Kelly Thompson has been enchanting comic book readers for years, but with Birds of Prey, her DC debut, she's managed to catch fans thoroughly off guard with a new take on the classic title that we didn’t even realize we needed. Thompson’s reimagining of DC's premier female-led team was a stylish, often surprising caper that found Black Canary leading the Birds on her own for the first time. Boasting the fantastic skills of artist Leonardo Romero, colorist Jordie Bellaire and letterer Clayton Cowles, the first arc introduced a new lineup, sent them on a wild heist, and wrapped up with a shocking reveal. Now, with an all-new storyline kicking off with artist Javier Pina, we thought it was the perfect time to chat with Thompson about the series, her creative partners and what readers can look forward to next.

Birds of Prey represents your first ongoing book at DC. And you're taking on a team with such a storied legacy and history behind the scenes and on the page. How's that been?

I feel like I’ve been trying to write Birds of Prey for a long time in other non-DC books—building female teams in a lot of different incarnations. But Birds of Prey really is the premiere female team and that legacy is super intimidating. Fortunately, I was a big fan of the book for most of its life, so while it was intimidating, I at least knew the stories and that’s always a great equalizer when you’re trying to live up to and build on a pre-existing legacy.

How early on in your pitch/story process did you come up with the idea of essentially doing a heist story where a ragtag crew of female heroes break into and have to steal from Themyscira?

It was pretty key from the jump. I think my initial pitch I submitted to editor Ben Abernathy was pretty close to what we ended up doing. Ben of course had some questions and pushed back on some ideas as any great editor does, but he was mostly supportive. I hope he saw what I was going for—understood that it was a bit weird and risky, but saw my passion for it—and took a leap of faith. For my first DC work, I think I just wanted to reach for everything I loved, and I’m incredibly grateful that nobody there wanted to get in my way and instead just really said YES! It was so fun, honestly. One of the best working experiences I’ve ever had. The kind you chase forever once you have it.

Leonardo and Jordie did such a fantastic job with the art on the first storyline. How did it feel getting those pages back and seeing those kickass heroines looking so good?

It’s honestly indescribable. Leo and Jordie are simply magic together. They just get what the other is doing and lean into it in the most beautiful ways. And my job is just to be smart enough to stay out of the way. We’re all really in sync in a way I think you’re always looking for as a creator and a collaborator. There’s so much trust there, for me that really makes the difference. There are a lot of really hard parts when it comes to making comics and this team just makes it easy to do your best work.

You seem to be having a lot of fun playing with the boundaries of the page, panels and world. Could you talk a bit about getting to really experiment with form in this series?

Well, this goes back to the trust thing. A great example of this is that I couldn’t seem to find exactly what I needed in DC lore when I was writing issue #2. I needed a hard-to-access magic black market in Gotham, so I made it for us—The Seam. I gave some basic notes to Leo in the script about how characters could access it, the kind of things that would be sold there, the kind of people that frequent it, stuff like that. But what Leo came back with (and then Jordie perfected in colors) was this absolutely awesome location, and the way we see the characters accessing it plays with panel borders and almost fourth wall breaking as the characters move outside of the panels to access The Seam. It’s pure genius, and that’s Leo. Give him an even vaguely interesting idea and he will bring you back gold. And you will reel at how lucky you are to have such a collaborator.

After the unreal events of the first five issues, part six of "Megadeath" left us with a new mystery and a shocking status quo. Could you tell us about planning that massive reveal about Babs and getting to reinvent the Birds of Prey once again?

I had this idea that I was interested in seeing Dinah have to do a really important and emotional BOP-styled mission WITHOUT Barbara. I thought it would really shake things up and also give us some emotionally loaded stuff for both of them to deal with down the line. But I knew if I was going to leave Barbara/Oracle out of the BOP mix there had to be a really great reason, and I was already using a time traveling Mia Mizoguchi and so it all just sort of clicked together in a great way. It’s always hard to find ways to surprise a savvy audience. Gotta do what you can!

Issue #7 is now on stands with a new roster and a new artist. What can you tease for readers who can't wait to see what the Birds of Prey are up to next?

So this “Undercover Animals” story is a quick two-issue arc (issues #7 and #8), that stands on its own, but also acts as a sort of bridge arc between the two larger stories. This arc has the incredible Javier Pina, David Lopez and Jordie Bellaire on art, and while it’s different than what we were doing with Leo, it’s gorgeous and very fun stuff. There are a bunch of double page action spreads in issue #8 that are just…to die for.

Then for arc three—issues #9 through #13—we’ll have a rotating cast of artists handling duties as our ladies find themselves trapped in a world that keeps repeatedly “re-skinning” itself. So we’re letting a cast of super talented artists lean into building those worlds and character designs. It’s going to be a wild ride. But hopefully one well worth the wait and wildness!

Birds of Prey #7 by Kelly Thompson, Javier Pina and Jordie Bellaire is now available in print and as a digital comic book.