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You know what want? I want my $2.99 back.

Stop being such a downer

It would be a misinterpretation of the facts to say that I have been unkind to Black Canary. “Unkind” implies that I have failed to attribute some good to that which possesses it, or attributed bad to that which does not. I have only told the truth, and the bleakness of that truth is not of my own invention. I would love to tell you that things have taken an upswing in Black Canary #9, but that would be the true unkindness–both to you, the cash-starved comic book fan, and to the word “upswing”.

There’s money

Black Canary #9 could be summed up like this:

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Okay, so there’s a little bit more to it than that, but not much. The band plays a gig (surprise), D.D. kicks people (surprise), and I’m left wondering why this book dares to exist. Why do we live in a world where my beloved Omega Men was threatened with cancellation after a few issues, and the book that gave us KW-UHNX-WA gets to stay on the shelves for time eternal (it feels like June’s taking forever to get here, so please forgive my exaggeration)?

So should we pack up now?

Before I further illuminate the darkness in an issue that is almost entirely dark, I’ll try to say something positive. If there’s one thing in this book that I can always appreciate, it’s Lee Loughridge’s excellent colors. They don’t save Black Canary (I don’t think anything can), but even in the midst of frustrating plots and an aesthetic that isn’t my cup of tea, Loughridge’s color work has a compelling arc of its own. In this particular issue, if I ignore the plot, and don’t look too closely at Moritat’s oddities and inconsistencies, I can enjoy the storytelling that Loughridge is doing all by himself. Unfortunately, a colorist–even one of the very best–can’t carry an entire book by himself, especially when that book is a filler issue while the regular creative team tries to get caught up (or bails on the title to prepare for Rebirth–time will tell).

Next: back to the main story

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Filler issues are always somewhat frustrating. They break up the already-strained flow in a monthly comic book series; instead of getting the chapter you’ve been waiting a month for, you get taken out of the story and shoved into something of little or no consequence. The actual content of such filler issues isn’t automatically bad–DC did release a decent Martian Manhunter-themed issue of JLA last year to help Bryan Hitch get back on track.

But Black Canary #9 is no JLA #5. The conflict here is not exciting, the characters here are flatter than usual, and everything feels precisely as inconsequential as it actually is. While I’m grateful for a break from Fletcher’s endless exposition, Rosenberg (who appears to be brand-spanking new, at least at DC) doesn’t provide anything fresh or exciting in the plot or the players. Whereas issue #8 began with a few interesting premises, #9’s entire scaffolding consists of the elements that make this book so bothersome to me. It’s pretty much a gig, throwaway villains, and cardboard heroes. When even an unexpected Black Mask appearance fails to make me crack a smile, there’s something seriously wrong.

As I alluded to above, Moritat’s artwork isn’t anything to write home about, either. It is certainly better than the script it brings to life, but I find it to be inconsistent and unappealing in general. There’s far too much reuse, either in general poses or in a case of straight-up panel duplication; and without Loughridge’s efforts, it would be terribly dull at best–which is pretty much the one-line review for this entire issue.

Recommended if…

  • You want a break from the current Black Canary arc for the sake of having a break from the current Black Canary arc.
  • You want to pay three bucks for great color work.
  • You want the whole set (I understand the pull, but RESIST THE PULL).

Overall

My jokes at the top of this review aside, I am serious about not being unkind toward the folks who make these books. If I crack a joke about the content, my goal is to make it easier to cope with having to read it, and to create some enjoyment out of a void of enjoyment. And if I am unabashedly negative, it’s because I want folks to understand what they’re getting into if they hand over their hard-earned money. In the case of Black Canary #9, I can only recommend that you hold onto that money. Even if you’re a fan of the series, this installment adds nothing to it.

SCORE: 2/10