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The Black Canary.
Ed Benes, artist.
|First appearance||(Dinah Drake)
Flash Comics #86
Justice League of America #219
(This issue ascribed previous stories from Justice League of America #75 (November 1969) and onward to her.)
|Created by||Robert Kanigher
|Alter ego||original: Dinah Drake
current: Dinah Laurel Lance
Justice Society of America
Birds of Prey
|Notable aliases||(Dinah Lance)
Siu Jerk Jai
Expert in hand-to-hand combat
"Canary Cry", an ultrasonic scream; peak human level athlete; exceptional martial artist, expert motorcycle rider.
Black Canary is the name of a fictional superheroine appearing in comic books published by DC Comics. Black Canary was created by the writer-artist team of Robert Kanigher and Carmine Infantino, and debuted in Flash Comics #86 (August 1947). One of DC's earliest superheroines, the Black Canary has featured on many of the company's flagship team-up titles, including both Justice Society of America and the Justice League of America. Since the late 1960s, the character has often been paired romantically and professionally with the archer superhero Green Arrow.
As introduced during the Golden Age of Comic Books, the Black Canary was the alter-ego of Dinah Drake, and took part in crime-fighting adventures alongside her love interest and eventual husband, Gotham City detective Larry Lance. The Black Canary did not possess superpowers, but was a hand-to-hand fighter who frequently posed as a criminal in order to covertly take down criminal organisations. She also featured as a member of the Justice Society of America, the first superhero team to appear in comic books. Later stories, published during the Silver Age of Comic Books, depicted the Black Canary as a world-class martial artist with a superpower — the "Canary Cry" — a high powered sonic scream that could shatter objects and incapacitate enemies. DC Comics later twice adjusted its continuity; firstly to explain the two character versions as existing in distinct parallel universes, and later to depict them as mother and daughter (Dinah Drake becoming the mother of Dinah Laurel Lance). Stories since then have primarily focused on the younger Black Canary, ascribing her abilities to a genetic mutation. In 2011, DC Comics relaunched its continuity, and in the process re-established Black Canary as a singular superpowered heroine, Dinah Lance (née Drake).
Black Canary is ranked as the 71st greatest comic book character of all time by Wizard. IGN also placed Black Canary as the 81st greatest comic book hero of all time. She was ranked 26th in Comics Buyer's Guide's "100 Sexiest Women in Comics" list.
Fictional character biography
Dinah Drake Lance (1947–1985)
Cover to Flash Comics #92. Art by Carmine Infantino.
|First appearance||Flash Comics #86
|Created by||Robert Kanigher
|Alter ego||Dinah Drake|
|Team affiliations||Justice Society of America|
|Abilities||Expert in hand-to-hand combat|
Dinah Drake first appeared in Flash Comics #86 (August 1947), as a supporting character in the Johnny Thunder feature written by Robert Kanigher and drawn by Carmine Infantino. Initially, she seemed to be a villain. Johnny Thunder was instantly infatuated with her and was reproached for this by his Thunderbolt. However, she was in fact infiltrating a criminal gang.
In Flash Comics #92, she was given her own anthology feature, Black Canary, replacing the Johnny Thunder feature. The new series fleshed out Black Canary's backstory; in her real identity, Dinah Drake was a black-haired florist whose romantic interest was Larry Lance, a detective on the Gotham City Police Department.
Black Canary was revived along with the other Golden Age characters during the 1960s, and was shown as existing on the parallel world of Earth-Two (home of DC's Golden Age versions of its characters).
In a 1969 JLA-JSA team-up against the rogue living star-creature Aquarius, who had banished all the inhabitants of Earth-2 to another dimension except for a JSA group, Larry Lance is killed while saving Dinah's life from an attack of energy. There is a brief funeral for him after which Aquarius is defeated. Out of grief, Canary decides to move to Earth-One to make a fresh start, where she joins the Justice League. Sometime afterwards, she begins dating her JLA colleague Green Arrow, and discovers she has somehow (possibly due to exposure to radiation) gained the ultrasonic scream later dubbed the Canary Cry.
In Justice League of America #219 and #220 (October and November 1983), it is revealed this Black Canary is actually the daughter of the original Black Canary and her husband. Born in the 1950s, the infant is cursed by the Justice Society foe the Wizard with the "gift" of a devastating, yet uncontrollable, Canary Cry. Dinah asked her old friend Johnny Thunder to summon his Thunderbolt in hopes of a cure, but it was to no avail.
Instead, the Thunderbolt keeps the child in suspended animation (aging all the while) in his native Thunderbolt dimension, until, the Lances hope, a way to cure or control her power can be found. Seeing his friends in pain, the Thunderbolt decides to erase all memory of the child, letting everyone think she has died.
