The Black Canary
Alter ego: Dinah Drake (later Dinah Drake Lance)
First appearance: Flash Comics #86
Black Canary was created by writer Robert Kanigher and artist Carmine Infantino. She first appeared as a supporting character in Flash Comics #86 (August 1947) where she was seemingly a villain plotting against Johnny Thunder. However, it was quickly revealed that she was actually a hero working undercover to expose criminals. Black Canary became something of a sidekick to Johnny Thunder for several stories, using her superior fighting skills to save the well-meaning but bumbling hero from danger.
By the end of the year, Black Canary proved to be more popular than Johnny Thunder, and his back-up feature became hers in Flash Comics #92 (February, 1948). It was here that her Secret Identity was finally revealed, as was the meaning of her Code Name. Dinah Drake was a raven-haired florist, who used a blond wig and flashy costume as a disguise while fighting crime in her native Gotham City. Her path frequently crossed that of her boyfriend, private detective Larry Lance. She also joined the Justice Society of America and continued to be a part of that team even after their adventures ceased publication in 1951, at the end of The Golden Age of Comic Books.
In The Silver Age of Comic Books, Black Canary was revived in 1963 as part of some of the first Crisis Crossover stories in comics history. The Justice League of America and Justice Society of America — two similar groups belonging to two similar Earths — would join forces to face threats to both their realities. It was during one of these adventures that Larry Lance (whom Dinah Drake had married sometime in the 1950s) gave his life to save Dinah's. Desiring a fresh start, Dinah decided to leave her home-dimension behind to start over on Earth-One. She joined the Justice League of America and — for reasons involving her exposure to cosmic radiation — developed a sonic scream super power a.k.a. "The Canary Cry".
In the early days of The Bronze Age of Comic Books, Black Canary began dating fellow JLA member Oliver Queen a.k.a. Green Arrow. She was a regular part of his adventures with Green Lantern and was developed by writer Dennis O'Neil into a more proactive, feminist character — one who ran her own business, had her own solo adventures and chided Green Arrow for his possessive attitude and referring to her as "his girl". Indeed, she was so much a part of Green Arrow's life that she became a foster mother to his sidekick, Roy Harper a.k.a. Speedy, and it was she who got Roy treatment for his heroin addiction during the infamous "My ward is a junkie?!" incident.
Toward the end of The Bronze Age of Comic Books, in an effort to explain why Dinah Drake didn't appear to be a day over 30 despite being well into her 60s, a Retcon in Justice League of America revealed that the Black Canary we'd been seeing since the end of the Silver Age wasn't Dinah Drake but was actually her daughter, Dinah Laurel Lance!
An Earth-Two Super Villain called The Wizard used his powers to curse the infant Dinah with an uncontrollable scream (yes, yes... A Wizard Did It) and Black Canary asked her old friend Johnny Thunder to use his magical genie pal The Thunderbolt to end the curse. The Thunderbolt was unable to break the spell, but was able to place the infant Dinah as a sort of Human Popsicle in his home dimension until such time as a cure could be found. Years later, during the Crisis Crossover that killed her husband, Dinah Drake was critically injured by the radiation and The Thunderbolt then used his magic to put Dinah Drake's memories in the still-sleeping-but-now-adult body of her daughter (which had since then learned how to adapt to the once uncontrollable scream) and erase everyone else's memories so they wouldn't remember what happened.
This confusing and creepy chain of events would be Ret Conned again not too long after Crisis on Infinite Earths. Now, the Lance family had a relatively normal life together, with the elder Dinah still working as a florist in her Secret Identity and Larry still a private eye. Dinah Drake was also given further motivation for having chosen the path of the vigilante, having tried and failed to follow in the footsteps of her cop father, Richard Drake, thanks to the then rampant sexism and corruption of the Gotham City Police Department.
After retiring as a vigilante, her daughter, Dinah Laurel Lance, grew up to become the new Black Canary and a member of the Justice League of America. Mother and daughter, however, grew estranged over the years, until finally reconciling on her deathbed in as Dinah Drake Lance succumbed to cancer in Secret Origins #50 (August 1990).
Dinah Drake Lance has appearance in:
- Flash Comics (1947-1949)Black Canary debuts as a side character in the Johnny Thunder back-up feature, and quickly becomes very popular.
- All-Star Comics (1948-1951)
- Justice League of America (1963-1983)When the Earth-One Justice League started regularly teaming up with their Earth-Two Justice Society counterparts Dinah reappeared as a member of the JSA.
- Infinity, Inc. (1987-1988)
- Justice Society of America (1991-2011)
- Starman (1997-2001) intermittent appearances
- Birds of Prey (2004-2011) intermittent appearances
- JSA (2005-2005)
Tropes for Dinah Drake Lance / Black Canary I (Pre-Crisis)
- Action Girl: An excellent boxer and practitioner of jujitsu.
- Affirmative Action Girl: Back in the day, Dinah Drake joined the Justice Society to add a woman to the team, and later she (or her daughter, as was retconned later) jumped to Earth 1 and joined the Justice League. In Post Crisis, Dinah Lance became this via retcon, originally taking Wonder Woman's place as the female founding member, but later retconned to have instead been an eighth member (either founding, or the very first new recruit to join).
