Birds of Prey | Book Club: Weeks 3-4 | ORIGINS | Showcase '93 / Showcase '94 / Showcase '96

Welcome back, bird-watchers! We are continuing our initial look at our intrepid heroes and now we present for your attention some select issues from the Showcase series! This was a fun little series that did short looks at different characters, and with today’s batch, we’ve got quite a collection for you to enjoy (hopefully)! :hugs:

Showcase '93 #9-10

Showcase '94 #5-6, #12
Robin (1993) #6 falls between issues #5 and #6

Showcase '96 #3

These issues have other stories, and feel free to read them, too, but of course we’ll just be focusing on:

And yes indeed, Showcase '96 #3 is what introduced the world to the Birds of Prey. Although they weren’t yet called that, this team would then shortly go on to a series of BOP one-shots and eventually the amazing long-standing ongoing series!

We’ll take the first week to read (1/18 - 1/24) and start discussion on the second week (1/25 - 1/31). Welcome to the Birds Nest!

Join the team :arrow_right: HERE!


Haven’t read any of this yet, but I do want to say first off that I love the idea of these kind of books – an anthology that takes characters that may not have a home or not often use and give them a moment in the spotlight. It looks like we might see more of this now with the upcoming Batman: Urban Legends series, but something for DC character in general would be awesome.


I think I have read one or 2 of the Showcase books but overall this series has alluded me for too long. Thanks to this club that will change!!


I have not read any of these but looking forward to it! I missed the first week discussion deadline so I’ll try to make it to this one. :slight_smile:


You can still chime in with the first week, too! Anytime.


I have been super busy lately myself and still need to come back with my Black Canary thoughts from the previous book club (and I will :muscle:!) but I’m very very eager to hear everyone’s thoughts on these, possibly lesser-known issues! Especially that last one!

I know we just got a beautiful bunch of fresh new comics to ooh over, and we’ll be getting to some of those very soon! :hugs:


Definitely, so looking forward to digging into those. :smiley:

I’m just curious about where Harley Quinn & The Birds of Prey and the Birds of Prey one-shot will go, here or with Harley’s Crew.



Calling @Razzzcat!


Dont think “where” matters, since we’ll prob crossover for both. :raised_hands:


FYI, I noticed that the Showcase '94 issues with Huntress is actually part one and three of the story. It crosses over with issue six of the Robin series.


Thank you, I forgot about that! Let’s add it to the official list!


So, Showcase '93. The Huntress story was interesting. At first, I thought that the story was going to be that the kid in Helena’s class was going to be one of the thug kids that Helena encountered in the beginning of the story, which I think would have made for a more compelling story where Helena would have to use both her superhero and educator skills. The whole “survivalist camp” stuff kind of comes off as rote to me, but then when looking it up, I realized that this story actually came out only a few months after the Waco massacre, so that might have been fresh on their mind at the time.

The art was decent, though I was surprised to find out that it was by Bill Willingham – for those who don’t know, the writer of the Vertigo series Fables. I remembered him inking some in the past, but I didn’t know he full-on pencilled work before. That was a neat discovery.

And since these issues have a lot of different stories, I kind of wanted to comment on them too.

The Kobra Chronicles: Kind of hard to give a full opinion since I read two parts in the middle of the story, but it was decent. Not really a lot in terms of character, they kind of felt like stereotypical 90s anti-hero badasses with no real personality traits besides what kind of caliber rounds they use in their guns. The plot was BANANAS, though. Using toxic waste, installing it into TVs to turn the world into your mindless slaves? What rot, he says while staring intently at his screen.

Shining Knight as a story was also rather rote, mostly saved by the unique candor of Sir Justin’s expressions. What surprised me was finding out that the artist for this story was Mike Mayhew. His art back then was decent, but WAY DIFFERENT than what he does now. For those who don’t know, he’s been doing the flashback pages in the books of the Black Label title Joker/Harley: Criminal Sanity (a book that we’ll hopefully get on DCUI someday), and it’s literally night and day.

Martian Manhunter’s story was…weird. Like the tone was kind of all over the place, as was J’onn as a character. To me, J’onn has always been more stoic, thoughtful and kind, and while we get some of this, he just kind of comes off as a brute who just wants some Oreos.


