DC sadly dropped the ball on the bloated BVS so fucking hard (Deadpool and Ant Man both blew it awayyyyy in terms of quality and are both initially lower profile non team movies from other studios) but one thing that they are currently behind which rocks is the new Black Canary series helmed by Brenden Fletcher. Not since Dazzler’s days of fronting a band in the pages of X-Men has there been such a fun blend of pop art and punk rock in a comic book (unless you count the Brody Dalle inspired lead character of American Dark Age).
Black Canary is now a punk rock/new wave band who sort of sound like The Sounds or White Lung mish mashed with Missing Persons. Yes, I said sound like because in an awesome viral move the band have an EP out on Bandcamp! In a world where we can have Gorillaz, why not? “Fish Out Of Water” is actually a pretty fuckin’ great song! I wonder who the real performers are? Kudos on this great idea, a way better reinvention of a character than making Lex Luthor a sad Riddler rip off wuss.
Is the comic good? Well, the Vol. 1 Kicking and Screaming trade is plenty fun. It is campy but still has some depth, albeit a bit of the male fantasy side that usually happens when super hero blondes front rock bands in comic books. Black Canary’s Dinah Lance in this current incarnation sort of recalls the real band Barb Wire Dolls‘ Isis Queen if she took the time to beat the living crap out of many of her fans or those foolish enough to heckle.
The supporting cast is great, from a mute pre teen band member named Ditto who Dinah protects to Lord Byron, a sort of Gail Ann Dorsey ringer who tries to bring restraint and reason to the chaos and anchors the band. Some things are silly like the band always using a tour bus. Empire also is a pretty absurd depiction of the music industry these days. It just isn’t how things are any more. But this is a comic book and the Black Canary band is supposed to be pretty controversial and popular. The art by Annie Wu, Pia Guerra and Sandy Jarrell recalls what worked best about Jill Thompson’s epic Invisibles issues in the 90’s with perfect bright colors from Lee Loughride really bringing this book to life even more than the more fun than vital writing.
It’s not as life changing as Transmetropolitan or as groundbreaking as the body positive Faith over at Valiant, but Black Canary is certainly a fun ride. If you only know the character from CW’s Arrow, you’re going to be confused as heck, but this is a great book for readers who love rock n roll and want to jump into a newer comic that isn’t as brooding as Batman yet still mixes some real world stuff into a crazy Universe. There is also a good sub plot about rivalry between a former singer of the band and Dinah, the new singer. It kind of underscores well how sucky it is that women more often than not are competing in music rather than helping one another form a united front.
Order the first graphic novel collection HERE.