- Alliterative Name: Dinah Drake
- The Artifact: Her costume, which was meant to make her seem like a tough girl from the wrong side of the tracks and which she kept after no longer being/pretending to be a villain. We just won't talk about what happened when her daughter tried to change it in the 80's.
- Badass Normal: A non-powered master martial artist who teamed up with and fought alongside very powerful superheroes.
- Battle Couple: Dinah and Larry Lance.
- The Beastmaster: in one of her early appearances, she trained an actual black canary to follow fairly complex orders. In a different one she controlled a flock of them. This didn't stick.
- Characterization Marches On: Her very earliest appearances were in Johhny Thunder's comic, where she was a Catwoman-esque jewel thief who only stole from other criminals, and took action against actual murderers. After the first few appearances she took on a quasi-sidekick role. Pretty soon Johnny was kicked to the curb, and she was retconned into having pretended to be a criminal.
- Clark Kenting: A blonde wig, a makeup change, and a costume that took attention away from her face got her pretty far.
- Color Character: Black Canary
- Damsel in Distress: Inverted. In an interesting twist for the time, detective Larry Lance was always getting himself into trouble and Black Canary was the one who kept having to save him.
- Domino Mask: In her first appearances.
- Everyone Has Standards: When she was a Karmic Thief, she admitted she was pretty hardboiled, but after hearing about thugs robbing a charity, she was disgusted.
- Happily Married: Though she apparently had an affair with Starman in the '50s.
- Improvised Weapon: A specialty of Dinah Drake in Golden Age stories, particularly with thrown objects. She displayed uncanny accuracy with improvised weapons, no matter how improbable or unbalanced — including footwear◊, vases◊, bulky cameras◊, random cutlery, and pies◊. Curiously, while she demonstrates her amazing throwing skills often, neither she nor any other characters ever make particular note of it.
- Karmic Thief: In her earliest appearances.
- Ms. Fanservice: She wears fishnet stockings and high-heeled boots to fight crime.
- Muscles Are Meaningless: Even though she's a slip of a girl, she can easily pick a guy up above her head and throw him without using jujitsu.
- Non-Powered Costumed Hero: Dinah has no superpowers and has a costume complete with a Domino Mask.
- Sudden Name Change: The original Black Canary, Dinah Drake-Lance, was later referred to as Diana Drake by some writers (Chuck Dixon in particular), presumably to differentiate her from her daughter.
- Swiss Army Weapon: The choker around her neck (opened with pressure from her chin) always had a little gadget of some sort that could get her out of a hairy situation, no matter how improbable. (How'd you cut the ropes behind your back with a tiny blade on your neck?)
- Tap on the Head: EVERY SINGLE ISSUE of her Golden Age series. At some point in the story, Black Canary will be hit on the head and knocked unconscious.
Alter ego: Dinah Laurel Lance
First appearance: Justice League of America #75
Dinah Laurel Lance, daughter of the original Black Canary and Detective Larry Lance, decided to become a vigilante at the age of nineteen. Trained by her "uncle" Wildcat, Dinah eventually took up the same superheroic identity as her mother: Black Canary. The big difference, however, was that Dinah was a metahuman, with the mutation of a third vocal cord, enabling her to unleash a sonic scream.
As The Dark Age of Comic Books opened, Dinah was still a member of the Justice League, now Justice League International. She briefly adopted a new "modern" costume which was quickly abandoned and is widely regard as being an embarrassment — both by the character and by the artist who designed the costume!
She was still dating Green Arrow, though their difference in ages was reversed, with a 30-something Oliver Queen having started dating a college-age Dinah Lance several years earlier. For most of this period, she was a supporting character in Mike Grell's Mature-Readers Green Arrow book, where — in an effort to limit the usual Super Hero elements of comic books and create a more grounded, realistic story — Grell removed Dinah's Canary Cry in The Longbow Hunters following an extended torture session. She would later dump Green Arrow and — for a time — disappeared into Comic-Book Limbo.
Thankfully, she would return with a vengeance before The Dark Age of Comic Books was over. In 1996, Dinah Lance abandoned her fishnets and wig in favor of shorter hair, a dye job and a Kevlar leotard as one-half of the original Birds of Prey team — the brawn to the brain of Oracle (a.k.a. former Batgirl Barbara Gordon). Conceived by editor Jordan B. Gorfinkel and written by Chuck Dixon, the two would headline a number of mini-series, eventually being given their only monthly title in 1999. At about the same time, a new monthly Justice Society of America title started, simply called JSA, which also featured Black Canary as a member.
Over the next ten years, Black Canary would come to take a more prominent role in The DCU at large. She regained her superpowers after exposure to the alchemical Lazarus Pit (her boyfriend at the time turned out to be the immortal terrorist Ra's Al Ghul) and it healed her injured vocal cords. Shortly after that, she began dating Oliver Queen (Green Arrow) again following his return from the dead. The two would eventually marry and begin to share a title together several years later.
Most agree that it was in 2003 when Gail Simone took over the writing duties on Birds of Prey that Black Canary really began to achieve her full potential as a character. She became the field commander of an expanding Birds of Prey team. She continued her martial arts training, becoming a warrior worthy of the respect of Lady Shiva — one of the greatest martial artists and certainly the deadliest assassin in The DCU. Dinah also acted as a trainer to a number of young heroines and briefly tried to care for Sin — a young girl being trained by the League of Assassins to be their next great warrior. It was also during this period that she rejoined the Justice League of America and become their official team leader.
