Monday, March 07, 2016

Real Name: Dinah Lance/Dinah Drake
First Appearance: Justice League of America #75 (November, 1969)
Fight Club Ranking: #43

Featured Fights:
- vs GLASS MAN: Secret Origins #32 (Nov 1988)
- vs WOOD KING: Secret Origins #32 (Nov 1988)
- vs DEATHSTROKE: Identity Crisis #3 (Oct 2004)
- vs INJUSTICE LEAGUE: Justice League of America #15 (Jan 2008)
- vs SINESTRO CORPS: Green Lantern #25 (Jan 2008)

Aside from the headache of negotiating each eras different incarnation of the heroine - I was pretty excited about today's Hero of the Week! Black Canary isn't a character who's been prominent on my radar since the New 52 reboot, but she may be trending toward salvation as one of its final and few stand-alone triumphs! The kicker, this week, was the release of a Black Canary EP, which has me grooving on the good vibes of an unencumbered stroke of genius.

The feelings of euphoria largely owe a debt of gratitude to the work of artist Annie Wu and colorist Lee Loughridge: dynamic duo behind the bubble gum visual assault of 2015's mid-year Black Canary relaunch. Written by Brendan Fletcher, the series has recast the sonic screaming superhero as front woman for a band of the same name -- the kind of instinctive high-concept that inspires a smile by description alone. The addition of actual music by Joseph Donovan, Michelle Bensimon and Brenden Fletcher completes a trifecta of cool all too rare from the corporate supers.

I'd probably be even more enthusiastic if this was more obviously the Black Canary of the past few decades. Characters like Dazzler and Lila Cheney have done music + superheroes before, but it's the way the concept plays with Black Canary as an established character that really appeals. The jacket, the fishnets, the wailing cry. Iconography inviting smooth sub-cultural appropriation for a consistent, but all new bubble gum punk take. Fresh wrinkles for a character who just a few years ago was thrust into the ambitious position of being the JLA's leader -- a role she probably never quite had the status to live up to. More interesting on the new path as a singer, but more interesting with history in tact.

About the only thing missing from this glorious fusion of sound and pictures is plans for an animated feature, or series. The obstacle of quality, believable music that sometimes challenges these kinds of projects -- already conquered. Strong visual direction's available in abundance. The plot? Open to adaptation, with the potential to incorporate more of the DC Universe - an always attractive option, particularly in serial. You couldn't say no to occasional guest appearances from goateed Star City crossed lover Green Arrow, could ya?

You don't have to take my word for it. Comic Book Resources has previews for the first eight issues, and probably more if you're reading this at a later date. I suggest you check them out to make up your own mind. If you like what you see, the first trade is available on Amazon. You should also consider streaming the Black Canary EP via Bandcamp.

If you can believe it, Black Canary is only the second DC Hero of the Week for 2016! The first was Superman [02/01/2016], who we'll be seeing more of Friday in this week's featured fight. Be back during the week for more flashback action inspired by Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. 

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