The “Death of Oracle” story continues on in this issue, but it almost feels as though it is sticking around until the artistic carousel stops. The third installment of this story brings the third artist to “Birds of Prey,” and this issue is the host of some painfully inconsistent art by Inaki Miranda.
There are parts where the art appears largely unfinished, but there are spots where the book is quite a beautiful thing to behold. Unfortunately, it’s during many of the louder moments in this title – Current attacking the trio of Huntress, Lady Blackhawk, and Dove; or Hawk taking a swing at Batman – that the art seems thin. Part of the problem is that the art in those spots is not fully rendered, but simple line art, leaving a great deal of work for Nei Ruffino to tackle.
Ruffino steps up, but the end result is a story that features pages where the depth and sculpt of figures seems more airbrush than rendered. The figures are more gestural than complete and the shadows, backgrounds, and detail are frequently nonexistent.
Simone’s story in this issue shifts around quite a bit, from the Watchtower to a bus in transit where the Birds are en route to Calculator’s lair, to the inner turmoil of Black Canary’s mind following her confrontation with Mortis. The stories and their intersections don’t necessarily flow one to the next, but they do offer a fantastic cross-section for readers to gain full access to this crew and their world.
With this issue, all of the pieces are on the board, with Batman playing a larger role in this series, physically present and assisting in the goings-on for the team. Taking in the whole collection, I am impressed by the cast Simone has assembled and the parts she’s given them to play. Oracle’s side of the board includes Batman, Hawk and Dove, Huntress, Black Canary (who is removed by Mortis) and Lady Blackhawk, with Savant and Creote in reserve. The other side of the board – Calculator’s side – has Mammoth, Current, Mortis, and a handful of H.I.V.E. agents.
This issue pits Oracle against Calculator for a (seemingly) grand finale. The end result, and resultant cliffhanger, set up what should be a tremendous final installment for this story. The matchup seems to favor the Birds tremendously, but Simone has a marvelous knack for packing surprises into her books. This one is no exception.