The Birds of Prey

Created by Chuck Dixon

    

Oracle • Black Canary • Huntress •  Zinda Blake • Gypsy

The "Birds of Prey" was at first an unofficial name used to refer to the partnership of heroes instigated by Barbara Gordon — Oracle. Oracle never personally named her ring of covert operatives, but has masterminded many missions over the years. Barbara began her adventuring as the original Batgirl, but after she was shot in the spine by the Joker (The Killing Joke), she took her crimefighting and information systems knowledge to cyberspace. As Oracle, she first approached the covert Suicide Squad, offering her services as a hacker and information broker. Eventually, she even showed her face to the team, but none of its members knew her real name. Around this same time, she contracted her first freelance operative: Power Girl. In her first mission to the Middle East, Power Girl was forced to decide between the fates of one head of state and hundreds of people on a boat. The people died, and Power Girl was traumatized; from then on, she was unwilling to work with Oracle. (Birds of Prey #42) Only once since then has she responded, in order to save Black Canary's life. (#12)

Barbara knew that establishing a rapport with one operative would be best, and out of the large pool of potential candidates, she chose the Black Canary. (BoP Secret Files #1) Canary had the right résumé: experience in the JLA and JSA, and a life that — at the time — was directionless at best. Canary was game, but in the beginning, she was not privy to Oracle's identity; the pair spent some time working out the kinks. (Unbeknownst to Canary, the two had worked together in the past, during Oracle's time as Batgirl. [Batgirl Year One #6-7]) Some of those first missions also involved Catwoman and the Huntress, but neither of them was welcomed to stick around.

While online, Oracle also struck up a friendship with someone known only as "BB." Once they met, she discovered that this was in fact Ted Kord, the Blue Beetle. (#15) The Beetle ran a couple missions before discovering that he had a serious heart condition. After this, his adventuring was curtailed, but he continued to help out in a technological capacity. (#39-40)

As Oracle's prowess grew, so did her stable of enemies. It was inevitable that one would eventually trace her to her clock tower headquarters in the Gotham City. In this case, Canary saved Babs from the clutches of Blockbuster and the two finally met in person. (#21)

She has shown many signs of a forgiving nature not so prevalent in her own mentor, the Batman. After Black Canary was kidnapped and severely beaten by the man called Savant, she recruited Savant into her service, challenging him to clean up a particulary surly Gotham neighborhood. (#74) In this he succeeded, but has since disappeared. The case with Savant also brought the most significant addition to the team — Helena Bertinelli, the Huntress.

The Huntress was drawn in as a last resort to rescue Canary from Savant. Her past with Oracle has been strained, but she found a genuine friend in Canary, who persuaded both Oracle and Huntress to attempt a team of three. (#69) Soon after the Huntress signed on, Oracle's headquarters was destroyed and compromised. She was tired of the baggage that Gotham held and so decided to take the show on the road... or more specifically, the air. Oracle recruited a fourth partner, Zinda Blake, also known as Lady Blackhawk. Blake was also looking for a change and gladly procured a state-of-the art plane which could shuttle the Birds to and from their missions nationwide. (#75) It was also Zinda who at last coined the name for Oracle's ooperation: The Birds of Prey. (#86)

The tension never really subsided between Oracle and the Huntress. Helena eventually deduced that Oracle had asked her to join them only because she was viewed as a "pet project," a misguided hero just waiting for a little guidance. Helena was enraged, and quit the team. (#80) With the Huntress gone, Canary called in some help from one of her own mentors, Wildcat. (#81) The Vixen has also served undercover in one known case. (#69-72) Most recently, the young heroine, Gypsy, has joined the group. (#92)

Oracle was recently given metahuman-like ability after being invaded by Brainiac. After apparently defeating him, she left with the ability to directly interface with computers. This ability came with a heavy cost; Brainiac's circuitry threatened to overtake her like a virus, and kill her. Oracle was ultimately forced to swallow her pride and agreed to undergo surgery. This was performed by Dr. Mid-Nite, and amazingly, following this she regained some sensation in her legs.

