The Beginning of the Birds' Positive Migration In Quality
Man, I really miss the Trevor McCarthy covers for this series. So much unique colors and brilliant energy smartly laid out. This one's just generic, not bad exactly, but completely generic.
However, I'm still really digging Molenaar's interior artwork. The fight scenes have such motion to them, even if the panel pacing is a little confusing at times in the midst of a fight. Each panel by itself looks really nice, but during the fight with Mr. Freeze there's quite a few moments where it feels like there's a panel missing.
So far, I'm not noticing a huge difference with the writing change on this series, but to be fair, a lot of Swierczynski's bigger flaws were in the long term plotting. There are definitely some nice subtleties to the way Marx writes Strix that I think most people won't catch. I think most people will see Strix still being written simply as the 'former assassin with the hair-trigger', but there's something a little deeper to it here, imo. Marx also managed to make Condor a bit more interesting with his very subtly odd quirks. Black Canary'd a bit stubborn and reluctant to trust them, though she does have pretty damn good reason for that. But at the same time, she does appear to be projecting a bit to the lack of trust she gives to her old teammates she SHOULD trust. And it takes a random old woman to make her realize that. I'm not even joking, BC meats some completely random old woman in a diner who gives her an epiphany. It's such a weird scene that comes out of nowhere, even though it strongly ties into the main story.
Something interesting is going on internally within the team. The solicits for the next issue mentions a traitor, but if I hadn't read them, this issue's indication of there being a traitor is actually VERY brilliantly subtle. Right before Mr. Freeze's attack, Batgirl and Starling received mysterious texts urging a hasty return to home base. Messages supposedly sent by Black Canary, but she has no memory of them. But why would Mr. Freeze want them all there to fight him if he's after Strix alone? There's a deeper aspect to the idea of a mole in the team, between Mr. Freeze's mysterious partner and Starling's allegiance with Amanda Er, Strix's past, and Condor's unknown past; it's hard to tell what the whole truth behind this mystery is, and that makes it really intriguing.
In Conclusion: 3.5/5
Christy Marx impressed me pretty thoroughly with her take on Amethyst over in Sword of Sorcery, and with her first issue on Birds of Prey she's definitely showing a bit of promise of an improved direction, but she's still stumbling through a few of the same pitfalls that befell Swierczynski. But it gives me hope for the future direction of this series, especially since I've grown quite fond of Strix and Condor; and the odd dynamic they bring to the team.