After the battle with Aquarius, Dinah realizes she is dying from the radiation she was exposed to. She discusses possible solutions with the Thunderbolt and Superman of Earth-1. The three arrange to transfer Dinah's memories into the body of her now-adult daughter, still held in suspended animation, while not letting Dinah believe anything unusual has happened to her (this retcon was established in 1983 to deal with the fact Black Canary had been active since the late 1940s and would therefore have had to been nearly 60 years old by that time).
In 1985's Crisis on Infinite Earths limited series, which attempted to combine the histories of various multiversal Earths into a cohesive whole, removed the divide between Earth-One and Earth-Two. It altered the history of the Justice League of America and Black Canary was now a founding member, in place of Wonder Woman. To further expand this revised history, Secret Origins #50 (August 1990) revealed the first Dinah had been trained by her father, Detective Richard Drake, and intended to follow in his footsteps on the Gotham City police. She was turned down by the force, however, and her disillusioned father (unable to use his connections to change the decision) died of heart failure shortly thereafter. Dinah was determined to honor his memory and fight crime and corruption by whatever method possible. This led to her debut as a costumed vigilante; she would use her inheritance to open a florist shop as her day job.
Eventually Dinah married her beau, private eye Larry Lance (still maintaining her florist business). In a Times Past-style story in Birds of Prey, Lance was an acquaintance of Jim Gordon, father to Barbara Gordon. A few years later, their daughter, named Dinah Laurel Lance was born. In Birds of Prey #66 (June 2004), which is a flashback to a cold case investigated – but never solved – by the elder Dinah, Laurel was the name of a librarian that Dinah consulted during the case and later befriended.
Dinah Laurel Lance (1983–present)
Dinah Laurel Lance was born to Dinah Drake, the original Black Canary, and Larry Lance. While growing up, Dinah was surrounded by her mother's friends in the disbanded JSA and regarded them as uncles and aunts. Dinah wished to become a costumed hero like her mother before her. Her mother forbade it, however, thinking the world had become a darker, more dangerous place than when she herself fought crime, and too dangerous for the younger Dinah to succeed.
The younger Dinah, however, had her own "Canary Cry" – the result of a metagene not present in either parent – which she was fully able to control. With this weapon, she next sought out numerous fighters to help her hone her skills, including former JSA member Wildcat. Years of training and intense dedication paid off, and Dinah eventually took on her mother's mantle, albeit initially against the elder Dinah's wishes. She took an active role among the 'Silver Age' heroes, operating, like her mother before her, out of Gotham, while maintaining a day job in the family florist business.
In an early issue of Birds of Prey, writer Chuck Dixon established that Dinah, at a very young age, had been married briefly before divorcing. Her ex-husband Craig Windrow featured in a storyline apparently needing her help (Birds of Prey: Wolves), but actually wanting her to rejoin him after he had stolen funds from the mob. This marriage and her ex-husband were not referred to again until the 2007 Black Canary miniseries.
Shortly into the League's history, she met Green Arrow (Oliver Queen). While Dinah at first detested him, they later became romantically involved, despite the difference in their ages. (In the Modern Age Oliver was substantially older than Dinah, the reverse of the earlier depiction. However, the character later died, and later still was resurrected, at which point he was de-aged by an unspecified amount.) Dinah remained a member of the League for roughly six years, including a brief stint with Justice League International (JLI), of which she was a founding member. During that time her mother died due to radiation poisoning experienced during a battle with the villain Aquarius. Her mother's death affected Dinah deeply, and led her to accept that her time in the JLA was over.
After the breakup of the Justice League, Dinah moved to Seattle with Green Arrow, opening her own florist shop named "Sherwood Florist". The move to Seattle brought a string of bad luck for her.
During this period, she took part in a failed operation to bust a drug ring. Kidnapped, Black Canary was tortured before being rescued by Green Arrow. The effect was severe: Dinah's vocal cords were mutilated, she lost her Canary Cry, and she became unable to bear children. She required extensive counseling afterward, as did Oliver Queen.
Simultaneously, she and Green Arrow had major conflicts in their relationship. She learned that Green Arrow had fathered a son, Robert, with the villainess Shado (albeit against his will), and was taking money from the florist business (Black Canary #1). The relationship ended when Dinah walked in on Green Arrow kissing her shop assistant, Marianne.
Later, Sherwood Florist was destroyed, leaving Dinah with no means of paying the debt collectors now calling.