After leaving Gotham, Oracle established a new headquarters in Metropolis, Dalten Tower (designed by the same architect as many Gotham buildings). Zinda unveiled a new helicopeter, the Aerie Two, and handed out new jackets bearing a modified Blackhawk logo (for the Birds of Prey). (#86) Oracle also began rebuilding bridges with Huntress, and backed a plan by Helena to infiltrate Gotham's mobs. Though Helena at first refused full-time membership, she was soon convinced after the successful completion of their mission. Even the Batman was impressed when Huntress finally handed over a complete list of the mob's key members. (#86-91) Helena accepted full-time affiliation amidst this. (#88)

When Earth was beseiged by the villainy of Alexander Luthor, Oracle herself became the number one target of thge Society's Calculator, her opposite number. Society members tortured her former associate, Savant. (#88) Savant disappeared after this incident. It may have been sufficient impetus for him to return to a life of crime.

Black Canary's continued exploration into the martial arts led her into more direct contact with the world's master, Lady Shiva. She agreed to become Shiva's pupil, in the secret hopes that she could turn the assassin away from her murderous ways. Even Green Arrow noticed the Canary's improvements. Dinah eventually went so far as to challenge Shiva to trade lives with her. Each agreed to live the other's lives completely. After the "Crisis," Shiva joined on with the Birds as the Jade Canary, and Dinah ventured to Shiva's homeland in Southeast Asia to undergo training with her "Mother." At this time, Oracle added Gypsy as a full-time operative. (#92)

Dinah found a brual life in Asia, and met a little girl named Sin, whom the "Mother" was training to become the next Shiva. Dinah successfully completed Mother's trials, but refuesed to compromise her true self, or allow Sin to become an assassin. While with the Birds, Shiva participated in a mission to save the Crime Doctor, who agreed to reveal the Society's secrets to Oracle. In the process, they protected his daughter, Bethany. (#93) Dinah and Shiva decided to end their challenge simultaneously; neither could assume the other's ideals. And just as Dinah rescued Sin from a destiny as a killer, Shiva took young Bethany under her wing when the Crime Doctor killed himself. (#95)

Power Girl • Blue Beetle • Vixen • Manhunter • Big Barda

Members

Operative Tenure Status
Oracle (Barbara Gordon) constant Active in adventuring
Power Girl (Kara Zor-L, Karen Starr) BoP #42 Active in adventuring
Black Canary (Dinah Laurel Lance) Black Canary/Oracle, Birds of Prey #1-BoP #99 Active in adventuring
Huntress (Helena Bertinelli) BoP #69-80, 88-127 Active in adventuring
Savant (Brian Durlin) BoP #82-88 Active in adventuring
Aleksandr Creote BoP #85-106 Active in adventuring
Blue Beetle (Ted Kord) ... Deceased DC Countdown
Vixen (Mari Jiwe McCabe) BoP #69-72 Active in adventuring
Zinda Blake, aka Lady Blackhawk BoP #75-127 Active in adventuring
Gypsy (Cynthia Reynolds) BoP #92-103 Active in adventuring
Lady Shiva (Jade, The Jade Canary) BoP #92-95 Active in adventuring
Manhunter VI (Katherine Spencer) BoP #100-127 Active in adventuring
Big Barda (none) BoP #100-109 Deceased Death of the New Gods #1
Judomaster III (Sonia Sato) BoP #100- Active in adventuring
Hawkgirl II (Kendra Sheira Saunders) BoP #104-106 Active in adventuring
Misfit (Charlotte "Charlie" Gage-Radcliffe) BoP #104-127 Active in adventuring
Black Alice (Lori Zechlin) BoP #114-115 Active in adventuring
Infinity (unrevealed) BoP #120-127 Active in adventuring

» FIRST APPEARANCE: Black Canary/Oracle: Birds of Prey #1 (1996). Named as such: Birds of Prey #86 (November 2005)

