If You Liked The Fantabulous Emancipation Of One Harley Quinn There Are Even More Birds Of Prey In The Comics
Birds of Prey (And The Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn) is all about a recently Joker-free Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie) and her new group of badass girlfriends. Who needs toxic boyfriends when you’ve got guns, hand-to-hand combat skills, and girl power? The members of the Birds of Prey include Harley, Cassandra Cain (Ella Jay Basco), Huntress (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), Black Canary (Jurnee Smollett-Bell), and Renee Montoya (Rosie Perez). But in the comics, things look a little different.
In the movie, Harley comes to find out that a lot of people aren’t her biggest fans now that she doesn't have Mr. J by her side. One of those people is Gotham crime boss Roman Sionis (Ewan McGregor). After pissing him and his clique of thugs off, Harley joins forces with the Birds of Prey to fight and destroy him — and protect young Cass Cain — at all costs.
But this new twist on the Birds of Prey doesn't exactly match up to the comics, and our gals' comic-bound history reflects that. Aside from Huntress, Black Canary, and Cassandra Cain (Harley was never actually part of the crew on the page), here's the original Birds of Prey crew, which was originally introduced in 1996.
Oracle (Barbara Gordon)
Barbara Gordon went by Batgirl from 1967 to 1988. Starting in 1989, however, she changed her name to Oracle because she retired from crime-fighting after Joker shot her and hit her spinal cord, which left her paralyzed. She wasn't totally phased out of the comic books, however. Barbara reinvented herself, learned how to code, and called herself Oracle (plus, the name "Batgirl" was given to Cassandra Cain, her mentee).
Barbara is Gotham City's police commissioner James Gordon's daughter, and when she isn't fighting crime, she's the head of the Gotham City library. Later on in the comics, she joins forces with Black Canary and Huntress to fight crime. She uses her research, coding, and hacking skills to help them defeat villains. Before becoming a paraplegic, Barbara was extremely skilled in martial arts, but abilities that stayed with her even after she was attacked include a photographic memory, genius-level IQ, and coding skills.
Lady Blackhawk (Zinda Blake)
Lady Blackhawk, who also goes by Zinda Blake, was first introduced to the DC Universe in 1959 in the comic book Blackhawk #133. Before joining the Birds of Prey, Lady Blackhawk was a super talented pilot, and part of the World War II aviator team. For a short time, she was brainwashed by a Nazi named Killer Shark and went by Queen Killer Shark. Eventually, she returned to being Lady Blackhawk, but not before she went up against some of her fellow superheroes.
Lady Blackhawk was recruited to join the Birds of Prey by Oracle in 2004 because the team needed a skilled pilot. Before she left Blackhawk, she took a super-powered jet, which she used to transport the Birds of Prey. Her abilities, aside from being a precise and skilled flyer, include knowing hand-to-hand combat, understanding 30 languages, and being well-acquainted with almost every single kind of weapon.
Katana (Tatsu Yamashiro)
Katana (Tatsu Yamashiro) took up crime-fighting and vigilantism after her husband was murdered by the Yakuza. Even before Katana's husband's death, she was trained in the martial arts and was an expert with a sword. In fact, she possessed a special sword called the Soultaker that takes and traps the life from the body it slays. Introduced in 1983, Katana was part of several teams, including the Justice League and The Outsiders. While she's best know for being a member of The Outsiders, she did spend some time with the Birds of Prey in New 52. She uses her swordsmanship skills and agility to help the Birds of Prey fight crime in Gotham. She left the group to join the Justice League after Amanda Waller promised her information about her husband's death.
Poison Ivy (Dr. Pamela Lillian Isley)
Supervillain Poison Ivy jumped on the scene in 1966, working closely with Harley Quinn and Catwoman. She's been romantically linked with both Harley and Batman. In The New 52, DC pivoted her character, and made her more of an antihero than a villain meaning that often, when she did criminal things, she did them for the "right" reasons. Poison Ivy has a couple different origin stories, but both depict her as a super smart botanist who gets injected with poison, causing her to transform into Poison Ivy. Her most notable superpower is being able to kill anyone with a single kiss: Her lips are laced with a poisonous toxin.
