The 'Birds of Prey' Reading List

Forget Batman. Forget the Joker. Their eternal struggle bores us. Time to delve deep into the 'Birds of Prey' universe.

Birds Of Prey The Reading List
Warner Bros

Batgirl: Silent Running

Batgirl Silent Running

Keep an eye out on that rascal Cassie Cain, played by Ella Jay Basco in the film. The narratively inciting pickpocket could grow up into one of the most formidable renegades of Gotham – Batgirl. No, not that one. Uh-uh, not that one either. I’m talking about the terrifying, practically mute, invader of the night version. The one who is the daughter of assassins and easily makes Batman’s brand of justice look tame by comparison.

Similar to Batman: Harley Quinn, the events of Batgirl: Silent Running takes place during and shortly after the “No Man’s Land” event, in which Gotham is more rubble than city. Desperate to maintain order, Batman equips Cain with a suit and a title. Cain wallops way more butt than Batman planned and she fully integrates herself within his clan of heroes. Even Oracle is impressed.

Unfortunately, her dark past catches up with her. As Cain attempts to find a new life outside of the costume, an enemy from her family’s past appears. Her instincts tell her to terminate the threat on-site, but Cain is also trying to live up to her mantle. What would Batgirl do? She’s gotta live the part if she wants to stick around.

Gotham City Sirens: Book One

Gotham City Sirens

If you’re looking to continue the joyous girl gang energy of the film, Gotham City Sirens is where you want to reside. Once again, written by Paul Dini, this series features Harley Quinn, Poison Ivy, and Catwoman all trying to fly the straight and narrow for the first time in their lives (well, Catwoman has given it a go a few times before).

The three former villains are tired of being the labels that others would mark them, but the do-gooder lifestyle is proven nearly impossible to maintain when their past refuses to stay in the past. Out of the woodwork come creeps like The Riddler, Hush, and the Joker to test their wills, and Catwoman’s sister appears, believing she’s possessed by a demon. Letting off some steam with some good ol’ fashioned ultra-violence sure would be easy. They get it done.

Harley Quinn: The Deluxe Edition – Book Two

Harley And Ivy

Harley Quinn gets her first-ever solo series, and it’s an absolute ball of a book. The maiden of mischief and the Joker are quits. No more of that jerk. She’s done with dudes, period. Harley breaks ties with her old life and forms her own gang of crooks called the Quinn-fanatics.

Writer Karl Kesel and artists Terry Dodson and Rachel Dodson increase the screwball comedy tone, determined finally to concoct a world apart from Joker and Batman. Harley moves her base of operations to Metropolis because surely, she’s too small-time for Superman to concern himself. Welp, guess again. The boy scout has time for everybody.

The real joy of this series, however, is in its depiction of the friendship/soon-to-be romance between Poison Ivy and Harley Quinn. These two complement each other so well. Their violent tendencies are fueled by good intentions, and they’re happy to lift each other when they’re low. Also, their schemes are too dang cute. Jimmy Olsen, ya sap. You never had a chance with these two.

Harley Quinn: Rebirth Vol. 1

Harley Quinn Rebirth

Maybe the definitive Harley Quinn series. At least, as far as the character you know and love of the moment is concerned. Husband and wife writing duo, Jimmy Palmiotti and Amanda Conner deliver a passionately crazed tour through the psyche of one Harleen Frances Quinzel. For the first time ever, we can start to discuss the character without bringing up the J-word. Phew.

Once again, Harley packs her bags and gets the hell outta Gotham after a former Arkham Asylum patient leaves her a Coney Island apartment/wax museum in his will. There’s only one problem. Harley has to pay for the back-taxes, the real estate taxes, insurance, and upkeep costs. What’s a girl to do? Get a bloody job.

She interviews for a psychiatry position at an assisted living facility as well as a position on a local roller derby team. As an experienced brawler, she lands the second job, no problem. Things are looking up when a hitman comes knocking on her door. A massive bounty has been placed on her life. Gulp. What’s a rogue to do? Kick ass, take names.

Trekkie, Not Trekker. Weekly Columnist for Film School Rejects, co-host of the In The Mouth of Dorkness Podcast.