by Matt Puddy
If you are amongst the many Stephen Amell fans who have seen Arrow on TV, you will have been introduced to not one, but two Black Canaries in the forms of Sara and (now) Laurel Lance. In the 70 years after her first appearance in The Flash, Dinah Lance has been in various versions and team ups. Now we see Dinah return in Brenden Fletcher’s new comic with an even unlikelier team – a band.
Through the course of the rest of the issue we are casually introduced to the remaining members of the team as we follow the band on the road. Things seem to be going well from gig to gig until three mysterious watchers identify the band - and one band member in particular - as a target. Once again during the course of the show things turn ugly, but this time it is with beings of an alien origin.
Opening immediately with a faux newspaper article, it seems Canary isn’t really keeping her head down. There is a slight twist however: it’s the band who are known as Black Canary, and their enigmatic lead singer D.D. who seems to be followed by trouble. Without much preamble, the reader is thrown into the fray when a fight breaks out at a gig and Dinah takes on a group of men putting some of the female fans in danger.
After another destructive and messy fight Dinah is victorious, but also bemused as she discovers she was never the real target. The real mystery begins when we learn the mute band member Ditto was the actual target. With the band on the road heading to another show, we sense a deeper mystery surrounding Ditto and three dark hitchhikers - things aren’t going to be an easy ride.
As a story I found it quite interesting and full of nice little touches. For instance, the lead singer's name D.D. and the rumour of a previous marriage were a sly wink to the character's origins. I also thought the rise of the Dinah Lance's fame and notoriety in recent years could easily and mainly be attributed to the CW show. Now she’s looking to fly solo, without the Green Arrow propping her up.
Whilst it has a nice twist, I didn’t feel Fletcher’s story carried a huge amount of weight. I didn’t feel the giant hook needed to instantly convince me to snap up the next copy on my pull list.
Admittedly, this in part is due to Annie Wu's artwork not being my personal preference. She is well respected in the industry, and her artwork does complement the story very well. This is an edgy grungy band which breaks out with great sounds at the right moment, very much like Wu’s work. The mood is also set by the bold colouring, which is especially striking across the double spreads.
As a first issue, I can see how it will grip certain readers very well. This could very well redevelop Canary as her own hero on a personal quest, but sadly on this occasion it’s not for me.