Later still, she learned from Connor Hawke that Oliver had been killed (Green Arrow #101), and that Connor was yet another of his offspring. Although Dinah and Connor later developed a close friendship, the knowledge that Oliver had kept his existence from her remained painful.
Though Black Canary continued to fight crime off and on (she became a pen friend of the youthful hero The Ray, who had a crush on her, participating in some of his adventures and even having a brief romance), the effects of her misfortunes took their toll.
Birds of Prey
Around the time Dinah's downward spiral, the former Batgirl, Barbara Gordon, was gravely injured by the Joker. Barbara reestablished a crime-fighting career as Oracle, an information broker to the superhero community. After briefly working with the Suicide Squad, Barbara formed her own covert mission team. Concluding that of all the superheroes, Dinah had the most potential and was most in need of direction, Oracle asked Black Canary to become an operative.
Black Canary took to this role with great satisfaction. Dinah abandoned the blonde wig and bleached her hair. Her relationship with Oracle was at first rocky, her impulsive nature clashing with Oracle's tactical planning. However, as time passed they learned to work well together as a team and became friends. When Oracle fled from the villain Blockbuster, Dinah came to her rescue and Dinah and Barbara Gordon met face-to-face (Birds of Prey #29). This adventure led them to an even stronger friendship.
In Birds of Prey #7, Oracle provides Dinah with an electronic version of the Canary Cry. In Birds of Prey #22-24, Dinah goes to Gorilla City along with Deathstroke, Lady Vic, and Grimm, to retrieve an ape heart for Blockbuster. In Birds of Prey #34, Black Canary, who is dating a mysterious European named "Raymond" (who is actually, as Oracle correctly guesses, supervillain Ra's al Ghul), is seriously wounded and immersed in a Lazarus Pit. Birds of Prey #35 reveals the Pit had restored Dinah's metahuman Canary Cry, as well as her ability to have children.
In the series Birds of Prey, Black Canary and Oracle work together to cultivate a covert team of female operatives whose members include Huntress, Gypsy, and Zinda Blake (the original Lady Blackhawk). In #68, Oracle shows Black Canary the retail space that later houses a reopened Sherwood Florist.
Black Canary has fostered a kinship with Lady Shiva, the two having trained under the same sensei. Shiva, impressed by Black Canary's formidable martial arts prowess, offers to provide her with further training. Black Canary turns down the offer, thinking it would compromise her morality. The two communicate nonetheless, with Shiva conveying recommendations to assist Canary in honing her skills.
Infinite Crisis produced a recreation of the Earth with a new timeline. It is revealed Wonder Woman was once again a founding member of the Justice League. In 52 Week 51, a back-up feature revealed Black Canary was present at the battle forming the League. The core of the League consisted of Black Canary, Green Lantern (Hal Jordan), J'onn J'onnz, Flash (Barry Allen), Aquaman, Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman.
However, the 2007 Black Canary miniseries established Black Canary and Green Arrow joined the Justice League at a time after it was founded, and they were tested by founding member Batman early on in their membership.
During the publication of the Infinite Crisis limited series, most DC Universe comic books skipped forward one year. Following the "One Year Later" jump, Dinah trades life experiences with Lady Shiva in hopes of softening the warrior, undertaking a harsh training regimen in an unidentified Vietnamese bidonville, or shantytown. The regimen replicates Shiva's early life and training; Shiva, meanwhile, assumes Dinah's role in Oracle's group and demands her associates call her the "Jade Canary".
When Dinah realizes following Lady Shiva's path will require her to fundamentally change who she is as a person, she ends the training and returns to the United States. She brings with her a little girl, Sin, who also had begun the harsh grooming process to be Lady Shiva's successor (Birds of Prey #95; the now resurrected Oliver Queen uses his connections to allow Sin to immigrate into the country). Dinah hopes to balance her duties as a superhero with the responsibilities of being a surrogate mother/sister to the child.
Dinah informs Oracle she is quitting the team in Birds of Prey #99, having decided to devote herself to raising Sin. Issue #100 shows Dinah and Sin leaving Metropolis. It is hinted their final destination is Star City; Dinah jokingly tells Sin that she can rip out Ollie's beard if he is not nice to her.
After leaving the Birds of Prey, Black Canary joins with Green Lantern (Hal Jordan) and Red Arrow (Roy Harper) on a mission to locate the Red Tornado's body, (stolen by his creator and Solomon Grundy). The three heroes join forces with Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, Hawkgirl, Black Lightning, and Vixen to defeat Amazo.
The assembled heroes reform the Justice League of America; Dinah is made the Chairwoman, due to her strong abilities and strategic mind. The team's first mission with Dinah as leader sees the JLA and JSA discover members of the Legion of Super-Heroes (a team that lives in the 31st Century) have been located in the 21st Century.
