Oh man it's getting depressing blogging about DCYou series with fresh and fun takes on old characters that are either getting outright cancelled or most likely won't make it through the DC Rebirth without being reverted to a more traditional version. Black Canary as a character has been around since comic's Golden Age. Like most characters who have been around that long Dinah Lance nee Drake has been through quite a number of revamps and retcons including crossing over to Earth One from Earth Two. Possessed of a powerful super-sonic cry she is also a skilled martial artist and is probably best known for her time with the "Birds Of Prey" both pre and during the New 52.. However in this version the Black Canary in question is the name of a rock band of which Dinah is the lead singer of. The sneak peak from Convergeance shows her being head hunted by mysterious looking executives with the implication they want her in the new band to be built around her. The story proper starts with the band on tour and already with a reputation for trashing venues. Written by Brendan Fletcher, who is also responsible for Gotham Academy (and indeed one of his Gotham Academy characters is a regular here now) and fantastically drawn by Annie Wu and Pia Guerra I'll admit this is a very different and possibly fan alienating take on a long established character but as someone who was never really interested in her before, I actually impulse bought this in my LCS on the strength of the art and don't regret it. So lets check it out in more detail. If you're wondering where this month's Alan Moore comic is, I'm making this a month devoted to either female led comics or teambooks with prominent female members and I am saving The Ballad Of Halo Jones for next months UK comics month.
|Dinah and Heathcliff|
On the tour bus we meet Byron the drummer, Paloma the keyboardist and Ditto, a child progedy guitarist who is mute. Byron asks of Dinah:
Byron: "What's the deal? Why is there so much violence around you? Are you going to come clean about your past, or should we just call it quits now before we all get killed?"
She hasn't even told them what "D.D." stands for and there is a rumour she used to be married. Dinah explains that she's "lived hard" and maybe karma is catching up with her. Byron says she can't change her past but maybe she doesn't need to fight so much.
|Paloma, Dinah, Byron and Ditto.|
At the sound check, Paloma grumbles about Dinah blowing the system with her scream. Ditto strums her guitar and can tease sounds from it the way Dinah can use her voice.
Byron: "Sometimes when people are able to do something brilliant, you just have to go with it and you don't ask questions."
Backstage Heathcliff says to Dinah he senses she is not sure she wants this life. Dinah says she'll honour her contract, use the money to rebuild her team and her dojo. She is good at what she does, but does she like it?
|Attack of the scribble aliens.|
Alien Thingy: "He will come for her! He knows. And he will come! And when he does you will all die!"
Realising it was talking about Ditto, Dinah gives the rest of the band an ultimatum. They can split now or stay and help her protect Ditto. They choose to stay and also to keep gigging in the hope Ditto will open up to them. Dinah says "fine" but starting tommorrow they are all learning self defence, hand-to-hand first then weapons.
Next day the band is out in the desert being taught how to shoot. Paloma refuses at first and Dinah goes to check on Ditto. She tells her she was married once and her husband showed her how to shoot. But Ditto has more secrets, "like your real name. Or where you come from. Or why those creatures are after you." She starts to ask Ditto about the noises she can make with a guitar when Heathcliff calls to her that someone is watching them.
|Training in the desert.|
Maeve says it was because someone decided having a lead singer who was loud rather than good was in the best interests of the band. After exchanging death glares with Dinah, she runs off. Paloma says she has every right to be upset, Dinah was "handed this band on a silver platter. She didn't work for it. She doesn't know music". Yet she knows how to shoot and kill a dude with her bare hands, so what's all that about? Dinah says that's enough.
Dinah: "We've got a few more shows to go to fulfill this contract. Let's play the gigs and cut our losses. I'll move on and rebuild my life. You can have your old band back. Cool?"
|Introducing Bo Maeve.|
Then a masked man appears and attacks. He has a vocal inhibitor so she can't use her voice on him, so they throw down hand-to-hand. Dinah knocks him out and when Byron asks who he is, Dinah takes off his mask and reveals her husband, Kurt Lance. And if the people he works for are after them, "we're in greater danger than I thought."
Kurt and Dinah talk. He tells her Ditto isn't from Earth and people will kill to get hold of her. The oily aliens are from her planet and they are on the bus right now. He and Dinah drop through the bus roof and Dinah shouts the alien to death. They make it to the gig in time.
|Dinah and Kurt to the rescue.|
He doesn't want the government to have her back though. He voluteered for the "retreival" mission so he could help Dinah instead. "I know you're a good person and this girl means a lot to you". Then Byron rushes in and says Ditto has gone missing. We join her in a car being driven by Maeve who gleefully says:
Maeve: "Now that I've got you, nothing will stand in my way of getting what I want. Watch out Black Canary fans. You're about to meet Bo Maeve".
