Thursday, June 20, 2024

Dear DC, Please Give Black Canary Her Own Comic

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It’s always nice when you see your favorite superhero side kick go out on their own to bigger and better things. Fans of Batman no doubt expressed pure joy when Dick Grayson, Jason Todd, and Barbara Gordon all got their own comic lines keeping them out of the shadow of Bruce. Well ,maybe not so much Batgirl considering she kept the name, but that’s beside the point. The problem I have with DC however, is that nearly every second tier hero belonging to a major series in DC comics gets their own series. We’ve seen it with Batgirl and Nightwing, Supergirl, even Barry Allen and Wally West. Yet, the point I’m trying get at is where are the other sidekicks; I’m trying to avoid using the word lesser known heroes because Green Arrow deserves respect for having such a great comic run, as does his team, particularly Black Canary.

See even she gets it!

Now this isn’t to say that I’m singling out Dinah Lance as the only second tier Green Arrow hero that deserves her own dedicated run; I would love to see Speedy, Emi, and Diggle get their own spotlight. Yet, of all of them Dinah most needs to branch out. She and Ollie will always be my favorite DC power couple, but now’s the time to see just what she can do on her own.

Which brings me to another problem facing the overall team Arrow companions. Roy went off and joined the Titans. Dinah is often seen with the Birds of Prey and more recently in the Rebirth version of the Justice League of America (JLA). In each of these we see their worth and the potential to work well not only as a team but as a solo hero in their own right. So, why not give them the chance?

Now, Dinah did have her own New 52 spin off limited series that was, for lack of a better word, flawed. And also confusing to some since they changed her name her back to Dinah Drake. But, thus far in DC’s Rebirth, she has been shining alongside the Birds of Prey, the JLA, plus her appearances as lover and right hand woman to Oliver Queen. But that’s where the problem lies; she is so much more than the label we can give her alongside another team. With the success of not only all three titles—Green Arrow, JLA, and Batgirl and the Birds of Prey—Rebirth has set her up nicely to shine on her own.

Recently she’s somewhat become alienated to Oliver after a huge fight in the Rise of Star City arc. In Birds of Prey she does come off as quite silly sometimes, charming and yet an essential voice of reason for the team. Even in JLA, more often than not she rivals the control and respect that Batman commands. Come on DC, it’s time to give her the spotlight; you’ve made the stage so well set for it.

Now I’m assuming a lot of you came into this already being fans of Dinah, but at the same time some may be wondering “why her”? Why does she deserve her own comic? I could honestly just say it’s because she’s one of my favorite DC characters of all time, but that probably wouldn’t get very far. Basically, her entire history in comics is full of great stories that all channel her easy to love personality, independent tough girl mentality, hilarious sass (which make her and Ollie so great together), and overall badassery. Though it’s outside the canonical DC prime Universe, l’t;s not forget about that time in Injustice when she brought Superman to his knees.

Just in case you forgot.

For those who don’t know that much about the Black Canary or her history, it’s been quite the thrill ride for her. The original Black Canary was Dinah Drake, but after some time the mantle was passed down to her daughter, Dinah Laurel Lance. Unlike her mother, the latter’s Canary cry was the result of the metagene rather than the original and frankly strange origin of it being the result of a wizard’s curse, but moving on. Dinah Laurel was trained in combat by a former associate of the original Black Canary, Wildcat, and soon moved on to her own brand/style of crime fighting. She appeared here and there until the founding of the JLA of which she was one of the founding members. Then, she finally met the Green Arrow, and her story changed.

From the 70’s to the late 90’s she appeared in various teams such as the JLA, and her most well-known run was with Oracle and Huntress in the Birds of Prey. By the late 90’s she appeared heavily alongside of Oliver Queen until the two eventually got hitched. The Green Arrow/Black Canary wedding volumes were fun and moving, not overly serious which was expected from both characters, but nevertheless a solid piece of comic book history. The two, of course, shared their issues like any real world couple and would eventually end their relationship more than once, but somehow always end up back together in the end. Ya’ll leave my favorite DC ship alone, okay?

Don’t judge me, I loved this series.

With the ushering in of DC’s New 52, the Black Canary mantle was returned to Dinah Drake and she spent most of those years with the Birds Of Prey, not really meeting Oliver until DC’s Rebirth and re-launch. Though I love the two together it was nice to see her character develop on her own. She had her share of lovers, including some among her origin with the metahuman fighting team, Team 7. As I mentioned, her solo run wasn’t that great but at least they attempted something. In Rebirth she finally meets Green Arrow and the two launch their fated course of romance, though this time around they’re more troubled, especially recently in the series. It’s human and realistic…but also makes me sad.

Recently, Rebirth has been giving me lots of hope that she’s going to go off on her own. Honestly, if DC doesn’t realize how much all of her writers are building her up toward independence then we can probably expect that it will never happen. Like I mentioned previously, she and Oliver are in a rocky state in their relationship at the moment.

What began as healthy and passionate, both in crime fighting and love, gradually began to turn sour as Oliver became so wrapped up in the revelation that his father was a member of the Ninth Circle that any attempt by her both in a serious or fun way was met with cold and defensive insensitivity. Even I was mad at him for this, and it was only solidified by his decision to leave Seattle in hopes of stopping the Ninth Circle, a sort of homage to the Hard Traveling Heroes storyline with Green Lantern. Yet I digress. As of now in the Green Arrow run she’s on her own with Emi, doing what can for Seattle with the Ninth Circles thugs still at large and kidnapping the less fortunate poor and underprivileged of the citizens of the city.

Oliver Queen, you dick.

This is exactly where they could start her own run. Her role in the investigation is miniscule at most in Green Arrow Rebirth. It’s a short story drawn out by only being on two or three pages of the book and has been kept to a singular bigtime event or fight. The reason it would be perfect to start here is because it’s familiar. Though I, and probably many others, would love to see her own run include some brand new villains created just for her, we do need to keep in mind that simply throwing them in from nowhere can severely affect the story by throwing off dedicated readers of the Green Arrow series. While you can say that having her solo run is what would be the main purpose of stepping away from Green Arrow villains, the transition would still require some familiarity.

The following is just one idea of mine for where to start. Depending on where the battle against the Ninth Circle goes in Seattle, Dinah has Emi with her as her own sort of side kick. And of course there’s the secretary who Oliver supposedly murdered in the Life and Death of Oliver Queen arc that kicked off his Rebirth series. If DC were to make similar series for Dinah it should one that takes place after proving Oliver’s innocence. Perhaps she takes Emi under her wing to continue the fight against the shadow organization in Seattle, at least at the start. It’s a story and villain who are popular at the moment and they could easily create some new players to join in her comic—hero, villain, and support. Please DC, though, please, no more rock band story lines.

Another point they could include is the fact that Dinah has been a part of so many teams. She’s always got back up: from the various members of the BoP to Oliver and even Batman and the other members of the JLA. Let’s not lie either, we all love crossovers and team ups, no matter how ridiculous they get. The significance would be so much greater when you read Black Canary featuring whomever rather than the other way around.

So, with all this is mind, please DC, do this for us. I and so many others would be incredibly excited and happy to see the Black Canary fly solo and guarantee everyone within hearing distance would notice her soar.

Images Courtesy of DC Comics

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