Birds of Prey is a DC Comics series running from 1999 to 2009, relaunched in 2010, and relaunched again as part of the New 52 in 2011, created and originally written by Chuck Dixon. It features ex-Batgirl Barbara Gordon after she was paralysed at the hands of The Joker in Alan Moore's The Killing Joke and reintroduced in the Suicide Squad series of the early-90's. Now the tech-savvy Oracle, she is a wheelchair bound computer genius who leads a team of superheroines from a high-tech HQ. Originally located in the Clocktower in Gotham City, her headquarters was later moved to Metropolis and then to Platinum Flats.Under Dixon the team centered around Oracle and theBlack Canary as they began working together and building a personal relationship in addition to their professional relationship. When Gail Simone took over writing duties she introduced the Huntress, and several storyarcs later Lady Blackhawk to round out the core group, with heavy emphasis within the story that their family was just as important as their crime fighting adventures. This teaming persisted until Canary's departure, around the time of her marriage to Green Arrow, after which the Birds took on a more fluid line up with Huntress and Lady Blackhawk as senior field team leaders, and Misfit as regular Bird-in-training. However, the rest of the team was filled in such a way that it seemed like any female DCU character might show up next. Manhunter also became a regular during this period, supplemented by other heroes as needed.Gail Simone eventually left the series and was replaced as writer by Sean McKeever and later Tony Bedard. Under Bedard's pen, the team moved to the new locale of Platinum Flats, where they were joined by the mysterious Infinity and focused on fighting the "Silicon Syndicate". However, soon after the location move the series was cancelled, along with the Nightwing and Robin Series titles, in the wake of Final Crisis and the death of Batman. The separate characters were either transferred to other titles or quietly dropped from active publication and the final arc was left unresolved.The title was revived in May 2010 under Gail Simone and Ed Benes, initially featuring a Brightest Day banner, with Oracle, Black Canary, Huntress and Lady Blackhawk back in Gotham and Hawk and Dove as new regulars. This was a popular move. Gail's final issue was #13, released June 8, 2011, after which there was a two issue guest arc by Marc Andreyko, naturally featuring Manhunter.In September of 2011, Duane Swierczynski and Jesus Saiz took over creative control of the series with the company-wide New 52 relaunch. The New DC team is composed of Dinah Drake Lance (Black Canary, mother of previous star Dinah Laurel Lance), Tatsu Yamashiro (Katana), new creation Ev Crawford ("Starling"), Pamela Isley (Poison Ivy), and Barbara Gordon (Batgirl). Huntress (now Helena Wayne, not Helena Bertinelli) has some connection to the team, though her adventures were detailed in her stand-alone miniseries and the Worlds' Finest ongoing series, with any connections to the Birds currently remaining a mystery. A little over a year after the relaunch, it was announced that Strix, a former member of the Court of Owls would be joining the team.The series served as the basis for a live-action TV series which took a different approach to things. The core of the team is Huntress (daughter of Batman and Catwoman, as per her pre-Crisis backstory), Dinah, a touch-telepath and the daughter of Black Canary, and Oracle (Barbara Gordon, forced to give up being Batgirl after becoming paraplegic). Harley Quinn serves as the Big Bad. Tropes for this iteration of the concept can be found in the article Series.Birds Of Prey.In September 2010, Simone wrote an episode of the Batman: The Brave and the Bold which featured the team in a leading role. Though the character interactions were similar to those featured in the comics, Oracle was omitted from the team due to her absence from the show's established canon (and, according to Word of God, rights issues). However, her role as the third member of the team was filled by Catwoman, who herself occasionally worked with the Birds, primarily during Chuck Dixon's run.
Birds of Prey provides examples of the following tropes:
Aborted Arc: Gail Simone's final arc, with Junior as the main villain was derailed by Flashpoint. It ended after just two issues (it looks like it was supposed to be a 4 or 6 parter) on a cliffhanger with the Birds having discovered Junior's in Gotham, barely escaping with their lives and Oracle trying to work out a plan to get her. Although another two issues were published prior to the reboot they had a different writer and featured Those Wacky Nazis as the villains.
Adult Fear: Though supervillains and large scale Evil Plans remain an important staple of the series, the Birds deal with a lot of real world and everyday issues, including human trafficking, drug dealers, kidnapping and the like. A lot of the arcs are plausible and even likely crimes simply transferred into the flashy world of superheroes.
Arrogant Kung Fu Girl: Lady Shiva, who is constantly training and retraining herself to eternally improve her martial arts abilities. She also challenges any combatants whom she deems worthy, testing herself against them, testing them against her, and learning from them/removing them as threats for the future.
Ascended Extra: Katana was a minor guest-star in the first volume but became a main character at the start of volume 3.
Bar Brawl: Lady Blackhawk occasionally likes to spice-up her nights out.
Bare Your Midriff: One of Huntress's costumes is a leotard with a weird little cutout for her midriff — this was Lampshaded in series and Simone eventually changed the costume. Huntress' explanation for the change: "Seven-hundred sit-ups a day". Its continued presence (and absence) seems to depend on the writer (and artist), and Simone said that there were plans to get it changed again once the relaunch moved past its first few issues. Unfortunately, the New 52 relaunch removed Huntress from the series before this promised change could take place.
Batman Gambit: Cheshire had a complex and well-developed plot to destroy the life of a US Senator, whom she claims is her biological father that raped her mother, take revenge on Black Canary, whom she hates for the relationship Canary shares with her daughter, and kill Lady Shiva along the way, whom she will use as a decoy to fake her own death. The plan moves along (relatively) smoothly, but falls completely off the rails when a few small details drop out of place at the climax when all her enemies come together.
When fighting Talia Al Ghul, whose superpower seems to be dressing in skin-tight, low-cut outfits and talking in seductive tones, Black Canary was originally supposed to mention that she was "75% heterosexual." Unfortunately, a series of miscommunications between the writers, artists and printers of the issue resulted in this being changed to "heterosexual to the bone." Gail Simone has stated that, according to her, Canary is bisexual even if it never made it into the final printing.
Savant, previously believed to be heterosexual, began a relationship with Creote when Creote finally revealed his feelings.
Starling from the 2011 relaunch has also been confirmed to be bisexual by Swierczynski, and visits a former girlfriend in issue #5.
