Tag Archives: Ed Benes

Today’s Super Comic — Birds of Prey #56 (2003)

The second era of Birds of Prey began in #56, when writer Gail Simone kicked off a long and consistently entertaining run on the title.

It starts with the previous status quo. Oracle (the original Batgirl, Barbara Gordon, currently confined to a wheelchair) uses her extensive computer prowess to do good around the world, and Black Canary is her field agent and best friend. But this time, they’re operating in their homebase of Gotham to take down a CEO who’s planning on stealing his employees’ retirement funds. The plan is simply to scare him straight, but this would be a rather boring comic if everything went according to plan—and it’s certainly not that.

Simone hints at a new recruit for the team, one who will bring a fresh and interesting dynamic to the book.

This is just the start, and it’s a good one indeed, full of humor, ethical dilemmas, and cliffhangers.

Writer: Gail Simone

Penciler: Ed Benes

Inker: Alex Lei

Publisher: DC Comics

How to Read It: back issues; Comixology; included in Birds of Prey vol. 1: Of Like Minds (TPB)

Appropriate For: ages 12 and up

Today’s Super Comics — Supergirl #75-80 (2002-03)

At last we reach the end of Peter David’s excellent Supergirl series, and the final storyline takes everything in a totally different direction. I suppose that’s what impending cancellation will do.

The original Supergirl, Kara Zor-El, appears, and she’s ripped right out of her 1959 debut. Instead of her rocket bringing her to meet the Silver Age Superman, she instead arrives in the then-current DC Universe and meets its Supergirl, Linda Danvers.

David initially writes Kara exactly as a 1950s comic book character, utterly naïve in the modern world and totally ignorant about science. He mines Silver Age goofiness for plenty of laughs, giving us everything from Kara’s futile attempt to physically push the entire planet Earth out of the path of a meteor, to pink kryptonite having a peculiar effect on an old-school Superman.

But the story takes a serious turn as it brings us toward the series’ conclusion. By this point, DC Comics was relaxing its “No Kryptonians but Superman” rule that had been in place since the late ‘80s, so they were getting ready to bring Kara back into continuity one way or another. That meant it was time to dispose of Linda, one way or another.

I won’t spoil exactly how David writes her out, but I will give him credit for not going with the obvious.

These final last six issues are easily among the series’ best. The story delves into the nature of heroism in a compelling way, and there’s no better topic for a book starring Supergirl—any or multiple versions of her.

Writer: Peter David

Penciler: Ed Benes

Inker: Alex Lei

Cover: Rob Haynes

Publisher: DC Comics

How to Read It: back issues; Comixology; Supergirl: Many Happy Returns (TPB)

Appropriate For: ages 12 and up