In Green Arrow, Dinah returns to Star City to aid Oliver, Connor, and Mia against Roadblock and Merlyn. During their mission, Dinah rekindles her relationship with Oliver, feeling he has truly changed and all the parts of him she hated are apparently gone. Oliver admits to Dinah many of the changes he made over the last year were for her. As the Green Arrow series ends, Oliver proposes to Dinah. He appears in a four-part Black Canary miniseries (beginning in July 2007). Black Canary would see Green Arrow fake Sin's death to protect her from the League of Assassins, to Black Canary's conflicted reaction; Sin comes to live in a "safe" location with Connor, away from her mother.
During the events of Countdown, several books include tie-ins and run-ups to the wedding between Dinah and Ollie. The Black Canary Wedding Planner offers details about the preparations; Birds of Prey #109 depicts Dinah and Barbara discussing the event and Ollie in detail. Countdown, Justice League Wedding Special, and Justice League #13 deal with aspects of the wedding, particularly the bachelor and bachelorette parties. A major plot thread throughout these books, which ties in to the Piper and Trickster arc of Countdown, is that the Injustice League plans to attack the wedding.
Green Arrow/Black Canary
The Green Arrow Black Canary: Wedding Album covers a number of events, including the reactions of the friends who receive wedding invitations, the wedding itself, the attack, and the honeymoon. While the attack on the wedding is a failure, Deathstroke remarks it worked a little, despite no one being hurt. During the honeymoon, a blank look suddenly comes over Green Arrow's face, and he goes berserk, trying to kill Dinah. She stabs him in the neck with an arrow, killing him.
In the first arc of the Green Arrow/Black Canary series, condolences are offered to Dinah, but she refuses to believe it was Oliver she has killed. Batman agrees with her. Following an extensive autopsy by Batman and Doctor Mid-Nite, the two discover the dead man is actually Everyman, the shapeshifter.
Ollie is alive and being held captive on Themyscira by the Amazons. While Dinah does not know his whereabouts, she is greatly relieved, and sheds tears of joy. She enlists the aid of Connor Hawke and Mia Dearden to save him, but, just when they seem to be home free, Connor is shot by an unknown assailant. Once they reach the hospital, the group learns the bullet contained a poison which has turned Connor into a mental vegetable. Soon after, Dinah marries Ollie again, as the first time around she married an impostor. On their return home, they find Connor kidnapped. Following the trail to Britain, Ollie and Dinah are attacked by an armored helicopter. When they bring it down, they discover the military disguised as aliens within. This is revealed to be a ruse however, and the group later learn that the League of Assassins, under orders of Shado, were the ones who shot Connor.
In Birds of Prey #119/120 Black Canary fought against the Manhunter (Kate Spencer). During their short skirmish, Manhunter states that she has Black Canary outgunned and outmatched. In response Dinah says that "she is trying real hard not to put Kate in the hospital". Dinah is seen later, dragging the unconscious and beaten Manhunter to Oracle's hideout. Kate comments on her skills, saying "your kung-fu's the best". Black Canary seemingly defeated Manhunter with relatively little effort and without usage of the Canary Cry. It is revealed that Oracle had Manhunter fight with Dinah. Oracle states she was looking to get Speedy involved in a mission, while also wishing to check on Dinah's new family life after the loss of Sin, who Oracle realizes may not in fact be dead. Dinah, hurt and furious at her best friend's actions, stalks out leaving the pair with a possibly damaged relationship.
The relationship is later repaired however, when Dinah and Barbara journey to Europe together. While escaping from criminal assassins, the pair discusses both their superheroic lives as well as their relationship, during which Dinah worries about Barbara's mind-set in recent months as leader of the Birds of Prey. Soon after Oracle disbands the team, proving Dinah right. Paul Dini announced at Comic-Con 06 he is writing a hardcover graphic novel starring Black Canary and Zatanna. On his blog, Dini revealed that Amanda Conner and Jimmy Palmiotti will handle the art.
Being married to Green Arrow brings Black Canary new challenges, such as the vigilante stalker Cupid, who is fixated on Green Arrow, and villain Discord, a music teacher, whom Dinah deafened when her Canary Cry ricocheted during the first fight with Dregz.
