Black Canary

Black Canary
Black Canary
The Black Canary.
Ed Benes, artist
Publication information
Publisher DC Comics
First appearance (Dinah Drake)
Flash Comics #86
(August 1947)
(Dinah Lance)
Justice League of America #219
(October 1983)
(This issue ascribed previous stories from Justice League of America #75 (November 1969) and onward to her.)
Created by Robert Kanigher
Carmine Infantino
In-story information
Alter ego original: Dinah Drake
current: Dinah Laurel Lance
Team affiliations (Both)
Justice Society of America
(Dinah Lance)
Birds of Prey
Justice League
Notable aliases (Dinah Lance)
Siu Jerk Jai
Abilities (Dinah Drake)
Expert in hand-to-hand combat
(Dinah Lance)
"Canary Cry", an ultrasonic scream; peak human level athlete; exceptional martial artist, expert motorcycle rider.

Black Canary is the name of two fictional characters, DC Comics superheroines created by writer Robert Kanigher and artist Carmine Infantino. The first Black Canary debuted appeared in Flash Comics #86 (August 1947). The first Black Canary was the alter-ego of Dinah Drake, who took part in Golden Age adventures and married Gotham City detective Larry Lance. Among the first generation of superheroes, she was a member of the Justice Society of America, the first superhero team to appear in comic books.

Her daughter Dinah Laurel Lance, is the second Black Canary, who has appeared in modern stories and joined the Justice League. She first appeared in Justice League of America #219 (October 1983). This Black Canary is noted for her martial arts skills and her "Canary Cry" – a high powered, sonic scream with the ability to shatter objects and incapacitate villains.

Black Canary is ranked as the 71st greatest comic book character of all time by Wizard.[1] IGN also placed Black Canary as the 81st greatest comic book hero of all time stating what’s most impressive about her is that she has the distinct power of being able to get Green Arrow to shut the hell up; IGN quoted that as true power.[2]


Fictional character biography

Dinah Drake Lance (1947 - 1985)

Cover to Flash Comics #92. Art by Carmine Infantino.

Black Canary first appeared in Flash Comics #86 in 1947, as a supporting character in the Johnny Thunder feature of the Flash Comics anthology. Initially, she seemed to be a villain; Johnny Thunder was instantly infatuated with her and was reproached for this by his Thunderbolt. However, she was in fact infiltrating a criminal gang, a modus operandi she would follow throughout her career.

Black Canary proved to be popular enough that in Flash Comics #92, she was given her own anthology feature, Black Canary, replacing the Johnny Thunder feature. The new series fleshed out Black Canary's backstory; in her real identity, Dinah Drake was a black-haired florist whose romantic interest was Larry Lance, a detective on the Gotham City Police Department.

Dinah just prior to leaving Earth-2 to begin a new life with the Justice League on Earth-1. Art by Dick Dillin.

Black Canary was revived along with the other Golden Age characters during the 1960s, and was shown as existing on the parallel world of Earth-Two (home of DC's Golden Age versions of its characters).

It is also revealed Dinah has married Larry Lance during the 1950s. Dinah also takes part in various annual team-ups between the Justice Society and Earth-One's Justice League of America.

In a 1969 JLA-JSA team-up against the rogue living star-creature Aquarius, Larry Lance is killed while saving Dinah's life from an attack.[3] Out of grief, Canary decides to move to Earth-One to make a fresh start, where she joins the Justice League. Sometime afterwards, she begins dating her JLA colleague Green Arrow, and discovers she has somehow (possibly due to exposure to radiation) gained the ultrasonic scream later dubbed the Canary Cry.

In Justice League of America #219 and #220 (October and November 1983), it is revealed this Black Canary is actually the daughter of the original Black Canary and her husband. Born in the 1950s, the infant is cursed by the Justice Society foe the Wizard with the "gift" of a devastating, yet uncontrollable, Canary Cry. Dinah asked her old friend Johnny Thunder to summon his Thunderbolt in hopes of a cure, but it was to no avail.

Instead, the Thunderbolt keeps the child in suspended animation (ageing all the while) in his native Thunderbolt dimension, until, the Lances hope, a way to cure or control her power can be found. Seeing his friends in pain, the Thunderbolt decides to erase all memory of the child, letting everyone think she has died.

After the battle with Aquarius, Dinah realizes she is dying from the radiation she was exposed to. She discusses possible solutions with the Thunderbolt and Superman of Earth-1. The three arrange to transfer Dinah's memories into the body of her now-adult daughter, still held in suspended animation, while not letting Dinah believe anything unusual has happened to her (this retcon was established in 1983 to deal with the fact Black Canary had been active since the late 1940s and would therefore have had to been nearly 60 years old by that time).

