Monday, June 21, 2010

One Good Thing And One Bad Thing About Birds of Prey #2

GOOD THING: This issue definitively answers a question that has bothered Black Canary fans for quite some time now: Does Dinah Still Have A Secret Identity?

The surprising answer - given how little attention Dinah seemed to pay to it and considering I think she actually used her real name while "under cover" on missions for Oracle a few times - is that she did. At least until she was outed in this issue.

It is nice to have this point settled once and for all - even if it does make the media of the DCU look particularly incompetent since nobody connected the dots between Dinah Lance and Black Canary after Oliver Queen was recently outed as Green Arrow. Or am I the only one who remembers that Black Canary and Green Arrow had a fairly well publicized wedding which had paparazzi trying to sneak into Green Arrow's bachelor party?

BAD THING: This issue also sees the death of fan-favorites Savant and Creote at the hands of whichever power is trying to shut down The Birds.

While I'm not quite as willing to give into panic as some fans and I'm certain that this is building to something, I will admit that there is no small irony in the woman who created the Women In Refrigerators list writing a story in which two minor male characters (one of them gay) are killed for no apparent reason other than to give angst to a female character.

The Final Verdict: I'll say this for Gail Simone - she doesn't do anything half way. I just hope that the apparently pointless deaths we see here aren't nearly as plot-driven as they seem to be and that something big is on the way. There is a lot of dramatic irony in the set-up, with Dinah apparently being forced onto the same outlaw path as the family she's abandoned in other books in an effort to stay true to her ideals.


  1. I'm trying not to post on message boards so much but I wanted to say I really
    enjoy your comments. Even when you don't like something I've written very much,
    you always seem to say it in a funny way and with affection for comic (and some
    deserved disdain for bad comics).
    Just thanks, sorry to interrupt!

  2. Does anyone - anyone - care that it appears we've lost the nearest thing the DCU had to a character with autism, or at least not cognitively/socially 'normal'?
    The whole rhetoric about this issue has reduced Savant to 'the straight one', against the much more tragic death of his neurologically normal assistant.
    It's really getting to me.

  3. ...
    I can't recall any time I've not liked something you're written.
    Okay, this does have me filled with a little bit of dread and worry - but it's like going up the hill on the rollercoaster.

  4. Honestly, I never really thought about Savant being autistic.
    I can see how some MIGHT make that association but I've never really considered the so-called "savant syndrome" to be a legitimate condition. And I've read quite a fair bit on the subject.
    Full disclosure: My younger brother is an autistic man. He's fairly far along the spectrum, being content to stay to himself, organize his baseball cards and read as much as he can about different exotic animals. He requires prodding to use words and anything beyond "Yes/No." is difficult for him.
    Of course it's my personal belief - based on my brother and the many other autistic people I have encountered - that what we call Autism is just a blanket term for dozens of not hundreds of other specific conditions that we are just now coming to understand. There's too much variation along the spectrum for me to believe that it is all just one thing with one common x-factor.
    I will say this though: there's a host of other characters in the DCU who are not cognitively or socially normal. I think you could make a fair case for Barbara Gordon having Asperger syndrome, for instance. The original Mister Terrific too, for that matter.

  5. You make a very good point, Innerbrat. Even WITHOUT the point you just raised,
    it's been very odd to see Savant reduced to nothing of consequence.
    You make a great point. I will give this some serious thought.

  6. What about Danni Garret from the late Blue Beetle series? She was definitely "not normal" and awesome.

  7. Well, for that matter... Bruce Wayne could be somewhere on the spectrum. Even with the drive his parents death gave him, he's unusually focused and an even greater case study for savant syndrome than Savant.

  8. My hair is curling. Which means either it's about to rain or there's something screwy going on here...

  9. Honestly I always thought of Dinah as being Dinah.. no secret id and such. Not anymore, not in a long while.

  10. Sidebar For The Ladies:
    As a girl who likes a good Manicure and uses computers. I'm sorry Babs' Talons are just CRACKING ME UP.

  11. Don't get me wrong - I agree with you that autistic people cover a range of condtions and braintypes. I also agree that 1) Savant syndrome might not be a legitimate condition and 2) the character we call Savant might not be autistic.
    BUT based purely on the way Savant has been written - his condition clearly disables him, and affects his social interaction as well. I thought long and hard before applying 'autistic', but I think it's the nearest we have to an earth-Prime analogue.

  12. Good point. I haven't read all of it yet. Though, does her existence negate my point?

  13. That's what I thought.
    Even ignoring that I always suspected that she was outed during the incident that outed Ollie during the Grell run and that she never really bothered much with a Secret ID during that time and that I'm SURE she was using her real name while spying for Babs in the very first Birds of Prey mini-series... well, it just makes sense that she never really bothered with it.
    I suspect (and perhaps Gail can confirm if she's still reading this) that part of the reason for this story was to settle the issue once and for all.

  14. I love the second artist in this book. Absolutely love her. And I'm typing that with my fingernails, because they're too long to let my fingers on the keyboard.

  15. What's really funny is that her nails seem to be trimmed to a respectable length in one panel of the first page...
    I'm ashamed to admit I didn't notice that. Though I did notice that Dinah is back in the sensible boots inside the book. Though she's wearing heels on the cover for some reason...

  16. No more than I think the theories on which other characters might be on The Spectrum do.
    It's fun to think about anyway.

  17. I'd say it's CLOSE but not quite there.
    I don't have the issue in front of me, but I thought Savant's condition was specifically defined as something that wasn't Autism or some symptom that wasn't exactly common to all forms of autism.
    *pauses to do a Google search*
    Non-linear memory! THAT'S the term.

  18. I think Dinah has a secret identity in that no one knows who Dinah Lance is. People are familiar with Clark Kent and Bruce Wayne nation and worldwide respectively at least. Barry Allen and Hal Jordan have jobs that have the potential for a lot of people knowing who they are, at least around where they live.
    Dinah is a part time florist and 90 percent of her social circle are other superheroes. She's rarely going to have to duck away from people making lame excuses so she can change into costume and go save the day which is the true hallmark of a secret identity.

  19. Especially since Dinah has an assistant (who is also a superhero... kinda) running her shop, last I checked.