Friday, August 29, 2014

Pretty Bird: DETECTIVE COMICS #567

Previously in Detective Comics...

Detective Comics #567 starred Batman a story by renowned Harlan Ellison with art by Gene Colan, and one of my favorite Batman covers drawn by Klaus Janson.  Green Arrow and Black Canary teamed up in their final Detective Comics backup strip titled "The Face of Barricade" written by Joey Cavalieri and pencilled by Stan Woch.

The story begins with ohmygod!!!

Skeletor Barricade looms over Green Arrow, kicking him and tormenting him with vague clues about his real identity.  He recalls the story of how Green Arrow brought about the ruin of his life, revealing to readers that Barricade is actually Lars from Detective Comics #556-557.

Lars' loyal followers at the monastery restored the Book of Ages using some alchemical tricks; this brought Lars back to life... sort of.  Lars, despite looking like death, will live as long as he remains in physical contact with the book.  His humanity will be restored once he gets the Wisdom Key which is hidden in Onyx's tiara.

Onyx brandishes the tiara in front of Barricade so he'll leave Green Arrow alone, but her whip does nothing to keep the villain at bay.  He lifts up Onyx threatening to snap her neck.  Ollie, meanwhile, grabs his bow and arrow and takes aim.  He heard Barricade say he had to remain in contact with the book, so he fires at one of Barricade's leg cuffs, hoping that's where the book is secreted.  Sadly, he guesses wrong, so he fires at one of Barricade's wrist gauntlets.  That, too, proves futile.

Before Black Canary can get away with the tiara, Barricade slams a heavy fist into the wall, shaking the building's foundation and causing Black Canary to fall into the room.  Barricade tries to get the tiara from Dinah, but Ollie fires one more arrow that rips open the back of Barricade's costume, exposing the Book of Ages hidden at the small of his back.

As the book falls loose, Lars dies again.

As the heroes realize the Wisdom Key isn't with the tiara, they realize that Onyx has slipped away.  We find her again in the park meeting with Tommie, the friend she hurried out of the music store.  Only, Tommie isn't feeling very friendly at the moment.  She gave him the Wisdom Key and pushed him away to maybe keep him safe, but he sees it as making him a target for some nasty villain like Barricade.  The story ends with Onyx walking away unhappily.

Even though Crisis on Infinite Earths ended about a year before this issue came out, this story is considered Black Canary's last pre-Crisis appearance.  The next time we see her is in the fourth chapter of the Justice League reboot miniseries, Legends, which I'll be reviewing soon.  As a finale to her pre-Crisis period, though, this story is pretty anticlimactic.  I enjoyed seeing Onyx revisited and this two-parter was a nice follow-up to the Green Arrow and Onyx's side-adventure ten issues earlier, but I would have rather seen more out of the Steelclaw story and more development of Dinah's voice-based mind control powers that Joey Cavalieri built up over the past year.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Super-Team Family: Black Canary and Banshee

It's Thursday and that means I get to lazily graciously repost one of Ross' custom DC/Marvel crossover covers from the Super-Team Family blog.  Last December, Ross celebrated his 600th crossover cover with a four different mash-ups, including Black Canary and Banshee's final scream!

I love all of these team-ups, from the Avengers and Star Trek crew, to Wolverine and Lion-O of the Thundercats, to Deathlok and RoboCop.  But naturally my favorite is the sonic power-couple of the X-Men's Banshee and Dinah Lance.

The Black Canary image above is by Nick Cardy and comes from the cover to The Brave and the Bold issue #91.

Check out Super-Team Family: The Lost Issues for many, many more DC/Marvel crossover covers!

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Black Canary by Peter Krause 2

Peter Krause drew Black Canary in Birds of Prey #7, but anyone with even a basic appreciation of comics ought to know his work from the seminal series Irredeemable from Boom! Studios and his work on Insufferable at Thrillbent, both written by Mark Waid.  If you haven't read either of those books, you're really missing out on some fantastic stories.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Birds of Prey #15 (March 2000)

Previously in Birds of Prey...

Birds of Prey #15: "Face Time" turns a corner as Chuck Dixon finally gets an artist who can elevate his limited scripts into something special.  Butch Guice comes aboard as the regular artist and his first issue is possibly the best of the series for his involvement.

After spending the last couple months dealing with super-powered villains and other-dimensional landscapes, Dixon lets Black Canary and Oracle let their hair down a little and spend some free time on character progression.  Of course, Dixon's better angels can't shout down all of his problems as he still wastes precious comic page real estate at the beginning of the issue.  This time, thankfully, it's not an unnecessary splash page followed by an equally unnecessary double-page splash.

