Or – “Never Ever Try To Come Between A Mother And Her Child…”


For a master assassin, Merlin is kind of an idiot about the simplest things. Black Canary’s adoption of Sin, protegee of the League of Assassins, put her in a role that, while unfamiliar, suited her very well. Unfortunately, a combination of “event comic” and “editorial caveat” combined to put the JLA’s chairperson in a situation where motherhood wasn’t exactly a simple option. Add to that the ongoing efforts by the assassins to regain their premiere killer (since Black Canary had already cost them the services of Lady Shiva) and the involvement of Black Canary’s neer-do-well ex-husband and her erstwhile fiance Green Arrow’s dark doppelganger, Merlyn, and we’ve got a recipe for disaster…

Previously, on Black Canary: After dying and being resurrected, Oliver Queen found BC1.jpgthat the empty life of excess and thrill-seeking he had been living felt less than satisfying. After a near-fatal interaction with Merlyn, he took a year off to study, learning new fighting techniques from the greatest senseis he could find, and also reconnected with his son Connor and his ward, Mia. Black Canary, for her part, spent DC’s missing year working for the League of Assassins, during which mission she saved Sin from being the next Lady Shiva. Taking the young girl under her wing, Dinah left the employ of Oracle and struck out on her own with her new daughter. To try and get the child to fit in, she enrolls Sin (with the help of her ex-husband) in a special school in Star City. Unfortunately, the school is just a front for the Assassin’s League, and Sin is kidnapped… Green Arrow, Speedy and Black Canary leap into action, finding her, but G.A.’s rash actions lead to Sin’s seeming death. Now, a heart-broken Black Canary is confronted by the remaining Assassins, who foolishly underestimate the speed with which one can go from zero to super-powered rage…


Dinah screams “Get away from me!” and her canary cry clears the decks of friend and foe alike. Still blaming Green Arrow for the death of her daughter, Black Canary wades into a crowd of the most skilled murderers on planet earth, with no regard for her own safety. Meanwhile, on the docks, Merlyn the Archer arrives a day late and a dollar short, killing two guards in order to get a boat to find his quarry. The assassins quickly try to make a plan, discussing whether it’s time for fight or for flight, but suddenly, a fishnet-clad whirlwind is in their midst. “What makes you think I’m giving you a CHOICE?” snarls Black Canary, and commences the slobberknocker.


A good question. The second-greatest archer in the world has just found the evidence of Sin’s death (a bloody uniform, and a somewhat suspicious lack of anything resembling a body.) Green Arrow and Speedy start to step in and help Black Canary but she angrily tells them to keep their distance. Arrow tries to help anyway, only to find his bowstring snapped by Merlyn’s arrow. Being a total bastard as well as a stone killer, Merlyn actually kills his own men before finding out that Green Arrow is the one who caused Sin’s death. Distracted by the mention of his old nemesis, Merlyn doesn’t hear his own impending @$$-kicking on approach…


She matches up with him, but is surprised to find that Merlyn is quick enough to get the drop on her, at least for a second. Wrapping his bowstring around Canary’s neck, he angrily informs her that she cost him his chance to finally run the League. His obnoxiousness knows no bounds, taunting her about the power he could have earned by exploiting a recently deceased ten year old girl. I’d like to get in line to kick him innaface after Dinah does. As for Green Arrow, he quickly finds the remaining assassins, and acts completely out of character…


Suddenly, a light goes on over my head… Green Arrow was responsible for Sin’s “death.” Green Arrow is letting a bunch of killers get away in the hopes that they’ll spread the word of Sin’s demise, in complete opposition of everything he seems to believe. The girl is fine, somewhere… Black Canary doesn’t know that, however, and Merlyn is a bit surprised to find that strangulation doesn’t seem to work on her. Maybe it’s her anger, maybe her costume, maybe her super-powered larynx isn’t quite so vulnerable, but regardless, the master assassin has made a miscalculation of epic proportions…


Oh, my… That must hurt a lot. Couldn’t have happened to a nicer guy, either. Multiple compound fractures are actually considerably less than this shmuck deserves. An enraged Black Canary prepares to take him out, and even Merlyn is afraid. “I can’t let you ever hurt anyone EVER again.” Green Arrow steps in at this point, to keep her from making a rash decision, but Dinah refuses to stop, reminding Arrow that Merlyn deserves to die. “I know he does… But if you kill him, he can’t suffer anymore. Is that what you want?” Dinah finally hesitates, and admits that all she wants is her daughter back. Later that night, as she sits alone in her newly empty home, Black Canary’s anger returns when Green Arrow brings her news of Merlyn’s incarceration… and a note.


