Review by Ian Keogh
Tony Bedard is now back scripting Birds of Prey, but making use of both the cast and scenario bequeathed to him by Sean McKeever in Metropolis or Dust. There the Birds of Prey discovered a previously unknown crime syndicate operating well below the radar in the relatively new city of Platinum Flats. Having only just survived a first skirmish, Oracle made the seemingly impulsive decision to relocate the Birds of Prey operations to the city in order to close the Silicon Syndicate down.
Bedard fleshes out the syndicate with what in 2008 were up to the minute references of crooks using analogues of Ebay and Facebook to further their business. Up the minute references, though, rapidly date, and there’s already a stale whiff about this. Furthermore it’s questionable ethical judgement to use a villain who encourages predatory online paedophiles for trivial shock value. They’re a rum bunch overall, barely sustaining the interest, and their association with the Joker is plot convenient rather than logical. It leads to a suspenseful first confrontation with Barbara Gordon, given that he crippled her, and an appalling second.
One aspect Bedard handles well is to reintroduce the old manipulative Oracle, rightly realising that her revised policy of open transparency with operatives removed a significant amount of tension from the inter-group dynamics. Also good is the idea that the squeaky clean community of Platinum Flats don’t want superhero protection, and consider them responsible for attracting villains to the city.
Of the artists Nicola Scott (sample image) is far better in every respect, having mastered the skills Michael O’Hare is still coming to terms with. He’s very talented, but not the full article yet. His figures have an awkwardness about them on occasion, but there isn’t the clutter of Claude St Aubin’s final chapter art, although that may have been produced to a short deadline.
For all the rumpus there’s little that’s surprising or noteworthy about Platinum Flats, so it’s not a very satisfactory end to what had been a very good series, and one that spawned a TV show, albeit short lived. A final couple of Birds of Prey comics are filtered into Oracle: The Cure, and the series is rebooted with Gail Simone back on board for End Run.