Things then took a dark turn for Black Canary's life. Following the events of the Justice League: Cry for Justice mini-series, she cut ties completely with her adopted family. She was estranged from her husband, having returned her wedding ring. She also apparently washed her hands of responsibility for Roy Harper, who returned to heroin use following the loss of an arm and the death of his daughter Lian in the Rise of Arsenal mini-series. The one bright side to all of this, from the fan perspective at least, was that Black Canary was now free to star in a new Birds of Prey series written by Gail Simone.
Everything changed with the New 52, however...
Dinah Laurel Lance has appeared in:
- Justice League of America (1969-1986)
- Green Lantern (1970-1985)
- The Flash (1970-2009) intermittent appearances
- World's Finest (1972-1982) intermittent appearances
- Adventure Comics (1972-2010) intermittent appearances
- Action Comics (1973-2010)
- Wonder Woman (1975-1983) intermittent appearances
- Judgment In Infinity (1982)
- Detective Comics (1976-1998) intermittent appearances
- Green Arrow (1983-1983)
- Green Lantern/Green Arrow (1983-1984)
- Green Arrow: The Longbow Hunters (1987-1987)
- Wonder Woman (1987-2005) intermittent appearances
- Booster Gold (1987-2010) intermittent appearances
- Green Arrow (1988-1998)
- Black Canary (1991-1993)
- The Ray (1994-1996)
- Final Night (1996)
- JLA (1997-2006) intermittent appearances
- Robin (1998-2003) intermittent appearances
- Arsenal (1998-1999)
- JSA (1999-2005)
- Young Justice (1999-2002) intermittent appearances
- Hourman (1999-2000) intermittent appearances
- Birds of Prey (1999-2011)
- Green Arrow (2001-2007)
- Batgirl (2000) (2004-2005)
- Infinite Crisis (2006)
- Justice League of America (2006-2011)
- 52 (2006-2007)
- Black Canary (2007-2007)
- Green Arrow and Black Canary (2007-2010)
- Wonder Woman (2007-2010) intermittent appearances
- Justice Society of America (2007-2011) intermittent appearances
- Final Crisis (2008)
- Vixen: Return of the Lion (2008-2009)
- Blackest Night (2009)
Tropes for Dinah Laurel Lance / Black Canary II (Post-Crisis)
- Aborted Arc: Dwayne McDuffie initially had plans of Dinah going through confidence issues during his Justice League of America run, only for her to develop into a determined leader. Unfortunately, McDuffie was pulled from the title and the next writer decided to ignore most of McDuffie's storylines leaving Dinah OOC.
- Balls of Steel: In the Black Canary / Green Arrow wedding issue, Canary manages to land a kick on Deathstroke, but this trope is used as he angrily says that he's wearing over 50 pounds of body armor, so of course he's wearing a cup.
- Bare Your Midriff: Not typically part of her costume attire, but generally her civilian attire, at least from the 2000s-onward, tend to be almost exclusively shirts that don't cover her navel. Which somewhat makes sense since that was fashion of the time and she was a woman in her mid-20s.
- Battle Couple: Green Arrow and Black Canary.
- Boyish Short Hair: In some versions. It's usually either a fohawk or a Power Hair.
- Brains and Brawn: She's the Brawn when paired with Oracle.
- Brought Down to Badass: Many stories have Dinah Laurel Lance lose her screaming powers for different reasons, which is far from a terrible thing since she's perfectly capable of whooping asses without it.
- But Not Too Bi: Dinah was confirmed to be bisexual by Gail Simone, and though this inspired Sara Lance's sexuality in Arrowverse, in the comics proper Dinah's never had an on-screen romance with a woman. There was some Ship Tease between her and Ev Crawford/Starling in the New 52 Birds of Prey run, but this never went further than implication.
- Canon Discontinuity: Andrew Kreisberg's Retcon of Dinah Lance's origin and Dinah Drake's feelings about her life as a superheroine had been steadily ignored by every writer to touch the character since. Indeed, his Retcon is officially Ret-Gone as of Birds of Prey, Vol. 2, Issue 4, which says in no uncertain terms Dinah Lance knew about her mother's life as a superheroine and that Dinah Drake was proud of it. Indeed, the original Starman and Green Lantern took the younger Dinah flying as a toddler◊ in a flashback.
- Cool Big Sis: Towards Roy Harper, Conner Hawke, and Mia Dearden, as well as Emiko Queen in Green Arrow (Rebirth), not to mention Sin. Thanks to the significant age gap between her and Oliver, she was actually closer in age to his ward and son, so while technically she's their adopted stepmom, they generally saw her as more like a sister. She was also this to Stephanie Brown briefly, though her relationship with the Batkids hasn't been as explored.
- Deadpan Snarker: Dinah Lance is especially quick to snark; its been something she's done since the beginning, but it became especially prominent by the Birds of Prey era. Of course, she'd need to be snarky to match Green Arrow.
- Disappeared Dad: Larry Lance is usually dead by the time his daughter becomes the Black Canary.