Now for Showcase 94:

Main stories:

The Huntress/Robin story was decent. The mob sister/former childhood bully was okay, but picked up once they got into the wannabe priest vigilante who literally drew up his costume as a kid. I find it interesting that at this period they were really focusing on the dynamic of Helena and Tim Drake – I guess they figured that Tim was popular at the time and could use his clout to boost her up? I dunno. At least the Phil Jimenez art was pretty.

The Oracle story was also decent. It was slower and more paced than some of the other stories of it’s ilk, but I think it works for this character. It kind of feels like a plot I’ve seen with Babs loads of times, though I don’t know if it’s because this story wasn’t spectacularly original, or if this was the first and there were plenty of imitators after. The art by Brian Stelfreeze was great, though, and it made me want to see him do something with the BOP at some point – he is free now that the Ta-Naishi Coates run of Black Panther is ending…

Other stories:

Loose Cannon, Ballistic…look, there’s a reason that for all of the Bloodline characters, only Hitman really stuck around. The Ballistic story was a little more interesting, but it was just leading up to a 90s superhero team with an eye at publicity and ratings, and those were pretty much a dime a dozen.

Bloodwynd was kind of surprising, because before this, literally the only other time I’ve seen him was in a couple of panels of Justice League that tied into the eventual Death of Superman, and my time reading him mostly consisted of giggling that someone would actually publish a book with a name like “Bloodwynd.” The story itself was decent – focused on him more as a ground level hero, which was rather surprising given his name and overall look.

The Atom’s story here was probably the most fun side story of the selection here. I liked how they mixed the superhero action with some genuinely good takes on quantum physics. Also liked Atom’s chemistry with the lady cop. It’s a shame they never stuck together. Maybe if they had, Identity Crisis would have NEVER HAPPENED.

Triumph was a surprise since I had recently read him in Sam Humphree’s Harley Quinn, and figured this was a golden age character that had never been touched until now, and I suppose he was before. I suppose a hero that has lost a lot of time in his life has potential, but there really wasn’t a lot to really make this story interesting.


Ok, I missed this club for the first week but I’m here now. I liked the stories this week. I had only read the Robin issue previously, so it was nice to read a bunch of new stories.

I think I liked Showcase '94 #12 and '96 #3 the best. I liked seeing Oracle getting used to being Oracle and judging if she could do what she wanted to do.
I wasn’t expecting to like a Lois and Black Canary team-up. It just felt like a weird combo at first, but it went really well. Does Lois ever join up with BoP at any other point?


Only times I can think of are near the end of Gail Simone’s run when Oracle is forced to confront Lois for…reasons I don’t quite remember, honestly.

And then in Batgirl & The Birds of Prey, she showed up in an arc where all the men of Gotham City were dealing with a life-threatening virus and the BOP, along with the Gotham City Sirens, Wonder Woman and Amanda Waller had to work together to save the city.


We continue Moth’s Book Club Catch-Up tour!

Showcase '93 #9-10:

I actually remember owning issue #10 as a kid, but didn’t remember much about the story. This is pretty classic grim and gritty early 90’s material. One potentially troubling thing about these early 90’s stories is that they did try to channel real-world issues. @Jay_Kay mentioned the Waco inspirations of the survivalist camp (the Ruby Ridge siege also likely influenced this). The street gang that Huntress fights in the beginning also channels the media heightened, racialized fear of inner-city gangs that radiated through America in the 90’s. On one hand, the willingness to try and depict these real-world issues is bold. It’s in stark contrast to the “pretend they don’t exist” approach to earlier comics. On the other hand, these issues are not really explored in meaningful way, so that has the unintended consequence of being reductive. There were definite shades of grey in the real-life Waco/Ruby Ridge incidents, and the depictions of young African American men as gang-bangers in the 90’s was, well, toxic. Like I said, I believe these consequences were unintended, but they are definitely things I think about when I re-read early 90’s DC Comics (Marvel and Image too, for that matter).

Outside of that, I enjoyed the continued character progression of Helena in this story. We are given further justification for her descent into ruthlessness. Her desperate wish to protect her student and her inability to do so likely only stoked the simmering rage inside her. This story helped cement Huntress’ place in the DC Universe as the vigilante that will tackle the grim realities that other heroes won’t touch. I also loved her interactions with JPV Batman (who is a hypocrite).

