I started reading the Birds of Prey series back in CBRIV and then I learned that Gail Simone didn’t start off writing the series and what I thought was Birds of Prey Volume 1 was actually Volume 3. And since I’m a completionist, I had to go back and get the real Volumes 1 and 2.
And if Volume 1 is any indication, I can see why DC essentially rebooted the series with Volume 3 when Simone took over. I knew Simone was heralded as pretty much the only woman who found her way into the comics boy’s club. But I came to comics very late in the game, after Image decided their company’s new mission statement was DIVERSITY in all caps. So what I had previously read of Birds of Prey wasn’t the feminist awakening I had been lead to believe.
And then I read this bullshit from Chuck Dixon and Company and I finally get it – Gail Simone certainly earned her feminist street cred if this is the type of crap the guys were trying to write about women. It’s like they learned everything they knew about women from a Cathy comic strip. About the only thing they got right is the footwear; most of the time Huntress and Black Canary wear sensibly heeled shoes. Their outfits still have no purpose other than being glorified lingerie, but at least they won’t be breaking any ankles out there. (To be fair, costumes didn’t improve much in Simone’s run, but at least there was some self-awareness and lantern hanging in the writing to make up for it.)
Black Canary and Huntress get all of their personality and motivation from their relationships to men. Seriously, two thirds of Volume 1 is these two, with Catwoman, hunting down a man that wronged them by not calling them back the next day. Oracle is all over the place personality wise because there’s no man in her story to determine how she should act. Like, she calls Batman, whom she has worked with, trained with and been part of the damn Bat Family with for ages, and acts like a star struck schoolgirl. Oracle, you were Batgirl. You got shot and paralyzed by the Joker and you are still willing to fight bad guys as Oracle. Get it together. Batman has nothing on you.