Green Arrow knew from the beginning that attempting to keep Sin with someone as high-profile as Dinah wouldn’t work, and so he created a plan to save the girl’s life. Having fought Merlyn literally dozens of times over the years, Oliver knew that the League wasn’t ever going to quit while Sin was alive, so the only answer was to make it clear that she wasn’t. The con was on, and Speedy was key to the whole thing…


Sin climbed back onto the ship, and when Speedy disappeared from the Merlyn/Canary battle, she snuck the girl away to Connor Hawke, who spirited her off to a monastery somewhere, possibly in Tibet. “My new teacher is wise and kind. She helped teach Mister Ollie and Connor and Mia. Please, Sister, do not hate them. It was the best way they could think of, and they love you very much.” Black Canary is moved to tears, and wonders how they could do this without telling her, but Oliver explains that it had to look real, that Dinah’s reaction was key to the Assassins believing the ruse. She realizes that he did this all for her, and is amazed. The man who didn’t meet his son until he was twenty, the man who didn’t talk to his adoptive son for years, even when his life was falling apart. “Everything you ever did was all about Oliver Queen…”


Aaand scene. Oliver has finally proved himself worthy of the woman he’s lost about a dozen times, andthe stage is now set for the coming big nuptuals, the new “Black Canary/Green Arrow” series, and the new status quo of the DCU. Normally, I don’t mind this sort of thing, but using an entire 4-issue series to, essentially, get rid of the kid. I appreciate the fact that they didn’t just kill her off, and at least it was handled with more taste and dignity than “One More Day,” although I still wonder if anybody’s actually going to die in that one either.

Tony Bedard’s writing is always well-plotted, but here I found myself enjoying the emotional moments as well, with Green Arrow and Merlyn’s resentment simmering just below the surface, and Canary’s overwhelming grief/rage overtaking her. The use of the “if you kill him, you become as bad as he is” cliche bugged me, though, and there really wasn’t much of anything in the way of suspense about her decision, what with the Special Wedding Issue being the cover of Previews two months ago. Paulo Sequiera & Joe Prado did a very good job on art, with little touches that make me think they’re influenced by manga without going overboard on the giant eyes. Green Arrow hasn’t looked this good in a couple of years, and Black Canary is simply stunning… Black Canary #4 was a good cap to a nicely done series, accomplishing what it needed to in workmanlike fashion, and earning 3 out of 5 stars for the effort.


The Author

Matthew Peterson

Matthew Peterson

Once upon a time, there was a young nerd from the Midwest, who loved Matter-Eater Lad and the McKenzie Brothers... If pop culture were a maze, Matthew would be the Minotaur at its center. Were it a mall, he'd be the Food Court. Were it a parking lot, he’d be the distant Cart Corral where the weird kids gather to smoke, but that’s not important right now... Matthew enjoys body surfing (so long as the bodies are fresh), writing in the third person, and dark-eyed women. Amongst his weaponry are such diverse elements as: Fear! Surprise! Ruthless efficiency! An almost fanatical devotion to pop culture!

And a nice red uniform.

Previous post

Dynamite Sneak Peek of the Week

Next post

DC Solicitations for November 2007


  1. August 20, 2007 at 1:58 pm — Reply

    Holy geez… That arm-breaking shot was nasty.

  2. Chris
    August 20, 2007 at 2:13 pm — Reply

    Woah…those arms of Merlyn’s actually look like they’re amputated, pretty much.

    And I snigger to say this, but how big is Canary’s ring? It looks like a bangle as its held up. Stupid art.

    Other than that…looks like a good issue! I like Ollie more and more.

  3. Baal
    August 20, 2007 at 2:56 pm — Reply

    I stopped buying this series when it became clear that Black Canary was basically a small part of her own mini. And the faking Sin’s death? Anyone who’s read comcis for more than a year saw THAT one coming. Enjoy Dinah being yoked to the manipulative bastard. I won’t be buying a single issue of it.

  4. August 20, 2007 at 3:40 pm — Reply

    Okay, so GA choked out Solomon Grundy with his bowstring, but Black Canary can effortlessly snap Merlin’s?!? WTF??

  5. kettch
    August 21, 2007 at 5:44 am — Reply

    My pet peeve again. The symbol on Mia’s chest is supposed to be a golden arrowhead. It is not a boob window. When you’re HIV positive with no invulnerability, you’d want your chest pretty much covered up.

You know you have something to say, say it in the comment section