Eventually, Dinah ends up resigning from position as chairwoman of the JLA after the team's disastrous confrontation with the Shadow Cabinet. After learning that Ollie has started his own Justice League with Hal Jordan, Dinah angrily confronts him when he arrives at the Watchtower to warn her and the other former Leaguers about an impending attack on the world's superheroes. Out of nowhere, Prometheus arrives and attacks the team, severing Red Arrow's arm and defeating Dinah by maneuvering her into the path of an energy bolt fired by Mikaal Tomas. After Prometheus is defeated, he destroys Star City via a teleportation device. While searching for survivors, Dinah and Ollie discover the bloodied corpse of Roy's daughter Lian. Dinah is later seen at Roy's hospital bedside alongside Donna Troy, preparing to deliver the grim news about his daughter once he awakens from his coma.
During the events of Blackest Night, Dinah travels to Coast City in order to fight off Nekron's army of Black Lanterns. Nekron reveals that he has the power to control all of the heroes who have died and been resurrected, including Ollie. Alongside Mia and Connor, Dinah tries to fight off her husband, who has been transformed into a Black Lantern. Ollie taunts Dinah by telling her that he has secretly been in love with Shado since she raped him, and that she is a fool for believing he has changed. Eventually, Ollie is able to regain control of his body long enough to deliberately miss a shot aimed at his wife, which then severs a hose containing liquid nitrogen. Dinah tells Connor to use the hose on Ollie, which he reluctantly does, freezing him solid. The three heroes then join the rest of the heroes in their battle.
Following Ollie's return to normal, it is discovered that he had secretly murdered Prometheus and left the body to rot in Prometheus' headquarters. After Barry Allen and Hal Jordan confront Ollie and Dinah with this revelation, Ollie goes on the run. Dinah joins Hal and Barry in searching the ruins of Star City for him, and eventually finds the archer scouring the city for one of the men who had worked for Prometheus. He easily defeats all three of them, leaving Dinah trapped in a specialized fluid designed to restrain her. After Green Arrow turns himself in for Prometheus' murder, Dinah visits him in his jail cell and comes to the realization the one thing he wants is to be left alone. She decides that their marriage is over and then removes her wedding ring, leaving it with Oliver. When the Green Arrow goes on trial for the murder of Prometheus she does not attend his trial.
During the events of Brightest Day, Dinah returns to Gotham with the relaunch of Birds of Prey, with Gail Simone at the helm. In Birds of Prey #1 (July 2010) she is sent out to save a child, with Lady Blackhawk for company. Soon afterward, they receive a call from Oracle, and the team, including Huntress is reunited. They are immediately confronted by a new villainess calling herself White Canary, who supposedly harbors a deep-seated grudge against Dinah. White Canary uses her resources to expose Dinah's civilian identity to the public. After defeating and capturing White Canary (who is revealed to be the vengeful sister of the Twelve Brothers in Silk), Dinah learns that Lady Shiva is supposedly behind the attack on the Birds. Dinah and White Canary travel to Asia, and when the Birds arrive to find her a short time later, Dinah attacks them, now clad in White Canary's outfit. This is soon realized to be a rescue mission, Dinah being forced to challenge Shiva in a fight by the White Canary, who has Sin and her foster parents captured and held at the threat of being killed unless Dinah fights Shiva to the death. In the same issue, Dinah is to issue her challenge to Shiva and asks Huntress to be her second. Instead, Helena reasons that she would fight Shiva stating that Dinah has a lot of people who love her and that she does not. As Helena fights Shiva, Dinah rescues Sin with help from one of Shiva's students. Having that accomplished, Dinah ends the fight between Huntress and Lady Shiva. While White Canary is displeased, Shiva sides with the Birds, being unhappy with the set-up to begin with, and so the team leaves to celebrate being alive.
The Calculator destroys a helicopter piloted by Hawk, misidentifying him for Oracle. While Hank's invulnerability helped him survive the incident, the Calculator is fooled into believing that Oracle is dead. Following this incident, the public eye presumes Oracle deceased, while Barbara shuts herself away from the world, only resuming connection with very few outside of the Birds of Prey and leaving calls of the rest unanswered.
The New 52
Following the events of Flashpoint as seen in The New 52, Dinah is a founding member of the Birds of Prey and recruits the team, starting with her old friend, Ev Crawford (aka Starling). Also joining the Birds of Prey are Katana, and Poison Ivy. Although reluctant at first to join the Canary's team, Batgirl becomes a regular addition to the cast by the fourth issue of the new series. Black Canary seems to be wanted for murder, but it is not yet clear if she was framed. Her maiden name is shown to be Drake, rather than Lance, thus revealing she was never married to Oliver Queen in this continuity and was based from the original version of the character. Black Canary joins Team 7 in a flashback. Black Canary also joins the Justice League during the Throne of Atlantis crossover.
