The writers of BATGIRL AND THE BIRDS OF PREY #20 bring a level of complexity to these heroines. The art by Roge Antonio is really dynamic and captures both the vigilante and human sides of the Birds of Prey. Without a doubt, an awesome read!
97 %

So the Birds of Prey are a fractured team in the wake of Oracle’s murder. Bonds of trust have been broken and secrets have been brought to the surface in BATGIRL AND THE BIRDS OF PREY #20. With an interesting storyline by Shawna Benson and Julie Benson, as well as fantastic visuals by Roge Antonio, this issue delves into the emotional struggles of these heroines while also delivering an explosive ending. Warning, potential spoilers are found below!

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In the previous issue, Batgirl hacked into Calculator’s system. Her actions made Gus Yale a target and, as a result, cost him his life. BATGIRL AND THE BIRDS OF PREY #20 follows the narration of Huntress after exposing Batgirl’s deception to the team. Divided as a group, the Birds of Prey must deal with their own personal issue. Fueled by guilt and vengeance, Batgirl is on a solo mission to hunt down the Calculator. Then there’s Dinah, who has lost confidence in her abilities and fears her Canary Cry could kill someone. At the center of this issue is Helena, who’s called to testify on behalf of her mother, an ex-mob boss. As a result of her strained relationship with her mom and her scarred past, she feels torn between choosing revenge or forgiveness.

BATGIRL AND THE BIRDS OF PREY #20 page 2. Image courtesy of DC Entertainment.

Later, at Gus’ funeral, the Birds of Prey reconcile. They then make a promise, on their friend’s grave, to trust each other and to have no more secrets. Almost immediately after, Huntress breaks that promise. She plans on murdering the corrupt Judge who was paid off to send her mother to Arkham Asylum, but stops herself. When Burnrate surprise attacks her at the Judge’s residence, Huntress has an amazing fight with the flaming robot. There’s fire, explosions, and a motorcycle chase. What more could you want in an action scene? BATGIRL AND THE BIRDS OF PREY #20 concludes with Calculator breaking Helena’s mother out of prison.

Birds of Flaws

I appreciate that the characters are presented with flaws. Exploring the internal conflicts adds a deeper complexity to each of the characters. Huntress is dealing with her difficult relationship with her mother and the pain from her past. Batgirl is battling with her guilt and rage over her friend’s death. Heroines having personal struggles also makes them feel more relatable to the reader. The focus on their difficulties didn’t slow down the pace of the plot, but rather wove seamlessly into the storyline altogether.

BATGIRL AND THE BIRDS OF PREY #20 page 3. Image courtesy of DC Entertainment.

Dynamic Visuals

Roge Antonio has an art style that can adapt to any kind of scene. His visuals capture the speed of the fight between Burnrate and Huntress, from the lightning fast attacks to the explosive motorcycle chase. His work also expresses the seriousness of the funeral and courtroom scenes. Overall, there are some great visuals in BATGIRL AND THE BIRDS OF PREY#20. The panel of Burnrate emerging from the flames is terrifying. The image of Huntress being split between being Helena and her vigilante self, her inner rage and inner peace, is stunning. The page perfectly encapsulates what this chapter is all about.

The Mystery of the Calculator

We see more of Burnrate than his creator in BATGIRL AND THE BIRDS OF PREY #20. Although he’s a masterful computer hacker, Calculator seems less threatening than his robot assassin. He appears to be the kind of villain who won’t get his hands dirty himself and lets others do the work for him. However, there’s a mystery brewing in this story that makes him slightly more interesting as a villain. Why is he recruiting all of these other criminals? What are his intentions with Blackbird and Fenice? What’s his master plan? These questions have sparked my interest to read the next issue.

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Final Thoughts

What I really enjoyed about BATGIRL AND THE BIRDS OF PREY #20 is how the characters’ emotional conflicts tie into the overall plot line. Delving deep into their internal struggles adds a level of complexity and realness to the Birds of Prey. After this awesome issue, I’m looking forward to what Calculator has in store for the Birds of Prey.

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