Instead, he devotes the first two and a half pages to TV news coverage of horrible violence in the nation of Qurac.  Guice does a great job rendering the ugliness of the war and its combatants, but then we pull away from the news footage to reveal a salesman hocking high definition TVs and computer monitors to Barbara Gordon.  She ends up rolling over his foot with her wheelchair.  Yeah, the first four pages are just set-up for a not-that-funny gag.

Babs has come to a tech convention, but not to shop for new products.  After months or years of dancing around cyber-dating, she has finally come to meet her online friend, "Bumblebeeb".

Meanwhile, Dinah Lance spends her day off retrieving piles and piles of junk mail from the mailbox of her apartment.  She complains to Henry, the doorman.  Another tenant comes home, and when she goes up the elevator, Dinah notices the woman has a black eye.  Henry tells Dinah the woman is Olivia Crichton, Dinah's next-door neighbor, and she's single but has one gentleman caller.

Later, Dinah goes to Olivia's apartment and makes up a lame excuse to get inside and check out the bruise on her face.  Olivia insists that she's fine and her situation is none of Dinah's business.  Dinah offers her friendship and any help she can provide before Olivia makes her leave.

Back at the tech convention, Babs avoids more cheesy product placements while the news talks about the United Nations new, mysterious ambassador from Qurac.  This is foreshadowing, so you know.  Then, at last, she meets her blind date.  Bumblebeeb reveals his real identity, and would you believe it  it's Ted Kord!  They awkwardly introduce themselves and make up some half-truth cover stories for their jobs.

Elsewhere in Gotham, Babs' ex-boyfriend Jason Bard goes to see her at her apartment.  But instead of Barbara Gordon, he finds her other ex-boyfriend Dick Grayson hanging around, making repairs to stuff damaged during the Gotham Earthquake.  Boy, that's a little awkward; two exes meeting each other at Babs' apartment while she's out on a date with someone else.

Meanwhile Dinah gets more junk mail as a menu is shoved under her door.

I love this page, not because of Dinah's skimpy outfit but because of the Toth's Gym shirt, a nice little reference to the work of Alex Toth who drew a gorgeous Black Canary in Adventure Comics.  Anyway, out in the hall Dinah notices Olivia's "gentleman caller" go inside with two bodyguards left standing by the door.

Babs and Ted go to a diner to get to know each other better.  Ted tries to impress Babs by saying he  works in a similar law-enforcement capacity by designing nonlethal crime-fighting hardware such as gases, armor, and other kinds of deterrents.  She asks if he ever gets out in the field and he says no way, he's just in R&D.  Then she asks why he chose the avatar Bumblebeeb and he insists there is nothing significant about the name.

Meanwhile, Dinah watches TV in her bedroom in the fourth different outfit we've seen her wear this issue, and presumably only about an hour has passed.  She flips through channels and we get more foreshadowing of the mysterious, unseen ambassador from Qurac going to speak at the U.N.  Above Dinah's bed is a portrait of her father, Larry Lance.  A bump on the wall from next-door nearly knocks the photo on her head.  Sounds like Olivia is getting beaten by her man again.

After knocking out the bodyguards, Dinah hears gunshots coming from Olivia's bedroom.  When she sneaks in, she finds Olivia with the gun and the man lying dead on the floor.  Olivia sobs, saying she warned the man not to hit her again.

Babs and Ted walk through the lobby of the tech conference.  She confesses to knowing the truth about him, that he's secretly the costumed adventurer known as Blue Beetle.  He freaks out at first, telling her to keep it secret, but then he puts two and two together and realizes the only way she could know his double identity is because she had one of her own.  He stops her from rolling away and calls her Oracle.

They go back to the diner to start their date over again with their cards metaphorically on the table.

Then the news in the restaurant turns to coverage of the Quraci ambassador addressing the United Nations.  As he begins to speak, Babs is horrified that she recognizes the voice.

No costumes and no superhero antics, but still probably the best Birds of Prey story up to this point.  It's great seeing Babs and Ted Kord feel each other out on their date.  It reads like Barbara was legitimately surprised to find her date was Ted Kord, but once he introduced himself, she knew who he was.

Dinah, meanwhile, gets to kick ass and show her compassion for a victim of abuse.  The best parts of her story, though, are the artistic flourishes that Guice adds, such as the portrait of Larry Lance in the bedroom and the Toth's Gym shirt.  I am so glad Butch Guice becomes the regular artist for the next couple months.

