What is it?
An ongoing comic published by DC that is made of up three volumes: The first ran for 127 issues from 1999 through 2009 and was most prominently written by Chuck Dixon and then Gail Simone. The second volume was nearly all written by Gail Simone and ran for 15 issues from 2010 until it was cancelled by the reboot in 2011. The third volume is ongoing and has been published since September 2011.
What is it about?
Initially it was a team-up between Oracle (Barbara Gordon) and Black Canary (Dinah Laurel Lance), later joined by Huntress (Helena Bertinelli) and Lady Blackhawk (Zinda Blake). Other superheroes have joined and left since, and when these four were all either erased from continuity or (in the case of Barbara) reverted back to a different costume, the rebooted title stars Black Canary (Dinah Drake-Lance); Batgirl (Barbara Gordon); Katana (Tatsu Yamashiro); Starling (Evelyn Crawford) and Poison Ivy (Pamela Isley).
But what it’s really about is moving away from the ghosts in your past and becoming a stronger person with the help of ones lady friends.
Why is it great?
These women are awesome. Pre and post reboot, the Birds are the kind of capable yet flawed, complex, determined badass normals/badass abnormals that the Strong Female Character archetype aspires to be. They are individual, hard working women with complicated lives that just happen to involve fighting international drug dealers and superpowered villains. Sometimes they have problems with their love lives, but that’s rarely the focus of the book. And even with the reboot, which after two years managed to turn me off DC completely, the title features a completely different lineup of awesome women, including Evelyn/Starling, a queer lady of dubious morality, with tattoos and guns and buttloads of awesome.
How can I read it?
Get thee to your LCS or nearest comic-selling bookshop for reboot floppies, trades of the reboot and Gail Simone’s run, or look on Amazon for in and out-of-print trades.
Alternatively, the full runs are available on Comixology: Volume 1 (132 issues – $267) Volume 2 (15 issues – $30) Volume 3 (24 issues – $48). If those price tags get too much, I recommend you look at these issues.
This is my largest volume-wise fandom for Yuletide this year, but it’s also my largest fandom for Yuletide this year, so I’m sure most people have already decided whether to buy the ticket for this or not.