Blonde, Brunette, Redhead: Canary, Huntress and Oracle, with Lady Blackhawk taking a more active role and thus the mantle of 'blonde' after Dinah's departure. Note that the stereotypical roles do not apply, and Canary is not a natural blonde.
Boisterous Bruiser: Lady Blackhawk, though one of the sweetest and kindest women you will ever meet, is a lady who loves herself a good rumble and is always happy to run screaming into battle.
In order to escape being arrested at the hospital where she is staying, Thorn disguises herself as a nurse. While searching for Thorn, Black Canary finds the real nurse, as well as a police officer, bound and gagged underneath a bathroom sink. Inside her own psyche, Rose Forrest usually keeps her psychotic alter-ego, Thorn, shackled to a brick wall. At one point Rose creates an iron clamp for Thorn's mouth when she will not stop shouting at her.
When Cheshire plans on faking her death, she leaves Lady Shiva tied up and gagged inside of a trunk with a bomb. Ironically, Catwoman of all people is the one who rescues her.
The very first issue has Black Canary tying up and gagging a security guard while infiltrating a mansion.
Another issue had a scene where Huntress was gagged and handcuffed to a pipe by a brainwashed Lady Blackhawk.
A recent issue had a scene where Huntress used duct tape to truss up and silence the Penguin.
Break Her Heart To Save Her: After a fashion. Issue #11 of the relaunch features a team-up of Huntress and Catman, who had a history of flirtation and mutual attraction in their past encounters, tracking down a team of museum thieves that had taken a hostage. At the end of the issue Huntress reveals that she has deduced that Catman was a member of the thieves all along and warned him to never cross her path again. However, it is then revealed that Catman planned the whole event for this specific outcome, since he wanted Huntress to think of him as truly bad person and therefore not get involved in his horrendous life.
Broken Aesop: This is a bit of a mix of Broken Aesop and Family-Unfriendly Aesop, but the moral of The Battle Within, the arc from issues 76 to 85, appears to be the fairly stock aesop of "You should accept your friends for who they are and not try to change them," except that what Oracle was trying to change about Huntress is her tendency to kill people. In the end, Oracle apologizes to Huntress, and, in the Dead of Winter story arc (issues 104-108), actually tells Huntress to use deadly force against the Secret Six if she thinks it appropriate, possibly making this the Family-Unfriendly Aesop that sometimes killing people is a good idea.
Broken Bird: Barbara becomes Oracle after being shot in the spine.
Bury Your Gays: Creote's suicide after Savant's murder is actually a complete sham, as the entire event was staged for Oracle's benefit. Once this is revealed it is Savant, who at the time thought he was straight, who attempts to really kill himself.
Lady Blackhawk: You drive. I call shotgun. Gypsy: But Shiva's already in that seat... Lady Blackhawk: No. I mean — I call shotgun.
Call to Adventure: The series literally starts with Black Canary, whose car was in the middle of being repossessed and who was being hounded by other creditors, receiving a phone call from the mysterious Oracle and being invited to join her on an adventure.
Clark Kenting: Black Canary. The original Canary costume involved wearing a long, blonde wig to cover her short, dark hair; removing the wig when out of costume changed not just the color and length of her hair, but also the general shape of her head. However, after several years of using this method to disguise herself she became unhappy with wearing an itchy wig so often and just dyed her hair blonde.
Clear My Name: The "White Canary" arc begins with Black Canary being framed for the murder of a kidnapper that she had captured earlier in the issue. Later issues reveal that, even with the defeat of the White Canary, she is still wanted by the police.
Combat Clairvoyance: Archer Braun, the very first foe that Black Canary and Huntress united against, had the ability to know what you would do before you did it. He was able to outfight Lady Shiva, and dialogue indicates that this is an almost common interaction between the two of them.
Huntress, though a trained and experienced martial artist, has nowhere near the natural skill or pure talent for killing that Lady Shiva or Black Canary do, and so has to supplement her abilities with whatever is handy. When fighting Shiva, fully aware that she will almost certainly not survive the encounter, she throws her own bloodin Shiva's eyes and remarks that, for all Shiva's skill, she has never had to do the street fighting or brawling that Huntress has done. During her battle with Vixen, Huntress avoids being curb stomped by the powerful heroine by aiming for her face. Since Vixen is a famous African supermodel in her day job, the blows to her face help snap her out of her brainwashed state. Later on, Huntress shoots her with a pistol.
Hawk, as the Avatar of War, is more brutal than the other members of the birds.
Hawk: Warnings are for wussies. Huntress: I hate to say Hawk's right, but warnings are kind of a lousy combat strategy.
Continuity Nod: The series is very arc-based and frequently refers back to previous events in this and other series that lead to the current moment.
The second arc of the relaunch, dealing with the Calculator's resumed attempts to learn Oracle's identity, refers back to the last time he and Oracle came into conflict. This occurred in the Batgirl 2009 title and resulted in a Battle in the Center of the Mind and subsequent Mind Rape.
While thinking about her last encounter with the Calculator (See note immediately above) Oracle explains that the last time the superhero community erased the memories of a villain it nearly destroyed them all. This refers to Identity Crisis, where Zatanna used magic to alter the personality of Dr. Light and wound up damaging his mental competency. Dr. Light himself appears in Black Canary's hallucination at the end of the issue.
Corrupt Corporate Executive: The first Oracle/Black Canary team-up featured Nick Devine, a man who specialized in devloping industry in third world nations, but was really providing shoddy work and pocketing large amounts of the cash, then covering up his substandard business practices by having "terrorists" destroy his efforts.
Issue #10 of the second volume closes with a gathering of the "Bat Family," the primary superheroes of Gotham City, each of whom have their own on-going series. Present are Batman (Dick Grayson), Batman (Bruce Wayne), Batgirl (Stephanie Brown) and Red Robin (Tim Drake). Misfit (Charlotte Gage-Radcliff) is also present, her first appearance in the relaunch, but she does not have an independent series of her own.
Issue #1 of the third volume opens with Black Canary meeting with Barbara, who has now become the new Batgirl and left for her own solo title. Batgirl will appear in issue #4 of the series.
