Before I jump into the meat and potatoes of this column, I want to touch on something…
I recently wrote a chapter-by-chapter look at GREEN ARROW VOL. 1 for DCComics.com where I gave my feedback and thoughts regarding the newly released trade that collects Green Arrow’s first Rebirth storyline.
One of the big things I took away and enjoyed about the book was that it was essentially a powers-free story—with the exception of Black Canary. Now, I’m not adverse to super powers by any means, I just felt with the absence of powers, it gave the story somewhat of a “this could happen” feel to it—even if it was on an exaggerated scale. Personally, I enjoy seeing Green Arrow deal with more power-free characters. In my opinion, it just works better on the comic page.
That being said...
I like seeing metahumans in Arrow. Since the crossover event, I think the interaction between Ollie and his team with super-powered beings translates well on screen and makes for interesting dynamics and potential storylines (both present and future).
Tonight’s episode had two metahumans—one that would prove to be the focal point and who I’m sure will be highly discussed (possibly debated) amongst fans: Dinah aka the new Black Canary.
I’m happy to have a new Canary and I like the metahuman aspect, too…but is it a little too convenient? I mean, same power (albeit super), same fighting skills and same name? I guess Ollie really lucked out!
With the introduction of the second Black Canary, it’s probably a good time to take a look at the character’s history and see what similarities there are between the print version and what we’re seeing in Arrow...
The first Black Canary was Dinah Drake. She was an aspiring police officer, but ended up opening her own florist shop after her application was rejected and her father died. She was heavily influenced and inspired by the “Mystery Men” of her time and took it upon herself to become a crime fighter—working in the shop by day and beating up bad guys at night.
She donned her trademark black fishnets and wore a blonde wig to conceal her identity. At first, she posed as a criminal in order to gain trust and access amongst those in Gotham’s underbelly. She was an expert in Judo and an energetic fighter. Her exploits didn’t go unnoticed and she soon found herself as a member of the Justice Society of America.
After hanging up her costume, Dinah married Detective Larry Lance and the two had a daughter named Dinah Laurel Lance. Dinah never wanted her daughter to follow in her footsteps and later died of cancer due to side effects from a previous battle with the cosmic-powered Aquarius.
Dinah’s biggest fear would become reality when her daughter would in fact grow up to be the second Black Canary. But, to be fair, it would almost be impossible to have her not take over the mantle, seeing as how her babysitters were the JSA—a group of crime fighters who often regaled the young Dinah with stories of her heroic mom.
In terms of second generation heroes, young Dinah really is the Black Canary 2.0 version—not only is she skilled in Judo like her mom, she also learned boxing from Ted “Wildcat” Grant and a number of other fighting techniques from the other JSA members.
What really makes her a legitimate force to be reckoned with is the genetic mutation that gives her the super powered “Canary Cry”—an ultrasonic, ear piercing scream that is capable of severely damaging both organic and inorganic materials.
A gifted tactician and leader, she helped found the Justice League of America, holds a seat with the JSA and is a Birds of Prey operative. A real Jack—err—Jill of all trades.
Truth be told, I was a little on the fence about the new Black Canary. After letting tonight’s episode marinate a bit, I’m optimistic about Dinah. When you take into account the above information, it seems like Arrow is trying to combine aspects of both Canaries, which is actually pretty cool.
We’re now getting the super-powered Canary Cry and a very skilled and strong (both physically and emotionally) woman in Dinah. It feels like there’s potential there for her to take on a bigger role within the show and be the strongest recruit. I’m not sure where they might be going as far as a potential relationship with Oliver, but we’ll have to see as the season goes on if there is any chemistry there. I thought the fact that she was a cop was a nice little nod to the original Black Canary of the comics—not sure if that was intentional or not, but either way, it works.
Looking forward to next week!
Until next episode,
Matt Ross covers Arrow as a part of the #DCTV Couch Club. Catch new episodes of Arrow Tuesdays at 8 p.m. (7 p.m. CST) on The CW.