Follow TV Tropes


Comic Book / Birds of Prey

Go To
Because you should never need to choose between beauty, brains or brawn... or a good HAWWWKAAAAAA!

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 using 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 the Black 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 character from The DCU 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 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 floundered creatively after Swierczynski left, and was cancelled at issue #34.

In 2016, the title was relaunched as Batgirl and the Birds of Prey as part of DC Rebirth, with Shawna and Julie Benson as writers and Claire Roe as the artist. Like many of the Rebirth titles, the new series was launched with the goal of hearkening back to the pre-New 52 version of the team, with the group now consisting of Batgirl (Barbara Gordon), Black Canary and Huntress.

Foillowing a 5 year hiatus after the end of the Bensons' run, Kelly Thompson and Leonardo Romero will be relaunching the team in Sepetember 2023.

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 Birds of Prey (2002).

In September 2010, Simone wrote an episode of 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 the creators, 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.

A movie set in the DC Extended Universe was released on February 7th 2020, titled Birds of Prey (and The Fantabulous Emancipation of one Harley Quinn). It's the first R-rated DCEU movie, and features a rather creative cast of Harley Quinn, Black Canary, Huntress, Renee Montoya, and Cassandra Cain. Barbara Gordon is not featured as she has not yet been introduced to the DCEU.

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.
  • Alternate Company Equivalent:
    • Fearless Defenders, launching in February 2013, is already being called "Marvel Birds of Prey". (Confirmed team members are Valkyrie, Misty Knight and Dani Moonstar)
    • Domino (2018) featured a similar group built of Domino herself, Diamondback, and Outlaw, who share many traits with the Birds, which makes perfect sense considering this book is written by Gail Simone herself, who has openly admitted to trying to create a 'Marvel counterpart' to the Birds. When the book ends, the trio are joined by several other related heroines (and Deadpool) to form the Hotshots, to give them a similar name.
  • Almost Kiss: A violent example. When Super-villain Killer Shark brainwashes Lady Blackhawk into thinking she is Queen Killer Shark, she leads him to his grandfather's treasure. This causes Killer Shark to cry and to reveal that he had originally intended to kill her after he got his treasure, but has changed his mind. As he leans in for a kiss, Zinda subconsciously punches him, breaking his teeth.
  • And Now You Must Marry Me: During the Chuck Dixon run, Ra's al Ghul seduces Black Canary under a false identity and begins a relationship with her. Once she finds out who he really is and naturally tries to end things, he tries to force her to marry him by dumping her into a Lazarus Pit to make her amenable to the idea (and to restore her ability to have children).
  • Animal-Themed Superbeing: The name of the team itself invokes this but Catwoman, Black Canary, Hawk, Dove, Lady Blackhawk, and Oracle (when she was Batgirl) fit this trope.
  • Amazon Brigade: Obviously, though male characters frequently appear as allies to the team. Hawk, appearing in the 2010 relaunch, appears to be the first male to actually be on the team.
  • 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.
  • Back from the Dead: The "Whitewater" storyline deals with the return of Tora Olafsdotter, the former JLI member known as Ice, as part of a plot to return Russia back to the Soviet Union.
  • Badass Biker: Both Canary and Huntress, at times.
  • Badass Normal: Oracle, Huntress, Lady Blackhawk, Katana, and Starling.
  • Bar Brawl: Lady Blackhawk occasionally likes to spice-up her nights out.
  • Bat Family Crossover:
  • 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.
  • Battle Butler
    • Lady Blackhawk serves as the teams chauffeur and pilot, but also joins them on their combat assignments.
      Lady Blackhawk: You know, I was just supposed to be the pilot.
    • Creote serves as one for Savant.
  • Battle Cry:
    • Lady Blackhawk is very defensive of what she terms her "special yell thing," which she brought over from her original team.
    • Misfit is very quick to pronounce "Dark Vengeance!" on everybody who gets in her way.
  • Battle in the Center of the Mind: When Mortis uses her touch on Black Canary, which turns her psyche inward and forces her to relive every bad decision and moment of self-doubt in her life, Mortis follows her powers in and torments Canary herself. However, Canary decides that she is not going to just lie back and take it.
    Black Canary: Now get the holy hell, out of my brain. I won't warn you again.
  • Beauty Is Never Tarnished:
    • Usually played straight, especially considering how many fights everyone gets into.
    • A notable aversion occurs during Huntress and Lady Shiva's duel, where Shiva beats up Huntress to the point that her face is a swollen, bloody mess by the end.