In The New 52, the Birds of Prey recruit Ivy, although not everyone is happy about it, especially Black Canary, who is suspicious of Ivy's violent nature. They were right to be reluctant, because Ivy eventually poisons the Birds of Prey in order to make them attack some people she needs dead. Katana tries to kill her, but she Ivy gets away. Her abilities, aside from being a human plant viper, include being able to produce pheromones that bewitch others and make them fall in love with her, as well as exceptional hand-to-hand combat skills. She's also super buff and agile because in a past life she was a gymnast.
Big Barda, a New God from the planet Apokolips, is over 250 years old, 6'2, and weights almost 200 pounds. Introduced in 1971, Barda is practically a giant, and much like Superman, she's immortal and possesses superhuman strength. As a child, she lived with Granny's Goodness' Home for Orphaned Youth, and the pack of kids are taught to fight against Darkseid, Apokolips's tyrannical ruler. Their motto, according to DC Fandom, is "Die for Darkseid." Granny takes special interest in Barda, training her so that one day she is ready to lead the Female Fury, which is a group of female warriors. That plan is thwarted when Barda meets Darkseid's adopted son, Scott Free (also known as Mister Miracle), and falls in love with him, fleeing Apokolips and making a home on Earth.
When Scott joins the Justice League, Barda follows him. Shortly before her "death," she's recruited by Oracle to join the Birds of Prey. During a battle, she's killed by Infinity-Man, although the comics write her as being reborn later on, so it's likely she didn't really die.
Black Alice (Lori Zechlin)
Black Alice's first appearance in the DC Universe was in 2005, when she was introduced as a young Lori Zechlin, who finds her mother's body in the pool after coming home from school. Mrs. Zechlin killed herself by overdosing on prescription pills and drowning herself. The same night, Lori finds out that she has superpowers: She can temporarily "borrow" any superhero or villain's abilities. Having these powers, Lori decides to go by Black Alice and go after big pharma companies who she felt were responsible for her mom's untimely death.
Possibly inspired by The Craft, Lori had been part of a Wiccan group, who kick her out because they didn't like her new "energy." Oracle finds out about Lori and her growing abilities and has Huntress, who pretends to be a teacher, watch out for Lori. Black Canary also starts spying on Lori to figure her powers out. After a battle with Lori's boyfriend Kyle (who, at this point, has teamed up with the Wiccan leader to take Lori down), the Birds of Prey help save Lori, but end up giving her to Doctor Fate, who would help her navigate and control her powers.
Hawkgirl (Kendra Saunders)
Hawkgirl was created by DC in 1999, introducing her as a young woman named Kendra, who, after dying by suicide, is essentially reincarnated as the new Hawkgirl (who is the soul of her grandfather's first cousin Shiera Hall, who was also the Golden Age Hawkgirl). It's a bit confusing, but bear with us: Hawkgirl is described as having all of Kendra's memories and all of the original Hawkgirl's abilities (flight, armed and hand-to-hand combat, the ability to talk to birds, and superhuman strength).
She eventually joins the Justice League, and starts working with Hawkman in 2002. Together, they fight together in the Rann-Thanagar War. She joined the Birds of Prey after Oracle asks for her help to defeat the Secret Six in issue #104.
Lady Shiva, introduced in 1975, is Cassandra Cain's mother. In Gail Simone's Birds of Prey series in 2004, Lady Shiva says that the only reason why she even agreed to having a kid in the first place was for it to be the one who kills her; Cass Cain tries, breaking Shiva's neck and throwing her into the Lazarus Pit — but her mom still makes it out alive.
