Evelyn Crawford (Starling)

starlingfilmWell, not only Rachel McLaughlin‘s character, Evelyn Sharp, will be Arrow‘s version of Artemis, but she will also include another character from the comics in her portrayal, as her full name has been revealed to be Evelyn Crawford Sharp. “Sharp” still doesn’t say anything, but with “Crawford” it’s all another thing, as Evelyn Crawford is actually a character from the comics, recently introduced in The New 52 storyline (so exclusive to the Prime Earth reality)…and she does indeed have ties with Black Canary, even if she’s not exactly a copycat, and she’s also closer to the heroine’s age. Evelyn Crawford is a member of the most recent incarnation of the Birds of Prey, and consequently an associate of Black Canary’s, something that the show won’t explore for obvious reasons…but we can nevertheless.

Not much is known about Evelyn Crawford’s early life, apart from the fact that she lived and operated in Gotham City, and that she had an uncle named Earl somewhere in the world. She was also a very religious woman, but this didn’t prevent her from becoming a mercenary and ending up on the Government’s black list of wanted people. Known as Starling, she managed to stay out of trouble with the authorities, and to accomplish several contracts for quite a number of employers. Eventually, one of her contractors sent her on an undercover mission in the exclusive club Iceberg Lunge, which also served as a front activity for the many illicit business of its owner, The Penguin. During her time in the Lunge, Starling met another undercover Team 7 agent, Dinah Lance, better known as the heroine Black Canary. The two became friends (for a while Evelyn, who was bisexual, even had a crush on Dinah), and after starlingcomics1both their jobs were done, they kept in contact, despite Starling was still a wanted woman. When Black Canary founded a women-only covert-ops team in Gotham, the Birds of Prey, she remembered her friend, and called her back to town, asking her to join. Wanting to settle down a bit, and conscious of the advantages of temmates covering her back, Starling decided to accept the offer, and joined Black Canary, the superheroine Batgirl, the haunted samurai Katana and the vengeful Huntress in their crusade to keep Gotham’s streets clean. This, of course, was quite a handful of troubles for each and every heroine in the team.

Life in the team didn’t exactly start the best of ways, as soon the Birds of Prey became the target of an organization of killers, the Cleaners: each one of them was equipped with a stealthy armor that made them practically invisible, and they were mind-controlled by the organization’s mysterious leader, Choke. The Birds needed help, and Black Canary found another team member in the reformed Poison Ivy…something that Starling didn’t like at all, as she didn’t trust the former (?) super-villain. Between Starling and Ivy (the “talking salad”, as she called her) a rivalry was immediately born, and this put the team in jeopardy several times, especially considering that dismantling Choke’s organization required the team’s cooperation. When Starling managed to save Black Canary, who nearly died after Choke implanted a bomb in her head, she became the Cleaners’ new target: still controlling Canary, Choke sent Starling into a trap, and had her ambushed by dozens of killers. Against all odds, Evelyn survived the experience, and along with the rest of the Birds of Prey she managed to discover Choke’s secret identity and to attack him in his HQ. Case was closed, even if Katana, who had slain “Choke” (a man named Trevor Cahill), claimed they took the wrong guy. Starling, however, had lost faith in her friend, and when Poison Ivy starlingcomics2betrayed the team during one of her usual eco-terrorist schemes, just as Evelyn had forseen, she decided she would have not trusted Black Canary anymore. When the supervillain Mr. Freeze started observing the Birds of Prey, Starling spotted her way out, and betrayed her teammates working as a double agent for Freeze. After all, there had always been just one person she truly looked out for, and that was herself.

Evelyn Crawford is quite a complex woman: a pious believer but also a remorseless killer, a loyal and dependable friend but also a selfish and untrustworthy survivor, a loner but also a good team-player, and much more. As Starling, she’s an expert mercenary, lethal with any kind of firearm, an excellent pilot and hand-to-hand combatant, a skilled spy and a resourceful tactician; with her remarkable wealth she can afford a number of gadgets she uses as both as a mercenary and a crime-fighter, and despite lacking any kind of superpower she had nothing to envy to the other Birds of Prey. A riddle of a woman, Starling will die for you or stab your back, depending on where her prioritarian interest lays.

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