In 1985's Crisis on Infinite Earths limited series, which attempted to combine the histories of various multiversal Earths into a cohesive whole, removed the divide between Earth-One and Earth-Two. It altered the history of the Justice League of America and Black Canary was now a founding member, in place of Wonder Woman. To further expand this revised history, Secret Origins #50 (August 1990) revealed the first Dinah had been trained by her father, Detective Richard Drake, and intended to follow in his footsteps on the Gotham City police. She was turned down by the force, however, and her disillusioned father (unable to use his connections to change the decision) died of heart failure shortly thereafter. Dinah was determined to honor his memory and fight crime and corruption by whatever method possible. This led to her debut as a costumed vigilante; she would use her inheritance to open a florist shop as her day job.[4]

Eventually Dinah married her beau, private eye Larry Lance (still maintaining her florist business). In a Times Past-style story in Birds of Prey, Lance was an acquaintance of Jim Gordon, father to Barbara Gordon. A few years later, their daughter, named Dinah Laurel Lance was born. In Birds of Prey #66 (June 2004), which is a flashback to a cold case investigated – but never solved – by the elder Dinah, Laurel was the name of a librarian that Dinah consulted during the case and later befriended.

Dinah Laurel Lance (1983 - Present)


Dinah Laurel Lance was born to Dinah Drake, the original Black Canary, and Larry Lance.[5] While growing up, Dinah was surrounded by her mother's friends in the disbanded JSA and looked to them as uncles and aunts. Dinah wished to become a costumed hero like her mother before her. However, instead of encouraging the younger Dinah, her mother forbade it, thinking the world had grown into a darker, more dangerous place than when she herself fought crime, too dangerous for the younger Dinah to succeed.

However, Dinah had her own "Canary Cry" – in this version, the result of a metagene not present in either parent – which she is fully able to control.[4] With this weapon, the younger Dinah next sought out numerous fighters to help her hone her skills, including former JSA member Wildcat. Years of training and intense dedication paid off, and Dinah took on her mother's mantle, even though it was against the elder Dinah's wishes at first. She took an active role in the 'Silver Age' of heroes, operating, like her mother before her, out of Gotham, while maintaining a day job in the family florist business.

In an early issue of Birds of Prey, writer Chuck Dixon established that Dinah had married at a very young age briefly before divorcing. Her ex-husband Craig Windrow showed up in a storyline needing her help (Birds of Prey: Wolves), but actually wanted her to rejoin him after he had stolen funds from the mob. This early marriage and ex-husband were not referred to again until the 2007 Black Canary miniseries.

Shortly into the League's history, she met Green Arrow (Oliver Queen). While Dinah could not stand him at first, they later became romantically involved despite the difference in their ages (in the Modern Age Oliver was substantially older than Dinah, the reverse of the earlier depiction. However, he later died and then was de-aged by an unspecified amount when he was resurrected). Dinah remained a member of the League for roughly six years, including a brief stint with Justice League International (JLI), of which she was a founding member. It was during that time her mother died due to radiation poisoning she experienced during a battle with the villain Aquarius. Her mother's death affected Dinah deeply, and led her to accept her time in the JLA was over.

She moved to Seattle with Green Arrow after the breakup of the Justice League, and would open her own florist shop, named "Sherwood Florist" (the name is a play on Sherwood Forest, the domain of Robin Hood, who Green Arrow (in costume) somewhat resembles).

The Despondent Canary

The move to Seattle with Green Arrow would result in a string of bad luck for the Black Canary.

During this period, she took part in a failed operation to bust a drug ring. Kidnapped, Black Canary was tortured (despite popular belief, she was not raped according to series writer Mike Grell[citation needed]), before being rescued by Green Arrow. The physical and mental effects of this experience were severe: Dinah's vocal cords were mutilated, resulting in the loss of her Canary Cry, and she was unable to bear children. She required extensive counseling afterward, as did Oliver Queen.

Simultaneously, she and Green Arrow would have major conflicts in their relationship. Among other things, she would learn Green Arrow fathered a son, Robert, with Shado (albeit unwillingly), as well as taking money from the business (Black Canary #1). The relationship would end when Dinah walked in on Green Arrow kissing her florist shop assistant, Marianne.

Even more bad luck would hit when Sherwood Florist was destroyed, leaving Dinah with no means of paying the debt collectors now calling.

The worst blows of all would come when she learned from Connor Hawke that Oliver was killed (Green Arrow #101), and Connor was yet another of his offspring. Although Dinah and Connor later develop a close friendship, the knowledge that Oliver had kept his existence from her was painful.

Though Black Canary would continue to fight crime off and on (at some point Black Canary became a pen pal of the youthful hero known as The Ray, who had a crush on her, and she participated in some of his adventures, and even had a brief romance),[volume & issue needed] the effects of her misfortunes were taking their toll.

Oracle and the Birds of Prey

Around the time Dinah's life began to spiral out of control, the former Batgirl, Barbara Gordon, was gravely injured by the Joker. Not one to give up easily, Barbara reestablished a crime-fighting career as Oracle, an information broker to the superhero community. After briefly working with the Suicide Squad, Barbara formed her own covert mission team. Barbara concluded that of all the superheroes, Dinah had the most potential and was most in need of direction. Consequently, Oracle asked Black Canary to become an operative.[4]

Black Canary took to this role with great satisfaction. Feeling a new chapter in her life required a few new changes, Dinah decided to abandon the blonde wig, choosing to bleach her hair blonde. Her relationship with Oracle proved somewhat rocky at first, as her impulsive nature clashed with Oracle's tactical planning. However as time passed they began to fully understand how to work together as a team and as friends. Later, when Oracle fled from the villain Blockbuster, Dinah came to her rescue and Dinah met Barbara Gordon face-to-face (Birds of Prey #29). This adventure led to them establishing an even stronger friendship.