Cut Lex Luthor a Check: In the lukewarm-received run after Gail Simone left as head writer, the Birds begin to battle the "Silicon Syndicate," a super-human mafia operating out of (and controlling) Platinum Flats, the high-tech capital of the world. However, instead of robbing banks or holding the world for ransom these criminals have simply taken control of the enormous internet companies operating out of the city and are using their legitimate revenue sources to rake in such massive amounts of money that even the Joker thinks they are too valuable to kill. By controlling the DC equivalents of Google, MySpace, eBay, eHarmony and other such conglomerates, their yearly profits can be measured not in the millions or billions, but in trillions, and nobody in the world is even aware that they exist.
The original run of the series was abruptly cancelled in the middle of the Platinum Flats arc with the Silicon Syndicate. The arc was not followed up on in either other series or after the comic returned to publication.
The relaunched series will be again relaunched, starting at issue #1, after the publication of issue #15. This occurs right at the conclusion of a mini-arc featuring Junior, a character previously introduced in Secret Six, and who was established as a new recurring foe for the Birds.
Oracle: Oh, you're down and you're not coming back, huh? You remember Batgirl, Dinah? A tough honey. Tough enough to hang out with the Dark Knight himself. Black Canary: What's that got to do with me? Oracle: It's got everything to do with me! Do you think I like sending out agents to do my dirty work? Do you think I get my thrills living vicariously? Do you think I don't know hurt? You don't know hurt, sister! I can't get off the mat to take down thugs like Lynx on my own, but you can, and by God you will, because if you don't you'll regret it the rest of your life.
Dark Action Girl: Lady Shiva is a recurring character and, sometimes, a protagonist. Much of her appearances focus on her relationship with Black Canary, which seems to be something neither of them enjoy, but are compelled to pursue for their own reasons.
Darker and Edgier: At its initial inception, Birds of Prey was a major departure for the character of Black Canary. She abandoned her campy and flashy fishnet outfit for a more "practical" bodysuit fitted with all sorts of gadgets and compartments. When first showing Canary her new outfit, Oracle even goes out of her way to take a dig at Canary's old costume and reputation. The tone of the book itself was also new for many of the characters; the team rarely dealt with the sort of cosmic baddies and cartoonish villains that Black Canary faced in the Justice League, instead focusing on more real world threats like terrorism, human trafficking and drug dealing.
Dating Catman: Huntress and Catman have an extremely flirtatious relationship that has sometimes verged extremely close to outright romance. Many other characters, minor and recurring, currently or previously dated people on the opposite side of the morality line, with various degrees of success.
Helena Bertinelli. When she is fighting Lady Shiva, one of the best martial artists in the world, she keeps taking more punishment specifically so that she can throw her own blood in Shiva's face. She ultimately survives the encounter for the sole reason that she kept fighting even though everybody (Including herself) knew it was a hopeless fight, and this drew it out long enough for Black Canary to find and remove the reasons for the fight in the first place.
The anonymous mook in the introduction of issue #11. Huntress herself admits that the man definitely has courage and determination as he keeps trying to run after she has forced him to crash his bike and then shot him in the foot as he scaled a building. When she finally reaches him he actually tries to fight her, with a gaping wound in his foot, and Helena wonders what is keeping him going after she already hobbled him. He does go down, eventually, but not before drawing a gun and being tackled by Catman.
Disproportionate Retribution: Cheshire murders one of Black Canary's and Lady Shiva's former teachers, poisoning him and six of his students, even though he was frail old man with terminal cancer who would have passed soon, anyway. Why do this? Why start a long chain of violence and death that will spin out of this?
Black Canary: You know guns, Oracle? Oracle: I don't like 'em, but I know 'em.
Driven to Suicide: Creote did not kill himself, but actually staged a suicide as part of Savant's plan to kill himself. Savant's warped ability to perceive time means that he is constantly reliving the brutal torture he underwent at the hands of Hellhound and the Black Spider when Calculator was trying to find Oracle's identity, and after two years he has decided to end it.
Duct Tape for Everything: Oracle defeated Lady Spellbinder, an immensely powerful illusionist, by covering up her eyes with duct tape.
Even Evil Has Standards: Though she has general contempt for concepts like "criminal honor," which usually just lead to only more death for no good reason, Huntress admits that at least the Mafia left families and, especially, children alone. Whatever they did to each other, for whatever stupid reasons, at least children were kept out of the way.
At the height of Huntress's infiltration of the Gotham Mafia, Barbara Gordon brought her father into the Clocktower and revealed to him her secret life as Oracle. He was suitably surprised and impressed, but when she also told him about her time as Batgirl before her paralysis he explains that he figured that part out years ago. After all, you do not get to be police commissioner by being a slouch. Barbara is glad he accepts her, but regrets how much time and energy she put into hiding her activities when he already knew.
At the time of the relaunch Barbara has decided to kill Oracle because the persona has become so well known. Her actual identity is still a mystery, but the mere fact of her existence is known not just by superheroes, but also supervillains and even a lot of average internet users. Almost all the villains know who she uses for her operatives, and many have made it a personal matter to combat and attempt to kill her or her friends. For a mysterious behind-the-scenes information broker she is simply too much in the spotlight.
The Black Canary is well-known amongst the world martial arts community and is held up as a measuring stick of combat skill within the hero community. Her reputation is not as wide-spread as some other heroes, but those "in the know" have heard of her and her legendary prowess
Oracle was originally an internet Urban Legend, spoken of in chat-rooms and forums without much credibility, but over time has become a famed internet celebrity known to heroes, villains and the general population. This has lead to some problems, as she issupposedto be a mysterious legend.
Fictional Counterpart: The Silicon Syndicate rules the hi-tech city of Platinum Flats and controls, among others, the DC versions of Google, MySpace, eBay, eHarmony and other such conglomerates.
Flashback: The long histories of almost all characters are often explored and examined when they impact the current mission.
Forced Prize Fight: Misfit and Black Alice were involved in one against each other in 'The Dark Side Club'.
Foreshadowing: Throughout issue 12, hints are dropped that Junior is the villain of the story, from the hiring of two redheaded twins to act as security, to being referred to as "Mister J", to mutilated dolls hanging from the ceiling of the building. This all culminates in Black Canary and Dove discovering an empty crate with a telephone and a notepad, as Junior sneaks up on them, scissors in hand.
Good Old Fisticuffs: When Huntress and Lady Shiva square off in a fight to the death, everybody (Including Huntress) recognizes it as something just short of an execution. However, even though she never expects to actually win, Huntress plans to at least injure Shiva by getting close and brawling with her instead of fighting at a proper distance with a refined style. Her logic is that, though Shiva has spent years dueling the most refined and skilled martial artists in the world, Huntress is a street fighter and understands how to get up close and personal in a fight.
