Saturday, June 22, 2013

LongBox Loot: Black Canary Mini from 1991

For those of you who graciously check Flowers & Fishnets for its reviews of classic Birds of Prey issues (karl), rest assured I'm working on the write-up for Manhunt #3 and hope to post it tomorrow.  In the meantime, I have to share my most recent Black Canary purchase.

While visiting my parents, I had occasion to stop in the LCS of my old hometown.  After fighting with the owner about Man of Steel and saying some truly shameful things about his family, for which I apologize, I decided to peruse the back-issue boxes for Black Canary stories.  As luck would have it, they had the whole four-issue "New Wings" miniseries from late '91/early '92.

Black Canary: New Wings was written by Sarah Byam, with pencils by Trevor Von Eeden and inks by the immortal Dick Giordano!  I've heard lots of good things about this series--can't wait to read it!


  1. Thanks for my shout-out!
    I have all issues of this Black Canary series, both the first mini-series and the ongoing. I must confess the stories in the ongoing confused me at times, as characters did things and turned up at places where events were already happening. The ongoing book really didn't know which way it was heading at times, and of course we all regretfully know how the comic ended...ignominiously, with the 'butch' Canary. Less said the better.
    What I really loved about the earlier mini was the art by Dick Giordano; his stylised-realism was picture-perfect for Green Arrow and Black Canary. Maybe my memory's playing tricks on me but I think the first Black Canary Archives came out around the same time the mini did [Im sure one was used to promote the other].
    Unlike the later ongoing which followed - very soon after, I believe, a mistake DC made in commissioning a follow-up series far too quickly as it didn't have any cohesive editing - this mini had a well-structured storyline. Curious that this was written by a female writer - Sarah Byam, never heard of her before - Dinah is drawn into what appears a simple tragedy in to a wider problem, and in her first outing [outside of her short Adventure Comics solos in the 70s] and finds herself quite capable of dealing with low-level crime with a high-level twist. And for a four-part series the individual issues maintain a cohesive structure throughout; not too long, and not too short. Giordano's art is superb as ever - he is flawless - but here the panels are square and blocky, giving the reader a fairly straightforward style in the most. And the word-balloons begin with several per panel and degenerate into one per panel, and many panels with no dialogue at all, suggesting the story is losing pace and relying on mere action.
    Some things impress...the shocking opening, with a child finding his daddys gun and shooting himself, the 'shock-jock' vigilante with a moral code challenged by Dinah, and a plot that took in several minor themes of social decay.
    I always remember this one line;
    'Never underestimate a lady in fish-net stockings!'...classic Canary comeback line to a man who criticised her sexy costume. Dinah sure had a lot of sass n' frass in her first solo book, dealing with the worthless likes of her boyfriend Queen, corrupt politicos and a burgeoning crime-rate. Her dialogue here was perfectly suited to her solo adventurer aspect in her later Birds of Prey. The perfect intro, one might say.

  2. Thanks, karl!

    I agree that Byam's story, as well as the moodiness of the art (thanks to Giordano) make this miniseries look and feel very much like the sister comic of Mike Grell's GREEN ARROW ongoing.

    I haven't gotten all of the BC ongoing that followed this, but I do know many of the details. And yes, the butch version of Dinah in the last handful of issues was… regrettable.