In Birds of Prey #7, Oracle provides Dinah with an electronic version of the Canary Cry. In Birds of Prey #22-24, Dinah goes to Gorilla City along with Deathstroke, Lady Vic, and Grimm, to retrieve an ape heart for Blockbuster.[6] In Birds of Prey #34, Black Canary, who is dating a mysterious European named "Raymond", (who Oracle guesses – correctly – is actually supervillain Ra's al Ghul), is seriously wounded and immersed in a Lazarus Pit. Birds of Prey #35 reveals the Pit restored Dinah's metahuman Canary Cry (as well as Dinah's ability to have children).

Working with Oracle, Black Canary cultivates a covert team of female operatives in the series Birds of Prey whose members include Huntress, Gypsy, and Zinda Blake (the original Lady Blackhawk). In #68, Oracle shows Black Canary the retail space that later houses a reopened Sherwood Florist.

Since they were both trained by the same sensei, Black Canary has fostered a kinship with Lady Shiva. Shiva, impressed by Black Canary's formidable martial arts prowess, offers to provide her with further training. Black Canary turns down the offer, thinking it would compromise her morality. The two communicate nonetheless, with Shiva conveying recommendations to assist Canary in honing her skills.

Black Canary has had her own four issue miniseries titled New Wings, as well as a twelve issue ongoing series. Both were written by Sarah Byam.

Shiva and the Black Canary. Cover to Birds of Prey #95, by Brian Hurtt.

Infinite Crisis

Infinite Crisis produced a recreation of the Earth with a new timeline. It is revealed Wonder Woman was once again a founding member of the Justice League. In 52 Week 51, a back-up feature revealed Black Canary was present at the battle forming the League. The core of the League consisted of Black Canary, Green Lantern (Hal Jordan), J'onn J'onnz, Flash (Barry Allen), Aquaman, Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman.

However, the 2007 Black Canary miniseries established Black Canary and Green Arrow joined the Justice League at a time after it was founded, and they were tested by founding member Batman early on in their membership.

One Year Later

During the publication of the Infinite Crisis limited series, most DC Universe comic books skipped forward one year. Following the "One Year Later" jump, Dinah trades life experiences with Lady Shiva in hopes of softening the warrior, undertaking a harsh training regimen in an unidentified Vietnamese bidonville, or shantytown. The regimen replicates Shiva's early life and training; Shiva, meanwhile, assumes Dinah's role in Oracle's group and demands her associates call her the "Jade Canary".

When Dinah realizes following Lady Shiva's path will require her to fundamentally change who she is as a person, she ends the training and returns to the United States. She brings with her a little girl, Sin, who also had begun the harsh grooming process to be Lady Shiva's successor (Birds of Prey #95; the now resurrected Oliver Queen uses his connections to allow Sin to immigrate into the country). Dinah hopes to balance her duties as a superhero with the responsibilities of being a surrogate mother/sister to the child.

Dinah informs Oracle she is quitting the team in Birds of Prey #99, having decided to devote herself to raising Sin. Issue #100 shows Dinah and Sin leaving Metropolis. It is hinted their final destination is Star City; Dinah jokingly tells Sin that she can rip out Ollie's beard if he is not nice to her.

After leaving the Birds of Prey, Black Canary joins with Green Lantern (Hal Jordan) and Red Arrow (Roy Harper) on a mission to locate the Red Tornado's body, (stolen by his creator and Solomon Grundy). The three heroes join forces with Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, Hawkgirl, Black Lightning, and Vixen to defeat Amazo.

The assembled heroes reform the Justice League of America; Dinah is made the Chairwoman, due to her strong abilities and strategic mind. The team's first mission with Dinah as leader sees the JLA and JSA discover members of the Legion of Super-Heroes (a team that lives in the 31st Century) have been located in the 21st Century.

In Green Arrow, Dinah returns to Star City to aid Oliver, Connor, and Mia against Roadblock and Merlyn. During their mission, Dinah rekindles her relationship with Oliver, feeling he has truly changed and all the parts of him she hated are apparently gone. Oliver admits to Dinah many of the changes he made over the last year were for her. As the Green Arrow series ends, Oliver proposes to Dinah. He appears in a four part Black Canary miniseries (beginning in July 2007). Black Canary would see Green Arrow fake Sin's death to protect her from the League of Assassins, to Black Canary's conflicted reaction; Sin comes to live in a "safe" location with Connor, away from her mother.