Good Parents: When Barbara Gordon is being hijacked by Brainiac, Black Canary uses a picture of Babs's father Jim Gordon, to help pull her back from oblivion. As she explains it, and as we see throughout the series, if there ever was a father, this man was it.
Gunship Rescue: When Calculator has kidnapped Huntress, Lady Blackhawk and Dove, Oracle comes to their rescue in an attack helicopter that lays waste to the whole area (With rubber bullets, of course).
Heel-Face Turn: Poison Ivy, a former eco-terrorist with a massive body count, willingly joins the heroic Birds at Black Canary's behest. The other members don't take kindly to this. She of course left the team in short order.
Strix was a former assassin and a member of the Court of Owls, but strove to change her ways after an encounter with Batgirl and Catwoman.
Heroes Unlimited: Once Black Canary left the team the line-up became very fluid, with Huntress and Lady Blackhawk as central characters supported by a rotating roster of other female heroes. Gypsy begins to appear just before Canary's departure and slowly fades away after she is gone and Big Barda, Judomaster and Hawkgirl appear for individual missions. Manhunter and Misfit (an original creation) become semi-regular team members and are joined by Infinity shortly before the series is cancelled. A dozen other heroines (from Power Girl to The Question) are shown as receiving invitations to join the team or having been active in past missions.
Heroic Build: All protagonists, male and female, are sculpted as if from stone.
Hollywood Hacking: Oracle. She once took down the Internet with a few keystrokes. Yes, the entire Internet.
Honor Among Thieves: As a Mafia Princess Helena Bertinelli is more than familiar with the concepts of criminal "honor" and hates the very concept, since all it does is provides excuses and justifications for their actions. This comes to a head when Black Canary and Lady Shiva are forced to fight a duel to the death over an affair of honor involving yet another criminal, the White Canary, and the end result is just that people will die for no good reason.
Honor Before Reason: Huntress, because she grew up as Helena Bertinelli in the very middle of the Gotham Mafia, is well acquainted with the concepts of criminal honor and respect and the like, and she finds them idiotic and ridiculous. All they do is provide a justification for criminality and offer excuses for the way people act, and when Black Canary is going to fight Lady Shiva to the death over issues that all stemmed from an affair of honor she wants to find a way out of it. Ultimately, she decides to play their own game and challenges Shiva first, so that the matter of "honor" will be settled and Canary will no longer be involved, even though she is aware that she will inevitably die herself; at least Dinah will be able to emerge from the situation alive.
How Did You Know? I Didn't: When Cheetah has tackled Black Canary and threatens to rip her throat out Huntress shoots Cheetah in the shoulder, face and throat.
Black Canary: Hey, how'd you know about Cheetah's healing factor? Huntress: Healing what now?
I Am Not Left-Handed: When Manhunter and Black Canary are fighting, Manhunter refers to all the recent sparring she has done with the likes of Wonder Woman, and how happy she is to now test her skills against such a legendary martial artist like the Canary. However, during the fight she remarks that Canary is not living up to her expectations and she wonders why she has not yet used her Canary Cry. Canary explains that she "is trying really hard not to put [the Manhunter] in the hospital."
The original Oracle/Black Canary team-up ends with Canary ready to kill Nick Devine, the mastermind behind the Evil Plan, and Oracle explaining why she can not do it. Eventually, Canary lets him live because he is not worth compromising herself over.
The White Canary gets Black Canary and Lady Shiva to agree to a fight to the death by threatening to kill Sin, Black Canary's adopted daughter/sister that she rescued from a life of brutal training to become the new Shiva. Black Canary agrees because she loves Sin, Shiva agrees because she cares for Canary.
Incompatible Orientation: Lady Blackhawk took quite a liking to Creote, the hulking wall of tough-as-nails man, but found herself summarily kicked out of the race when she learned that Creote was already in love... with Savant. She apparently decides to make sure this never happens again, as upon meeting Hawk in his civilian identity she asked Dove if he was "fancy".
The Infiltration: Huntress, in her real identity as Helena Bertinelli, uses her family's history with the Gotham Mafia to join their organization and rise to the rank capo. As a capo she has access to their networks, personnel and background information and uses this information (And, sometimes, even the criminal power that comes with the position) to advance her war on crime.
The Internet Is for Porn: Barbara might regularly save the world with her on-line connections, and with her world-wide influence she might actually be more dangerous than Superman, but by far the greatest single moment of this series is when we learn that she and Ted Kord "cyber did it" one time.
Involuntary Battle to the Death: Lady Shiva and Black Canary are forced to have a Duel to the Death by the White Canary, who wants vengeance and to restore her family's honor, and and is forcing the issue by threatening to kill Sin, Canary's adopted daughter/sister, if they do not cooperate.
Iron Weight: Lady Blackhawk is on the lower end of this weight class, Hawk and Dove are on the upper edge (just shy of Super Weight). Huntress is right in the middle of the class.
It's Personal: Black Canary and Lady Shiva team up against Cheshire when she murders their old teacher, a frail old man who was dying of cancer and would have passed soon. He was yet another father figure for Canary, and for Shiva he was "an old man who never never had an evil thought for anyone, who saw people as something better than they were..."
Jumped at the Call: When Black Canary received a call from Oracle offering her a job and adventure (See Call to Adventure above) she ran out of the house before the answering machine had finished playing the message, offering the first taxi she saw her last $20 to get her to the airport right away. She did not even know what the job was, or who Oracle was, and she did not wait to find out.
Katanas Are Just Better: Katana is depicted as being capable of dispatching scores of gun-toting opponents with her namesake weapon.
Kinda Busy Here: Subverted by Huntress, who takes a call from Oracle while beating up some thugs without missing a beat and talks without acknowledging what she's doing. In Secret Six Huntress once herself called Catman while in the middle of a beatdown on some thugs, so it just seems to be something she does.
The Knights Who Say Squee: In issue #8 of the relaunch Black Canary and Batman end up fighting side-by-side against the Caculator's minions, and their combined prowess leaves Helena dumbfounded.
Helena: That's...that's kind of beautiful to see. Isn't it?
