As a brand-new, standout character of the “New 52,” not much is known about Ev Crawford’s origins. First appearing in 2011’s Birds of Prey #1, her background is riddled with ambiguities—undefined relationships, a nondescript relative/mentor, and unclear affiliations with various organizations considered “good,” “bad,” and “neutral.”
What we do know, however, is that Ev is a longtime friend of Dinah Drake-Lance, the New 52’s Black Canary, and their association goes back to at least their college years; they “met” during the covert events of Birds of Prey #0. The gunslinging Ev is presumably Southern in origin, given her choice of slang, terms of endearment, and penchant for fine Kentucky bourbon—a fact which has forever guaranteed her a place in my bourbon-loving, Tennessee girl’s heart. In alluding to her past, she often speaks of the influences of her “Uncle Earl” in teaching and developing her expertise with guns, vehicles, whiskey-drinking, and explosives, though he’s never appeared in comics to date.
In Birds of Prey #6, readers also glimpsed “June,” a seeming (former?) paramour of Ev’s, though further explanation of their relationship and personal history was sadly left unsaid. Regardless of this unfortunate lack of information, we do know that Ev is, at the very least, a bisexual character if not a lesbian character, which of course makes her one of the new LGBTQ comics characters introduced in the reboot.
- What’s she all about? -
Ev fancies shooting things, “breaking stuff,” fighting, driving recklessly (and often throughbuildings), drinking bourbon whisky, and being an all-around delight as she does such things. A professional covert ops specialist and established con artist, she’s savvy, coy, and her recklessly playful attitude, though seemingly genuine on most levels, is often her best facade when dealing ‘between the lines’ to pursue multiple personal and professional agendas.
More light-heartedly, she’s also fond of calling her pals “Sweets,” has incredible tattoos, and laughingly refers to her Uncle Earl whenever possible.
- What’s her story? -
Ev was the first to join Dinah’s “Birds of Prey” squad, an old partner of Canary’s since their undercover meeting in the Penguin’s Iceberg Lounge (Birds of Prey #0), and in the book’s first story arc, she helped Dinah to take down the villain Choke and his Cleaners alongside other BoP members Poison Ivy and Katana.
Despite her role as a founding member of the team, distrust, betrayal, and deception are prevailing themes—and occurrences—in Ev’s Birds of Prey narrative. When Barbara Gordon, another old friend of Dinah’s, joined the squad, she regarded both Ev, a con with her name on numerous government watch-lists, and Ivy, an ecoterrorist and villain, with open distrust and advised Dinah to do the same. Although Ivy would soon, indeed, prove openly treacherous, Ev continued on as a member of the team after Ivy’s departure and seemed to earn even Barbara’s trust.
That said, Ev herself grew suspicious of both Dinah’s background and her worsening control over her canary cry, suspecting that Dinah had hidden a great deal about her past. By the time Katana had left the team and Strix and Condor had unofficially joined, Dinah had become increasingly concerned with Ev’s willingness to kill while Ev had grown increasingly concerned with Dinah’s inability to harness the canary cry.
Ultimately, it was revealed that Ev not only worked for Amanda Waller and had been reporting to Waller on the Birds’ activities, especially Dinah’s, since the beginning, but that she’d also allied herself with Mr. Freeze, meaning to protect his cryogenic work from the Court of Owls at any cost. Feigning her kidnapping by Freeze, she fought alongside him against her old team, revealing herself as a traitor to their cause, much to Dinah’s furious dismay. Ev fled during this confrontation and has yet to be seen since. (;_;)
- Where she at? -
Birds of Prey, Volume 3 (Birds of Prey of the “New 52”), Issues #1 - #20.
New 52 Birds of Prey Fancast: Deborah Ann Woll as Barbara/Batgirl, Rinko Kikuchi as Tatsu/Katana, Yvonne Strahovski as Dinah/Black Canary, Erin Cummings as Poison Ivy, and Olivia Wilde as Evelyn/Starling.
Starling and Bunker are two fantastic LGBT characters who have been introduced since the New 52. I, and a lot of other people, love them dearly.
If you like either one of these characters, please, at some point, use them (if you can and if you’re allowed) in your respective universes.
I came into comics with the New 52, and it terrifies me when I hear about so many great characters who have just flat-out disappeared since the reboot. Cassandra Cain, Stephanie Brown, Obsidian, Jade, Donna Troy, Wally West, Raven, and plenty more (all of whom I’ve never actually read anything of) have just…disappeared.
It gives me nightmares that I can fall so in love with these two characters and that, in the wake of a cancellation, author change-up, or reboot, that they can just disappear on a whim.
It’s no secret that DC’s majorly recognized characters are ones who have been around for 40+ years. Let’s fix that.
In short, let’s take Bunker or Starling (or any other new character) and get their fingerprints and footprints all over DC continuity. So that more people can fall in love with them and so that they cannot just be ripped out of existence suddenly.
Bunker has crossed over into Superboy. Gail Simone tried to use Starling in Batgirl. Let’s keep up these efforts so some truly unique characters don’t just disappear thanks to some editorial mandate.