The Wedding

During the events of Countdown, several books include tie-ins and run-ups to the wedding between Dinah and Ollie. The Black Canary Wedding Planner offers details about the preparations; Birds of Prey #109 depicts Dinah and Barbara discussing the event and Ollie in detail. Countdown, Justice League Wedding Special, and Justice League #13 deal with aspects of the wedding, particularly the bachelor and bachelorette parties. A major plot thread throughout these books, which ties in to the Piper and Trickster arc of Countdown, is that the Injustice League plans to attack the wedding.

The Wedding Special covers a number of events, including the reactions of the friends who receive wedding invitations, the wedding itself, the attack, and the honeymoon. While the attack on the wedding is a failure, Deathstroke remarks it worked a little, despite no one being hurt. During the honeymoon, a blank look suddenly comes over Green Arrow's face, and he goes berserk, trying to kill Dinah. She stabs him in the neck with an arrow, killing him.

In the first arc of the Green Arrow/Black Canary series, condolences are offered to Dinah, but she refuses to believe it was Oliver she has killed. Batman agrees with her. Following an extensive autopsy by Batman and Doctor Mid-Nite, the two discover the dead man is actually Everyman, the shapeshifter.

Ollie is alive and being held captive on Themyscira by the Amazons. While Dinah does not know his whereabouts, she is greatly relieved, and sheds tears of joy. She enlists the aid of Connor Hawke and Mia Dearden to save him, but, just when they seem to be home free, Connor is shot by an unknown assailant. Once they reach the hospital, the group learn the bullet contained a poison which has turned Connor into a mental vegetable. Soon after, Dinah marries Ollie again, as the first time around she married an impostor. On their return home, they find Connor kidnapped. Following the trail to Britain, Ollie and Dinah are attacked by an armored helicopter. When they it bring it down, they discover the military disguised as aliens within. This is revealed to be a ruse however, and the group later learn that the League of Assassins, under orders of Shado, were the ones who shot Connor.[4]

In Birds of Prey #119/120 Black Canary fought against the Manhunter (Kate Spencer). During their short skirmish, Manhunter states that she has Black Canary outgunned and outmatched. In response Dinah says that "she is trying real hard not to put Kate in the hospital". Dinah is seen later, dragging the unconscious and beaten Manhunter to Oracle's hideout. Kate comments on her skills, saying "your kung-fu's the best". Black Canary seemingly defeated Manhunter with relatively little effort and without usage of the Canary Cry. It is revealed that Oracle had Manhunter fight with Dinah. Oracle states she was looking to get Speedy involved in a mission, while also wishing to check on Dinah's new family life after the loss of Sin, who Oracle realizes may not in fact be dead. Dinah, hurt and furious at her best friend's actions, stalks out leaving the pair with a possibly damaged relationship.

The relationship is later repaired however, when Dinah and Barbara journey to Europe together. While escaping from criminal assassins, the pair discuss both their superheroic lives as well as their relationship, during which Dinah worries about Barbara's mind-set in recent months as leader of the Birds of Prey. Soon after Oracle disbands the team, proving Dinah right. Paul Dini announced at Comic-Con 06 he is writing a hardcover graphic novel starring Black Canary and Zatanna. On his blog, Dini revealed that Amanda Conner and Jimmy Palmiotti will handle the art.

Being married to Green Arrow brings Black Canary new challenges, such as the vigilante stalker Cupid, who is fixated on Green Arrow, and villain Discord, a music teacher, whom Dinah deafened when her Canary Cry ricocheted during the first fight with Dregz.[7]

Cry for Justice

Eventually, Dinah ends up resigning from position as chairwoman of the JLA after the team's disastrous confrontation with the Shadow Cabinet. After learning that Ollie has started his own Justice League with Hal Jordan, Dinah angrily confronts him when he arrives at the Watchtower to warn her and the other former Leaguers about an impending attack on the world's superheroes.[8] Out of nowhere, Prometheus arrives and attacks the team, severing Red Arrow's arm and defeating Dinah by maneuvering her into the path of an energy bolt fired by Mikaal Tomas.[9] After Prometheus is defeated, he destroys Star City via a teleportation device.[10] While searching for survivors, Dinah and Ollie discover the bloodied corpse of Roy's daughter Lian.[11] Dinah is later seen at Roy's hospital bedside alongside Donna Troy, preparing to deliver the grim news about his daughter once he awakens from his coma.[12]

During the events of Blackest Night, Dinah travels to Coast City in order to fight off Nekron's army of Black Lanterns. Nekron reveals that he has the power to control all of the heroes who have died and been resurrected, including Ollie.[13] Alongside Mia and Connor, Dinah tries to fight off her husband, who has been transformed into a Black Lantern. Ollie taunts Dinah by telling her that he has secretly been in love with Shado since she raped him, and that she is a fool for believing he has changed. Eventually, Ollie is able to regain control of his body long enough to deliberately miss a shot aimed at his wife, which then severs a hose containing liquid nitrogen. Dinah tells Connor to use the hose on Ollie, which he reluctantly does, freezing him solid. The three heroes then join the rest of the heroes in their battle.[14]

