Birds of Prey
The Battle Within

Author: Gail Simone
Artists: Joe Bennett, Ed Benes, Tom Derenick, Joe Prado and Eddy Barrows
Titan Books
RRP: 10.99, US $17.99
ISBN-13: 978 1 8457 6352 7
ISBN-10: 1 84576 352 1
Available 24 November 2006

With their Gotham headquarters destroyed, the birds - Black Canary, Huntress, Oracle, and newest member Lady Blackhawk - take flight to Metropolis and beyond, seeking out metahuman vigilantes who have gone too far beyond the law. But trouble within the team may prove their undoing. Later, Black Canary enlists the help of Wildcat in Singapore, while back home Oracle is overcome with an illness that threatens her information-brokering abilities. All this, and the Huntress infiltrates the Gotham mob...

The Battle Within collects together a number of stories from the Birds of Prey universe. First up is a tale about a young female vigilante who can manifest a number of different powers - but not necessarily for good. Left unchecked, she has the potential to case serious harm to those she has formed relationships with - it's down to the Birds of Prey to stop her before she goes too far.

Next up our heroines attempt to stop a deadly vigilante known as Harvest. In a small village, in the middle of nowhere, bodies are being found that have had the life sucked out of them. Dinah, Helena and Zinda are soon poking around trying to unearth anything they can on what, at first appearance, seems to be an urban myth. But it soon becomes apparent that this vigilante is real and is killing those who thought they'd gotten away with crimes in the past.

Moving past a couple of interesting filler stories, we get to the final, and main tale. This sees Black Canary asking for Wildcat's help in order to bring down a drugs empire which is run by an incredibly old man who is nearing the end of his life.

Running through all of the story lines is the ongoing saga of Oracle's illness. It looks as though she might not pull through this time and the world's best surgeons and super heroes are on hand to help her recover - the odds are not in her favour though.

The Battle Within is a very worthy addition to any fan's collection, showcasing some of the best writing I've seen for this series to date.

Nick Smithson

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