- Everyone's Baby Sister: Among the Justice Society of America, as most of them have known her since she was born, so they see her as their niece. In JLA: Year One, her status as the only girl on the team and her youth (she was 19 at the time, while the others appeared to be in their 30s by comparison) lead to this, something she was vocally annoyed with as she frequently told them off for treating her like a damsel they had to protect. In Birds of Prey, though the Undying Loyalty goes both ways, Dinah being in danger seems to strike the biggest reaction from the others.
- Fantasy-Forbidding Father: Dinah Drake was retconned into one of these in Post Crisis, though it's very Depending on the Writer. Sometimes, Dinah Drake encouraged her daughter's heroics, to the point of being a mild Stage Mom, while others depict her as having been greatly troubled by the Darker and Edgier nature of crime by the time her daughter came of age that she explicitly fought against Dinah following her example.
- Fights Like a Normal:
- She very rarely actually uses her sonic ability. Occasionally the writers like to justify this with things like "it makes her throat hurt" or the fact that it has a high chance of affecting innocent bystanders due to being, well, a scream that breaks windows. Some writers, such as Mike Grell, even outright just pretend it doesn't exist and write her as the Badass Normal she debuted as.
- Gail Simone's take on the subject is that Dinah's passion is being a martial artist, whereas the Cry is more of a happy accident. She's not going to use it unless she has to, both out of sportsmanship and the real risk of outright killing her opponent.
- Fingerless Gloves: Mostly the Dinah Laurel Lance version. Whether it's a motorcycle glove or a gauntlet varies, Depending on the Artist.
- Friendly Enemies: Black Canary is sometimes depicted as getting along fairly well with some of the less-evil villains. Lady Shiva and herself seem to have something almost approaching a legitimate friendship, despite Shiva being a remorseless assassin, and its only hampered by Canary's refusal to accept her offer to turn her into the world's greatest killer.
- Good Bad Girl: She's a very sexually-forward woman and doesn't really feel shame in how she dresses. She's also one of the most moral and friendliest heroines there is, is a Cool Big Sis to many younger heroes (and something of a little sister to the older ones), and acts as The Heart of the Birds of Prey.
- The Heart: Of the Birds of Prey; while Oracle is the leader and head of the team, it's Dinah who the others rally behind.
- Hell-Bent for Leather: The Dinah Laurel Lance version(s) mostly.
- Hopeless with Tech: Very few things intimidate her. Computers are one of them. Considering the company she keeps, this is often played for laughs.
- Hot-Blooded: Depending on the Writer, Dinah is prone to reacting quicker than she thinks. It caused her to butt heads with Oracle more than a few times when they first started working together, and she's generally not afraid to jump into the thick of it.
- Hurting Hero: Becomes this whenever she pairs with Green Arrow due to their relationship being an infamous case of Masochism Tango where they continually bring out the worst in each other. Their first pairing? Kidnapped by drug lords in a botched sting operation and physically tortured so badly she loses her fertility and her powers (which would eventually be restored). Rejoins Ollie after he gets resurrected? Her adopted daughter is kidnapped and Ollie himself makes her believe she's dead. Despite that, she still marries him - and proceeds to be reduced to a Damsel in Distress whose Canary Cry accidentally causes an innocent bystander's hearing loss. And then Ollie leaving to form a second Justice League team somehow devastates her so much that she breaks up the primary team that she the leader of. Suffice it to say, there are likely a lot of Birds of Prey fans who really really don't like seeing Dinah and Ollie together.
- It's All Junk: In Action Comics #609, Black Canary burns her (admittedly ugly) Eighties costume. Oddly, the costume had been established previously as fireproof. There were also several references to the awful Eighties costume in the Gail Simone run on Birds of Prey.
- I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: In JLA: Year One, a 19-year-old Dinah finds herself crushing quite hard on the older Barry Allen, The Flash, and the two ended up growing quite close in the early days. However, upon discovering Barry was engaged and realizing the similar circumstances to how/why her mother had cheated on her father, she encourages him to stop neglecting Iris in favor of his superhero life and/or their own growing attraction, and the two settle on being Just Friends. Fortunately, she then immediately bumps into Green Arrow, and the rest is history.
- Jerkass Ball: Deconstruction. During the Cry for Justice & Rise and Fall storyline, Black Canary (Dinah Lance) abandons her husband Green Arrow I (Oliver Queen) and her adopted son Speedy I/Arsenal/Red Arrow I (Roy Harper). When Oliver is in prison for the murder of Prometheus, she returns her wedding ring and declares their marriage over. When Roy goes back to using heroin after the pain in his right arm becomes too unbearable because of the infection and the horrible prosthetic Cyborg made, she officially considers him a lost cause. It is implied that Dinah was traumatized because of the events of the story and was lashing out at them. In Birds of Prey, it is revealed Dinah harbors a hug amount of guilt for her actions and regrets abandoning them when they needed her the most.
- Kid Sidekick: Roy and Mia have acted as this to her as much as they did to Oliver. Later Dinah took in Sin, though she wasn't really a sidekick so much as a girl Dinah planned to raise as her daughter.
- The Lad-ette: Naturally, being a badass Biker Babe Blood Knight who enjoys a bar fight and a Good Bad Girl. As she began dressing in Short Tank for her Civvie Spandex, this has became far more notable in her design.