Following Ollie's return to normal, it is discovered that he had secretly murdered Prometheus and left the body to rot in Prometheus' headquarters. After Barry Allen and Hal Jordan confront Ollie and Dinah with this revelation, Ollie goes on the run. Dinah joins Hal and Barry in searching the ruins of Star City for him, and eventually finds the archer scouring the city for one of the men who had worked for Prometheus. He easily defeats all three of them, leaving Dinah trapped in a specialized fluid designed to restrain her.[15] After Green Arrow turns himself in for Prometheus' murder, Dinah visits him in his jail cell and comes to the realization the one thing he wants is to be left alone. She decides that their marriage is over and then removes her wedding ring, leaving it with Oliver. When the Green Arrow goes on trial for the murder of Prometheus she does not attend his trial.[16]

Brightest Day

During the events of Brightest Day, Dinah returns to Gotham with the relaunch of Birds of Prey, with Gail Simone at the helm. In Birds of Prey #1 (July 2010) she is sent out to save a child, with Lady Blackhawk for company. Soon afterward, they receive a call from Oracle, and the team - including Huntress is reunited. They are immediately confronted by a new villainess calling herself White Canary, who supposedly harbors a deep-seated grudge against Dinah. White Canary uses her resources to expose Dinah's civilian identity to the public.[17] After defeating and capturing White Canary (who is revealed the be the vengeful sister of the Twelve Brothers in Silk), Dinah learns that Lady Shiva is supposedly behind the attack on the Birds.[18] Dinah and White Canary travel to Asia, and when the Birds arrive to find her a short time later, Dinah attacks them, now clad in White Canary's outfit.[19] This is soon realized to be a rescue mission, Dinah being forced to challenge Shiva in a fight by the White Canary, who has Sin and her foster parents captured and held at the threat of being killed unless Dinah fights Shiva to the death. In the same issue, Dinah is to issue her challenge to Shiva and asks Huntress to be her second. Instead, Helena reasons that she would fight Shiva stating that Dinah has a lot of people who love her and that she does not. In the time Helena gets pounded by Shiva, for whom she was no match, Dinah rescues Sin with help from one of Shiva's students. Having that accomplished, Dinah ends the fight between Huntress and Lady Shiva. While White Canary is displeased, Shiva sides the Birds, being unhappy with the set up to begin with, and so the team leaves to celebrate being alive.

The Death of Oracle

In the four following issues of Birds of Prey (issues #7 to #10) begins the Death of Oracle story arc, when the Calculator returns to Gotham City to take revenge on Oracle. Meanwhile Barbara plans to kill the identity of Oracle in the public eye. In his hunt for Oracle, the Birds and Dinah, whose identity is now exposed, are hunted by the villainess Mortis, a woman whose powers make one's regrets taunt one's minds through a touch. After Mortis and a group of other villains assembled by the Calculator crash their girls' night out, the Canary and a returned Bruce Wayne fight them side-by-side. Dinah in her haste touches Mortis by accident and goes into a trauma. It is a while later, when she is brought back to KORD Tower and the Birds are confronting the Calculator, that Mortis's powers corrupt Dinah's mind telling her that her friends had abandoned her, and knowing her friends well enough she begins to fight back, causing Mortis to collapse. Now freed, she helps the rest of her captured team fight the Calculator.

The Calculator destroys a helicopter piloted by Hawk, misidentifying him for Oracle. While Hank's invulnerability helped him survive the incident, the Calculator is fooled into believing that Oracle is dead. Following this incident, the public eye presumes Oracle deceased, while Barbara shuts herself away from the world, only resuming connection with very few outside of the Birds of Prey and leaving calls of the rest unanswered.

The New 52

Following the events of Flashpoint, Barbara leaves the Birds of Prey to become Batgirl again. Dinah sets out to recruit a new Birds of Prey team, starting with her old friend, Ev Crawford (aka Starling).[20] [21] She seems to have been framed for a murder.

The Black Canary and Zatanna graphic novel Bloodspell (which was initially to be written by Paul Dini and drawn by Amanda Conner) is set to be released in 2012. The book centers around a 16-year-old Dinah's first meeting with Zatanna.[22]

Powers, abilities, and equipment

Dinah sparring with Rabbit of the Twelve Brothers in Silk. Birds of Prey #82. Art by Joe Bennett.

The original Black Canary possesses no super-powers but is highly proficient in Judo.

The second Black Canary possesses a "Canary Cry" – a high-pitched, sonic scream which she can deploy to shatter objects and incapacitate her opponents.[23] Analyzing her capabilities, Dr. Mid-Nite found that she can reach ultrasonic frequencies outside the audible spectrum which render human beings unconscious. However, the cry has been shown to be completely useless when Dinah's mouth is covered with a gag, piece of tape, or any other means of forcing her mouth closed. When Canary is close enough she can unleash her cry to literally destroy an opponent but this is an absolute last resort.[24]

Dinah states that her Canary Cry is able to inflict serious damage to beings even as durable as Wonder Woman (she has used this ability to overpower Giganta, blow Amazo's head off, and managed to overscream Silver Banshee). Moreover, in JLA/JSA: Vice and Virtue it is shown that Dinah is capable of not only creating sonic blasts, but also could generate an ultrasonic attack, which renders everyone within an ear range unconscious; this specific use of the Canary Cry requires the full capacity of Dinah's lungs. Black Canary rarely utilizes her metahuman abilities during fights, preferring to engage in hand-to-hand combat. Lately, Dinah uses the Canary Cry only against considerably more powerful metahuman opponents. Selective usage of supernatural talents makes Black Canary one of very few characters who choose not to take advantage of their superpowers, placing skills over inborn abilities. During times of extreme stress, Canary has displayed the ability to create sonic vibrations capable of destroying whatever was obstructing her mouth.[25]

Black Canary lost the Cry during the Green Arrow series. Although she fought crime without it for several years, she regained it after being immersed in a Lazarus Pit during her time with the Birds of Prey.