Come back next Tuesday for a review of Birds of Prey #16.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Action Plus: ACTION COMICS #426

In the early 1970s, Green Arrow joined the "Action Plus" feature of Action Comics.  Black Canary made numerous guest appearances in her boyfriend's strip, sometimes in her costumed identity, and sometimes as civilian florist, Dinah Lance.

Action Comics #426 is cover dated August 1973 and hit the shelves May 31, according to Mike's Amazing World of DC Comics.  The lead Superman story is written by Cary Bates with art by Curt Swan and Murphy Anderson and a cover by Nick Cardy.  The issue included two backup stories, one featuring the Human Target by Len Wein and Dick Giordano.

The Green Arrow strip entitled "The Wrong Side of the Tracks" is written by Elliot S. Maggin with pencils by Dick Dillin and inks by Giordano.

The story begins, after Green Arrow shouts at the reader, with Oliver Queen entering Dinah Lance's Pretty Bird Flower Shoppe...

Dinah leaves the store to Ollie, telling him she'll be back in time for dinner.  So, while technically minding the store, he kills time by designing a new trick arrow with some of her tools in the back room.  Then two delivery men arrive with some freaky sci-fi sculpture, but Ollie points out that they're on the wrong side of town.

"If you drop a bowl of spaghetti out a window, the way it lands will look like a street map of Star City," Ollie tells the delivery men before redirecting them to the correct address.  Hmm... I've heard similar descriptions for the layout of Boston.  Clearly, at the time this story was written, Star City was imagined as an eastern city, not the West Coast hub it will become later in DC's history.

After the delivery men drive off, Ollie realizes that their truck is from a building that went out of business the year before.  He changes into Green Arrow and swings across town with his rope arrows.  He sees the delivery guys bringing the sculpture to a man named Chatsworth Osborne, Jr. (seriously!) and uses a bug-arrow to listen in on the recipient, but his surveillance equipment detects the presence of another bug in the office that must have been planted on the sculpture.

Green Arrow intercepts the delivery men leaving the office and questions them.  They say the Osborne Foundation's vice president, Gregory Gates, hired them and gave them the truck and sculpture; that's all they know.  Green Arrow turns them loose and then meets with Chatsworth Osborne, Jr. revealing the spy equipment hidden on the sculpture.  Chatsworth Osborne, Jr. is angry, so angry!  Can you imagine how angry Chatsworth Osborne, Jr. must be?!

Green Arrow leaves the office of Chatsworth Osborne, Jr. and goes to see Gregory Gates, the vice president of the foundation run by Chatsworth Osborne, Jr.  Ollie overhears Gates admit to spying on Chatsworth Osborne, Jr. after the "twerp" inherited Osborne Foundation and demoted him.  Gates doesn't approve of how unselfishly Chatsworth Osborne, Jr. wants to spend the foundation's money.

That's all Green Arrow needs to hear to spring into action.

Green Arrow recalls how his own million-dollar company was taken away from him by conniving jerks like Chatsworth Osborne, Jr. like Gregory Gates.  He beats the crap out of Gates and his men, and then goes to help Chatsworth Osborne, Jr.  He tells the young man not to let this experience spoil his entrepreneurial spirit or idealism.

Then, inexplicably, he convinces Chatsworth Osborne, Jr. to show him his financial records and goes through all of his books to make sure his company is safe.  Ollie mentions attending four years at Hudson University.  Clearly, he is well educated in business, but why the hell would this C.E.O. trust him with this kind of information after knowing Green Arrow for about six minutes.

At the bottom of the page is an ad for Mike Kaluta's The Shadow which looks awesome!

Another fun little Green Arrow story.  Dinah is just Dinah once again, not the Black Canary.  She doesn't get to kick ass in her fishnets and blonde wig, but she does look terrific as ever.  It's kind of funny reading these stories where she is treated as the hero's girlfriend who happens to own a flower shop.  In a way, these stories feel like Black Canary's Golden Age stories told from the perspective of Larry Lance.  In those old tales in Flash Comics, he didn't know Dinah and Black Canary were the same woman, and Larry always fancied himself the hero in his own mind.

Come back next Monday for another tale of Green Arrow and Black Canary in Action Comics...

Friday, August 22, 2014

Pretty Bird: DETECTIVE COMICS #566

Previously in Detective Comics...

