"Hero Hunters, Part Two: Harvest"
Writer: Gail Simone
Artists: Tom Derenick (p), Bob Petrecca (i)
Publisher: D.C. Comics
As the Birds of Prey arrive in nowhere central, Kansas we learn they've arrived to investigate a string of murders that look to have been committed by a supernatural killer who has taken to killing off people who have evaded facing punishment for the crimes that they've committed. As the Huntress and Black Canary begin their investigation, they soon discover that the killer isn't above turning it's energies toward visiting heroes.
This plot for this issue is going to feel quite familiar to fans of the "hack and slash" genre, as basically this issue has the Huntress and Black Canary investigating a string of murders that are being committed by an evil entity plaguing a terrified community. I mean all the basic elements are in place such as the opening sequence that shows us our evil monster stalking one of its victims, and establishes the early warning signs that we should be watching for in advance of future attacks. We also get the scene where we see our heroes try to talk to the locals about the creature that's preying upon their community, and this naturally turns into a display of how creeped out the town is. In fact the only element that the issue is missing is the crazy old man who normally offers up the final warning to the oblivious heroes before they venture out into the deep, dark woods for their own encounter with the big, bad monster. However, what makes this issue more engaging than the average "Friday the 13th" film is that the people who are being stalked by the killer are not annoying, sex-crazed, skinny dipping teens, but rather they're established characters that one is able to invest one's attention in. The issue also manages to establish the idea that there is a method behind the killer's seeming madness, as her attacks are directed against individuals who haven't paid for their crimes, and there's a great little moment where we see the killer is able to sense both women are guilty of numerous crimes, and how can one not be impressed by the cliffhanger dilemma that this issue offers up.
First off I have to give the cover full marks for managing to capture the unsettling quality of the story inside, as how can one not be intrigued by the look of terror on Dinah's face. As for the interior art Tom Derenick is always a welcome guest-artist as he tells the story in a clear, visually exciting manner, with his work on the opening sequence doing a wonderful job of conveying the nightmarish quality of the creature. The art also manages to sell the personality of Zinda, as I loved her face when she enters the bar and recognizes the song playing on the jukebox. There's also some solid work on the final sequence as our two heroes are confronted by the killer, with the final page of the issue doing a nice job of selling the danger the two women are in. My only quibble with the art on this issue, is the panel where Barbara's wearing the Oracle mask, as her body looks out of proportion.
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