Black Canary is extremely proficient in the various styles of martial arts, and is among the world's best fighters (in Birds of Prey #125, Oracle suggests that Dinah could outfight even Batman). Moreover, Dinah possesses uncanny reflexes, on many occasions showing the ability to catch or destroy arrows in flight. Dinah is also an expert motorcycle rider.

Dinah is a strong leader and strategic thinker — qualities recognized by the other superheroes, who have selected her as the Chairwoman of the JLA (John Stewart speculated that Black Canary is "tactically the best chairperson the Justice League has ever had", placing her strategic skills next to Batman, with charisma comparable to that of Superman). Having fought crime for many years, she also possesses great detective skills, though not on a par with Batman, the Question, or the Elongated Man.

A running gag in the Birds of Prey series is Black Canary's lack of proficiency with computers (and very little interest in them). She is the polar opposite of team leader Oracle (who is a computer genius). The first page of Birds of Prey #1 features Dinah's desire to have a distasteful item removed from her presence – the next page shows the object of her dislike to be a desktop computer.


Her costume consisted of a blond wig, fishnet stockings, pirate boots, bustier, and an unbuttoned jacket. Initially, she also wore a domino mask, though this was soon jettisoned. Black Canary soon joined the Justice Society of America, first helping them in All-Star Comics #38 and joining in #41 after helping them when they have been hypnotized by the Injustice Society, but ceased being published along with the rest of the team by the early 1950s.

For a brief period in the 1980s coinciding with her membership in the JLI, rather than her traditional skintight black outfit with fishnet stockings she wore a blue and black costume with a bird motif notably looser and less revealing than traditional female superhero garb. This change proved short-lived, and later artists restored her original look.

Other versions

JLA: The Nail

In JLA: The Nail, Black Canary leads the Outsiders. She forms the team after Oliver Queen is crippled at the hands of Amazo. However, they break up after Queen admits to feeling like the team's mascot. It is also revealed that in a prior battle Canary's sonic scream, coupled with Black Lightning's blasts, vaporized Brainiac.


  • In the DC Elseworlds comic Kingdom Come, Black Canary sides with Batman and acts as one of his generals together with her husband Green Arrow (Oliver Queen). In this future world, the longtime romantic partners have a daughter (Olivia Queen), who also operates under the name Black Canary.
  • In another DC Elseworld's comic; Elseworld's Finest: Supergirl & Batgirl, Black Canary is depicted as an African American woman who makes a brief appearance in the story.

All Star Batman and Robin

Frank Miller's All-Star Batman and Robin, drawn by Jim Lee, features a character based on Black Canary. Here, she is an unnamed[26] bartender in a seedy gin joint called "Black Canary". Her costume is actually just a uniform she wore for her job. She is offended by the lewd flirtation of the bar's male patrons. Deciding that she has finally had enough, Black Canary beats up all of the male patrons in the bar. When her boss asks her what got into her, she simply replies "Batman," assaults him, and then leaves the scene on a motorcycle stolen from one of the men she has just battered. This version of Black Canary is an immigrant from County Monaghan, Ireland. Also, in this continuity, Black Canary wears a mask, like the Golden Age version did briefly.

The Dark Knight Strikes Again

In Batman: The Dark Knight Strikes Again a Black Canary is a member of the pop music trio "The Superchix". She is depicted as a dumb blonde of unspecified age. She is a copycat of the original. Miller claims these stories are both in his so-called "Dark Knight Universe".

League of Justice

She is portrayed as a powerful goddess like figure in League of Justice, a Lord of the Rings fairy tale-type Elseworlds story. In this story, she seemed to have many names, most commonly called 'The Lady of the birds'. In a play on her famous hair color switches, the character has hair that is blonde on one side and black on the other.


In Justice, there has only been one Black Canary, who is mentioned as having been widowed. She is involved with Green Arrow.


In the new 52 Multiverse, there is another African American Black Canary on Earth-3 who is a member of the Crime Society. In JLA: Earth 2, there is an evil counterpart of Black Canary called "White Cat".


On Earth-11, a world of reversed genders, a male version of Black Canary exists. In Superman #349,[27] he is called "Black Condor".


In the Superman/Batman storyline "Mash-Up", elements of Black Canary are combined with Starfire, creating Star Canary.

