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Black Canary Vol.1 & 2 (Review)

BLACK CANARY: VOL 01 KICKING AND SCREAMING

Writer: Brendan Fletcher

Artists: Annie Wu, Pia Guerra & Sandy Jarrell

Colorist: Lee Loughridge

Letterer: Steve Wands

Publisher: DC Comics

BLACK CANARY VOL 2: NEW KILLER STAR

Writer: Brendan Fletcher

Artists: Annie Wu, Moritat, Sandy Jarrell & Wayne Faucher

Colorist: Lee Loughridge

Letterer: Steve Wands

Publisher: DC Comics

Rating Overall: 9/10

If you're wondering why I'm reviewing 2 different volumes in one review, I decided since this was only a 12 issue series I would review it in it's entirety instead of splitting it up. While I believe they have collected it in one volume, I refuse to get trades that have the film/TV versions on the cover. Plus look ta that badass cover by Annie Wu, right?

I have been a fan of Black Canary since I first learned bout her in the JLA: YEAR ONE series by Mark Waid and Barry Kitson. She had one power, a sonic cry, and was a highly trained martial artist. She didn't take shit from anyone and as I would later learn, was Green Arrows better half. She has been my favorite female DC character from that day on and is in my top 10 favorite DC characters overall, I mean I even have a tattoo of her on my forearm. But I digress, lets get back to this book.

Ok so first of all, I slept on this book when it first came out, and boy do I regret that now. I think it might have been because I heard it was loosely tie into the "Batgirl From Burnside", which I hadn't been reading at the time. Plus, at the time, I had been trimming back some of my DC books since I didn't like some of the changes they were doing to some of my favorite characters. But after reading this series, I see how wrong I was.

While this isn't the Black Canary that I grew up reading, it's a fresh and unique take. A captivating blend of great storytelling and gorgeous artwork. It's unique premise from the start, allows for some fun battles and unique story elements. The choice to have Dinah as the lead vocalist in a band is something I never would have thought of, I wouldn't even think it could work. Not only did it work, it excelled.

The beginning of the book contains a roller coaster ride of an introduction designed to familiarize readers with this fresh take on Black Canary. The concept of a superhero turned traveling musician is incredibly unique and also incredibly interesting. This introduction also allows drops us right into the new "status quo" by meeting secondary characters, while also receiving hints about the greater narrative of the book. Plus we get to watch Black Canary beat up plenty of bad guys.

Annie Wu's art is one of the key factors of why I got sucked into this book from the first issue. Her art is so full of energy and it makes you feel like you're right there in the mosh pit at the show. Her subtle redesign of Dinah perfectly suits this new lifestyle.

The band members are an interesting lot. Ditto, the guitar player, (who turns out to be an alien made of sound???), Paloma the keyboardist and Lord Byron the drummer are the perfect band/teammates to our favorite songbird. Watching Dinah train the kids in the finer points of firearms and hand-to-hand combat in addition to her on-stage performances, was really fun to watch.

We learn so much about this new Dinah/Black Canary in this series. From her checkered past as a government operative, to the fact that she was married (not to Ollie/Green Arrow by the way). The changes to her past were somewhat confusing to me at first, I mean she got her powers from being experimented on while she worked for the government ?, but I reminded myself that this was in a different continuity. While some of these changes might deter longtime fans from reading, I can't stress enough how much this book deserves your adoration.

Throughout this series we watch Dinah take down a sound creature, join a martial arts cult and in between it all find time to play a rock show. The final battle in Vol.1, is a showdown between a band and a singularity that threatens the fabric of existence. Holy shit were those pages so much fun to pore over. I mean it's stuff like that, which really made this book such an entertaining read.

When the series concludes, secrets are exposed and nearly every mystery is revealed. For the most part, the finale hits all the marks; it's thrilling, gives the main storyline an epic conclusion, and provides a satisfying end for both all the characters. Black Canary leaves the series by leaving the music industry and returning to life as a superhero, which she now knows is where she belongs.

The heart that this book has is unmatched, it's a shame that we don't see more books like this being published at DC. Brendan Fletcher reinvented Dinah in a way that had never been done before, and did it successfully. Along with an amazing array of artists, headed by the amazing Annie Wu, they captivated everyone who picked this book up. I mean it even got "Best Comic of the Year" in Paste Magazine.

While we won't see this version of Dinah again, thanks to the constant reboots, hopefully this won't be the last time we get to see Dinah take center stage in her own book. I think it's long overdue for Dinah to take the spotlight again, but at least all of us Canary fans have this awesome series until then.

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