Detective Comics #566 starred Batman and Robin in a story by Doug Moench with art by Gene Colan, who also drew the cover.  Interestingly, this story served more or less as a Who's Who entry for Batman's rogues gallery with Jason Todd studying his mentor's foes in the Bat-computer.  Green Arrow and Black Canary teamed up in a backup strip titled "Old Enemies Die Hard" written by Joey Cavalieri and drawn by Jerome Moore.

We open with Dinah Laurel Lance taking her lover, Oliver Queen, home on her motorcycle.  There is no mention of Mayor Bolt or his costumed alter-ego Steelclaw, or his son who Green Arrow and Black Canary saved last issue.  I guess we just assume that Steelclaw died.

Examining the wreckage of his apartment, Ollie tells Dinah that nothing is missing.  This wasn't a robbery; someone came looking for him and trashed the place when they realized Ollie wasn't home.  He plays the tape on the answering machine (or "phone machine" as he calls it) and hears the message from Onyx, who is holed up in a music shop with her friend Tommie.

Meanwhile, at the music store, Onyx is trying to convince Tommie to let her go because she's in danger.  Tommie believes she came back to Star City to see him, though, and they kiss.  Then their tender embrace is interrupted by a large armored figure smashing through the wall.  The stranger calls himself Barricade and fights Onyx.

Green Arrow appears and fires an arrow that snatches the tiara away from Barricade.  Then he fires off another arrow that wraps chains around Barricade... chains the villain easily snaps out of.

I miss the story of Steelclaw--that was sort of anticlimactically wrapped up.  But I'm glad we see Onyx again and this story will put a cap on events last seen in issues #556 and 557.

Come back next Friday for the final part of Green Arrow and Black Canary's adventures in Detective Comics...

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Super-Team Family: Black Canary and Spider-Girl

It's time again for me to steal repost one of Ross' custom DC/Marvel crossover covers from the Super-Team Family blog.  This one is a little more timely, though, as Ross just put this mash-up of Black Canary and Spider-Girl on his site earlier this week.

The Black Canary in this piece was originally penciled by George Perez, while Spider-Girl was drawn by Mark Bagley. 

Check out Super-Team Family: The Lost Issues for many, many more DC/Marvel crossover covers!

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Black Canary by Peter Krause

Peter Krause drew Black Canary in Birds of Prey #7, but anyone with even a basic appreciation of comics ought to know his work from the seminal series Irredeemable from Boom! Studios and his work on Insufferable at Thrillbent, both written by Mark Waid.  If you haven't read either of those books, you're really missing out on some fantastic stories.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Birds of Prey #14 (Feb 2000)

Previously in Birds of Prey...

Birds of Prey #14: "Apokolips Express Part 2" is written by Chuck Dixon with pencils by Greg Land and Patrick Zircher, inks by Drew Geraci, and colors by Gloria Vasquez.  The cover was done by Land and Brian Stelfreeze.

Black Canary and Catwoman are trapped on Apokolips with the mutated miniature Parademon who brought them there.  The Parademon, Pharzoof, starts recounting his origin and motives for kidnapping the ladies and a U.S. Marshal transport train full of G-list super-villains.  Dinah, however, really doesn't care about Pharzoof's origin and motives.  She hates him and she wants him to boom-tube them back to Earth.

Elsewhere on the planet, Marshal Dina--not to be confused with Dinah--leads her outnumbered and outgunned squadron in a desperate defense against thousands of Parademon warriors.  To balance the scales, she unleashes the train's five prisoners, which includes a clone of Guy Gardner and some other assholes.

The marshals we don't know and the villains we don't care about spend five or six pages fighting Parademons because Chuck Dixon and Greg Land still haven't gotten the hang of depicting character moments in this series.  Meanwhile, Black Canary and Catwoman sneak through the slave-operated diamond mine to find a motherbox.

Leaving Catwoman to her selfish devices, Black Canary and Pharzoof sneak into the armory of Granny Goodness' Female Furies.  It doesn't take long for the little monster to uncover a working motherbox, but before Black Canary can escape, one of the Female Furies attacks.

Back on Earth, Oracle sent Power Girl to the site of the marshals' train disappearance.  Power Girl hears from the agent-in-charge that the radiation readings around the train tracks suggest the train and its occupants were boom-tubed to Apokolips.

As the hordes of Parademons threaten to overwhelm the marshals, Dina leads her men in one final counter-surge with a rousing speech comparing them to other valiant defenders who all died horribly.

Black Canary fights Lashina for a little while.  Then Catwoman returns and jumps the Fury.  She tells Dinah to get away with Pharzoof and the motherbox.