    • Another aversion happens after Oracle and Spy Smasher's fight when Spy Smasher shows the beginnings of a black eye.
  • Befriending the Enemy: Black Canary attempts this with Lady Shiva. Shiva is interested in Canary because of her rapidly-increasing martial arts skills and wants to face her in a Duel to the Death and later comes to owe her an important debt. Canary tries to use this to befriend and reform Shiva, but Shiva knows this and actively resists.
  • Better than Sex:
    • In one issue, Black Canary and Oracle apparently have the best shrimp ever. Black Canary claims if she had two bites of them a day she would never need another man.
    • In one issue, the supervillainess Knockout calls fighting "better than sex and almost as brutal" before a fight with Big Barda.
  • Big Bad Wannabe: The seemingly innocent teenage daughter of a mob boss arranges for her dad to be taken out right under the Birds' nose. She then goes to his various captains in a meeting to declare herself the new boss. Instead of being accepted, they literally laugh at the idea of letting a teenage girl run a mafia family.
  • 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.
  • Born in the Wrong Century: Justified. Zinda Blake was originally a fighter pilot and hero from the 1950's who was brought to the early 21st century via Time Travel. Due to her liberal and highly controversial beliefs regarding women's rights, responsibilities and abilities she is more at home now than she was in her original era, but she is struggling to deal with all of her friends and teammates dying of old age. Also, she can hardly get anybody to honor her senior citizens discount.
  • Bound and Gagged: Used quite frequently in the book:
    • 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.
    • One issue had a scene where Huntress used duct tape to truss up and silence the Penguin.
    • Gail Simone wrote a Birds of Prey episode of Batman: The Brave and the Bold which had Black Canary, Catwoman, and Huntress tied up by mobsters, with Canary gagged.
  • The Boxing Episode: Zigzagged. The cover of issue 106 is done in the style of a boxing poster promoting a bout between Big Barda and Knockout, but the actual story doesn't involve the sport at all. Punching, on the other hand, is very much present.
  • Brains and Brawn: Oracle and Canary, during Dixon's run.
  • Brainwashed: Sovereign Brushaw, under the influence of Brainiac, ran a compound in Oregon populated by mind-controlled children, teenagers and superheroes.
  • Brainwashed and Crazy:
    • When Huntress began poking around the Oregon compound (See Brainwashed above) cult leader Brushaw had the cultists mob her en-masse.
    • During the the Silver Age in Blackhawk, Zinda Blake (Lady Blackhawk) was captured by villainous Nazi operative Killer Shark, who used a chemical potion to brainwash her, forcing her to take up the identity of the costumed Queen Killer Shark. She battles her former comrades several times before she was freed of the effects of the potion. Later in Birds of Prey, she was captured again by Killer Shark (who was revealed to be the grandson of the original), help beat and caught her teammate Huntress (Helena Bertinelli), lead Killer Shark to the original one treasure. Zinda was freed with some help from her teammate Helena Bertinelli, and Killer Shark was defeated. In Blackhawk, Zinda Blake Queen Killer Shark's personality was cold and ruthless to the point that she had no loyalty to Killer Shark, having abandoned him twice and even outright betrayed him. While in Birds of Prey, Zinda Blake Queen Killer Shark's personality is entirely loyal to Killer Shark, with her being completely in love and devoted to him, to the point that it's implied that she had a sexual relationship with the original Killer Shark and is more than willing to sleep with the current Killer Shark while thinking he his grandfather.
  • 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.
  • Break the Haughty: Happens to Spy Smasher after Oracle gets fed up with her leadership. It starts with Babs beating the crap out of her.
  • Broken Aesop: This is a bit of a mix of Broken Aesop and Hard Truth 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 Hard Truth Aesop that sometimes killing people is a good idea.
  • Broken Bird: Barbara becomes Oracle after being shot in the spine.
  • Bullying a Dragon: Huntress deliberately insults Shiva during their duel in order to get Shiva to keep hitting her so she can get enough blood in her mouth to spit in Shiva's face.
  • But for Me, It Was Tuesday: Barbara Gordon is interrogating the Joker for the location of a nuke attack. Once the Joker sees her, he doesn't recognize her and ponders if he was the one that put her in the wheelchair.
  • 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.
  • Calling Shotgun:
    Lady Blackhawk: You drive. I call shotgun.
    Gypsy: But Shiva's already in that seat...
    Lady Blackhawk: No. I mean — I call shotgun.
