Birds of Prey: The Movie

According to The Wrap, the Birds of Prey will be facing off against the comic book villain Black Mask.  It was reported earlier that casting has begun for the DC / Warner Bros film Birds of Prey.  The movie is a spin-off of Suicide Squad and will feature female heroes and villains from the DC universe.  Cathy Yan is directing and Margot Robbie will reprise her role as Harley Quinn.

The IMDb page for Birds of Prey has also been updated with the following summary:

“After splitting up with The Joker, Harley Quinn and three other female superheroes – Black Canary, Huntress and Renee Montoya – come together to save the life of a little girl (Cassandra Cain) from an evil crime lord.”

Who is Black Mask?

Black Mask is a Batman villain that first appeared in 1985’s Batman #386.  He is a brutal and sadistic crime lord in Gotham City.  In one infamous comic book storyline, the Black Mask kidnapped Catwoman’s sister and brother-in-law.  He tortures the brother-in-law to death in front of Catwoman’s sister and forces her husband’s eye down her throat.  By the time Catwoman is able to save her sister, she has been driven insane and needs to be institutionalized.

Black Mask was born Roman Sionis, the son of wealthy Gotham socialites.  His parents valued appearance above everything else, often at the expense of their son.  Roman became fixated by the “masks” people wore in public.  Enraged by one demand too many, Roman burned down the family home and killed his parents.  Untalented in business, he lost the family fortune.  Enraged and humiliated again, Roman desecrated his parents tomb and made a mask from his father’s ebony casket.  He was reborn as Black Mask and soon after assembled a False Face Society to take over Gotham’s underworld.

Who is Renee Montoya?

Renee Montoya, like Harley Quinn, first appeared in Batman: The Animated Series.  She was a Gotham City police officer often partnered with Harvey Bullock.  Like Harley, Renee became popular with fans.  So, DC Comics added her to the Batman comic series as a Gotham Police detective in the Major Case Unit.  She resigned from the police, disgusted by its corruption.  Later, the crime-fighter the Question trained her in his own forms of investigation and fighting.   Renee assumed the role after his death.

Who is Cassandra Cain?

Cassandra Cain is the daughter of two of the greatest assassins in the DC Universe.  Her father trained her to kill from birth, but never taught her to speak.  Instead, the language centers of her brain learned to read body movement, making her the ultimate martial artist.  Urged by her father as a child, Cassandra committed her one and only kill.  Able to “see” her victims fear and life draining from his body, Cassandra fled from her father.

Barbara Gordon, the former Batgirl, discovered her in Gotham City.  Amazed by Cassandra’s skill and willingness to help, Barbara chose her as the new Batgirl.  Cassandra Cain is the first Batgirl to have her own ongoing comic book series.  Batgirl ran from 2000 to 2006 for 73 issues.

Who are the Birds of Prey?

Birds of Prey is an adaptation of the DC comic series of the same name.  The title began as mini-series in 1995, Black Canary/Oracle: Birds of Prey.  The comic featured former-Batgirl Barbara Gordon.  The Joker shot Barbara and paralyzed her from the waist down.  So, Barbara reinvented herself as the cyber-vigilante Oracle.  Requiring a partner for more hands-on work, Oracle recruited Dinah Lance, the crime-fighter known as the Black Canary.  Members of the Birds of Prey would come and go and included the Huntress, Katana, Poison Ivy, and Lady Blackhawk.

Birds of Prey on Television

The WB produced a Birds of Prey television series loosely based on the comic book in 2002.  While the series initially scored record ratings for the network, they steeply declined in the following weeks.  The WB canceled the show after one season, having produced and aired 13-episodes.