Left Hanging: The final arc of the series before its cancellation in 2009, dealing with the Silicon Syndicate in Plantinum Flats, was dropped when the series ended and was not followed up in either the characters appearances in other comics or when the series returned in 2010.
The Mafia: Huntress, as Helena Bertinelli, grew up in the midst of one of Gotham's oldest and most powerful criminal families. She became the Huntress after her entire family was murdered in an internal power play, and in Birds of Prey she eventually infiltrates the Mafia and becomes a capo to take it down from the inside.
Mafia Princess: Helena Bertinelli, who would grow up to become the Huntress.
The Mafiya: When infiltrating the Gotham City mob (See The Mafia above) Helena brings along Creote as visible muscle, and uses her obvious connection to "the Russians" to leverage herself a position as capo within the mob.
Make Me Wanna Shout: Though her martial arts mastery usually makes it pretty superfluous, Black Canary has this as a superpower.
Mind Rape: Mortis has the ability to turn anyone's inner psyche against them, forcing them to relive every bad decision and moment of self-doubt in their entire lives. Most of her victims commit suicide almost immediately, others just never wake up.
Minor Injury Overreaction: Huntress recognizes all the implications for Calculator's future when his henchman see him so unnerved by a minor scratch.
Calculator: Geezus! Good God! I'm bleeding. I'M BLEEDING! Huntress:(thinking) More than you know, Calculator. I've been around hired thugs my whole life. And I know that the line of respect that allows a man like you to order them to risk their lives is a delicate and moving one. And you screaming like a little girl over some scratches from a handcuffed hostage? Well, you just erased it.
Monochrome Casting: In a series of conversations about race in comic books on Tumblr, Gail Simone has acknowledged that, in her opinion, it sends a bad message that all of the main characters in the book are straight white women, most of whom have blue eyes. To rectify this Gail has said that she will be using two non-white heroines, Cassandra Cain (one of DC's few Asian vigilantes) and the Question (a Hispanic lesbian) as guest operatives in coming issues  and will be working on a long term solution to fix the lack of color in the book. However, in the same Tumblr post where she admitted that the lack of diversity in the book was a problem she pointed out that she had used many minority heroines such as Lady Shiva, Judomaster and Vixen in guest roles during the first volume. She also briefly added Grace Choi from the Outsiders to the team's roster when they guest starred in Secret Six #7. Following the New 52 reboot, the Japanese heroine Katana finally joined the team, and the African American vigilante Strix was inducted into the group after her departure.
Monster Clown: Good ol' Mistah J shows up in a three-part arc pretty early on, and returns for a truly disturbing (but also triumphant) arc right at the end in the last issues before the series was cancelled.
Mook-Face Turn: Terry, one of the White Canary's students, guides Black Canary to where Sin is being hidden and then helps Sin and her foster parents escape so that Canary can stop the Huntress/Shiva fight to the death.
Mugged for Disguise: Thorn beats up and ties and gags a nurse in order to steal the woman's outfit as part of an escape plan.
Mundane Luxury: When Black Canary took Sin away from her Training from Hell to be her generation's Lady Shiva, one of the first things they did when they got to the States was to go out for breakfast with the other Birds. Sin is driven to Tears of Joy after trying a pancake. This just makes Dinah even more determined to adopt her.
The Musical: The cover for issue #3 of the second BOP series has the Birds dressed in Cabaret outfits and performing on a nightclub stage. Additionally, Gail Simone wrote a Birds of Prey-themed episode of Batman: The Brave and the Bold which features the girls performing an actual musical number after infiltrating a nightclub.
Nigh Invulnerable: Hawk and Dove are the physically strongest of all the Birds, and Hawk once put himself in a helicopter with the express intention of it being blown up.
Noble Demon: Black Canary and Lady Shiva spend so much time working together against common foes that they actually develop something of a friendship. Neither of them enjoy this, but they take it quite seriously.
"Black Canary" really has nothing to do with Dinah Lance's skills, behavior, powers or history; ditto her mother, who originated the title. She does refer to her sonic wail as her "Canary Cry," but it is never implied to actually sound like a real canary and she had the name before her powers arose.
The team itself, for that matter—the only ostensible reason for calling them the Birds of Prey is that they all happen to be women (and even that doesn't always fit, given Hawk's membership following Brightest Day). Lampshaded in a Blue Beetle comic:
Jaime: So they're like super-powered birds? Oracle: No! Jaime: They have bird-powers? Oracle: No. Jaime: Do they at least have bird code names? Oracle: ...One does. Jaime: Annnnnd we're back to you sucking.
Not Me This Time: When Black Canary's old mentor was murdered while she visited him in Hong Kong, even though he was terminally ill and would have died soon anyway, Canary and Lady Shiva quickly assumed that the supervillainess Cheshire committed the crime. They have a history of animosity and the means of the crime, poison, happened to be Cheshire's specialty. However, after Black Canary tracked Cheshire down, attacked and captured her, she found out that Cheshire did not do it; rather, it was the deed of a corrupt US senator who arranged the murder specifically so it would point to Cheshire. The two of them were enemies and he hoped Canary would deal with Cheshire for him. However, they eventually discover that it really was Cheshire after all. She made it look like she was being framed so that Canary would help her get back to the US as part of her own Evil Plan.
Not So Different: While Barbara is more emotionally stable than Batman and is actually willing to let people get close to her without being compelled to push them away, she can be every bit the manipulative control freak that he is. When Huntress was first merging with the team she called out Barbara on her secret attempts to "fix" Huntress (Huntress took issue with being considered "broken") and left the team. As she left, she accused Barbara of turning out to be a manipulative jackass just like Batman.
Odd Friendship: Black Canary and Lady Shiva. "Friends" may be pushing it a little far, but they are amicable acquaintances with a shared history and civil interactions. They have, on occasion, gone for drinks together, trained together and worked together. However, they also remain potentially mortal enemies from diametrically opposite sides of the good/evil divide.
In issue #1 of the relaunch, Black Canary and Huntress find themselves facing an Asian woman who is a very skilled martial artist, but whose identity is obscured. Based on her ancestry and skills two possible identities come to Canary's mind: CassandraCain or LadyShiva. After she makes this deduction she acknowledges that there is a very good chance neither she nor Huntress will get out of the situation alive.
#3 gives a series of these to the entire team as everything goes to hell in a short amount of time.