  • Canon Immigrant: Issue 37 of the first volume brought in an In Name Only version of the Condiment King from Batman: The Animated Series, a Lean and Mean teenaged former fast food worker turned willing criminal named Mitchell Mayo who was Red and Black and Evil All Over.note 
  • Cheap Costume: Misfit's "Batgirl" outfit.
  • Civvie Spandex: Misfit again.
  • 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.
  • Clock Tower: Their original base in Gotham.
  • Code Name:
  • 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.
  • Combat Pragmatist:
    • Huntress, though a trained and experienced martial artist, has nowhere near the natural skill or pure talent 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 blood in 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 most of 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 (2004), 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.
    • After Oracle dies, Black Canary and Huntress reflect above Gotham's skyline and are approached by Catwoman, who claims she is there to offer her condolences. She points out that she was there at the very beginning of the outfit and that Oracle always played fair with her, so she is going to donate a significant sum to a homeless shelter in Oracle's name.
    • The first issue of Duane Swierczynski's run mentions Black Canary being framed for murder, which occurred at the start of Gail Simone's short-lived second run on the title.
  • Cool Plane: The Aerie One. Oracle sprung for all the extras — such as Deflector Shields and Invisibility Cloak.
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive: The first Oracle/Black Canary team-up featured Nick Devine, a man who specialized in developing 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.
  • Crossover:
    • 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 appears in issue #4 of the series.
  • Custom Uniform of Sexy: 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.
  • Cut Lex Luthor a Check: In the 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.
  • Cut Short:
    • 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.
  • Dare to Be Badass:
    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 Catwoman:
    • An early storyline has Black Canary dating and almost married to Ra's al Ghul. Granted, she doesn't know who he really is for the majority of the relationship, but the example still stands.
    • 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.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Almost everyone has a few of these moments.
  • Deathbringer the Adorable: Plucky teenager Misfit's catchphrase is "Daaaaaark Vengeance!"
  • Death Seeker: It's implied Lady Shiva's constant desire to find worthy opponents is because she wants one to kill her.
  • Destructo-Nookie: Issue 109 features the aftermath of Knockout and Scandal Savage's lovemaking. Let's just say it's a good thing their motel room was cheap.
  • Determinator:
    • 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.
  • Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: Babs taking down Brainiac.
  • 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?
    Cheshire: Because I don't like you, Ms. Lance.
  • Doesn't Like Guns:
    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.
  • Due to the Dead: Catwoman donates a sizable sum to a homeless shelter in Oracle's name, explaining that she was a part of the Birds from the very beginning and Oracle always played fair with her.
  • Duel to the Death: Black Canary and Lady Shiva have to fight to the death because of manipulations by the White Canary, who will kill Sin, Canary's adopted daughter/sister, if they do not comply. Huntress takes Canary's place in the actual fight, though.
  • Embarrassing Hospital Gown: In issue #71, Dinah is taking Barbara out of the hospital in a hurry on her bike. Barbara is still in a hospital gown and Dinah jokes that she better put on a coat or get dressed unless she wants to flash her butt to every cab driver in Gotham.
  • Empowered Badass Normal: Strix is a Talon from World War II, and has her Immortality Inducer.
  • Erotic Dream: Issue 3 (Volume 2) has The Penguin, while knocked out, dream about getting some of Huntress, Black Canary, Dove and Lady Blackhawk. Naturally the girls are disgusted.
  • Ethereal White Dress: 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.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Calculator gets Current to stay in the fight past his original intention by threatening to kill the girlfriend that Current thinks nobody knows about.
  • 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.
  • Everybody Knew Already:
    • 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.
  • "Everybody Laughs" Ending: The final issue before the 2011 DC relaunch, written by guest author Mark Andreyko, closed with Birds laughing together after defeating the schemes of Nazi-clones and their resurrected creator.
  • Evil Counterpart:
    • The Calculator serves as Oracle's, especially under Bedard's pen.
    • Tabby Brennan was introduced as the even Eviler Counterpart for the Huntress, but was killed off quickly.
  • Evil Plan: A staple of the series when facing supervillains.
  • Exact Words: After finding Sin, Black Canary breaks up Huntress and Shiva's duel to the death. Shiva is determined to finish the fight since she gave her word, but Black Canary reminds her that she only agreed to fight in such a duel, and did not agree on when that fight would happen.
    Black Canary: It could be forty years from now.
  • External Retcon: Justice League: Cry for Justice, a six-issue limited series, revealed that the villain Prometheus had been mind wiped by the Martian Manhunter and placed in an asylum after his first appearance; all his subsequent appearances had been a separate person impersonating Prometheus. This was done with the intention of explaining his later appearances where the supposed JLA-Level villain was defeated by B-list opponents. However, this also retconned his appearance in the One Year Later arc of Birds of Prey, where he showed the expected skill and experience of his original appearance, but is now revealed as having been the imposter instead. See also Take That! below.