» SERIES:
Black Canary/Oracle: Birds of Prey #1, one-shot (1996)
Birds of Prey: Manhunt, 4-issue limited series (1996)
Birds of Prey: Revolution, one-shot (1997)
Birds of Prey: Wolves, one-shot (1997)
Birds of Prey: Batgirl, one-shot (February 1998)
Birds of Prey, ongoing (1999-present)

» SEE ALSO:
OracleBlack CanaryHuntress • GypsyPower Girl
The Comic Treadmill
CanaryNoir
Lady Blackhawk Goes Bad
Newsarama: Tony Bedard Named New Writer (5 January 2008)

Blasters

Created by Robert Loring Fleming and James W. Fry

The group who would become the Blasters began as human test subjects for the alien Dominion invaders. The Dominion's experiment sought to discover how prevalent the "metagene" was in the human genome. To this end, they lined up 50 humans and initated their "blaster field." To their horror, a staggering six humans survived the carnage by developing latent metahuman powers. (Invasion! #1) Among them were:

  • Lucas "Snapper" Carr, former mascot of the Justice League of America, who manifested teleportational abilities
  • Moshe Levy (Dust Devil), a young Israeli boy who could create a whirlwind. Moshe's mother also survived but did not become superhuman
  • Fritz Klein (Frag), a German whose body would transform into a metallic scrap pile
  • Dexter Fairfax (Looking Glass), an middle-aged English writer who could absorb and rechannel light
  • Carlotta Rivera (Jolt), who weilded electrical energy
  • Amos Munroe (Crackpot), an American telepath, and
  • They were also joined by a rogue Dominator scientist named Gunther

When the alien invaders were driven from Earth and their captives freed, the Blasters joined with Earth's heroes and the Omega Men to reverse the effects of the Dominators' gene bomb. (Invasion! #3) Following this, they hung around with the Omega Men and captured the ship of the cat-woman named Churljenkins. Soon the Blasters returned to Earth. The the Omega Men remained stranded for a month to try and fix the ship so they too could return home. Later (and unwittingly) Snapper teleported back to Churl's ship and freed her from the Omega Men. The two of them reclaimed her ship intended to return Churl to home. They discovered, however, that her home planet had been destroyed to make way for a spaceway to Earth. It seemed that some enterprising Spider Guild beings had established a black market for arms on Earth. The two decided to put an end to it, and returned to Earth to gather the other Blasters.

In truth, most of the Blasters were grateful to be called back into action. Most of them had found it difficult readjusting to their lives after manifesting their metagenes. They took the Spider Guild head-on and also alerted the Justice League to the existence of their "Weapons Depot." Afterwards, all of the Blasters decided to remain with Churljenkins and tour space. (Blasters Special #1)

After wandering in space, the Blasters began to question the wisdom of their decision. Just when they were about to disband and return to Earth, they received a distress call from Valor's digital assistant, Babbage. Valor had been wrongly imprisoned by Kanjar Ru in Starlag II. When they broke into Starlag, they unintentionally released the Unimaginable. The Unimaginable set forces in motion which threatend to destroy Starlag. The Blasters were trapped as the prison began crumbling. Their fate following this incident remains a mystery. (Valor #5-8)

At some point, the Snapper was separated from his teammates. He did not know if they were dead or alive and expressed some guilt over their unknown fate. While searching for them, he was captured by some Khunds, who cut off his hands. (Hourman #20) He was rescued by the L.E.G.I.O.N., but knew nothing about the fate of the Blasters. Vril Dox gave Snapper new hands — and lost the ability to teleport — and was returned to earth. (Hourman #20-21) Inexplicably, Snapper has once again shown the ability to teleport. He is now an agent of Checkmate. (52 Aftermath: Four Horsemen; Final Crisis: Resist)

Notes

The Blasters were a pet project of Robert Loring Fleming. They had been slated for their own series, but editorial reigns changed hands, Fleming lost interest, and other creators became unavailable. The L.E.G.I.O.N. was another major team to spring from Invasion!. Fleming brought the Blasters in as guests when assumed writing the Valor series, but again left them in limbo, as the Zero Hour plans for the Legion soon overshadowed the book.

