Book Review – Black Canary vol. 1: Kicking and Screaming

  • Title: Black Canary vol. 1: Kicking and Screaming
  • Author: Brendan Fletcher
  • Artists: Annie Wu, Pia Guerra, Sandy Jarrell
  • Line: Post-Final Crisis
  • Characters: Black Canary (Dinah Lance)
  • Publication Date: 2016
  • Publisher: DC Comics
  • Date Reviewed on GoodReads: 5/14/2016

Can I rate this 3.5? This is definitely a new take on Black Canary. Dinah assumes the name D.D. and fronts “the world’s most dangerous band”. She and her band mates are confronted with the band’s previous lead singer, Maeve, and intergalactic aliens who use sound, or rather the absence of sound, as a weapon. And Dinah’s ex-husband Kurt shows up.

Although the character of Black Canary has her signature look – blonde hair, blue and black outfit, fishnet stockings – and she has her signature talents – martial arts, and the Canary Cry scream, this isn’t the Black Canary who was part of the Birds of Prey or the Justice League. And the book hints at a dark past for Dinah, as a Black-Ops operative (where she met her husband, Kurt).

Dinah, now calling herself, D.D., and her band are attempting to protect Ditto, a mute child with an extraordinary talent with musical instruments. Ditto has a Big Secret – more than simply Amanda Waller being after her. Ditto was also the source of Black Canary’s Canary Cry, and Waller uses Ditto’s DNA to give that power to Maeve as well.

However, as much as there’s a rivalry between Maeve and Dinah – in the end they must work together to stop an extra- terrestrial threat and to circumvent Waller from taking Ditto to use as a lab rat.

The entire issue is framed with a voice-over by an underground music reporter writing for his own music zine, and contains the zine as a bonus at the end of the issue. This helps to frame the plot and give it some structure.

The art has a 1970s underground / punk feel to it, which is remarkable at times. And the graphic novel is largely produced by women – for art and covers. The cover gallery is incredible – do not skip it.

So why the 3.5 rating? I felt like the story in Black Canary volume 1: Kicking and Screaming was very confused. It was difficult to tell what was going on. Now, whether that was because the narrator didn’t know either, or because for much of the story things just happened without much reason to it, or if the comic really was as confusing as it seemed, I’m not sure. But for an on-going series, one has to consider, “Would I buy another issue?” And, unfortunately for Black Canary the answer is, “probably not”. I wish I could say, yes, because I love the character, and I’ve liked the character of Black Canary all the way back to the just post-Crisis on Infinite Earths Justice League International, but this book was just too confusing to really follow and enjoy. The book was just too confusing for me. And although I appreciated the art and the style, it reminded me more of Love and Rockets than the Black Canary I know.

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