  • Faking the Dead: The second arc of the relaunch centers on Barbara's plans to kill Oracle as the identity is too well known.
  • Famed In-Story:
    • 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 led to some problems, as she is supposed to 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.
  • Fighter, Mage, Thief: The three main characters in the classic line-up each fit one of these archetypes: Oracle, who, with her hacking abilities, can gain knowledge and harm enemies from a great distance, but, being a paraplegic, is not as good (though not completely helpless) in close combat, is the wizard; Black Canary, who, being the best martial artist of the three, and having the canary cry for dealing with more powerful enemies, is the best close combatant, is the fighter (although her ability to soak up damage is not appreciably greater than the others'); Huntress, being the best at and most reliant upon stealth, and using a crossbow as her primary weapon, is the thief.
  • Fish out of Temporal Water: Lady Blackhawk
  • 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.
  • Freudian Trio: The classic line-up:
    • Superego: Oracle/Barbara Gordon — intellectual, rational, the little voice telling you what to do.
    • Id: Huntress/Helena Bertinelli — brilliant but impulsive and emotional, fundamentally amoral.
    • Ego: Black Canary/Dinah Lance — more balanced, mediates between the other two.
  • Genki Girl: Misfit
  • Go-Go Enslavement: Lady Blackhawk is kidnapped and brainwashed by super villain Killer Shark and even has her own super villain outfit, here, here and here.
  • Good Old Fisticuffs: Zigzagged when Huntress and Lady Shiva square off in a fight to the death. 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. Huntress does manage a single knockdown on Shiva, but gets beaten into hamburger to do so. Shiva remains unscathed.
  • 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.
  • Goth Girls Know Magic: Black Alice is a Goth-styled anti-hero with the ability to effectively steal the powers of any magical being and temporarily use them as her own.
  • 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).
  • The Gunslinger: Lady Blackhawk and Starling.
  • Hacker Cave: The Clocktower.
  • Handicapped Badass: Oracle.
  • A Handful for an Eye: Huntress throws her own blood in Shiva's face during their fight, reasoning that Shiva has never before had to fight somebody so familiar with gutter tactics as to try that.
  • Hate Sink: Spy Smasher. She blackmails Babs into giving her leadership of the Birds, then disrespects them by not listening to their advice during missions. She's also arrogant and bureaucratic.
  • Have I Mentioned I Am Heterosexual Today?: "I am heterosexual to the bone".
  • Healing Factor: Strix has one.
  • 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."
  • I Have Your Wife:
  • "I Know You're in There Somewhere" Fight: Averted when Lady Blackhawk gets mind controlled by Killer Shark. Huntress fights her to try and snap her out of it, but gets knocked out since she was holding back, not wanting to hurt her friend; Zinda was just far too skilled while under the spell.
  • If You Kill Him, You Will Be Just Like Him!:
    • 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 cannot do it. Eventually, Canary lets him live because he is not worth compromising herself over.
    • The Huntress had cult-leader Sovereign Brushaw at her mercy at the end of her crossbow as Vixen begged her not to cross the line. Huntress lowers her crossbow and allows Brushaw to be taken into custody...and reveals that Vixen should not thank her for anything, her crossbow jammed.
  • 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".
    • Just prior to the New 52 reboot, it was clear that the Question (Renee Montoya) clearly had a thing for the Huntress. Huntress, meanwhile, did not even know that Question was gay, and was straight herself.
  • 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.
  • Instant Taste Addiction: Sin actually starts crying Tears of Joy when she first eats pancakes, but the maple syrup is what she particularly loves.
  • 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.
  • Implied Rape: While not outright stated, it is heavily implied when Zinda Blake (Lady Blackhawk) was captured by villainous Nazi operative Killer Shark and brainwashed into being his partner and taking on the identity of the costumed villainess Queen Killer Shark they had a sexual relationship. During a flashback, when Zinda was brainwashed, she was hugging Killer Shark in a suggesting way, and Zinda's friend and teammate Huntress (Helena Bertinelli) stated she was brainwashed into thinking she was Killer Shark's lover. It's said that Zinda does not have memories of her times as Queen Killer Shark; however, it's implied she wants revenge for being used by him. When Zinda was again brainwashed into being Queen Killer Shark by Killer Shark, who was revealed to be the grandson of the original, her brainwashed personality was shown to be completely loyal to Killer Shark. Zinda was completely in love and devoted to Killer Shark, to the point that it's implied that she was more than willing to sleep with the current Killer Shark while thinking he was his grandfather (though thankfully, Killer Shark was defeated before that can happen).