Batman/Doc Savage Special

An alternate Black Canary will be featured in the Batman/Doc Savage Special. She will be written in her late teens as the daughter of a former cop who lives with her parents in Florist Shop in Gotham City's East End. Her parents hold high hopes for her and consider her above most other teenagers she is also respectful to them, but is secretly inspired and enamored by the adventures of Doc Savage and protects her neighborhood. This version of Dinah Drake wears a mini-skirt, boots, fishnets, a black leather jacket, and makeup reminiscent of a bird around her eyes. She also is either of Korean, Indian, or Middle Eastern descent.[28]

Justice League: Generation Lost

An African American version of Black Canary is shown as part of a future Justice League in Justice League: Generation Lost. She is stated as being a descendant of Black Canary's teammates, Hawk and Dove, and is shown sporting a costume that draws elements from the outfits of both Hawk and her original namesake.

In other media

Live action

  • In 1979, the character appeared in two television specials Legends of the Superheroes, where she was portrayed by Danuta Wesley.
Lori Loughlin as Carolyn Lance, Black Canary
Rachel Skarsten as Dinah Redmond
  • A character named Carolyn Lance appeared on the short-lived 2002 WB television series Birds of Prey, portrayed by Lori Loughlin. The character was the estranged biological mother of one of the show's primary characters Dinah Redmond (played by Rachel Skarsten), a teenager with psychic abilities who had been taken in by Oracle/Barbara Gordon after running away from her adoptive parents. On the "Pilot", the younger version of Dinah was played by Amanda Michalka. In her only appearance, her Canary Cry is activated by whistling, rather than screaming. Although the character appears to die at the end of the episode, the writers left her fate ambiguous. When Birds of Prey was first announced, the producers indicated that the teenaged Dinah Redmond would be a reimagined Black Canary (with early publicity material referring to her directly by that name).
Alaina Huffman as Black Canary on Smallville.
  • The CW (formerly The WB) television series Smallville, featured Dinah Lance in a season seven episode entitled "Siren" where she was played by Alaina Huffman.[29] As Dinah Lance, she wears a long brunette wig, while acting as a controversial conservative columnist and talk-show host for the Daily Planet in Metropolis. By night, she uses her metahuman ultrasonic scream to become a vigilante/mercenary with a flawed sense of justice. In this incarnation, she has short blonde hair and a tiny faux domino mask created from black makeup with streaks of yellow. She is hired by Lex Luthor (Michael Rosenbaum) to bring down the Green Arrow (Justin Hartley). However, Oliver Queen and Clark Kent (Tom Welling) convince her that Lex is the real villain. Chloe (Allison Mack) considers calling her the "Yellow Raven", but Clark thinks the name "Black Canary" sounds better. In the episode's dénouement, Dinah agrees to join Green Arrow's team of pro-active heroes, and flirts with Oliver through her critical comments about his ex-girlfriend Lois Lane (Erica Durance). Dinah subsequently appears, on numerous occasions, as a member of Oliver's league. In the season eight premiere, Black Canary attempts to rescue Clark from the Arctic alongside Green Arrow and Aquaman (Alan Ritchson), but after being captured by LuthorCorp is forced to temporarily cut ties with her League teammates. Huffman reprises her role for the finale, "Doomsday", battling against Doomsday alongside Clark, Green Arrow, and Impulse (Kyle Gallner). When the league assembles in season nine finale "Salvation", Canary appears alongside Cyborg (Lee Thompson Young), Hawkman (Michael Shanks) and Stargirl (Britt Irvin). In the tenth and final season of Smallville, Black Canary appears in "Icarus", discussing the problem of Slade Wilson (Michael Hogan) in a video conference at the Watchtower. She later appears at Hawkman's funeral. In the next episode, "Collateral", like Clark and Oliver, Dinah believes herself to have been captured and stripped of her powers by the government, but is in fact trapped like the others in a virtual reality, from which Chloe is able to rescue them. Her mother, Dinah Drake, the original Black Canary, appears in a painting at the Justice Society of America's brownstone, identifying her as one of the team's original members. Unlike the comic books and other media adaptations, Dinah never shown to have a romantic relationship with Oliver instead they are close friends. Oliver pursue a romantic relationship with Chloe years after his break-up with Lois and marry her eventually.