- Like a Son to Me: To the point she tried to adopt Sin. She's also expressed this towards Oliver's kids and wards, who in-turn tend to look at her as a Cool Big Sis or mother figure, though she's closer in age to most of them.
- Dinah herself is this to Ted Grant, who's repeatedly expressed how he often saw her as practically being his daughter, especially as he trained her in combat and was the first to encourage and support her heroics. For her part, Dinah considers him practically her father.
- Likes Older Men: Dinah Lance was 19 when she met Green Arrow, who himself was in or near his 40s. He's been deaged since, but is still old enough to have a son who's only a few years younger than Dinah. When he was dead, she also briefly romanced Ra's Al Ghul (who is several centuries her senior), who though she didn't know it was him at the time, she still thought he was a man who had a daughter her age.
- Logical Weakness: If her throat gets injured, she won't be able to use her Canary Cry. Being well-aware of this weakness, she chooses to compensate with physical training, martial arts, and using Concussion Frags that emit powerful sonic bursts to ensure she couldn't be taken out of the fight that easily. It's also shown that her Canary Cry is vulnerable to a Beam-O-War if matched against another's sonic attack.
- Make Me Wanna Shout: The Canary Cry, one of the Trope Codifier examples of such an ability.
- Make Some Noise: During the time when she lost her Canary Cry, Dinah used bombs that could emit powerful sonic frequencies. Her depiction in Injustice 2 has her using these weapons in conjunction with her signature Canary Cry.
- Mama Bear: Dinah has a soft spot for children in general and will give extra helpings of pain to anyone responsible for endangering or harming them. But that's nothing compared to what she did and was ready to do for the League of Assassins members responsible for kidnapping her adopted daughter Sin.
- Master Poisoner: Stinger, who was able to deliver a dose of curare exact enough to paralyse Black Canary's vocal cords without doing any additional harm to her.
- Moment of Weakness: Implied. During the Cry for Justice & Rise and Fall storylines, Dinah abandons her husband Oliver and her adopted son Speedy I/Arsenal/Red Arrow I (Roy Harper). She left the both of them because Oliver murders Prometheus for destroying Star City and causing the death of his adopted granddaughter Lian, while Roy goes back to using heroin after the pain in his right arm becomes too unbearable because of the infection and the horrible prosthetic Cyborg made, with Dinah officially considering him a lost cause. However, it is hinted that Dinah was traumatized because of the events of the story and was lashing out at them. It is also hinted that Dinah was subconsciously looking for an excuse to abandon them and leave the painful tragedy behind her. In Birds of Prey, it is revealed Dinah harbors a huge amount of guilt for her actions and regrets abandoning them when they needed her the most.
- Not Wearing Tights: Frequently. The Mike Grell run of Green Arrow is probably the first occasion, though her costume has often turned into just streetwear. In the 2010s, this became pretty much official as her default look became just a shirt and short-shorts over her usual fishnets.
- Official Couple: Green Arrow and Black Canary.
- Old Master: Trained under several in the comics, most notably Wildcat, though she's also studied in East-Asia and was briefly trained by Lady Shiva.
- Parental Abandonment: Dinah Laurel Lance usually dons the costume at the time both of her parents are dead.
- Pintsized Powerhouse: Not usually emphasised too much, but Dinah Lance's official height is given by official profiles as 5'4" inches, and she's usually drawn significantly shorter than the people she fights (and quite often who she fights alongside). This actually works to her advantage as, besides the fact it means she's frequently underestimated, but it meant she was at a significant size disadvantage when being trained by Wildcat, so from the beginning she was trained to punch above her weight and make use of her small stature.
- Required Secondary Powers: To prevent going deaf from her own Canary Cry, she has a special membrane in her eardrums that act as a pair of earmuffs.
- Sci-Fi Writers Have No Sense of Units: The strength of her Canary Cry has been repeatedly stated to be around three hundred decibels. That is considerably more than the force of a shockwave produced by a megaton-level explosion. If she was actually producing a sound that powerful, it would be able to turn people into red smears and topple skyscrapers. (Mind you, under some writers, she can very much do those things, and relies on martial arts instead of her powers because she'd rather not. Needless to say, though, most instances of its use fall very short of that.)
- Secret Identity: Despite abandoning any attempt at a disguise years ago and having a very public wedding to another superhero (whose own Secret Identity was a Millionaire Playboy and former mayor of a major city), Dinah has apparently managed to maintain one. Dinah was outed as Black Canary, as of Birds of Prey Volume 2, #2. It seemed that for the most part, it was a case of her secret identity was so unremarkable (a florist in a small shop) she didn't really need to hide who she was, and pretty much the entire hero/villain community knew 'Dinah Lance' was her name.
- She Cleans Up Nicely: In JLA: Year One, this is presented as how Dinah used to maintain a Secret Identity; "Black Canary" was seen as something of a superhero sex symbol by the general public because of the blonde hair, fishnets, and leather leotard, but "Dinah Lance" had short black hair and dressed in a more homely and tomboyish fashion. Dinah laments being dateless because she's straight-up invisible to guys who are openly lusting after Black Canary from seeing her on the news. Eventually she realizes that "Black Canary" is who she really is inside, and she should embrace it, casting her later abandoning of her secret identity as something of a coming of age sort of thing.
- Slut-Shaming: Her reaction to Oliver being raped by Shado has been written like this, though it was more a case of the writers at the time trying to retcon the instance as being Oliver consensually cheating on her. Shortly after the rape, Oliver did cheat on Dinah with their friend, Marianne, which is what wrecked their relationshipnote , and it seems since then, writers have conflated the two incidents into one.
- Stuffed into the Fridge: In The Longbow Hunters, Black Canary is captured, tortured and depowered solely for the purpose of giving Green Arrow a story-arc where he angsts over killing the men who were torturing her. Interestingly, though it was to serve Green Arrow's angst, Dinah's recovery from the ordeal is given just as much focus, and one detail often forgotten is that some time after, Ollie himself ended up being kidnapped and tortured, in the same warehouse, and Dinah had to save him.
- Token Super: She served as this for the Birds of Prey, being the only long term metahuman member of the team. Other members with superhuman powers have since come and gone on short stints (such as Power Girl, Little Barda, Hawk and Dove and Misfit), but Canary is pretty much the most steady member with this advantage.
- There Are No Therapists: Averted. After she was tortured, she went through counselling to help overcome the trauma, and the fact she's undergone therapy first-hand sometimes comes up when dealing with other troubled heroes.
- Thong of Shielding: At some point, Dinah's leotard became so skimpy she was almost always fighting crime with her backside out. A team-up with Wonder Woman, Dinah explains that her costume just always rides up, and she's often too embarrassed to fix it in front of other heroes.
- Thou Shalt Not Kill: As with all good heroes, Dinah is an idealist who believes strongly in not killing her enemies. Interestingly, she doesn't force this ideal onto others, and happily tolerates working with Huntress and Shiva (though in the latter case, she doesn't stand much choice). For her sake, the two even tend to hold back the lethal force when its not required, too.
- Very Special Episode: Many of the "Hard Traveling Heroes" storylines from The Bronze Age of Comic Books.
- Villain Respect: Ra's Al Ghul, Bane, Deathstroke, and Lady Shiva have all expressed great respect for her abilities.
- Wedding Smashers: Naturally, villains attacked the Black Canary-Green Arrow wedding festivities.
- We Would Have Told You, But...: Ollie fakes the death of Sin, Black Canary's adoptive daughter, and has her shipped off to a monastery, without telling Dinah so that her reactions will look natural. Never mind that Dinah's been established to be a better actor than he is. It also didn't help that Dinah — granting that she was under a good deal of stress — was portrayed as being irrational to the point of attacking her comrades when they suggested she needed to hold still for a moment and help them come up with a plan of attack. Ollie's plan wasn't a great one but he never got a chance to run it by Dinah before hand.
- Who Wears Short Shorts?: During the DC YOU ongoing, it became common for Dinah to wear short-shorts and would frequently fight in them. After DC Rebirth, this became her default look, alongside a corset top and her usual jacket/fishnets, in order to maintain her classic aesthetic with a Burnside-like improvisation.
- World's Best Warrior: While certainly a step below Lady Shiva, Cassandra Cain, and Richard Dragon (though she could certainly survive a direct confrontation with any of the three without resorting to her abilities if she absolutely had to), she is, along with Batman, Bronze Tiger, Conner Hawke, and possibly Catman, up there as one of the absolute best non-augmented combatants in the mainline DCU. While she does have a gigantic innate advantage by way of her abilities, she refuses to use them in straight fights. Lady Shiva also sees Canary as one of the best contenders for surpassing her, and tried to groom her into following in her footsteps.
Alter ego: Dinah Drake Lance
First appearance: Birds of Prey #1
The Black Canary of the New 52 is a Composite Character of Dinah Drake Lance and Dinah Laurel Lance. Her name is Dinah Drake, like the original Black Canary, but she is a metahuman with a powerful sonic scream, like Dinah Laurel Lance. Her mother's name is also Dinah Lance, but her last name also might have come from her husband Kurt Lance (who, curiously, is not named after either the original Black Canary's husband nor Dinah Laurel's ex-husband).
Birds of Prey was rebooted as part of DC Comics' New 52 line in September 2011, with the team now focusing on Dinah leading a team of anti-heroines while trying to prove herself innocent of a murder charge.
After the cancellation of Birds of Prey, Dinah was a guest character in Batgirl until she was spun off into her own self-titled series in June 2015. Now the lead singer of a touring band called Black Canary, Dinah joins them solving mysteries and beating up guys on the road. This series was cast in the same fashion-forward, modernized mold as the "Batgirl of Burnside," and shared a writer in Brenden Fletcher.
Dinah's fortunes changed with the start of DC Rebirth in June 2016, making her more of a central character. Dinah was a main character in three different titles in 2017: Batgirl and the Birds of Prey, Justice League of America (Rebirth) and Green Arrow (Rebirth), where she teamed up with the Emerald Archer to investigate a human trafficking ring and the two fell in love, restoring the classic relationship between the two.
In 2020, as DC Infinite Frontier softly rebooted the universe yet again, the questions about whether or not Dinah's history was restored remain. She is currently a member of Brian Michael Bendis's Justice League.
Dinah Drake (New 52/DC Rebirth) has appeared in:
- Birds of Prey vol 3
- Black Canary vol 4
- Batgirl and the Birds of Prey
- Green Arrow (Rebirth)
- Justice League (Infinite Frontier)
Tropes for Dinah Drake / Black Canary (New 52/DC Rebirth)
- Civvie Spandex: In her post-Flashpoint solo ongoing, she began wearing just her regular clothing and stage outfits to fight, rather than a costume. It still retains her classic look though, thanks to the fact her 'regular clothing' is exclusively made up of leather jackets, leather short-shorts and/or pants, fishnets, and boots. It works surprisingly well as a means to justify the Stripperific nature of her attire.
- Instrument of Murder: In #6 of the 2015 series, Bonfire - the guitarist in Bo M - attempts to barbecue Dinah with a flamethrower hidden in her guitar during a battle of the bands.
- Black Canary made her big screen debut in Birds of Prey, set in the DC Extended Universe. She is portrayed by Jurnee Smollett. She will return in her solo movie on HBO Max.
- Smallville introduced her as a conservative radio host in her Secret Identity and a Lex Luthor minion in costume, recruited to stop the "terrorist" activities of Green Arrow. She eventually saw the light and joined the fledgling Justice League. She's played by Alaina Huffman in this version.
- Birds of Prey (2002) has Dinah Redmond (née Lance), a teenage runaway from foster care who joins with Helena Wayne and Barbara Gordon in the titular team. Played by Rachel Skarsten, she was reimagined as a metahuman with Touch Telepathy and mild telekinesis, growing in strength during the series' brief run. Her mother Carolyn Lance, played by Lori Loughlin, showed up in one episode, going by the name Black Canary and possessing the Canary Cry.
- The CW-produced Green Arrow series Arrow features the character, given her long association with the character of Oliver Queen. The identity goes through more than two hands, each taking different aspects of the comics' Canaries.
- Dinah Laurel Lance (played by Katie Cassidy) is a lawyer, and mostly goes by the name Laurel. Her mother is a civilian named Dinah Drake Lance (Alex Kingston) and her father is a police detective named Quentin Larry Lance (Paul Blackthorne). In this series Oliver and Laurel are childhood sweethearts, but Oliver cheated on her with...
- ...her younger sister Sara Lance (played by Caity Lotz),note in the shipwreck that factors into his origin. Sara was presumed killed like Oliver, but was instead found and recruited into the League of Assassins, going by the name of "The Canary" and using sonic-based weaponry. By season three, Laurel is inspired by Sara to start training to become a vigilante crimefighter herself and adopted the name Black Canary, using a modified version of her sister's sonic technology on a choker to develop the "Canary Cry" as seen in the comics. After dying (again) and returning, Sara would take on the identity of White Canary, and did not reclaim her sonic technology, becoming a Badass Normal like the earliest depictions of comic Black Canary. As for Laurel, after dying and not returning...
- ...her villainous Alternate Self from Earth-2, who instead goes by Black Siren, is immediately introduced in the Spin-Off series The Flash (2014) before being transplanted to Arrow. Black Siren possesses the Canary Cry due to the particle accelerator explosion in her world, and is a trained and experienced fighter from her introduction. She would later make a better version of herself, eventually becoming the Black Canary of her home universe.
- Dinah Drake (played by Juliana Harkavy; no relation to Dinah Drake Lance) was the "successor" to the original Laurel, as per her Dying Wish that the legacy of the Black Canary not end with her. This Dinah shares Black Siren's backstory, being a police officer from Central City with sonic powers derived from the particle accelerator explosion.
- Finally, another Alternate Self of the original Laurel was introduced in The Flash season 4, this time from the Nazi-dominated Earth-X following the events of the Crisis on Earth-X crossover.
- Justice League Unlimited voiced by Morena BaccarinHer first speaking role came in the Season Two premiere The Cat and the Canary. Black Canary's character here seemed very close to her portrayal in Birds of Prey, which is not surprising considering that one of these episodes ("Double Date") was written by Gail Simone.
- Batman: The Brave and the Bold voiced by Grey DeLisleBlack Canary had starring roles in "Mayhem of the Music Meister!" and "The Golden Age of Justice!", and had a lead role in "The Mask of Matches Malone!", which features an approximation of the Birds of Prey and was written by Gail Simone. She later appeared in Scooby-Doo! & Batman: The Brave and the Bold, a direct-to-video crossover with the Scooby-Doo franchise.
- Young Justice voiced by Vanessa MarshallThe character acts as one of three main mentors and chief combat trainer for the Team. Her prominence is unsurprising given the involvement of Greg Weisman, who has readily admitted that Dinah is his favorite comic book character.
- DC Nation: Green Arrow voiced by Kari Wahlgren
- DC Showcase: Green Arrow: She turned up in the last minute or so of the animated short, where she essentially saved the day.
- Action Girl: When written properly, Dinah is one of the best in The DCU.
- Action Mom: The Dinah Drake version, though the Dinah Laurel Lance version has an adopted daughter.
- Adaptational Modesty: Adaptations vary between given her a leotard or fishnets, but rarely both at the same time due to the needs of being able to perform action scenes. Arrow simply replaces it with a Spy Catsuit, "The Canary" uses a corset with a jacket to still bare some cleavage while "Black Canary" includes a turtleneck. In animation, Canary generally wears gray tights or stockings instead of fishnets, due to the difficulty of animating fishnets.
- Animal-Themed Superbeing: A type II "Animal Alias" variation.
- Badass Biker: Both mother and daughter.
- Badass Family: The second is the daughter of the first. The second is also considered to be a part of the Arrow family.
- Badass Normal
- Dinah Drake, who earned JSA Membership with no special powers whatsoever.
- Dinah Lance, when she didn't have powers, also qualified.
- Blasting It Out of Their Hands: One possible use for The Canary Cry.
- Blood Knight: Dinah definitely loves a good brawl and is all to willing to use violence when it suits her needs or even if she annoyed enough. She'll invoke her affection for combat when she starts boasting about how well she can cripple someone.
- Bound and Gagged: One of the few ways to effectively deal with Black Canary. She can easily cripple a man with one limb or her mouth free.
- Clark Kenting: You wouldn't think a blonde wig would really be that effective of a disguise. Later on she ditches the wig and just dyes her hair blonde, and all-but abandons any notion of a secret identity.
- Color Animal Codename: A black canary, whose canary theme comes from her signature Canary Cry.
- Color Character: Black Canary.
- Combat Stilettos: Very much a part of the original costume, the modern Black Canary has thankfully stuck to more sensible flat boots for the most part, although she is sometimes still drawn with them.
- Depending on the Artist: Flats vs. heels, cleavage vs. no cleavage, jacket vs. no jacket vs. bolero jacket vs. longcoat.
- Depending on the Writer: Black Canary's level of competence. Primarily, she's written as being one of the best fighters on the planet, though there's plenty of writers who depict her as "relying too much on her Canary Cry" and depict her skills lacking next to other veterans.
- Her relationship with Green Arrow. Either they are one of the most loving, passionate couples in DC who have had a few bumps but worked through it, or they are a toxic and mutually abusive mess who treat each other horribly. It happens frequently enough shippers have to ignore significant portions of their history together.
- Domino Mask
- Dinah Drake's original costume had one, but it was abandoned early on.
- Post-Crisis, pre-New 52 comics will use the domino mask as a quick way to distinguish between Dinah Drake and Dinah Laurel Lance. In the Birds of Prey issue where Dinah Laurel closes one of Dinah Drake's unsolved cases, she wears her mother's costume to bring the crook in, and it includes the mask. (As well as a regular leotard and stiletto-heeled boots, as opposed to her usual leather and flat-soled boots.)
- Groin Attack: One of Black Canary's favorite moves. Cheap, but effective.
- Guys Smash, Girls Shoot: Inverted with her and Green Arrow.
- Hartman Hips: One of the most frequent examples in comics, which is generally complimented by her usual outfit choices. Especially notable in Ed Benes artwork, though Green Arrow: Rebirth often used Dinah's larger hips and backside to contrast with the tiny and flat Emiko.
- Kick Chick: Canary's fighting style uses a lot of kicks and sweeps, which highlight her shapely fishnet clad legs. This was even more obvious during the period when she did not have her Canary Cry.
- Legacy Hero
- Golden Age heroine Dinah Drake begets Modern Age heroine Dinah Laurel Lance.
- Additionally, an African-American Black Canary appears as part of an alternate-future Justice League in Judd Winick's Justice League: Generation Lost series.
- Interestingly, there's an African-American Black Canary in Supergirl & Batgirl: Elseworlds' Finest.
- Leotard of Power: Her main costume.
- Male Gaze: Frequently. As strongly written as she was in Birds of Prey, she also spent the entirety of the run pretty much constantly with a wedgie so that her ass popped out of her leotard better.
- Most Common Super Power: Dinah is one of the bustiest females in comics.
- Mrs. Robinson:
- Dinah Drake; when originally dating Green Arrow in the Silver Age, she was the older of the two. She was a cougar before they had a word for it!
- Dinah Lance, in the Bronze Age onward, is typically depicted as being only in her twenties, so she's usually the opposite. She did express interest in Nightwing (who isn't that much younger than her, roughly no more than five years), and probably slept with The Ray who was roughly the same age as Nightwing, but besides that isn't shown dating anyone notably younger than her.
- Ms. Fanservice: The Fishnets. Dear gods, The Fishnets. As noted in Depending on the Artist, some artists have her outfit showing plenty of cleavage. Occasionally the bottom of her uniform will be drawn as either being a thong at the back, or at the least be shown to be riding up quite a bit to emphasis her behind.
- Retcon: Used to create the two separate Black Canaries. Also used to great effect in Birds of Prey, by Gail Simone, to establish the origin of Dinah Laurel Lance's middle name and to give Dinah Drake a proto-Oracle sidekick in the form of Laurel — a librarian who helped the first Black Canary in a manner similar to how Barbara "Oracle" Gordon helps the new Black Canary.
- She's Got Legs: Damn straight. Highlighted by her trademark fishnets.
- Stocking Filler: Black Canary wears fishnets.
- Straw Feminist: Depending on the writer, Dinah can come off as one. This was her entire gimmick during her time in Justice League International. When written properly, she tends to be more realistic in her views and how she acts on them. During Kevin Smith's run, her feminism is contrasted with Oliver's social liberal views to paint them as Birds of a Feather.