding he's a sitting duck on the cliff face he found himself climbing down when the alarms went off, so he leaps into the ocean far below, and following his example we see he's quickly joined in the water by the Black Canary. After watching Deathstroke deal with a sea creature that had been menacing them the book looks in on the time lost American soldiers that Eddie Fyers had been imprisoned with last issue, as they are freed from their Japanese captors by Connor Hawke. As this newly freed group joins Connor on his hunt for Eddie, we see Connor's partner is busy questioning the scientists in the chemical weapons lab, in a bid to find the antidote for the deadly virus they had been developing. As Eddie manages to get his hands on the cure before his reluctant ally can, we see Camorouge takes a couple bullets to protect Eddie & the cure he now possesses. As all the various players begin to gather together we see them decide that a hasty retreat from this island is the order of the day now that one of them has secured the antidote they had all come seeking. As the issue ends we see the American soldiers decided to stay behind & rescue the others being held on this island.

Given it is his last issue on the title I suppose I could indulge Chuck Dixon's desire to make use of what I'm guessing is one of his favorite creations before he embarks on his CrossGen work. Still while the Black Canary is on hand for the show, her role is such a minor part of this story that the material reads more like Chuck Dixon making use of an unused Green Arrow plot he found kicking around the office, rather than his coming up with a new plot that incorporated Connor Hawke & Eddie Fyers into a Birds of Prey adventure. I mean aside from a couple quick encounters with the prehistoric creatures that inhabit this island, Dinah has been given next to nothing to do beyond following Deathstroke around as he plays the great white hunter. Now perhaps if I had been a regular follower of Green Arrow when Connor & Eddie were the book's leads then I would find this material more engaging, but as it stands I find myself rather hard pressed not to be a bit annoyed by the notion that Chuck Dixon decided to hand over his last hurrah on this title to what looks to be a plot that he never got around to using four years ago.

I will give this issue credit for making good use of Connor Hawke & Eddie Fyers though, as while I'm not especially interested by either character, the story does showcase their differing personalities quite nicely. I mean I can't tell you how nice it was to see a villain actually realize that Connor wasn't shooting to kill, and while this discovery isn't given enough space to showcase why this non-lethal approach would give the villains the decided edge in this conflict, it was nice to at least see this idea acknowledged. As for Eddie Fyers, this issue does a nice job showing off his duplicitous nature, as there's a great little scene where we see Eddie hides the fact that he can speak Japanese, so he can get a head start on where the antidote is hidden. I also enjoyed the scenes where Connor is following in the footsteps of his partner, and is having fun pointing out the signs of Eddie's passage. The one area that this issue does miss the boat on though is the interaction between Dinah & Connor, as I imagine these two have a rather strained relationship as they both would remind each other of the idea that Oliver had more than one woman in his life. I would've also have liked to see a conversation between Deathstroke & Eddie, as these two men seem like they're cut from the same cloth.

Dave Ross is a solid artist, and he delivers some great looking work during the early part of this issue, as Deathstroke & the Black Canary find themselves sharing the waters with a hungry sea creature. The art also does a nice job showing the reader how Connor Hawke managed to take out the guards in the tower, and the panel a bit later in the issue where the Japanese soldiers scramble to get out of the sea monster's path is also a strong visual moment. There's also a nice one-page shot of the prisoner camp earning the attentions of a rampaging T-Rex, and the bottom panel of page twenty-one gives use a nice look at the aftermath of this adventure. Now I did have some problems with the art though, as while the opening page is an exciting shot, the angle were shown makes it hard to believe that Deathstroke isn't about to end up slamming into the beach instead of the water. There's also the bottom panel on page sixteen, where Camorouge suddenly shrinks in size when she imposes her own body in front of Eddie & the bullets that were speeding toward him, or the panel immediately above this one where the Japanese soldiers are ordering him to raise his hands as they point their weapons away from him.

Final Word:
While I have little in the way of proof that this is true, this issue reads very much like a Green Arrow plot that Chuck Dixon never got around to using back when the previous series was canceled. I mean there a very clear separation between the plot involving Connor Hawke's group, and the adventures of Deathstroke & the Black Canary. What's more the main thrust of the plot all plays out in the pages involving Connor Hawke & Eddie Fyers. I mean these past three issues have left Dinah & Deathstroke with little more to do than have encounters with the various creatures that populate this island, and these scenes have been so quickly resolved that they feel like they've been added merely to fill pages. Now if you enjoyed Chuck Dixon work on Green Arrow then chances are you'll enjoy this return visit, but Birds of Prey fans are going to be left a bit unimpressed as except for the exotic locale of the adventure, Dinah does little more than tinker on the outer fringes of the main plot, while Barbara is little more than a voice that lets the reader know everyone's gotten back home safely.

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