» FIRST APPEARANCE: Snapper: Brave & Bold #28. Others: Invasion! #1. As team: Invasion! #3

» FEATURED APPEARANCES: Blasters Special #1 • Hourman #20-?? • Invasion! #1, 3 • Valor #5-8

The Blood Pack

+ The "New Bloods," from 1993's Bloodlines Cross-Over

The Blood Pack is one of the shortest-lived and strangest teams to ever appear in the DCU. Its members were all part of the "New Bloods," who recieved their powers from spinal-fluid-sucking aliens (no, really). The alien parasites could disguise themselves as humans and preyed upon dozens of humans. One in 100 victims did not die, but were transformed into metahumans by the alien attacks. After an attack, the parasite would discharge the spinal fluid into a large vat where a monster called the Taker was waiting to be fed. When the Taker was sufficiently fed, it would then consume his own parasites and emerge to ravage an entire planet and strip it of all of its raw minerals. This cycle of death could then commence anew on another world.

They were rather quickly defeated, thanks in large part, to Superman, who had recently returned from the dead. (Bloodbath #1-2)

The Blood Pack was a group of New Bloods called together by a group of "producers" called the Quorum to make a behind-the-scenes super-hero documentary. In truth, the Quorum sought to use the New Bloods for world domination.

Though there is no evidence, it has been speculated that the Pack's mystery member, Loria, was created and planted by the Quorum as a spy. She Could turn into a being of solid metal — impervious and incredibly strong. She was soon killed by one of the armored "Sweepers" (security guards) when she tried to leave the Blood Pack. (Blood Pack #3) The Quorum then secretly used her body as a host for DNA from the Taker (who'd been destroyed in Bloodbath #2). The resulting creature had features of both Loria and the Taker. However, Loria's mind remained locked inside thise body, which she could not control. She contacted the Blood Pack via their computer system and telepathy, and ultimately sacrificed her remaining being to reveal the Quorum's evil intentions to the world. (Blood Pack #4)

Most of the Blood Pack (Ballistic, Geist, Mongrel, Nightblade and Razorsharp) were killed during Earth's heroes' battle with Superboy Prime and the Society. (Infinite Crisis #7) Jade also died in space during this Crisis. (Rann/Thanagar War Special)

Tragic mortality continues to plague the New Bloods. Two more fell prey to a villain called the Organ Thief. He harvested Argus' eyes and Loose Cannon's heart (though he still lived). (JSA Classified #19) Argus was quick to venture back into the fray, but he met with even more tragedy. After forming a new Blood Pack, their member Hook was killed by Prometheus II. While Argus, Anima and Gunfire tracked him down, the original Prometheus entered the scene. He killed Anima and cut off Gunfire's arms. (Faces of Evil: Prometheus)

Later, a subspecies of the Bloodlines aliens returned from beyond Pluto. The JLA intercepted which was smaller and more intelligent, that had infected a deep space NASA probe. With the help of Himan, they eradicated all of these specimens. (JLA/Hitman #1-2)

Notes

Reading the Bloodlines books is no better than simply reading this profile. This was '90s comics at their worst. In retrospect, this was a gimmick by DC to flood the market with their own "extreme" heroes, as many independent competitors were doing. As you might expect, those annuals written by solid writers (Dixon, Waid) are OK reads, but the rest are completely throwaway. One might think that at least some of these 20+ characters would have had some lasting relevancy. Alas, no. The only one truly worthy of note is the Hitman, whose series written by Garth Ennis is now a cult classsic.

In 1993, Skybox produced a series of horrible trading cards to go along with this pointless crossover. In 2008, I purchased the entire set plus the chase cards for $1.00 on ebay.

