Black Canary #6 “Screaming Bloody Murder”
Written by Brenden Fletcher
Art by Annie Wu
Colors by Lee Loughridge
Alright! It’s been a month and some weeks here and there since we last received a chapter of Black Canary (which I still believe is due to changes in the initial creative direction that could lead to the formation of another Birds of Prey book, but only time will tell), and I’m pretty psyched. Fletcher has done a good job in capturing Dinah, while representing the character with respect. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, this is the best presentation of Dinah since the launch of the New 52!
Clearly I’m a little psyched for the return of this book. I was really unsure about the whole band concept initially, but aside from the previous issue, it’s been more of characteristic for the creative team to play with for Dinah, rather than a huge focal point. At the core, she is still a kickass broad that knows her true calling in life. So when I saw the first page, I was super stoked to dive into this issue!
And then we took a hard left turn, and returned to the battle of the bands plot that ended the last issue (which I’d honestly forgotten about). I immediately fall into this moment of dread. The one thing I didn’t want – some clichéd music/band war to serve as a metaphorical brawl – was surely waiting for me on the next page.
But to my surprise, nope! With the reveal that Bo Maeve now has meta-human abilities, Canary’s instincts kick in and she rounds up her crew so they can leave. Thank God! Kurt then mentions that Waller is behind this, the place has to be swarming with Feds that are after Ditto. Again, the issue takes a turn for the better! I am, however, a little confused because I don’t remember the team being aware that Waller was involved with this ordeal, so Kurt’s accusation seems convenient… unless he knew this was taking place from the beginning, and if that’s the case, then why is he saying something now? Again, he could’ve disclosed this early on, and my mind could just be foggy pertaining to the details.
The crew pack their things before Ditto leaves a message for the band through a sound wave, that I believe is supposed to be inspirational… I’m honestly not certain. I just thought it was kind of weird. Then the band is called to perform, so they head to the stage! Wait… What!? Noooooooooo!
And guess what, my worst nightmare comes true! It’s figuratively, and then literally, a battle of the bands… Oh wait, there’s more. The book actually gets really weird before wrapping up with a twist, both plot points leaving me SUPER CONFUSED. I’m honestly not sure how I feel about the next issue. I think I’d rather move past all of the band stuff, which appears to end after this arc. I’m crossing my fingers!
The Art: Annie Wu is a talented artist who leaves her mark on the book. Her work is very stylized, and with Loughridge’s colors, the to create art that’s unique to the DC Universe, with a flare of slight grunge. Wu’s interpretation and stylization of certain scenes helps her stand out from the crowd… but if I’m being completely honest, I think I prefer Pia Guerra. It’s not that one artist is better than the other, it’s just a preference.
Breakdowns can be found in the spoiler tag.
The Good: The best thing about this book is Dinah. As a character, I feel like she’s pretty spot on, despite a few instances where her priorities seem out of whack – for instance when she has a band battle instead of fleeing… But in all seriousness, there are moments of depth and loneliness revealed in her, and I can understand why she joined the band. It’s not too frequent, but it justifies her actions, and I can respect that. When all is said and done though, she’s still that kickass chick that you’d be extremely stupid to mess with.
Kurt. At the end, there’s a reveal that Kurt is the president of the Dinah’s record label, and that he’s set this entire mission in motion. There were hints that there was something fishy concerning the label, but I honestly never thought too much about it. The big callout with this is that Kurt is older here… I have NO CLUE what’s going on, but I assume we’ll find out in the next issue. I’m going to assume he’s from the future and is trying to stop Waller from making a terrible decision… Maybe… If that’s the case, I also have a suspicion that this white ninja we’ve seen on a few occasions is actually Dinah from the future… Who knows…
The Bad: Dear Brenden Fletcher, no more band battles!
In fact, let’s not have band performances serve as a critical plot point. I get this is a part of who she is, and that’s something I’m ok with… but this issue and the last issue was a little too band-heavy for my taste. The tone of the book seems to have a personality disorder, whipping from “serious plot that interferes with our protagonist’s life while she’s on tour with her band” to “hey, check out this gimmicky, wannabe rock band book where the singer is also a super hero!” The second idea is essentially the same tone that’s killing Batgirl for me – and based on sales for that title, I’m apparently not alone.
What in the hell happened that caused Kurt and Ditto to disappear? Does this play into the older version of Kurt? Do the two bands somehow create a rip in time and space? I’m honestly clueless as to what just happened, and I would like to believe I’m a semi-intelligent person. I mean, Bo Maeve appears to know what happened, as does the rest of the band, and I’m sitting her scratching my head. I actually stopped reading the book, and read those two to three pages a few times to try and figure out what happened. Regular view, and guided view. Still can’t tell you. And then it pretty much ruined the ending as the reveal of old man Kurt left me thinking, “Wow… that’s interesting… but seriously, what was that disappearance about?”
Also, it FINALLY clicked with me that Heathcliff in Black Canary is the same Heathcliff from Gotham Academy when he mentioned missing Pomeline. I just assumed Heathcliff was 16 or 17 in Gotham Academy, and the Heathcliff here was in his twenties… Not sure if this is my error, or if anyone else had a lapse in making this connection…
- You want to see DC Universe Characters play Guitar Hero… kind of.
- The thought of colored sound waves causing a disappearance sounds intriguing.
- You like the current Batgirl
Overall: I don’t know about this book at the moment. The tones seem to shift back and forth as fast as a puck on an air hockey table. I tend to be drawn to more serious narratives, but I’m sure there are a number of people who prefer the more light hearted aspects such as band duels. Regardless of the direction of this book, it’s still miles better than Batgirl at the moment!