The Black Canary and Zatanna graphic novel Bloodspell (which was initially to be written by Paul Dini and drawn by Amanda Conner) was set to be released in 2012. However, the book has been delayed, writer Paul Dini believes the book will be released in early 2014. The book centers around a 16-year-old Dinah's first meeting with Zatanna.
Powers, abilities, and equipment
The original Black Canary possesses no super-powers but is highly proficient in Judo, acting and impersonation. Her costume consisted of a blond wig, fishnet stockings, pirate boots, bustier, and an unbuttoned jacket. Initially, she also wore a domino mask, though this was soon jettisoned. Black Canary soon joined the Justice Society of America, first helping them in All-Star Comics #38 and joining in #41 after helping them when they have been hypnotized by the Injustice Society, but ceased being published along with the rest of the team by the early 1950s.
Dinah Lance, the second Black Canary, possesses a "Canary Cry" – a high-pitched, sonic scream which she can deploy to shatter objects and incapacitate her opponents. Analyzing her capabilities, Dr. Mid-Nite found that she can reach ultrasonic frequencies outside the audible spectrum which render human beings unconscious. However, the cry has been shown to be completely useless when Dinah's mouth is covered with a gag, piece of tape, or any other means of forcing her mouth closed. When Canary is close enough she can unleash her cry to literally destroy an opponent but this is an absolute last resort. She has also been able to convert her sonic powers into brainwave form, resulting in the ability to read others' minds.
Dinah states that her Canary Cry is able to inflict serious damage to beings even as durable as Wonder Woman (she has used this ability to overpower Giganta, blow Amazo's head off, and managed to overscream Silver Banshee). Moreover, in JLA/JSA: Vice and Virtue it is shown that Dinah is capable of not only creating sonic blasts, but also could generate an ultrasonic attack, which renders everyone within an ear range unconscious; this specific use of the Canary Cry requires the full capacity of Dinah's lungs. Black Canary rarely utilizes her metahuman abilities during fights, preferring to engage in hand-to-hand combat. Lately, Dinah uses the Canary Cry only against considerably more powerful metahuman opponents. Selective usage of supernatural talents makes Black Canary one of very few characters who choose not to take advantage of their superpowers, placing skills over inborn abilities. During times of extreme stress, Canary has displayed the ability to create sonic vibrations capable of destroying whatever was obstructing her mouth.
Black Canary lost the Cry during the Green Arrow series. Although she fought crime without it for several years, she regained it after being immersed in a Lazarus Pit during her time with the Birds of Prey.
Black Canary is extremely proficient in the various styles of martial arts, and is among the world's best fighters (in Birds of Prey #125, Oracle suggests that Dinah could outfight even Batman). Moreover, Dinah possesses uncanny reflexes, on many occasions showing the ability to catch or destroy arrows in flight. Dinah is also an expert motorcycle rider.
Dinah is a strong leader and strategic thinker — qualities recognized by the other superheroes, who have selected her as the Chairwoman of the JLA (John Stewart speculated that Black Canary is "tactically the best chairperson the Justice League has ever had", placing her strategic skills next to Batman, with charisma comparable to that of Superman). Having fought crime for many years, she also possesses great detective skills, though not on a par with Batman, the Question, or the Elongated Man.
A running gag in the Birds of Prey series is Black Canary's lack of proficiency with computers (and very little interest in them). She is the polar opposite of team leader Oracle (who is a computer genius). The first page of Birds of Prey #1 features Dinah's desire to have a distasteful item removed from her presence – the next page shows the object of her dislike to be a desktop computer.
For a brief period in the 1980s coinciding with her membership in the JLI, rather than her traditional skintight black outfit with fishnet stockings she wore a blue and black costume with a bird motif notably looser and less revealing than traditional female superhero garb. This change proved short-lived, and later artists restored her original look.
In The New 52, Birds of Prey #10 (2012), Black Canary glides across a gorge by rebounding on sonic waves. She explains that she has been holding back ever since her husband died. In subsequent issues, she is shown using the Canary Cry to propel herself large distances in the air.
JLA: The Nail
In JLA: The Nail, Black Canary leads the Outsiders. She forms the team after Oliver Queen is crippled at the hands of Amazo. However, they break up after Queen admits to feeling like the team's mascot. It is also revealed that in a prior battle Canary's sonic scream, coupled with Black Lightning's blasts, vaporized Brainiac.
In the DC Elseworlds comic Kingdom Come, Black Canary sides with Batman and acts as one of his generals together with her husband Green Arrow (Oliver Queen). In this future world, the longtime romantic partners have a daughter (Olivia Queen), who also operates under the name Black Canary.