  • 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 is forcing the issue by threatening to kill Sin, Canary's adopted daughter/sister, if they do not cooperate.
  • 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?
  • The Lad-ette: Lady Blackhawk can order beer in many languages and hold her own in a Bar Brawl with ease.
  • The Lancer: Huntress, no matter who the hero is.
  • Lampshaded Double Entendre: Barda's mighty mega-rod. Huntress and Judomaster have such fun with this that even Lady Blackhawk knows that they are talking dirty.
  • Laser-Guided Amnesia: Issue #8 of the relaunch discusses when Oracle and Calculator dueled within their minds in issue #12 of the Batgirl (2009) series. Oracle mentions here that, as the Calculator inevitably imagined his own mind as a computer, she was able to delete the files that contained her true identity, removing that information from his memory. However, it seems that this action has resulted in currently-unspecified damage to his mind that he believes is going to prove terminal.
  • Left Hanging: The final arc of the series before its cancellation in 2009, dealing with the Silicon Syndicate in Platinum 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.
  • Legacy Character:
    • Dinah Lance inherited the Black Canary title from her mother, Dinah Drake, the original Golden Age superhero.
    • Charlotte Gage-Radcliffe attempted to become the new Batgirl, but Barbara's opposition leads her to assume the title Misfit instead.
    • A new Judomaster appears for the first time in this series, later becoming a member of the Justice Society of America.
    • Dawn Granger, the current Dove, inherited the title from Don Hall.
    • Katarina Armstrong, a villain, styles herself "Spy Smasher" after the original hero, but Lady Blackhawk explains that she knew the original Spy Smasher and Katarina does not even compare.
  • Lip Losses: In one story arc, a SWAT team goes after the assassin Cheshire. She lures one of the men into a false sense of security by kissing him... and then biting off his lower lip.
  • Lousy Lovers Are Losers: In issue #68, Helena tells Dinah and Barbara that Roy Harper/Arsenal was terrible in bed, and even takes the opportunity to make a pun about arrows. note 
    Huntress: Archers. They pull a mighty bow, but they're too quick to let fly, if you know what I...
  • 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.
  • Male Gaze: Every issue drawn by Ed Benes.
  • Meaningful Rename: Most of the code names that the characters use relate to either their skills, methods or histories, and they pick these names specifically to represent such facets of themselves. No, we have no clue what Black Canary was going for.
  • 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.
  • Mission Control: Oracle again, and Savant and Creote on occasion.
  • 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 [1] 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.
  • Morality Pet: Black Canary deliberately tries to reform Lady Shiva through friendship and human contact, even agreeing to be her student in martial arts and briefly exchanging lives. Shiva is aware that this is Dinah's goal, and she goes along with it because she wants to make Dinah stop.
  • More Expendable Than You: Huntress challenges Lady Shiva to a duel in order to prevent Black Canary from doing the same thing, since in Canary's current condition she has almost no chance of surviving the encounter. Huntress feels that, if somebody has to die, let it be herself, since Canary has a family and loved ones and a life to lose. Huntress ultimately survives the encounter, and Canary explains to her that she has a just as much of a family and loved ones as Canary does.
  • Most Common Superpower: Look at the picture at the top of this page.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Lady Spellbinder, due to her revealing costume.
  • 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.
  • Multi-Stage Battle: Hawkgirl dukes it out with Scandal Savage after the former tried to capture the latter, with Hawkgirl getting a beating and the fight ending after the pair are hit by the Secret Six's van, KOing Hawkgirl. They continue their fight once the Birds and the Six start battling shortly afterward, and Hawkgirl gets the upper hand. The fight still doesn't get resolved since Scandal gets taken out by a stray bullet from Deadshot.
  • 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.
  • Mundanger: 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.
  • Muscles Are Meaningless: When Black Canary and Savant eventually square off she does not fight using leverage, speed or an exploitation of her natural advantages, but instead matches him blow-for-blow in what is almost a direct conflict of strength in addition to skill. Given their different sizes and build, for Canary to even approach Savant in terms of raw strength she would need superpowers above and beyond her Canary Cry, but she still overpowers him and brings him to his knees.
  • 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.
