Thursday, December 19, 2013

Top 10 Black Canary Moments of 2013 Part 3

From Injustice: Gods
Among Us Chapter 32.
Art by Jheremy Rapaack.
3. "The Prettiest Girl In the Whole Damn World"

Tom Taylor writes Black Canary better than any writer I've seen since Gail Simone left Birds of Prey.  His depiction is so flattering to the character that sometimes I think he's churning out material specifically for me to geek over.

Of course, that's my overreaction to finally reading a version of the character that doesn't sound like she's only a fraction smarter than the worst dumb blonde joke.

Taylor's Canary is competent, respectable, and a formidable warrior.  She knows Batman's secret identity, and the Dark Knight trusts her to fight against the likes of Superman and Green Lantern, unlike in the New 52 where Batman called Dinah "sloppy and dangerous".

While Green Arrow was undoubtedly the breakout character of Taylor's Injustice: Gods Among Us comic, it was often Ollie's scenes with Dinah that showcased the best of both characters.  Their dialogue was sometimes funny, occasionally sappy, but always playful and honest and true-to-character.

In a world where Superman kills wholesale for "the greater good" and Wonder Woman is basically Lady Macbeth, Ollie and Dinah come off refreshingly familiar.  This is how they should act in the main DC Universe!

From Injustice: Gods Among Us Annual #1.
Art by Bruno Redondo.
Best of all, while Black Canary plays second fiddle to Green Arrow in the first year, she doesn't end that way.  For story reasons, she has to come out of Ollie's shadow, and Taylor has promised that in 2014, Black Canary will take a much more proactive and commanding role.  Bring it on!

From Injustice: Gods Among Us Chapter 33.
Art by Bruno Redondo.

2. The Woman in Black

I started watching Arrow because I knew Black Canary was going to be in it.  I didn't expect to like the show, but I did.  It's not without its faults and I don't think it will appeal to every comic fan, even every Green Arrow comic fan.  It ain't The West Wing or Breaking Bad, but taken on its own it's damn enjoyable entertainment.

And the inclusion of the Canary in the first part of season 2 cranked up the Fun-meter to 12.


Campy? Sure, but it's Black Canary and Green Arrow kicking ass together in the flesh!

Also this.

That's just the major action pieces of episode 5, which focuses on the League of Assassins hunting Canary.  Why?  Oh, because she used to be one and trained with either Ra's al Ghul or his daughter (probably not Talia--the other one).

A year ago, my expectations for a live-action Black Canary in a DC movie were zilch.  After seeing how well the creators of Arrow have translated her and Green Arrow for their limited audience, I think there's a very real chance that someday I could see Canary on the big screen.

And now...

1. Unmasked!

Expect a lot of this cosplay next year!
If you were paying attention during the first season, you knew that Dinah "Laurel" Lance could not have become Black Canary, not without years of physical and psychological transformation.  If you were paying even less attention during the off-season hiatus, you knew that Katie Cassidy, who plays Laurel, definitely wasn't going to put on the costume anytime soon.  The big question on fans' minds was: Who is this mysterious Canary?

The secret was out before the sophomore season started for those who knew where to look, but most viewers discovered in the fourth episode that Black Canary was Laurel's sister, the long-thought-dead Sara Lance, now played by Caity Lotz.

I think this was far and away the best Black Canary moment of the year.  Ironically, it deviated quite far from my preferred continuity by putting a brand new woman inside the black leather.  But I like this deviation, and I love how they went about it.  There's the shock value that Sara Lance was presumed dead since the pilot episode.  There's the familiarity that, while believed dead, she is a known character, not someone who comes into Ollie's life for no reason.  And there's the originality to it.  Arrow is not beholden to the history and facts of the comic book Green Arrow; they show that every week.  Sometimes their changes suck, but a lot of times they work for the kind of story they're telling in the medium of television.

The unmasking of Black Canary and the reveal that Sara was still alive blew open the doors of possibility in this show.  Anything is possible and no cow is sacred.  We've since seen the introduction of characters like Barry Allen and Solomon Grundy.  A Green Lantern appearance would not surprise me at this point, nor would a connection to the DC Cinematic Universe unfolding in the Man of Steel movies.

So, maybe not all of the Top 10 were great moments.  I could have spared myself the time by cutting this list to six, but I want to get used to the format, because I think next year will be much better.  We'll see more Black Canary in Injustice: Year 2 by Tom Taylor.  We'll see more Black Canary on Arrow, I guarantee.  And we'll get the first original graphic novel with Black Canary's name on it as she teams up with Zatanna!

Looking forward to 2014!


  1. thanks for the write up , appreciate all the Black Canary Fandom! DC dont realise theyve got a gold mine, its really sad that to read a semi decent Canary in the NU52, the only option is injustice a web comic with some crumbs.

  2. All the characters in Injustice come out rather well - makes me wonder if instead of the Nu52 rubbish, DC shouldn't have gone down this road instead and made it official continuity.
    Some good notices for Canary here; finally shes getting some decent publicity and a fair shot.