Elseworld's Finest: Supergirl and Batgirl
In another DC Elseworld's comic; Elseworld's Finest: Supergirl & Batgirl, Black Canary is depicted as an African American woman who makes a brief appearance in the story.
All Star Batman and Robin
Frank Miller's All-Star Batman and Robin, drawn by Jim Lee, features a character based on Black Canary. Here, she is an unnamed bartender in a seedy gin joint called "Black Canary". Her costume is actually just a uniform she wore for her job. She is offended by the lewd flirtation of the bar's male patrons (One of which looks exactly like Oliver Queen/Green Arrow). Deciding that she has finally had enough, Black Canary beats up all of the male patrons in the bar. When her boss asks her what got into her, she simply replies "Batman," assaults him, and then leaves the scene on a motorcycle stolen from one of the men she has just battered. She later shows up at the docks to bust up a meeting between some gangsters. She takes some out but the men outnumber her and trap her behind some crates. Batman sees her and decides to help her out. He lights a molotov cocktail and sets the gangsters on fire. Black Canary thanks him for saving her and then the two have sex. After that, Batman gives her a lift home in the batmobile. Later, she goes back to the bar where all the men lay on the floor unconscious. She lights the money she stole on fire and tosses it, setting the whole place on fire. This version of Black Canary is an immigrant from County Monaghan, Ireland. Also, in this continuity, Black Canary wears a mask, like the Golden Age version did briefly.
The Dark Knight Strikes Again
In Batman: The Dark Knight Strikes Again a Black Canary is a member of the pop music trio "The Superchix". She is depicted as a dumb blonde of unspecified age. She is a copycat of the original. Miller claims these stories are both in his so-called "Dark Knight Universe".
League of Justice
She is portrayed as a powerful goddess-like figure in League of Justice, a Lord of the Rings fairy tale-type Elseworlds story. In this story, she seemed to have many names, most commonly called 'The Lady of the birds'. In a play on her famous hair color switches, the character has hair that is blonde on one side and black on the other.
In the new 52 Multiverse, there is another African-American Black Canary on Earth-3 who is a member of the Crime Society. In JLA: Earth 2, there is an evil counterpart of Black Canary called "White Cat".
Batman/Doc Savage Special
An alternate Black Canary will be featured in the Batman/Doc Savage Special. She will be written in her late teens as the daughter of a former cop who lives with her parents in Florist Shop in Gotham City's East End. Her parents hold high hopes for her and consider her above most other teenagers. She is also respectful to them, but is secretly inspired and enamored by the adventures of Doc Savage and protects her neighborhood. This version of Dinah Drake wears a mini-skirt, boots, fishnets, a black leather jacket, and makeup reminiscent of a bird around her eyes. She also is either of Korean, Indian, or Middle Eastern descent.
Justice League: Generation Lost
An African-American version of Black Canary is shown as part of a future Justice League in Justice League: Generation Lost. She is stated as being a descendant of Black Canary's teammates, Hawk and Dove, and is shown sporting a costume that draws elements from the outfits of both Hawk and her original namesake.
In other media
Though not of the same profile as DC's flagship characters Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman, Black Canary has appeared extensively in live action and animated adaptations of DC properties over the years, as well as in video games based on the comic books.
Her first live action depiction was in 1979 when Danulta Wesley portrayed the character in both of NBC's Legends of the Superheroes specials. The character was adapted again for the short-lived 2002 television series Birds of Prey, an adaptation of the Birds of Prey comic book. In a fairly loose adaptation of the comic book, the show reinvented Dinah Lance as Dinah Redmond (Rachel Skarsten), a teenage runaway with psychic abilities. In later introduced her mother Carolyn Lance (Lori Loughlin) in one episode, depicting her more traditionally as a superheroine known as Black Canary possessed of a supersonic Canary Cry. In 2008, the television series Smallville, which depicts the adventures of a young Superman and features Green Arrow as a main character, introduced the Black Canary (Alaina Huffman) as an assassin who is recruited to the Green Arrow's team of superheroes. She went on to appear in a number of episodes, including several season premieres and finales. Later, the television series Arrow (2012–) introduced Dinah Laurel Lance, commonly known as Laurel, as a main character in its premiere episode, portrayed by Katie Cassidy. Laurel is a pro bono criminal lawyer whose mother, also called Dinah (Alex Kingston) deserted her as a child. Her ex-boyfriend is Oliver Queen (Stephen Amell), whose philandering ways inadvertently led caused the death of Laurel's sister Sarah, who was cheating on Laurel with her when his boat capsized. Though she and Oliver can only become friends again as she is dating his best friend, she frequently assists the city's hooded vigilante who unbeknownst to her is secretly Oliver.
