Where Black Canary goes, trouble follows!  But why is it targeting Dinah?

Your Major Spoilers review of Black Canary #1 awaits!

BlackCanary1CoverBLACK CANARY #1
Writer: Brenden Fletcher
Artist: Annie Wu
Colorist: Lee Loughridge
Letterer: Steve Wands
Editor: Chris Conroy
Publisher: DC Comics
Cover Price: $2.99

Previously in Black Canary:  “Gotham City-based four-piece ban Black Canary have been tearing up the road on tour… literally!  Five of their last seven shows have reportedly ended in violence, with witnesses at last month’s EXE Festival outside Central City describing mysterious front-woman “D.D.” as “more of a UFC fighter than a singer,:” after she single-handedly stopped a group of armed gunmen…”

‘THE MOST DANGEROUS BAND IN AMERICA’

When Fletcher and company revamped Batgirl a few months ago, my only real complaint was that it felt like an entirely new and different character, rather than just a new take.  With her appearances in that book, Black Canary was poised as an older sister type, with an edge and a weirdly menacing presence, so I was happy to see where they might take her in a solo story.  This issue begins with an interview, as Black Canary has gone sort of underground as “D.D.” the mysterious lead singer of a band that shares her hero name, but somehow her life as mercenary/kung-fu badass keeps coming back to haunt them at gig after gig.  The creators do a really wonderful job with the necessary first-issue exposition here, introducing each character as they try to interact with Dinah or come to terms with the unexpected violence she brings with her, setting up interpersonal conflicts and friendships as they go.  The most enigmatic of the band is the mute lead guitarist, Ditto, whose strange otherworldly nature is both a familiar trope and the beginning  of our new narrative…

BEAUTIFUL, WORDLESS CHAOS

Black Canary agrees to keep their latest gig facekick-free, but somehow Ditto’s guitar work reveals the presence of strange shadowy creatures in the crowd, leading Dinah to have to break her promise and go full-Canary as they attack.  The battle sequence is truly amazing, three pages of wordless combat, during which Annie Wu pulls out the stops, making Canary look as badass as she has at any point in the New 52.  (Although, given the relative quality of the awful Team 7 book, that may not be the highest bar to leap.)  The issue ends with some character bonding, and the band deciding to stay together to figure out what in the world is targeting Ditto, with a last-page image that serves as a teaser of things to come.  With Wu’s previous work on Marvel’s recent ‘Hawkeye’ comic, and that book’s street-level humanism, it’s hard not to draw parallels to Black Canary’s new status quo, but like that book, this one serves to make our superhero protagonist more likeable and relatable without negating her sonic-screaming super-duper past…

THE BOTTOM LINE: WELL WORTH CHECKING OUT

Most impressive. Fletcher, Wu and company take Dinah’s traditional fishnets, bolero and heels costume and repurpose it as post-punk stage gear, which pleases me both from an aesthetic viewpoint (It *is* a striking suit) and as an old-school reader.  In short, Black Canary #1 sets the stage for new adventures and puts our familiar hero in unfamiliar (but rich) territory, with very cool art and a rock-n-roll edge, earning 4 out of 5 stars overall.  It’s good to see DC allowing creators to go beyond their usual vibe and deliver fun books, and this is another one I’m looking forward to reading more about…

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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.

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