There are many memorable teams in comics, with The Avengers and the Justice League being the most famous. Other teams aren’t as well-known, and The Comic Vault will be looking into the history of different superhero and supervillain factions. The Birds of Prey are an all-female team who fight crime. They consist of Oracle/Batgirl, Black Canary, Huntress and Lady Blackhawk.
The group started in 1995, with Chuck Dixon’s one shot Black Canary/Oracle: Birds of Prey. At the time, Barbara Gordon was operating as Batgirl and Dinah Lance provided a great counterpoint. She was written as passionate and idealistic, which contrasted with Batgirl’s precise detective skills. Gail Simone was responsible for bringing the team to the next level when she introduced Huntress in 2003. Lady Blackhawk joined as well and the Birds of Prey are more than the sum of their parts, with each member bringing something different to the team.
Barbara acts as the leader and mission controller of the group. With her photographic memory and analytical skills, she represents the tactical side of the team. As Oracle she had an information network that helped the Birds of Prey in various situations. Barbara is the brains of the team, giving her friends the necessary support. Her practicality and experience are invaluable.
Dinah is arguably the most skilled fighter on the team, acting as the heart. Her idealism has rubbed off on the other members, most notably Huntress. It could be said that she’s the glue that holds the Birds of Prey together because she was very accepting of Huntress and helped Barbara come to terms with her disability. Her relationship with Oracle is important because she’s acted as Barbara’s legs and conscience.
Helena Bertinelli is the wildcard of the team and the one who isn’t afraid to get her hands dirty. When she started out as Huntress, Helena had a lethal approach to fighting crime. With the Birds of Prey she was able to find acceptance and learned how to be a true hero. Huntress saw a better version of herself in Black Canary and she tried to live up to her example.
Zinda Blake is the group’s pilot and brings a different perspective to the Birds of Prey. She became the first female member of the World War II unit known as the Blackhawks. She was transported to the modern DC timeline and eventually joined up with the Birds of Prey.
Lady Blackhawk has an old-fashioned approach that her friends admire. She was successful during a time when many women were considered second class citizens. As a result, Dinah, Barbara and Helena look up to her as a source of strength.
There have been various women to join the team, including Big Barda and Lady Shiva. But the four core members serve as an inspiration to female comic fans and remind us how every woman can be heroic in her own right.
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