  • New Super Power: His origin has not been revealed, but when Current was arguing with Calculator he explained that he had only recently gotten his electrical powers.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain: When Mortis uses her power on Black Canary, forcing her to confront every bad decision and instance of self-doubt in her life, Canary is catatonic and unable to stop the visions. However, when Mortis begins to personally taunt Canary and mentions that her friends have abandoned her Canary recognizes the lie. Her friends would never abandon her, and Mortis can now get the hell out of her brain.
  • Nigh-Invulnerability: 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.
  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown:
    • Huntress spends most of her duel with Lady Shiva (which lasts several pages) getting beaten to a bloody pulp.
    • After an assassin threatens to murder her students, Huntress jumps her and pummels her to within an inch of her life.
    • During Black Canary's training that simulated what Lady Shiva experienced, she had a burlap bag thrown over her head and was forced to fight off a dozen or so men. While she took some of them out, they eventually overpowered her and beat her until she lost consciousness.
  • 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.
  • Non-Indicative Name:
    • "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.
  • "No Peeking!" Request: In Issue #106, Helena needs to quickly change out of her dress and into her Huntress outfit, and asks Creote (the only male in the room) to turn around. Given he's Straight Gay and wouldn't care, he gives her a Fascinating Eyebrow, but she answers back a Death Glare and demands him to turn around anyway.
  • 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" Remark: 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.
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • 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: Cassandra Cain or Lady Shiva. 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 #8, Current, a hired gun working for the Calculator, tries to break away when he realizes he is fighting Black Canary and Batman.
      Current: I'm out.
    • 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 DCU. 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 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.
  • Painting the Medium: Mortis speaks in black speech-bubbles with yellow lettering and borders.
  • 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.
  • Pirate Booty: Lady Blackhawk (Zinda Blanke) was captured and brainwashed by supervillain Killer Shark into thinking she was his partner, Queen Killer Shark. She helped beat and capture her teammate Huntress (Helena Bertinelli). It was revealed that this Killer Shark was the grandson of the original one that brainwashed her when she battled him in the 40s, and he wanted her to lead him to his grandfather's treasure. She led Killer Shark to his grandfather's treasure, but she broke free of her brainwashing and, with the help of her teammate Huntress defeated Killer Shark. Later while Zinda and Helena are bragging to their friends about defeating Killer Shark, one of their friends asks if they can borrow some of their treasure, implying that they took the treasure Killer Shark wanted for themselves.
  • Plenty of Blondes:
    • The team at one point had three blonde womennote . 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.
  • Pop-Cultural Osmosis Failure: In issue #1 of the relaunch, Lady Blackhawk did not understand the reference to "Putting the Band Back Together".
  • The Power of Love:
    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.
  • The Psycho Rangers: The Secret Six guest-starred in an arc towards the end of Gail Simone's run, serving as a collective Evil Counterpart for the whole team and bringing lots of Foe Romance Subtext with them.
  • Psycho Sidekick: Huntress was this to Black Canary pre-reboot. She was extremely loyal to the Canary personally, to the point of be willing to fight a duel to the death against Shiva (a form of suicide), but there was no question that she remained one, if not the, darkest antihero in the DC universe. There were many occasions where one of the other members of the team had to stop Huntress from killing someone. On another occasion, Canary had to stop Huntress from brutalizing an already beaten Mook. Interestingly, however, Huntress did moderate her behavior so that Canary would be comfortable working with her; Canary did not really see Huntress' dark side until Huntress was about to throw Yasemin off a building, and Canary had to talk her out of it. Canary made her final decision to leave the group directly after this incident, which seems not to have been a coincidence.
  • 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 quite seems to earn the title (See also Take That! below).
  • Retcon: In the Blackhawk comic series, when Zinda Blake was brainwashed by Killer Shark to be his partner Queen Killer Shark, she had no loyalty to him. She abandoned Killer Shark to escape the Blackhawks twice in Blackhawks #200 and #204. And when Killer Shark and Queen Killer Shark capture the Blackhawks in #225, she betrays him, threatens his henchman to turn on him, and imprisons him with the Blackhawks. In Birds of Prey, her brainwashed personally is shown to be completely loyal to Killer Shark, with her being completely in love and devoted to him, to the point that it's implied that she has been sleeping with him in the past.
  • 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.
    • It's originally implied that another of her secondary powers to Bouncing is the ability to teleport to a location based on VERY simplistic guidelines. She initially finds Oracle, despite Oracle being a highly secretive member of the Bat Family (yes, even by their standards) and Misfit never showing any particularly remarkable intellect. As such, it's possible that all she needed to do was "Bounce to Batgirl" and that brought her straight to Oracle's sanctum. This would explain why she's so accurate and never telefrags. Further, once her powers were revealed to be magic based (and that she was related to the highly powerful Black Alice) helped provide justification. However, this was likely dropped, as Oracle never comments on the possibility of this incredibly useful application. There was never an explanation as to how she found Oracle, as she eventually left the cast and all of her plot threads were left hanging.
