Birds of Prey: Platinum Flats Review   Leave a comment


            I have always liked Barbara Gordon. I liked her when she was Batgirl fifty years ago in my youth, and I like her now as Oracle. What is not to like? Smart, tough, red-haired, voluptuous, and at one time a librarian—my perfect woman. Since the Joker’s bullet shattered her spine and made her a paraplegic, she has developed a new super power—absolute mastery of computers.

 (And come to think of it, computer mastery is a kind of super power in the 21st century. Those of us who know something about computers have advantages over those who don’t.  I don’t know nearly as much as I should, but dang it, you really have to study to keep up these days, and I’m an old grown-up with a job. I don’t have time or energy for computer study. I pick up what I can, when I can, and compared to the average adult that I see here in the library, I have kind of third-rate computer super powers. It is brains that Barbara uses now—and I tell you, it is a joy to see intelligence get its due as a human super power.)

 (While I’m philosophizing, I have to say that I consider it completely unfair that comic book characters get to remain forever young and beautiful, cheat death, exist in multiple universes simultaneously, and have super powers while out here in Mundania I’m coming to the end of my run and don’t have any of those abilities. Totally! Not! Fair!)

 BG aka Oracle has recruited her own band of super heroes/heroines and they’re known as the Birds of Prey. Yes, Good Girl comics live on, and judging from the racks at Samurai Comics here in Phoenix, they are more popular than ever. The Birds have a rotating cast consisting of Huntress, Black Canary, Lady Blackhawk, Manhunter, a teenager called Misfit, and they usually tackle the same kind of street crime that keeps Batman and Green Arrow busy.  In her bountiful spare time, Oracle also maintains databases and does free lance computer investigations for Batman and the Justice League of America—she coordinates America’s super hero community.


Platinum Flats is the fourth or fifth graphic novel from DC in the last few years starring the Birds of Prey. Having left Metropolis behind, they are now headquartered in a ritzy suburb of Star City called Platinum Flats. It is a sort of San Jose to Star City which is a kind of substitute San Francisco. This time they are up against the Silicon Syndicate—a group of criminal geniuses who mostly avoid the flashy kind of cartoon villainy and go for big profits instead.  The comic is full of computer jokes. The bad guys control companies like EBuy and Youface. I should have taken better notes–I wonder how many of those in-jokes there are.

 Except that in this episode the Joker is just back from Outer Space, and decides to cut himself into the action, which he does in typical ruthless Joker fashion. And that leads to him confronting Barbara Gordon one on one, determined to finish the job he botched so many years ago. Yes, there is a Joker/Barbara showdown, and I’ve never loved or respected her more than during this confrontation.

 If you’re a comics fan, do yourself a favor. Get a copy of Platinum Flats, or at least go to your local library and read it. D.C. is at the top of its game with this one. Five Stars out of four in my ratings book.

[And speaking of comics fans, I’ve always been one, but it may be that more of these blogs will be comics oriented in the futue. I have taken a new position in the Phoenix Library system that doesn’t allow me as much computer time as I’ve had in the past. That means I will have more reading time, and in my current position, I’ll have more graphic novels and things to read–hence more blogs about comics. You’ve been warned.  🙂 ]


Posted April 7, 2010 by atroll in Uncategorized

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