» FIRST APPEARANCE: Team: Showcase '94 #12 (all members joined here)

» FEATURED APPEARANCES: Guy Gardner: Warrior #29 • Showcase '95 #1-2 • Superboy #16 • Young Justice #8

» SERIES:
Anima, 15 issue (1994-95)
Argus, 6 issues (1995)
Bloodbath,
2 issues (1993)
Blood Pack, 4-issue mini-series (1995)
Gunfire, 13 issues, (1994-95)
Hitman, series, 61 issues (1996-2001)
Loose Cannon, 4-issue mini-series (1995)
The Psyba-Rats, 3-issue mini-series (1995)
Showcase '94, 12 issues, (1994). Gunfire in issues #1-2; Razorsharp and Psyba-Rats in #3-4; Loose Cannon in #5; Sparx in #6; Terrorsmith in #7; Pax in #9; Ballistic in #12

» SEE ALSO: The Bloodlines Aliens

 Member (Real Name) 1st Appearance
(Other Apps.)
Status, Notes
Ballistic (Kelvin Mao) Batman Annual #17 (Batman #557) Killed Infinite Crisis #7
Geist (Dwayne Geyer) Detective Comics Annual #6 (JLTF #9) Killed Infinite Crisis #7
Loria (unknown) Showcase '94 #12/Blood Pack #1?? Murdered in Blood Pack #3; sacrificed her mind and soul in Blood Pack #4.
Mongrel (Josh Xan) Hawkman Annual #1 (Hawkman #7-8) Killed Infinite Crisis #7
Nightblade (Nik Mayak) Green Lantern Annual #2 Killed Infinite Crisis #7. Super-healing.
Razorsharp (Rae Sharp) Robin Annual #2 (Showcase '94 #3-4, Catwoman #25, Psyba-Rats #1-3, Young Justice #8) Killed Infinite Crisis #7
Channelman (Chester Channel) Was Razorsharp's comatose partner
Sparx (Donna Carol Force) Adventures of Superman Annual #5 Weilds electricity. Active in adventuring
Jade, Team Trainer (Jennie Lynn Hayden, Green Lantern VI) All-Star Squadron #25 Died Rann/Thanagar War: Infinite Crisis Special #1 (2006); her energies live on in Kyle Rayner, Ion
Jeremy Baxter, Producer Showcase '94 #12 Status unknown
Adrian Zapruder, Director Blood Pack #1 Status unknown
LATTER DAY BLOOD PACK
Anima (Courtney Mason) New Titans Annual #9
(Anima #0-15 • Wonder Woman #174-175 • Zero Hour #4, 3, 2 • Young Justice #49-51)
Killed by Prometheus, Faces of Evil: Prometheus (2009); transformed life energy into a a shadow being.
Argus (Nick Kelley) Flash Annual #6 (Argus #1-6 • Flash #92-94, #125-126 • Showcase '95 #1-2 ) Active in adventuring; his eyes were cut out but restored, JSA Classified #19-20; enhanced physique & vision.
Gunfire (Andrew Van Horn) Deathstroke Annual #2 (Gunfire #0-13 • JSA #33 • Zero Hour #3) Can cause any object to fire like a gun. Active in adventuring
The Hook (Kieron Masterson) Green Arrow Annual #6 Killed by Prometheus II, Faces of Evil: Prometheus (2009); had a powerful energy arm. Active in adventuring
OTHER "NEW BLOODS"
Cardinal Sin Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight Annual #3 Active in adventuring
Chimera (Sanjeet Bhatia) Team Titans Annual #1
(Team Titans #22,23)
Draws creatures from dimensional portals. Active in adventuring
Edge (Tom O'Brien) Superman: The Man of Steel Annual #2 Generates shards from his skin. Active in adventuring
Hackrat (Reginald Hackman) Robin Annual #2
(Showcase '94 #3-4, Catwoman #25, Psyba-Rats #1-3, Young Justice #8)
Manipulates computers with his mind.
Hitman (Tommy Monaghan) Demon Annual #2
(Demon #?? • Hitman #1-60 • JLA #5 • Ressurrection Man #?? • JLA/Hitman #1-2)
X-ray vision, telepathy. Died Hitman #60.
Jamm (unrevealed) Legion of Super-Heroes Annual #4 Mind control. Unknown post-Zero Hour
Joe Public Batman: Shadow of the Bat Annual #1 (JLTF #9) Active in adventuring
Krag (Pete Cranick) J.L.A. Annual #7 Super-strong rock-creature. Bad side effect: he can't feel anything.
Layla Lobo Annual #1 (L.E.G.I.O.N. Annual #4) Active in adventuring; was bounty hunting in Lobo's Big Babe Spring Break Special
Lionheart (Richard Plante) Justice League International v.2 Annual #4 (Justice League Int'l v.2•Justice League America #107) Armored for flight & strength. Active in adventuring
Loose Cannon (Eddie Walker) Action Comics Annual #5 (Loose Cannon #1-4 • JLTF #9) Inactive; his heart was cut out, but he still survivedJSA Classified #19); super-strong shapeshifter.
Myriad (Sasha Green) Superman Annual #5 Absorbs powers & memories. Active in adventuring
Pax L.E.G.I.O.N. Annual #4 (L.E.G.I.O.N. #67 • Showcase 94 #9) Last seen in Showcase '94 #9, hunting the Parasites. He was a spiritual leader whose followers and race were killed by the parasites. He became strong and invulnerable and gained the ability to sense the parasites. dedicated himself their destruction.
Prism (Linus Powell) Eclipso Annual #1 (Eclipso #16-18) A being of adamantine glass. Deceased Eclipso #18??
Ragnarok (Gunther Van Horn) As Gunther, Deathstroke Annual #2; as Ragnarok, Gunfire #0 Gunfire's father. Could fire energy blasts; had special armor. Died in Gunfire
Rodney James Detective Comics Annual #6 Could stretch and mold his body; unkillable, without blood.
Samaritan Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight Annual ??
Shadowstryke (unrevealed) J.L.A. Annual #7 Fires powerful bolts of shadow-energy.
Slingshot (unrevealed) J.L.A. Annual #7 Controls the "acceleration factor" of objects; can make them fast or slow.
Terrorsmith (Jack Mobley) J.L.A. Annual #7 (Showcase '94 #7) Transformed people into monsters. Deceased JLA #1

