Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Favorite Female Characters #8: Black Canary

BOP 56
Originally uploaded by Heidi Meeley.
There have been, in my mind, three incarnations of Black Canary. The original was first seen in the Golden Age as a petty thief before joining the JSA. The second is the current Black Canary's mother who was also the first incarnation under a different name. Lastly, there the current Black Canary, Dinah Drake Lance, which is the one I am going to make a case for.

First seen back in Justice League of America 76 pre-crisis (I believe that is the number, don't shoot me!), Dinah was originally thought to be the Earth 2 version, or more simply, her mother. I won't go into all the back story but suffice to say, Dinah joins the JLA, falls for Oliver Queen AKA Green Arrow, and kicks a whole lot of butt.

Currently Dinah is seen in Birds of Prey along with Barbara Gordon AKA Oracle. She is a proficient at a number of martial arts techniques and is training surreptiously with Lady Shiva. Dinah also studied fighting with Wildcat, so she knows how to lay a mean right cross.

Known for her "Canary Cry", Black Canary can also take villains out with a sonic boom of power through her throat and out her mouth. She tries to rely on her physical fighting skills, but uses the cry for the more dire of circumstances.

Dinah has also had a long, checkered relationship with Green Arrow. I won't spend a lot of time on it here, but I do know that his womanizing ways have affected her deeply, turning her into a flirt to mask her pain. Oracle has called her a "Man's Woman" and she definitely has the looks and personality to pull it off.

What I really like about the Black Canary character is her courage and pluck. She has survived horrible tortures and been able to slowly move past the pain, both physically and mentally. Dinah has a wonderful working and personal relationship with Oracle that is shown splendidly in the Birds of Prey title. It is a book that women can read with pride, knowing that the focus is on the characters, not their T&A.

Black Canary has a rich and compelling history, starting from her first incarnation and lasting to this day. I can hardly wait to see what writers have planned for her future, and hope she is around for a long time to come.

Recommended Reading: Birds of Prey #1 to current, Justice League of America #76-200, Black Canary Archives #1.


Heidi Meeley said...

Those are excellent additions to the recommended reading list! I love the rich history that Black Canary has, and have really enjoyed reading her first adventures in DC Archives Volume #1: Black Canary.

I grew up reading JLA, and those stories touch me as much today as they did then. I am going to try and get my hands on Secret Origins #50 to see the retcon redone first hand. It sounds wonderful.

Dinah's relationship with Ollie has given me a great deal of joy as well, even though, like most women, I would like to punch him at times for his behavior.

Thank you for the great additions, and thank you for the praise. I really appreciate it!

Xheralt Delencradier said...

Having not read the series, aside from occasional single issues, I wasn't aware of the mother/daughter thing. This falls in line with the standard trope, so amazingly played out with the Eleventh Doctor's storyline in Doctor Who. A famous summation: "Mother. Daughter. Only in sci-fi do you have to ask which is which."