Animated depictions of the character have largely been faithful to the source material. The Dinah Drake version of the character is the basis of a character who appears in the Justice League episode "Legends" (2002), voiced by Jennifer Hale, and the Dinah Laurel Lance version (voiced by Morena Baccarin) appears with increasing prominence in the show's sequel Justice League Unlimited (2004–2006), in which she is a member of the Justice League. She develops a romantic relationship with Green Arrow (Kin Shriner) and a loose, begrudging partnership with the Huntress (Amy Acker) over the course of the series. The show Batman: The Brave and the Bold (2008–2011) featured Black Canary (voice of Grey DeLisle) in numerous episodes, as well as the Golden Age Black Canary. In one episode she forms the Bird of Prey alongside Catwoman (Nika Futterman) and Huntress (Tara Strong), and the trio perform a musical number. The animated series Young Justice (2010–2013) features Black Canary as a member of the Justice League and the combat trainer for the show's team of teenage superheroes. She is in a relationship with Green Arrow and has close links to his family of related superheroes. Both classic and modern age versions of the character are also featured in several DC Universe Animated Original Movies.
Jennifer Hale and Grey DeLisle both reprise the role in video games, appearing in Justice League Heroes for PlayStation Portable and Batman: The Brave and the Bold – The Videogame respectively. In DC Universe Online, Black Canary is a non-playable character voiced by Kelley Huston. Kari Wahlgren voices the character in Lego Batman 2: DC Super Heroes.
- "Wizard's top 200 characters". Wizard. Retrieved May 7, 2011.
- "Black Canary is number 81". IGN. Retrieved May 9, 2011.
- Frankenhoff, Brent (2011). Comics Buyer's Guide Presents: 100 Sexiest Women in Comics. Krause Publications. p. 24. ISBN 1-4402-2988-0.
- Wallace, Daniel; Dolan, Hannah, ed. (2010). "1940s". DC Comics Year By Year A Visual Chronicle. Dorling Kindersley. p. 55. ISBN 978-0-7566-6742-9. "Debuting as a supporting character in a six-page Johnny Thunder feature written by Robert Kanigher and penciled by Carmine Infantino, Dinah Drake [the Black Canary] was originally presented as a villain."
- Justice League of America #74 (September 1969)
- Beatty, Scott (2008). "Black Canary". In Dougall, Alastair. The DC Comics Encyclopedia. London: Dorling Kindersley. p. 50. ISBN 0-7566-4119-5.
- Birds of Prey #66 (June 2004)
- The Ray #11 (April 1995)
- Birds of Prey #22-24 (October 2000-December 2000)
- Green Arrow / Black Canary #15 (February 2009)
- Justice League: Cry for Justice #1 (July 2009)
- Justice League: Cry for Justice #5 (September 2009)
- Justice League: Cry for Justice #6 (January 2010)
- Justice League: Cry for Justice #7 (March 2010)
- Justice League of America (vol. 2) #41 (January 2010)
- Blackest Night #5 (November 2009)
- Black Lantern Green Arrow #30 (February 2010)
- Green Arrow #31 (March 2010)
- Green Arrow #32 (April 2010)
- Birds of Prey (vol. 2) #2 (August 2010)
- Birds of Prey (vol. 2) #4 (October 2010)
- Birds of Prey (vol. 2) #5 (November 2010)
- Birds of Prey (vol. 3) #1 (September #1)
- Birds of Prey (vol. 3) #0 (Sept. 2012)
- Team 7 Vol. 2 #0
- Justice League Vol. 2 #16
- I think it will be out in the fall.
- Paul Dini, Joe Quinones working on Zatanna/Black Canary team-up | Robot 6 @ Comic Book Resources – Covering Comic Book News and Entertainment
- Legends #4 (February 1987)
- Green Arrow #30 (April 2010)
- "Justice League" #84 (November 1970)
- World's Finest Comics #262 (April–May 1980)
- All Star Batman and Robin the Boy Wonder #3 (December 2005) - #5 (July 2007)
- Superman #349 (July 1980 "The Turnabout Trap!")
- "DC Universe: The Source » Blog Archive » How about some more Rags Morales’ sketches from FIRST WAVE?". Dcu.blog.dccomics.com. 2009-11-09. Retrieved 2011-01-15.
- JSA Fact File: Black Canary I
- Earth-2 Black Canary Index
- Earth-1 Black Canary Index
- The Black Canary at Toonopedia
- Black Canary's secret origin on dccomics.com
- Cosmic Teams: Black Canary I & II