The Brotherhood of Evil

+ The Society of Sin


The Brain • Monsieur Mallah • Houngan • Phobia • Warp • Plasmus

The Brotherhood is covered thoroughly at the Titans Tower. Please navigate within the Who's Who section to read their history.

Gemini • Goldilocks

» FIRST APPEARANCE: Original: Doom Patrol v.1 #86. Second team: New Teen Titans v.1 #14. Society of Sin: New Titans Annual #6

» FEATURED APPEARANCES:

Brave & the Bold #65 • Doom Patrol v.1 #86, 87, 90, 93, 96, 97, 101, 104, 107-112, 118-119, 121 • Doom Patrol v.3 #14 • New Teen Titans v.1 #13-15, 29-31 • New Teen Titans v.2 #43, Annual #6 • Teen Titans Spotlight #11

» SEE ALSO: Titans Tower

Member 1st app. Status & Info
1. The Brain Doom Patrol v.1 #86 Killed by Grodd Salvation Run #4
1. Monsieur Mallah
1. Madame Rouge (Laura DeMille) Deceased New Teen Titans #15
4. Phobia (Angela Hawkins III) New Teen Titans v.1 #14 Active in villainy
5. Warp (Emil LaSalle) Active in villainy
6. Houngan (Jean-Louis Droo) Active in villainy
6. Plasmus (Otto Von Furth) Active in villainy
8. Trinity (The Trinity Virus) The New Titans Annual #8 Destroyed, Wonder Woman v.2 #183
9. Gemini Batgirl #60 Active in villainy
10. The Elephant Man Teen Titans v.3 #35 Active in villainy
10. Goldilocks Teen Titans v.3 #35 Active in villainy