Showcase '94 #5-6 and Robin #6:

What stood out to me the most about this story was the fact that it reminded me a lot of Frank Miller’s Daredevil. I felt the Miller influence radiating off of this one. Miller’s Daredevil dealt with the mafia, urban vigilantes, and explored Catholic themes which is pretty much this story in a nutshell. Miller’s Daredevil also had a mysterious nun who occasionally aided the Man Without Fear. Robin had his ninja nun. Anyway, it just goes to show how much influence Miller had on this era.

What I liked the most about this story was the Huntress/Robin partnership. I remember owning quite a few of their team-up issues when I was a kid. In some ways, Helena was a better partner to Tim Drake than the Batriarchy ever was. Tim is sometimes a bit patronizing to Helena, but you can see there’s a mutual respect and they have each other’s backs. Their friendship in the 90’s Bat-Books is something I get nostalgic for.

Showcase '94 #12:

Let’s talk about Babs! I found this to be a really positive, empowering story for her. She is definitely grappling with PTSD from the events of The Story That Shall Not Be Named, but she finds the strength to overcome it (it reminds me of a story we should be reading this week, but I’ll say no more until I post about it). She also proves that she can still kick butt from a wheelchair. This is a positive story for her transition from Batgirl to Oracle.

Showcase '96 #3:

This was a pleasant surprise! I didn’t know that Lois teamed up with Babs and Dinah in ‘96. This story came out in the midst of Lois and Clark’s pre-marriage, 1996 relationship issues that basically wasted a whole year of Superman comics (but… that is an irrelevant Moth rant, so I’ll leave it at that). Still, it was funny reading Lois and Dinah bonding over their super-romantic dilemmas. For Dinah, the issue is obvious: Ollie lived life as the world’s worst boyfriend and died the world’s worst boyfriend. Lois’ gripe with Supes was a bit more complicated as he refused to kill The Joker to save her life.

This was a really fun team-up, and it was a good example of the early Oracle/Black Canary partnership that was the bedrock for BoP. I also really like how they eventually defeated the evil foreman. How do you overcome labor abuse: Unionize.

I will leave it at that, for now. I’ve loved this book club so far and look forward to each week of it!


I’m in the same boat @TheCosmicMoth. Glad you you made it! :hugs:

I was thinking something similar while over in the BOP Suicide Squad thread. You’re :100: correct! (And @Jay_Kay) It’s bold to tackle these issues rather than ignore and rose-tint everything, but…they aren’t given the time they require. They’re sensitive and can potentially propagate fear and apathy depending on the reader. Thats, of course, why book clubs like these are great to have—we can talk it out and help course correct a bit. Even if it’s small, every bit helps.

As for the issues, these were some of my favorites:
Showcase 96 #3: I really liked Lois and Canary teaming up, staging a rebellion, and Babs & The Beatles saving the day.

Showcase 94 #12: Theres A LOT to say for this time period for our girl BG (and its been tackled quite a few times, which is its own double-edged sword), but this was a nice one. She’s strong :muscle: and nothings gonna keep her down—at least that’s how it made me feel. :purple_heart:

Showcase 93 & 94 #6: All I can say is: Huntress, I love you. I just do. And this was a pretty good team up.


Glad we’re both getting caught up, @Razzzcat :hugs:

80’s/90’s Suicide Squad definitely walked that line… and, yeah, it’s tough to balance. I still love the stories, but I think I pick up more on those cultural pieces more than I used to. It’s become a running dialogue in my head. I’d love to have some kind of socio-political themes in superhero comics forum, but… that could be incendiary.

I love her, too! …She would eat me alive, tho…


@TheCosmicMoth Yes! (Lookin’ at you Boomerang :face_with_monocle:) We had a thread here over summer (along w/ basically every week for HQAS) that began to tackle some things—representation of all kinds and underrepresented demographics (of which I am, more than once). I love that you think in this way and evolve. Its why I tend to find rereads fun.

For BG specifically, I always felt this way. I empathize w/ other females, obviously, and focus on them the most in a given story because…I get it. There’s subtext to things that I’ve lived my whole life, and I’m no stranger to being underestimated, misunderstood or seeing my girls get used a plot device. :nauseated_face:

Yay!! I definitely don’t want to be on her list, lol, but… :thinking: I think we could be friends. :00_huntress1: