Black Canary is a Legacy Character crime-fighter, most famous for her leather and fishnets costume, who fights evil with her mastery of multiple martial arts and an ultrasonic scream capable of various effects from rendering people unconscious to demolishing robots and buildings.
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 in a sort of Suspended Animation 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, thanks to the then rampant sexism and corruption of the Gotham City Police Department. But the greatest changes were reserved for the Dinah Laurel Lance who was now a founding member of the Justice League of America and whose sonic super powers were now the result a mutation — a third vocal cord.
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.
Sadly, this did not last and 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. The Dinah of the New 52 is Dinah Drake Lance, the original Golden Age character, erasing Dinah Laurel Lance and one of DC's few mother-daughter legacies.
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 truly changed, however, with the start of DC Rebirth in June 2016. As of June 2017, Dinah is a main character in three different titles - 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.
Black Canary has appeared in several other media:
- Black Canary was a major, if secondary, character in the Justice League Unlimited animated series, where she was voiced by Morena Baccarin (a.k.a. Inara from Firefly). Appearing without a voice several times in the first season as an object of Green Arrow's attraction, her first speaking role came in the Season Two premiere The Cat and the Canary. Black Canary's character in the three episodes she appeared in 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.
- Black Canary has also shown up several times in Batman: The Brave and the Bold, where she is voiced by Grey DeLisle. She 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.
- The character also appears regularly in Young Justice, voiced by Vanessa Marshall, as one of three main mentors and chief combat trainer for the Team. She also turned up in the last minute or so of the Green Arrow animated short, where she essentially saved the day. Her prominence in both works is unsurprising given the involvement of Greg Weisman, who has readily admitted that Dinah is his favorite comic book character.
- She appeared in 2 of the 3 Green Arrow shorts voiced by Kari Wahlgren.
- Birds of Prey has Dinah 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. Her mother Carolyn Lance, played by Lori Loughlin, showed up in an episode, revealing she by the name Black Canary and was a metahuman with the Canary Cry.
- 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.
- 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. Played by Katie Cassidy, Dinah Laurel Lance is a lawyer, and mostly goes by the name Laurel. Her mother is a civilian named Dinah Drake Lance, played by Alex Kingston and her father is a police detective named Quentin Larry Lance, played by Paul Blackthorne. In this series Oliver and Laurel are childhood sweethearts, but Oliver cheated on her with her 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. Despite being the original Canary with Laurel as successor, Sara is actually the younger sister. 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. A "successor" to the original Laurel was chosen (as per her Dying Wish that the legacy of the Black Canary not end with her) - Dinah Drake (no Lance; her name is a coincidence), a police officer from Central City with sonic powers similar to Black Siren derived from the particle accelerator explosion that created the Flash and most of his Rogues Gallery, played by Juliana Harkavy. Another Alternate Self of the original Laurel was introduced in The Flash, this time from the Nazi-dominated Earth-X.
- Black Canary will make her big screen debut in Birds of Prey, set in the DC Extended Universe. She will be portrayed by Jurnee Smollett.
Black Canary provides examples of the following tropes:
- 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.
- Action Dress Rip:
- 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.
- Adaptation Dye-Job: Many versions drop the dyeing or the "wearing a wig" aspect altogether and just make the character a natural blonde.
- Adaptation Name Change: In cases where both the Dinah Drake Lance and the Dinah Laurel Lance versions will appear together in a work, one will inevitably have to compromise their canonical name;
- In the short-lived Birds of Prey TV Series, Dinah Drake Lance became Carolyn Lance. Her daughter Dinah also went by with her adoptive family surname of "Redmond" instead of Lance.
- Averted but still pretty much played with in Arrow. They both retained their original names, but the younger goes by her middle name (Laurel) to avoid the One Steve Limit with her mother. We've got:
- Dinah Drake Lance (Alex Kingston) as the mom, with no super-heroing as far as we know.
- Sara Lance (Caity Lotz), the first Canary, and after her death and return, the White Canary.
- Dinah Laurel Lance (Katie Cassidy), called Laurel, as Sara's successor, and the first to actually call herself Black Canary.
- Dinah Laurel Lance, Laurel's initially Evil Twin from a Parallel Universe, as Black Siren. She implies that she goes by Dinah on her home world, but came to answer as Laurel due to her Dead Person Impersonation of her late Earth-1 counterpart. She eventually becomes Black Canary herself, mainly operating on her home universe.
- Dinah Drake (Juliana Harkavy), called Dinah, with no connection to the Lances, as the second Black Canary (and thus third Canary.)
- Alliterative Name: Dinah Drake and her Love Interest Larry Lance.
- 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.
- 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.
- Battle Couple
- Green Arrow and Black Canary.
- Dinah Drake and Larry Lance could also count. Not officially a couple in their earliest stories, they nevertheless end up often fighting the bad guys together and do end up married later on.
- Big Bra to Fill: The character is also renowned for her Boobs of Steel, but of the seven Live Action Adaptations of the character, only three actressesnote have somehow matched the character's endowment, and one of those threenote is an Adaptational Wimp.
- Bi the Way: Word of Simone is that she considers Dinah bisexual, and the infamous "Heterosexual to the bone" line was supposed to read "75% heterosexual" before placeholder dialog wound up in the final issue and changed the line from what she wanted, and was caused by simple confusion rather than Executive Meddling and Gay Panic.
- Blasting It Out of Their Hands: One possible use for The Canary Cry.
- Blonde Republican Sex Kitten: Black Canary on Smallville.
- 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.
- 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 her combat prowess is her true weapon per Word of God.
- Canon Discontinuity: Andrew Kreisberg's above-mentioned 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.
- Captain Ersatz: Dinah has inspired quite a few of these.
- Chickification: Occurred under the pens of Judd Winick and Andrew Kreisberg.
- 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.
- Clark Kenting: A blonde wig really isn't that effective of a disguise, and later on she even ditches the wig and just dyes her hair blonde.
- 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.
- Disappeared Dad: Larry Lance is usually dead by the time his daughter becomes the Black Caanary.
- Domino Mask
- Dinah Drake's original costume had one, but it was abandoned early on.
- The Smallville version uses make-up around her eyes that is basically a painted Domino Mask.
- 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.)
- The Arrow version of the Legacy Character has them.
- Dye Hard: Since the start of Birds of Prey, Dinah has dyed her hair blonde rather than use a wig. Adaptations and the New 52 have made her a natural blonde, though.
- Expy: Silk Spectre from Watchmen was one for Black Canary. While primarily based on the old Charlton Comics heroine Phantom Lady, Alan Moore said that he took the idea of a mother/daughter superheroine legacy from Black Canary and based the younger Silk Spectre's name (Laurie) off of the younger Black Canary's middle name (Laurel).
- Faux Action Girl: Black Canary at her lowest points. The Judd Winick run in particular being notable for it.
- 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.
- In Justice League Unlimited this is justified by her mentioning that it would be lethal to most opponents (especially at close range) and that would of course go against the League's Thou Shalt Not Kill rule.
- In Young Justice, she is the combat trainer for the teenage heroes. Lines like "Did Canary teach you that?" or "Thank you, Black Canary!" will occasionally pop up after a character has pulled off a particularly impressive bit of hand-to-hand combat.
- Fingerless Gloves: Mostly the Dinah Laurel Lance version. Whether it's a motorcycle glove or a gauntlet varies, Depending on the Artist. Also carries over into Arrow, with her netted fingerless gloves.
- Groin Attack: One of Black Canary's favorite moves. Cheap, but effective.
- Guys Smash, Girls Shoot: Inverted with her and Green Arrow.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Kid Sidekick: Sin
- 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.
- In Arrow, the role is handed down first from sister to sister instead of mother to daughter, and then to a non-relative who has the right stuff (and coincidentally, the right name.)
- Leotard of Power: Her main costume.
- Make Me Wanna Shout: The Canary Cry practically makes her The Trope Namer. As it is, her picture is next to the definition.
- 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.
- Mrs. Robinson: When originally dating Green Arrow, she was the older of the two. She was a cougar before they had a word for it! On that note, it was highly implied that she had a one night stand with The Ray.
- 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.
- In the last issue of the first volume of her solo series, she ditches her jacket, boots and fishnets, remaining in just her bodysuit for the reminder of the issue.
- Not Wearing Tights
- Official Couple: Green Arrow and Black Canary.
- Old Master: In the Young Justice animated TV series, she's the team's official combat trainer. Old only relative to the teenaged heroes, of course; Word of God puts her at 24 in that universe.
- Parental Abandonment: Dinah Laurel Lance usually dons the costume at the time both of her parents are dead.
- 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.
- 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.
- She's Got Legs: Damn straight. Highlighted by her trademark fishnets.
- Slut-Shaming: She acts as if Green Arrow getting raped by Shado was him cheating on her, which was not helped when Oliver was retconned into being a womanizer, followed by another (seeming) retcon in Blackest Night where Black Lantern Shado claims the rape was consensual sex; although it should be noted that the Black Lanterns weren't necessarily being honest, but just trying to provoke an emotional response so they could rip their victims' hearts out.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Very Special Episode: Many of the "Hard Traveling Heroes" storylines from The Bronze Age of Comic Books.
- 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.
- 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.