Lady Shiva is from a small, unknown town. It was there that she was trained to be a warrior who protected villagers from Ra's al Ghul's League of Assassins who terrorized everyone. She and her sister moved to Detroit, Michigan, changing their names to Sandra and Carolyn We-San. It was there, that assassin David Cain saw Shiva and realized that her love for her sister was holding her back. He one day killed Carolyn, which led to Shiva hunting him down to avenge her sister. She's led into a trap by the League of Assassins, which David is a part of. After this fight, it comes to Shiva that her sister truly was a barrier and that without her, Shiva is much more powerful. David decides to spare her, and in exchange, Shiva says she'll have his child, who turns out to be Cassandra Cain.
In One Year Later, which came out in 2006, Lady Shiva joined the Birds of Prey and changed her name to Jade Canary. But Oracle never truly trusts Lady Shiva, and she refuses to call her Jade Canary. Lady Shiva eventually leaves the Birds of Prey, leaving a note that read, "Tell the Canary, I release her." Even though Shiva is no longer affiliated with the Birds of Prey, she shows up now and then to help and protect them.
Power Girl (Karen Starr)
Power Girl, who made her DC debut in 1967, is Superman's cousin (in some versions, his niece) and also comes from the planet Krypton (in another version, she's actually written as being from Earth-Two). She has the same strengths as Superman (immortality, speed, superhuman strength), but is described as being emotionally superior to Superman, and is a much more focused fighter.
Power Girl actually has a rocky relationship with Birds of Prey. She initially partnered up with Oracle, but after a mission gone bad, Power Girl is reluctant to work with them again.
Starling (Evelyn Crawford)
One of the newer DC comic book characters, Starling was woven into the storyline in 2011 by being introduced as an old friend of Black Canary's.
Black Canary brings her in to the Birds of Prey, and she helps them outrun a reporter who was hired by a group of assassins called the Cleaners. This is around the same time Poison Ivy joins the group, and Starling very clearly does not like or trust her, calling her "The Talking Salad." Starling ends up betraying them by working for Mr. Freeze.
As for abilities go, she's known for her hand-to-hand combat skills and has vast weaponry knowledge.
Strix (Mary Turner)
Another fairly new character, Strix was born in 1940s Oregon. Her first appearance is in 2012 in Batgirl #9, where we learn Strix's entire family was killed when a Japanese hot air balloon holding bombs went off in her town. She was the only one who survived, although she was left badly injured and disfigured. Strix was found by Haly's Circus, where she learned to become an aerialist.
It's Batgirl who recruits Strix to the Birds of Prey. Strix and Black Canary have a tumultuous relationship — at one point, Black Canary loses control of her Canary Cry and destroys the Gotham City power station. After this, Strix thinks Black Canary is a threat to the city. The two eventually work things out, and band together to fight against Mr. Freeze.
Strix's powers include immortality, quick healing, and superhuman strength and stamina. She's a master in the martial arts and acrobatics.
Vixen (Mari McCabe)
Vixen was introduced to the DC comic books in 1981. Vixen (also known as Mari Jiwe) was born in a small African village and raised by the village priest after he found her orphaned following her parents' murder at the hands of a group of poachers. After Reverend Richard Jiwe is killed by his own brother, who takes the powerful Tantu Totem from him, Mari fled Africa and made her way to the U.S. She changed her name to Mari McCabe and became a supermodel. After some time, she went back to her hometown and took back the Tantu Totem from her evil uncle, learning that it could give her powers.
Vixen joined the Birds of Prey and went undercover with them to investigate a cult. The cult's leader was able to control Vixen's mind, but Huntress broke her free of the spell (Vixen almost killed her in the process). After Vixen returned to normal, she saved the rest of those who were brainwashed by the cult.
Many more superheroes and vigilantes have been affiliated with the Birds of Prey, some of whom are men like Blue Beetle, Condor, Hawk, and Creote. Since the Birds of Prey series is ongoing, expect to see more and more characters (like Harley Quinn) join the ranks and maybe, just maybe, a few of the comic-bound characters to join the DC Cinematic Universe if all goes well.