In Issue #10, Mortis recognizes the implications of Black Canary escaping her Mind Rape.
Mortis: The Canary. She found a way out. She... I lost her. I lost her. We have to...we have to...we have to...we have to run. Calculator:(Canary appears standing behind Calculator) Oh.
In issue #12, when Huntress learns that the team is up against Junior she begins screaming for Oracle to pull Canary and Zinda out of the building.
Olympus Mons: Black Alice has the ability to steal the magical powers of anybody in the DC Universe. This includes the claws and fur of Cheetah, the sorcerous powers of Felix Faust, and even the wondrous strength of Wonder Woman. However, when she says she can take the powers of anybody, she does mean anybody, and she once took the powers of The Spectre. An emotionally traumatized, angry teenage girl now has the literal power of God's wrath.
The One Guy: Hawk in the relaunch. Apparently, Zinda has already taken something of a liking to him, but she has decided to do some advance recon based on her experiences with Creote.
One-Man Army: Black Canary. When she swapped lives with Lady Shiva her training culminated in her singlehandedly stopping an army, with tanks, from destroying the village where her training took place. A lot of writers often forget that Canary is a member and former leader of the Justice League of America, composed of some of the most powerful individuals on the planet, and she is regarded as one of the top twenty martial artists alive; she is not a street fighter, she is one of the Big Guns.
Painted-On Pants: Not the predominant art style of the series, but as with most Long Runners there were occasional shifts in staff and this trope would occasionally come into play when new pencilers/inkers would join the book, clearest when Vixen guest-starred in the original run and on Huntress in the relaunch. With Hawk & Dove their superhero outfits do not come off and are literally skin-tight.
Pajama Clad Hero: Barbara spends almost all of her time in civvies, and occasionally shows up in pajamas. One example in issue #11 of the relaunch shows her pajamas, which naturally has the Bat symbol on them, and complementary bunny slippers.
Passing the Torch: When Batman (Dick Grayson) questions if Barbara can really get rid of Oracle, she states that Proxy (Wendy Harris) can handle the data gathering and retrieval.
"That cup has been passed."
Photographic Memory: It is not mentioned that often, but Oracle has one. Her eidetic memory actually backfires on her: she constantly relives getting shot and paralyzed by The Joker.
Pietà Plagiarism: The script for the first meeting of Oracle and Black Canary specifically stated that "We’re going for The Pieta" when describing the panel of Canary cradling Barbara.
The team at one point had three blonde womennote though technically Black Canary is a brunette who bleaches her hair. Dove has white hair, but previously had blonde hair in her secret identity. To better differentiate her, she was given white hair in both identities for Birds of Prey. The trope receives a Lampshade Hanging when Hawk refers to "the blonde with the legs" when talking about Lady Blackhawk, who he doesn't know well at that point.
Averted post-reboot, with only a single blonde (Black Canary) on the team.
Mortis: Your friends have dumped you again, haven't they? Haven't they? Black Canary: Heh *sniff* No. No, lady, they haven't. You pulled the wrong trigger. Don't you know that? Mortis: How do you know? How can you be certain? Black Canary: Because they're my friends. Because they love me.
Power of Trust: In the relaunch, when Batgirl tries to warn Canary that Starling has been compromised by their brainwashing villain, Canary responds that Starling is in fact the only member of the team that she trusts.
Progressively Prettier: Misfit, though never ugly, was originally a bit plain for a comic-book character and wore loose-fitting clothing over a body that did not measure up to other heroines. As the series progressed, however, her clothing became tighter, she filled out and she might have even become a bit taller. Thankfully, she remained a teenager and never became overly sexualized.
Punk in the Trunk: At one point, Catwoman accidentally finds Lady Shiva stuffed inside a car trunk with her mouth taped shut. After realizing that the bound woman is a sociopathic killer, she is understandably hesitant to release her.
Putting the Band Back Together: Issue #1 of the relaunch involves Black Canary, Huntress, Lady Blackhawk and Oracle reuniting and operating as a team again after separating following the earlier cancellation of the series.
Really Gets Around: When Black Canary and Huntress get angry at each other they tend to forget that they are highly trained and lethal combatants and instead fall back on the old standbys of calling each other names, including pointing out that Huntress "was a brazen hussy on a twenty-four man patrol." Despite her reputation, however, Helena never quites seems to earn the title (See also Take That below).
Red Skies Crossover: The series relaunch in 2010 was initially published under the Brightest Day banner, the story of which deals, at least in part, with the heroes resurrected in the aftermath of Blackest Night. The Birds Of Prey title was itself resurrected in the aftermath of Blackest Night, but with the exception of having Hawk and Dove on the team it has no connection to the storyline of the event. Apparently realizing this, several issues into the series the Brightest Day banner was removed from the title.
Reed Richards Is Useless: The "Silicon Syndicate" seems to have realised that most of the rest of the super-community is even more useless than Mr. Fantastic, and they decided to exploit that. By reverse-engineering supervillain technology for resale they have managed to take complete control of Platinum Flats, the high-tech capital of the world, and now generate a revenue greater than most countries.
Relationship Upgrade: Savant and Creote go from being Just Friends to... dating? Lovers? Whatever their exact status, it becomes explicitly romantic when Creote's feelings for Savant are revealed.
Remember the New Guy: Katarina Armstrong (Spy Smasher), a well-received villain that Gail Simone would later use in her series Secret Six, is introduced leading a government operation to dismantle the team and place herself at its head. Flashbacks and dialogue between her and Oracle reveal that she and Barbara Gordon were very close competitors in college who equally excelled in almost all areas. Katarina herself, however, had neither been seen or mentioned prior to her first appearance, not even in other flashbacks or references to Barbara's college life.
Removing The Earpiece: Black Canary has, on occasion, deliberately removed her radio receiving earpieces in order to separate herself from Oracle's control.
Required Secondary Powers: Oracle is fascinated by Misfit's ability to "bounce" because she seems to avoid all of the problems that other characters have with the power. She never bounces into the same place as an object, she never needs to worry about different environmental factors between her origin and destination, and her range seems to be effectively worldwide, as she bounces from Gotham to Russia in one jump, and across the continental USA in another. She even heals while bouncing, once instantly repairing a bullet-wound to her stomach. This all combines to make Oracle view her as possibly the most powerful teleporter in the DCU. However, though Misfit can bring inanimate objects with her when she bounces she cannot bring any living being with her when she teleports as they explode immediately after transport.