Black Canary miraculously returns to the scene of the marshals' last stand and creates a boom-tube.  Black Canary, Catwoman, the surviving marshals, and the super-villains all escape, leaving Pharzoof back on Apokolips to be dealt with by Parademons and Female Furies.

On Earth, the villains are taken back into custody.  Black Canary reunites with Oracle via audio communication, and Catwoman slips away to burgle another day.

Thus concludes the most underwhelming story involving the Apokolips and the New Gods... until every story involving Apokolips and the New Gods published between the mid-2000s to present day. Once again, Chuck Dixon fails to capture real human character moments or progress the characters in any meaningful way, because Oracle is nothing more than a cameo in this two-parter, and Black Canary takes a backseat to Catwoman, a bunch of federal agents dressed like stormtroopers, and some lame-ass villains that aren't even worthy of the likes of Invisible Destroyer and Signalman.

This is the last issue to feature Greg Land and Drew Geraci for quite a while.  That's good.  It pleases me, and that's all I'll say.

Come back next Tuesday for a review of Birds of Prey #15.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Action Plus: ACTION COMICS #421

In the early 1970s, Black Canary appeared regularly in the pages of Justice League of America and pretty regularly in Green Lantern.  When the adventures of the Hard Travelin' Heroes got cancelled, Black Canary popped up in a few other places, like issues of Adventure Comics and The Brave and the Bold.

After Green Lantern ended, Green Arrow joined the "Action Plus" feature of Action Comics, which alternated backup stories starring the Emerald Archer, the Atom, and Human Target.  Black Canary made numerous guest appearances in her boyfriend's strip, sometimes in her costumed identity, and sometimes as civilian florist, Dinah Lance.

Action Comics #421 is cover dated February 1973 but came out December 28, 1972, according to Mike's Amazing World of DC Comics.  The lead Superman story is written by Cary Bates with art by Curt Swan and Murphy Anderson and a cover by Nick Cardy.

The Green Arrow strip entitled "The Headline Maker" is written by Elliot S. Maggin with pencils by Sal Amendola and inks by Dick Giordano.

Swinging onto the burning theater, Green Arrow kicks open the door to the upper balcony to free the patrons trapped inside.  They're still stuck on the upper floor, however, so Ollie fires off some trick arrows that create a safety net on the street below.  He sets an example for the less than enthusiastic civilians by leaping out the window and landing safely on the net below.

After ensuring the theater-goers are safe, Green Arrow makes his exit, dodging the show's press agent.  He ducks away and changes into his private citizen garb as Oliver Queen.  Then he heads out to meet Dinah the day before she opens her store called Pretty Bird Flower Shoppe.

Ollie takes off to find someone to advertise her story, leaving Dinah behind to clean up the mess he made by knocking over the potted plant.  Dinah watches Ollie leave, wondering why she loves him, or if she does, since she can't bring herself to form the L-word.

On his way across town, Ollie recognizes a mob hit-man named Lucas Branson.  Ollie follows Branson down into the subway and spies on the assassin.  Branson uncovers a tape in a phone booth, plays the recording, and hears the details of his next target.  As Branson goes back upstairs to the street, though, Ollie uses a siren-arrow to spook the hit-man and send him running back to the subway train.

Ollie calls the Star City Herald and tells them Green Arrow will capture Lucas Branson in front of the Pretty Bird Flower Shoppe.  He follows Branson on the train and tips off a beat cop as to the hood's identity, but Branson gets away from the cop and goes up to the street.  Ollie changes into his Green Arrow outfit and confronts Branson on the street in front of Dinah's store.

Green Arrow fires an arrow at Branson's gun, disarming the man.  As Dinah, the cops, and the Herald photographer converge on the street, Green Arrow takes out the mob enforcer.

So no Black Canary action in this issue of Action, but at least Dinah got to put Ollie in his place at times with a few well-placed smart-ass comments.  Plus, she looks gorgeous and foxy rendered by Amendola and Giordano.

The real weird part of the story, though, is when Ollie points out the mobster to the police officer in the subway.  Ollie says he's giving the cops the chance to make the arrest and get the glory, but that seems counter to his agenda, and also dangerous.  What if Branson panicked at the sight of the cop like he did at the sound of police sirens?  What if Branson killed the subway cop because Ollie pointed him out?  I don't think that would make Ollie culpable of the death of a police officer, but it would be a little ethically smudgy.

Come back next Monday for another tale of Green Arrow and Black Canary in Action Comics...