  • The Reveal:
    • An Asian woman, dressed all in white, shows up at the end of the first issue of the relaunch. Based off her ancestry and her martial prowess, Black Canary believes it to potentially be either Lady Shiva or Cassandra Cain, either of whom stand a very good chance of killing not only Canary, but the Huntress as well. In issue #4 the reveal comes that it is actually... the sister of the Twelve Brothers in Silk?
    • 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.
  • The Rival: Spy Smasher to Oracle.
  • Rousing Speech: In their first team-up, Oracle is speaking to Canary as she is fighting Lynx and, when it seems like Lynx has won, Oracle explains that Dinah does not have the luxury of dying here and she better get up and DO something about it. Afterwards, Dinah actually comments that it was a nice speech.
  • Screams Like a Little Girl: Huntress recognizes that when the Calculator screams like a little girl after a few scratches he erases the respect and fear that he used to keep his henchmen in line.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here:
    Current: No, you listen, dammit. You didn't say it'd be the Canary and the 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.
  • Secret Identity:
    • 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.
  • Secret-Keeper: Barbara eventually reveals to her father her activities as Oracle, which stunned him greatly but also made him very proud. However, when she then goes on to reveal that she used to be Batgirl he explains that that part he already knew.
  • 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.
  • Shot in the Ass: As Killer Shark is about to kill Lady Blackhawk, her teammate Huntress arrives just in time, shooting two arrows into his butt and knocking him out.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Gail Simone has revealed that her Brave and the Bold will feature a reference to Catman, Huntress' on-again/off-again boyfriend from the Secret Six (which, incidentally, is also written by Simone).
    • Cassandra Cain, the second Batgirl, was mentioned in Issue #10 and Red Robin (Tim Drake) wonders why she does not have access to Oracle's new hideout and activities. Barbara explains that she does not see giving out access as a privilege, but as a burden, and Cassandra has enough issues of her own to deal with right now. This also refers to Gail Simone's own efforts to feature Cassandra in at least a guest spot in the series, which she had said was upcoming, but which could not be implemented because of factors at DC Comics.
    • 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.
  • Signed Up for the Dental: The failed attempt to unionise the henchmen of Gotham City.
  • Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism: Huntress explicitly states to Catman that there is a scale, with Captain Marvel & Superman at one end and The Joker at the other. The middle of that scale, where she herself lives, is filled with gray, but she is at least trying to change her position. Catman, she explains, needs to pick a side, since you cannot just hover in the middle forever.
  • Sore Loser: Even though Big Barda had the upper hand for a majority of their fight and it ended in a draw at best, Knockout gets extremely angry at even the suggestion that she lost.
  • Sorry, I'm Gay: During an undercover investigation, Black Canary states that if she is hit on by a male lab technician, she'll shrug off his advances by claiming that she's dating Starling.
  • Spit Take: Helena cannot hold on to her beer when Zinda complains about how nobody will honor her senior citizens discount.
  • Stacked Characters Poster:
    • #12: Black Canary, Catwoman, Oracle, a disguised parademon, and a train are all depicted arranged on the cover at various sizes.
    • Vol 1 #37: Robin, Black Canary, and Blue Beetle are stacking in a sort of floating arrangement on the cover.
    • Vol 1 #91: Huntress, Oracle and a blindfolded man are stacked at various sizes lighted by a spotlight on the center of the cover.
    • Vol 2 #10: The cover depicts a veiled Barbara holding the Oracle mask with Black Canary, Huntress, Lady Blackhawk, Batgirl, Red Robin, Robin V, Hawk and Dove, and both Batmen stacked in fighting stances behind her.
  • Statuesque Stunner: Big Barda, the page image, is a minor recurring character before the move to Platinum Flats.
  • Straight Gay: Creote possesses no camp mannerisms or affectations, and is simply a man who happens to be gay.
  • Stripperiffic: Huntress' belly window and hotpants.
  • Superhero Paradox:
    • 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 Weight: Black Canary is Super Weight. Her Martial Arts put her at the top of Iron Weight alone. Her Canary Cry alone could secure her a spot in either Abnormal or Super, depending on how strong it's depicted, but as she's one of the best fighters on the planet without her Cry, she averages out to Super Weight.