Maeve tells Ditto that she was "born to entertain". She is bitter that Paloma and Byron didn't stand by her when the record company dropped her. Dinah is freaking out when Heathcliff finds Maeve's shawl and at that, Dinah sets off alone on motorbike in pursuit.
|Mave and Ditto bond.|
In their hotel room Maeve teaches Ditto some stage moves as they bounce on the beds. Still tracking them after calling for the assistance of a tech geek, Dinah foils a mugging outside a shop she believes Maeve and Ditto visited. Next day Maeve and Ditto leave the motel and Maeve says, "if I didn't have other plans I think we could make something awesome together".
We get another flashback, this time to when Maeve was dropped from the band. She says how awkward and horrible she thought Dinah was when she saw her on stage in Her clothes and singing Her songs. So she set the clothes in the dressing area on fire out of spite, and witnessed first hand Dinah using her power to blow the flames out.
Maeve: "She had a genuine talent of her own. A gift that she kept a secret. Something I thought I could never possess until very recently."
Maeve drives herself and Ditto to a meeting with Amanda Waller, the DCU's resident black ops executive. As part of her agreement with Maeve, Waller will have her taken to a facility and given a power of her own in return for Ditto. Then a white clad ninja armed with a katana drops down and disarms all the soldiers. It takes Ditto away and delivers her safely to Dinah. Meanwhile Maeve is in a lab being upgraded with a superpowered voice of her own.
Kurt: "I'm really happy you've found something here, with this band. But it's not safe for them, Dinah. Out here with people like us."
Dinah starts to tell him to be straight with her, but is interupted by Heathcliff saying they have arrived at the campsite they'll be spending the night at. After they set up, Kurt goes to check the perimeter.
Byron is excited that the next town is where the family are, although it's also Maeve's hometown so they better be on their guard. The debate if it was Maeve who took Ditto. Paloma is unsure, but Byron and Dinah believe she did.
|Dinah reassures Ditto.|
Later Dinah is sleeping in her tent when the white ninja reaches in and extracts a vial of her blood. This wakes Dinah up and she immediately goes on the offensive but the ninja gracefully knocks Dinah down and makes her getaway. Dinah gives chase but loses her in the night time woods.
Next day the band meet Byron's family in a diner. After the meet and greet an speaker is tossed through the store's window. Dinah goes outside and is confronted by a woman who is backed up by several bands with grudges against Black Canary. She challenges her to a "Battle Of The Bands" which Heathcliff says he's agreed to. He whispers to Dinah that it was the only way to pay back the organiser for trashing their last venue.
|The gauntlet is thrown.|
The crowd are superhyped by Maeves performance, Dinah says they need to pull out of this Battle right now. Kurt agrees but says Maeve was probably a distraction by Waller and there are likely to be soldiers lurking around the place. "All the more reason to get out while we can" says Dinah.
In the dressing room, Paloma and Byron are pondering a wave form scribbled on the mirror by Ditto. They use Paloma's smartphone to decrypt it and it plays back Dinah's words when she paid tribute to her bandmates. Ditto is trying to tell them something, but what? But before they can make their getaway they discover their stuff has been loaded on stage and Maeve is calling them out. So they go ahead and play.
|Black Canary versus Bo M.|
The drummer zaps Dinah with her drumstick and their guitarist's guitar belches flames. Dinah hurls a cymbal at her to disable it. There is more fighting and Bo M are defeated. Maeve completely loses her shit:
Maeve: "Pick up those instruments or I swear I will scream out the organs of everyone in this room".
The crowd are on Dinah's side, "they don't even care about the music anymore" says Byron. Both Dinah and Maeve aim one last mighty scream at each other when Ditto wanders in between them. Kurt rushes to save her and he and Ditto are exactly where the two screams meet and they are sent into oblivion which distresses both Maeve and Black Canary deeply.
|Ditto and Kurt are screamed away.|
Kurt tells them "vibration creates life". There is a sentience in the movement between entropy and vibration.
Kurt: "Life as pure signal. The timeless movement of the firmament strings. The universe's perfect harmony."
But there is something called "The Quietus" which swallows sound, "that is what's coming for us here and now, Dinah". When he was hit by the screams he ended up everywhere and everywhen. The past, present and future the same to him. Ditto is a "sentient sound given material form". The screams disrupted her and him with her. And the things he saw on his way back to this time and place...
|The aged Kurt, part of the mystery that created Black Canary.|
Kurt: "They are your holy weapons in this war for the living universe. Black Canary".
Ditto's people have unleashed The Quietus, it'll be attracted by the stadium. They will lure it there and destroy it. Dinah tries to send the others away, "I'm not a musician. I'm a warrior" as she comes clean about her past as a crime fighter alongside the likes of Wonder Woman. But the others say they will stay, Kurt said it needed all of them.
|Maeve has her part to play also.|
Then Amanda Waller appears and tries to take Ditto and Dinah into her custody. Kurt tells her to wait until after they defeat The Quietus, then all her questions will be answered. The band strikes up and starts to play with Dinah and Maeve on vocals.
|The Quietus defeated.|
|Who is that masked woman?!|