Issue #12 closes with the revelation that Junior is alive and right behind Dove and Black Canary!
Issue 2 of volume three ends with the revelation that Black Canary's final recruit is Poison Ivy.
Revenge: Cheshire's complex and convoluted gambit to kill Black Canary, Lady Shiva and a powerful US Senator, after having already killed Canary and Shiva's old teacher, boils down to the extremely simple fact that she dislikes these people and feels the have wronged her in the past (Canary cares for Cheshire's daughter in her stead, the senator is her biological father who raped her mother, and Shiva...well, for Shiva she just needs an unidentified Asian corpse to serve as a decoy). Here there is no grand Evil Plan, no scheme for money or power, she just wants these people to hurt.
Current: No, you listen, dammit. You didn't say it'd be the Canaryandthe Bat, Calculator! Calculator: Are you kidding? Aren't you supposed to be badass? Current: Look, I just got this electric gear. I ain't fighting those two. I'm out.
Oracle remains Barbara Gordon in her time off, masquerading as the owner/operator of a hi-tech company to explain some of her equipment purchases.
Huntress lives as Helena Bertinelli, a school teacher in Gotham. She is also, starting during Gail Simone's run on the series, a capo in the Gotham Mafia, which she uses to deconstruct organized crime from within.
Black Canary is a complicated example; early issues had her explain that she no longer bothered with a secret identity because she no longer had a personal life to protect, and she used her real name and code name interchangeably. However, later issues had her maintain a life as florist Dinah Lance and made references to keeping her civilian and superhero lives separate, but while "on duty" she continued to introduce herself with her real name and was publicly recognized as Black Canary while "off duty." She even has a Justice Society of America credit card that she can use to purchase airline tickets without raising any attention. How this all reconciles with other events (Such as her very public marriage to Green Arrow/Oliver Queen without anybody then knowing that Arrow and Queen are the same person) has yet to be explained.
Self-Made Orphan: Misfit is technically one, though she did it accidentally. When her apartment building caught on fire she tried to "bounce" away with her mother and little brother. That is how she found out that any living thing she bounces with her dies en route. She clings desperately to Barbara Gordon and the Birds Of Prey because she needs both a surrogate mother figure and the opportunity to atone for accidentally killing her family.
Shock and Awe: The villain Current appears in the relaunch working for the Calculator, and he has some sort of technology that grants him electrical powers.
In Issue #25 Ted Kord flies the Beetle around Bludhaven with Oracle and recreates several of Nite Owl's scenes from Watchmen in the process. For bonus points Nite Owl was originally supposed to be Ted Kord.
Shut Up, Hannibal!: Black Canary delivers an immensely satisfying one to Mortis, mid-Mind Rape, effectively telling her to go screw herself.
When the team moves to Platinum Flats they are greeted with outright hostility by the populace and local law enforcement, who explicitly blame the rising number of super-crimes, and the increased crime-rate in general, on the arrival of the Birds.
Barbara decides to kill Oracle because of all the attention that the identity attracts.
Stupid Jetpack Hitler: The final arc of the series before the relaunch, written by guest author Mark Andreyko, revolved around a mission undertaken by Lady Blackhawk, Phantom Lady and the original Black Canary to destroy a Nazi cloning lab set up in Argentina after the close of WWII.
Super Wheelchair: Averted. Barbara has never had anything except a normal wheel chair, propelled by muscle-power and without any extra gadgets. In early 2011 Gail Simone requested submissions from fans of the series to design Barbara's new chair, which she planned to make her "official" chair, and she listed several guidelines for the design. Oracle's wheelchair must be "fairly light, functional, and modern. Expense is not an issue, but obtrusiveness is, she wouldn't want anything that people will notice, in the same way that she doesn't really dress to be noticed when going outside. We want something maneuverable and versatile." The idea of "hidden missile launchers" was specifically forbidden because "It doesn't fit her character... Oracle is not Professor X or the Baby Cart Assassin."
Super Window Jump: When Cheshire jumps out a window, pursued by Black Canary, Lady Shiva shakes her head and comments that there is a perfectly good set of stairs.
Take a Third Option: When Black Canary and Lady Shiva are forced to face each other in a duel to the death, they have each accepted it as an inevitability. Neither one wants it, but they are not even trying to get out of it. Huntress, on the other hand, has no intention of watching what would be essentially an execution if Canary and Shiva did fight, so she challenges Shiva first, which cancels the Shiva/Canary fight altogether (Now she just needs a fourth option to get herself out of the fight, because she does not want to die either.)
Canary's comments early in the relaunch that she had not been herself lately referred to the same series as well as Rise Of Arsenal, where she dumped Ollie in his jail cell and abandoned Roy Harper as a lost cause after he slipped back into addiction.
Following a controversial scene in Justice League: Cry for Justice in which Green Arrow mentions Hal Jordan having a drunken threesome with Lady Blackhawk and Huntress, Gail Simone wrote a scene in Birds of Prey #7 which had Huntress say that Hal was passed out drunk. Helena declines to elaborate and, while not an explicit Retcon, this does raise some doubt about Hal's story.
A more good-natured jab than some Take Thats, Misfit, who originally appeared claiming to be Batgirl, disparages Stephanie Brown's costume.
Misfit: And nice batsuit, by the way. Purple, much?
Take That Kiss: After Oracle and Huntress have proven their independence from, and even superiority to, Batman, Black Canary kisses him before sending him on his way.
Oracle: I've never been more scared of you in my life, Dinah.
Oracle follows this rule and enforces it on her operatives. When Black Canary and Huntress meet for the first time, tracking down the same criminal, Oracle is emphatic that Canary not get involved because of Huntress's tendencies to to cross the line. This leads to obvious friction when Huntress and, later, Manhunter eventually join the team.
Black Canary reminds Lady Shiva of this rule when they team up to avenge their sensei's murder. Shiva responds that she respects Dinah enough to concede a little. That is, Shiva promises to announce when she intends to kill someone, to give Dinah the chance to stop her.
After the relaunch, Dinah takes a much freer stance on the issue and is fine with Katana killing mooks in a fight. Her internal monologue explains that Katana was everything she thought she would be, including "lethal," and only reminds her to leave at least one alive for questioning. However, as the series progressed, she began to object to Ivy and Katana's lethal actions.