    • Lady Blackhawk is on the lower end of Iron Weight, Hawk and Dove are on the upper edge (just shy of Super Weight). Huntress is right in the middle of the class.
    • Misfit is Super Weight, having the ability to teleport with incredible accuracy, and which comes with mild regeneration powers. with implications that she could be Hyper Weight. The extent of her 'bouncing' could be potentially incredible (She was able to locate Oracle somehow) but she got put on a school bus before she was fully fleshed out, leaving unanswered questions about her backstory and the exact nature of her powers, along with how she was able to find Oracle.
    • Black Alice is Hyper Weight. She can steal powers from any other magic user. And this does mean STEAL, rendering the individual helpless while she is channeling their power, and ANY is also the operative word, as she can steal powers from Hyper Weight characters. She could be potentially World Weight, but is held back by the fact that this phenomenal power is being channeled through an emotionally unstable teenager, who may know how to use the power itself, but is very unimaginative in it's application.
  • 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.
  • Tagalong Kid: Misfit
  • 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.)
  • Take That!:
    • 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. This gets a follow-up when Canary is subjected to Mortis's Mind Rape, with visions of Ollie blithely commenting on how she divorced him through his jail cell and Roy despairingly pointing out she turned her back on him when he needed her help.
    • 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.
  • Tank Goodness: When training in Asia Black Canary is forced to single handedly stop an army that is coming to eliminate the village. They have tanks. Canary stops them all by herself.
  • Tears of Joy: Sin is just so damn happy to be having pancakes.
  • Teeth Flying:
    • When Black Canary corners the Calculator after fending off Mortis' Mind Rape, she administers a stern punishment right across the jaw.
      Black Canary: I hope you know a bad night is coming.
    • Black Canary loses a molar in a brawl with the 12 Brothers in Silk. Huntress knocks out one of the Brothers' teeth earlier in that same fight.
    • Lady Blackhawk punches Killer Shark so hard that two of his teeth get stuck in her knuckles.
  • Teleporter Accident: Misfit's teleportation powers are extremely advanced (see Required Secondary Powers above), but she cannot bring any living being with her when she "bounces". If she tries, the other being explodes after transport.
  • This Cannot Be!: White Canary has two of these while watching the duel between Huntress and Lady Shiva. First, she can't believe Huntress is still conscious, let alone still standing, after Shiva's opening assault. Later, she's aghast that Huntress was able to actually knock Shiva down.
  • Thou Shalt Not Kill:
    • 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 cross the line. Black Canary ignores Oracle's warning; Huntress does kill him. This leads to obvious friction when Huntress and, later, Manhunter eventually join the team. Oracle's line on this issue softens somewhat by the end of Simone's first run on the title: she tells Huntress to do whatever is necessary to bring the team home safely, even if it means she has "to spill some juice on the carpet." See Unusual Euphemism, infra.
    • 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.
  • Token Super: For a long time, Black Canary was the only member of the team with a Metahuman ability (her "Canary Cry"). Other members with superhuman powers have since come and gone on short stints (such as Power Girl, Little Barda, Hawk and Dove and Misfit), but Canary is pretty much the most steady member with this advantage.
  • 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 event 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."
  • Unusual Euphemism: When Oracle tells Huntress to use deadly force if necessary to bring the team home safely, she uses the expression "even if you have to spill some juice on the carpet."
  • 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, Ra's 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.
  • 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."
  • 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.
  • 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."
  • Vulnerable Convoy: The "Apokolips Express" kicks off when oracle gets a tip-off that there is a planned breakout from a train transporting meathuman prisoners to The Slab. The breakout happens... by teleporting the train to another planet!
  • 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.
  • Was It Really Worth It?: Black Canary was kidnapped, taken around the world and ends up facing Lady Shiva for the first time all because she has a grudge against Archer Braun. Was it worth it? Yes, it was (See Woman Scorned below).
  • 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.
  • With Friends Like These...:
    • 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.
  • Wolverine Publicity: The 2016 relaunch is dubbed Batgirl and the Birds of Prey, likely to capitalize on the popularity of the Batgirl of Burnside ReTooling.
  • Woman Scorned:
    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 it worth it?
    Black Canary: Yeah, it was.
  • Working the Same Case:
    • 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!
  • The Worm That Walks: The villain Entity is a nanobot swarm that consumed an industrial spy and maintained his basic humanoid shape.
  • 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.
  • You Can Leave Your Hat On: Multiple issues have had the primarily female cast attending male strip clubs. Some of the members are horrified, and some are delighted. Lady Blackhawk is always a particularly enthusiastic participant.