Friday, August 15, 2014

Pretty Bird: DETECTIVE COMICS #565

Previously in Detective Comics...

Detective Comics #565 starred Batman and Catwoman in a story by Doug Moench with art by Gene Colan, who also drew the cover.  Green Arrow and Black Canary teamed up in a backup strip titled "Death by Misadventure" written by Joey Cavalieri and drawn by new penciler Stan Woch.

Green Arrow and Black Canary were sneaking around an old mansion looking to rescue the mayor's son from kidnappers.  Black Canary was knocked out by the mayor in his sinister guise as Steelclaw, while Green Arrow opened a door upstairs that set off an explosion.

When Green Arrow picks himself up, he is greeted by two boys.  One is Bruce Bolt, the mayor's son; the other is Rick O'Connor, who the editor's note refers to as "Hi-Tek" from a zillion Green Arrow stories, remember?  I actually don't remember this character, but whatever.  Hi-Tek helps Ollie to his feet and explains that he was assisting Bruce's tutor when they discovered that strange men were following Bruce home from school and lurking around the house.  They got permission from the tutor, a woman named Myrna Cuthbertson, to build some home-defense booby-traps, including the door bomb.

Outside, the two kidnappers happen upon Steelclaw over Black Canary's unconscious form.  One of the hoods intends to shoot her in the head, but Steelclaw objects.  Mayor Bolt has infiltrated the world of crime hoping to take it down from inside, but he can't allow Black Canary to be murdered.  Unfortunately, the goons are no longer interested in letting Steelclaw boss them around.

The gunshots get Green Arrow's attention up in the house.  He looks out the window to see one of the gunmen about to execute Dinah.

Green Arrow comes down and unties Black Canary.  Then Bruce Bolt and the others follow and little Brucie asks about the hooded figure bleeding out on the lawn.  Won't that be awkward when he finds out it's his dad.

Onyx tries to leave the shop but Tommie has her locked inside and demands to know what she's afraid of and why she came back.

Come back next Friday for the next part of Green Arrow and Black Canary's continuing adventures in Detective Comics...

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Birds of Prey #13 (Jan 2000)

Previously in Birds of Prey...

Birds of Prey #13: "Apokolips Express" is written by Chuck Dixon with pencils by Greg Land and Patrick Zircher, inks by Drew Geraci, and colors by Gloria Vasquez.  The cover was done by Land and Brian Stelfreeze.

Black Canary boarded a military train full of U.S. Marshals transporting a group of super-villains--and Catwoman who snuck aboard to spring the villains.  But then a mysterious evil-doer who has been manipulating Oracle for some time triggered a Boom Tube sending the train and its occupants across time and space to a distant world.

Dinah and Dina, the head of the marshals, climb out of the wrecked train trying to figure out what happened and where they landed.  Black Canary realizes pretty quickly where they ended up.

Marshal Dina shoots down some of the aircraft coming to investigate the train's sudden arrival and derailment.  The rest of the marshals secure the location and the prisoners on board, all except for Catwoman of course.

The mystery villain in the hat and trench coat makes his presence known and Marshal Dina opens fire and blasts him.  Black Canary freaks out, knowing that whoever that strange-o is he transported them to Apokolips and he can send them back to Earth.  So Black Canary and Catwoman head out looking for the mystery guy.

Back on Earth, Oracle has enlisted the aid of Power Girl to help her find Dinah and the mystery train.

Black Canary and Catwoman watch a flight of parademons soaring overhead toward the marshals' location.  Then the women find the damaged exo-suit of their mystery villain, which means whoever is behind this is actually really small and trying to hide his appearance.

The parademons attack the train, but the marshals are able to fall back and reposition.  Marshal Dina realizes she needs heavier weapons to defend the train and its cargo of villains.

Meanwhile, Catwoman wonders why Canary can't call Oracle for help.

As Black Canary and Catwoman skulk around Apokolips, they find a mining pit operated by slaves.  Catwoman is more interested in what the mine is producing than who is working it; she likes the shiny blood diamonds.

At the train, Dina fires a big honking bazooka weapon that blows away most of the parademons.  For the moment, the marshals have held them off but a prolonged defense will require a lot more power on their side.

Black Canary and Catwoman find the mystery villain crying behind a rock.  He turns out to be an unusually small parademon who wanted to kidnap the super-villains in order to lead a revolt.

At the train, Dina frees the five captives and tells them they all need to work together in order to survive.

Uh... I'll do more analysis when this arc is over, 'kay?

Come back next Tuesday for a review of Birds of Prey #14.