The lights are down. The stage is set. The guitars are tuned and the fog machines are on. It’s time for Black Canary’s final show and they’re going to blow the roof off of reality.
Read on below for our full spoiler free review of “Black Canary” #7, or the magnum opus of DCYou.
Written by Brenden Fletcher
Illustrated by Annie Wu
It’s the deafening finale of the band’s debut tour! Dinah will have to scream louder than she ever has before, so loud that the walls of reality will crumble! It’s gonna get crazy, folks.
I’ll admit, I was something of a skeptic upon hearing about this incarnation of “Black Canary”. Despite enjoying Dinah’s appearances in the “Batgirl” reimagining that Brenden Fletcher helped spearhead, I was worried that this book would just be a cash-in on the idea of simply Tumblr-ifying a character in order to drum up sales. Taking the character of Dinah away from her usual superhero status and putting at the front of a band felt like trying to recapture the magic of “Batgirl” and a large part of me worried about it falling flat on its face. Seven issues later and the case couldn’t be more of the opposite. I wasn’t expecting a book with such heart, passion or the guts to blow the doors off of reality as it explored Black Canary’s abilities and character in a way no other story has.
Music is life. That seems to be one of the core concepts of “Black Canary” that Brenden Fletcher and Annie Wu have been exploring. On the most basic structural level of the universe, energy is created by molecular vibrations which, in turn, create sound. Sure, it’s sound that humans are unable to actually perceive, but it’s a concept that’s cropped up in the DC universe before. Remember that time Superman sung Darkseid to death? Yeah. Here, Fletcher and Wu a similar concept and run with it as Black Canary must play the ultimate concert to save the universe from the living embodiment of the absence of sound.
This is the kind of story that literally only a comic book could tell and Fletcher and Wu tell it beautifully.
As the finale to the first arc, Fletcher’s writing manages to balance the act between neatly bringing a number of disparate story threads together while finally revealing the machinations that have lead the band to this point, managing to ramp up the tension with each page until the huge battle of the issue. This does mean that the first half of the issue feels pretty dialogue heavy as a couple of the characters need to explain to Dinah, who’s been kept in the dark for most of the series so far, but Fletcher smartly keeps the informational dialogue centered around Dinah’s emotional connections with the other characters. Even in a story where all of reality is threatened, Dinah as a character never feels swamped by everything that’s going on which keeps a strong emotional anchor for the reader to attach themselves to.
The real star of the show here, though, is Annie Wu. By god, this issue is gorgeous. You may be wondering to yourself “You know, if the conflict in this issue is between a band fronted by a woman with a reality-altering scream and the living embodiment of the lack of show… how do you portray that visually in a comic?” And the answer to that, it turns out, is by being Annie Wu. Crafting 12 panel pages throughout the fight, Wu has completely outdone herself here in terms of storytelling. The action is fluid and engaging and the physical element of the fight remains intrinsically linked to the metaphysical aspect as Dinah literally beats up sound with a mic stand. There’s even a page where Wu breaks out on of the most inventive and unique page layouts I’ve ever seen in my entire life. It’s a stark, minimalist contract to the panel-heavy pages that surround it that breaks up the feeling of the conflict and keeps the musical context of the conflict at the forefront.
Wu’s frankly gorgeous artwork is elevated to all new levels thanks to Lee Loughridge’s colours throughout the issue. The first half of the issue shows Loughridge as a talented colourist, bringing an earthen hue to Wu’s artwork with washed out orange and brown tones contrasted against the steely blues of the surrounding stadium. However, it’s his work as the conflict ramps up that really shows off his talents as the vibrant purple motif of the first few pages come to dress the page in vibrant, neon colours that punctuate the conflict. The use of ben-day dots in the colour work to denote the use of reality altering sound brings an otherworldly effect to the page that cements this conflict not just as superhero fare or a fight for the characters’ lives, but one to save all of existence.Continued below
“Black Canary” #7 is a comic where every creator involved is at the absolute top of their game to bring a amp-breaking, roof-exploding, face-melting finale to a killer first arc that reinvents a character in a way that allows for an entirely unique exploration of their abilities. Fletcher, Wu and Loughridge have brought Dinah Lane to the forefront of the DC Universe in a way that has never really been accomplished in the past by focusing on what makes her unique as a sound-based character in a visual medium. Teaming that take with artists that know exactly how to break the rules just enough to make a sound-based conflict visually engaging and you have, for the first time in a long time, a comic that perfectly encapsulates what it’s like to be a punk rock superhero.
Final Verdict: 9.6 – With a final page that teases so much more to come, “Black Canary” is far from over, but Fletcher, Wu and Loughridge have put their all into ensuring this first arc has an explosive finale.