Tontine: Apparently the Blackhawk Squadron had a tontine, a bottle of champagne, "won" by Zinda Blake when she was flung into the future.
Training from Hell: Black Canary trades lives with Lady Shiva during the One Year Later in order to help humanize the vicious killer. While Shiva was working with the Birds, Canary lived in an Asian jungle (Never identified where) and underwent the brutal training that Shiva herself underwent while being trained to become Lady Shiva. She is beaten, starved, beaten some more, and sent singlehandedly against an entire army (With tanks) to protect the village where this is happening. She undoubtedly becomes a better fighter, but she recognizes all the problems inherent with this sort of training and leaves, taking little Sin with her, because she recognizes how badly this will damage a human psyche.
True Companions: It is explicitly stated that half the reason Oracle is doing what she does is because she is trying to save not just the victims of crime, but also the heroes whose lives are in shambles and who can be rescued with genuine emotional stability and warmth.
Unresolved Sexual Tension: Oracle and Black Canary's relationship has often seemed to verge extremely close to the romantic, but their past (and current) relationships with other characters (Nightwing for Oracle, Green Arrow for Black Canary) is one of the impediments for any sort of Relationship Upgrade. Likewise, even though a sexual attraction has never been explicitly confirmed, the Oracle/Canary relationship is often stated within canon to be one of the factors that prevents any sort of permanent bond with the other halves of the pairings.
Unspoken Plan Guarantee: The second arc of the series relaunch, "The Death of Oracle," is established in the first issue as Barbara's plan to eliminate the Oracle identity by faking its death. However, even though bits and pieces are revealed, and a lot more is hinted and implied to other characters, the actual plan is never revealed, not even in narration. Oracle and Huntress just refer obliquely to "the plan" and, when events happen, that this is/is not in "the plan."
The Vamp: Talia al-Ghul is a recurring character in the Batman mythos, one of the Batman's more long-term and complicated relationships, and she often fluctuates between ally and enemy as Batman and her father, Ras al-Ghul, battle one another. For her guest appearances in Birds Of Prey, however, she has decided to exploit her extremely well-formed figure to manipulate and dominate the men she targets, starting with the father of Black Alice.
Villainous Harlequin: Dr. Harleen Quinzel makes a wonderful guest-appearance as everyone's favorite off-kilter Harley Quinn.
Villainous Valour: The mook in issue #11 of the relaunch, who despite being beaten up, hobbled by a crossbow bolt in the foot and pursued relentlessly does not go down until Catman shows up and tackles him. Huntress even admits to herself that she's impressed by how tough the guy is.
Villains Out Shopping: Issue #13 features Oracle calling Catman to get information on a foe the Birds are facing, and it is revealed that she caught him while he was frying an egg for his dinner.
Villain Team-Up: Catwoman, aware that Black Canary is still wanted by the police, asks if she is interested in a "super-villain team-up."
Voice with an Internet Connection: Oracle, especially to those who do not know her true identity and thus only confer with her over radio. Babs confers with a "council" of fellow hackers at one point, each of whom is represented only by a voice, an icon on the screen and addressed with the name of a color (Oracle is green). We never learn who any of them are, although it is implied that "Blue" is Ted Kord....with whom Babs once "cyber did it."
Waif-Fu: With the proper use of leverage, training and skill even a slimly built woman can defeat a large man, or numerous large men, in hand-to-hand combat, but none of that explains how they are able to put enough oomf behind a punch to knock them across the room.
Weird Trade Union: Black Canary and Huntress were once sent by Oracle to infiltrate a meeting of dozens of henchpeople who worked for various Gotham criminals. It turns out that they were meeting in order to unionize and demand proper payment and benefits for their work.
"Can you imagine asking the Joker for full medical and weekends off?"
What Beautiful Eyes: Catman is recognized by a hostage, which leads Huntress to deduce his role in the robbery she is following, because of his Green Eyes, which stand out amongst everybody else.
Who Is This Guy Again?The sister of the Twelve Brothers in Silk. Her character and history are so esoteric that her reveal was somewhat underwhelming.
Though their partnership eventually grew into true companionship, in the early issues under Chuck Dixon Oracle and Canary had an almost adversarial relationship over the radio, with Canary frequently disregarding Oracle's advice/instructions and even turning off their link completely.
The reboot series portrays similar issues between the new members. Katana and Starling initially end up in a brawl with Poison Ivy after she is first inducted into the team, and Batgirl repeatedly states how disgusted she is that known killers like Ivy and Katana were even allowed into the group in the first place.
Woman in White: An Asian woman calling herself the "White Canary" shows up at the end of issue 1 of the relaunch. Her costume makes sense once her identity is revealed : In Asian fashion she is wearing white in mourning for her brothers, the Twelve Brothers in Silk, who she killed after their defeat at Black Canary's hands to uphold her father's honor.
Oracle: You traveled five thousand miles. You hooked up with a loose cannon — possibly psychotic — vigilante who doesn't place much value on life... and a world-class felon. You stressed my network to the max. You faced the world's deadliest martial artist. All to get back at a guy who didn't call you the next day. Was itworthit? Black Canary:Yeah, it was.
The very first Black Canary/Huntress meeting came when they were both on the trail of Archer Braun, a criminal who had separately scorned both women in their private lives. Catwoman got involved, too, but she just wanted the money Braun owed her.
While Black Canary is battling Cheshire in Hong Kong with Lady Shiva, Oracle is being held prisoner by a corrupt US Senator in Gotham. These seem to be two completely independent stories until these plot threads crash together in a pretty glaring Contrived Coincidence: Cheshire murdered Canary's teacher as part of her plot to destroy the life of that same US Senator!
Worth It: Black Canary believes that yes, being kidnapped to the former Soviet Union and facing Lady Shiva in deadly combat was worth it to get revenge on the man who never called her back (See Woman Scorned above).
Would Hurt a Child: The White Canary's threats to kill Sin, Black Canary's adopted daughter/sister, and complete willingness to carry out those threats are one of the issues that makes Huntress rank her beneath even the Gotham mob, which would at least generally leave children out of it, and is also the one tactic that gets Black Canary to cooperate and agree to fight Lady Shiva to the death.
Yaoi Guys: Savant and Creote, who are finally a couple.