  • Black Canary (or someone with a similar look) can also be seen briefly at the party Bruce Wayne is attending in the Chase Me short from the straight-to-video film Mystery of the Batwoman.
  • In the Justice League episode "Legends", the League teamed up with the Justice Guild of America in an alternate universe. The Guild member Black Siren was based on the Golden Age Black Canary, Dinah Drake. She was voiced by Jennifer Hale. The Siren's real name was given as Donna Nance on her tombstone.
Black Canary using her Canary Cry in Justice League Unlimited
  • In the animated series Justice League Unlimited, Black Canary was voiced by Firefly's Morena Baccarin. She was first seen in a small cameo at the end of "Initiation", where her looks are enough to convince Green Arrow to stay in the League. Later, in "The Cat and the Canary", she stars as a fearsome physical fighter (as well as sporting her sonic cry, but minus her trademark fishnet stockings). She was vexed because her old mentor, Wildcat, had been obsessively engaging in underground fighting tournaments, and she convinced the smitten Green Arrow to help her convince Wildcat to return to the League. She and Green Arrow start a relationship, as seen in "Double Date", thereby paying homage to their famed romance in the comics. In the fifth season episode "Grudge Match", Black Canary found herself and several other female members of the League forced to do battle with each other in underground tournaments run by the same promoter (the supervillainess Roulette) who had earlier exploited Wildcat. The final challenge pitted the team of Black Canary, Huntress, Vixen, and Hawkgirl against Wonder Woman. Black Canary also appeared in "Destroyer", the series finale. She helped defend the world from the invading parademons of Darkseid, fighting alongside Green Arrow, Dr. Light, and Bizarro in Rome (her Canary Cry makes Bizarro cover his ears), and then made her swan song (along with almost every other member of the League) racing to her next adventure. She and Green Arrow are the last seen before the core seven make their "curtain call".
  • The first Black Canary appears as a member of the JSA in the opening credits of the animated film Justice League: The New Frontier. Her daughter also appears alongside the Teen Titans and Supergirl in the closing montage.
  • Black Canary briefly appears as a back-up member of the JLA in the film Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths. She has one line in the film ("Wanna hear a secret?") and is voiced by Kari Wuhrer. A Parallel Earth version of Black Canary, named Scream Queen also appears.[30] This is the first time that the character has been shown in her modern costume outside of the comics.
  • Black Canary appears in the DC Showcase: Green Arrow short film included on the Superman/Batman: Apocalypse DVD with Grey DeLisle reprising her role.[31] She appears at the tail-end of the feature, where she rescues Green Arrow (Neal McDonough) and Princess Perdita (Ariel Winter) after they are ambushed by Perdita's uncle, Count Vertigo (Steven Blum). After the battle with Vertigo, Ollie proposes marriage to Dinah, which she accepts.
  • Black Canary has been featured in the animated series Batman: The Brave and the Bold in the teaser of the episode "Night of the Huntress!", voiced by Grey DeLisle. She and Batman teamed up to stop Solomon Grundy from getting a new brain from a genius. In this episode, Canary managed to fool Solomon into standing on a skylight, where a low-level Canary cry shattered the glass and sent him crashing to defeat. After the victory, she flirted with Batman for a dinner for two. She is Batman's main partner in the musical episode "Mayhem of the Music Meister!". Batman asks her to stay and keep watch of Black Manta, the Clock King, and Gorilla Grodd, after the first encounter with the Music Meister ("I'm The Music Meister"). She follows him instead, to the dismay of Green Arrow. During a jailbreak, she sings of his good qualities ("If Only..."), implying she has a crush on the Caped Crusader. The two get knocked out, but recover and escape a death trap set by the Meister ("Death Trap"); Canary mimics the Meister by singing all her dialogue, to which Batman asks "Was the singing really necessary?" The two fight against Music Meister ("The World is Mine!"), and Black Canary gets controlled again. Batman challenges her to a high-note contest. This triggers a high Canary Cry, snapping everyone out of hypnosis. She gets to sing the final song, a reprise of "If Only...", after Batman leaves. She is later joined by Green Arrow halfway through, and the two have a romantic scene among sparking and crashing debris from the fight. In the song, Arrow offers to marry her. Black Canary is also featured in the main plot of "The Golden Age of Justice!". Tired of being treated like a kid, Dinah Lance convinces Wildcat to have her help the rest of the Justice Society of America. Her mother, the original Black Canary, is seen in flashbacks, eventually dying after being crushed by debris during a fire. After Wildcat put his regret of being unable to save Dinah Drake behind him, they go off and help the rest of the Justice Society and Batman defeat Per Degaton. She makes a brief appearance in "Sidekicks Assemble!" as part of the Justice League. She returns in "The Mask of Matches Malone!", as one of the Birds of Prey & it is implied through the musical number "Birds of Prey" that she still has feelings for Batman.
  • Black Canary appears in Young Justice voiced by Vanessa Marshall.[32] She is a recurring character and serves as the combat trainer for the members of Young Justice.[33] Series co-creator Greg Weisman has said her role on the show was in part because she is his favorite character in the DC universe. She serves as the trainer for the Young Justice team. In "Disordered," she holds a therapy session with each of the members of the team after what happened in Martian Manhunter's mind-training exercise.

Video games

  • Black Canary appears as a playable character in the PSP version of Justice League Heroes voiced by Jennifer Hale.
  • Black Canary is a playable support character in Batman: The Brave and the Bold – The Videogame, voiced again by Grey DeLisle.
  • Black Canary appears in DC Universe Online, where players can interact with and fight alongside or against her. As a bonus, her sonic abilities are able to be bought as a powerful scream or a whirlwind of supersonic energy. She is voiced by Kelley Huston.
  • The Black Canary restaurant is the location of a Riddler Challenge room in Batman: Arkham City


See also

  • Woman warrior


  1. ^ "Wizard's top 200 characters". Wizard. Retrieved May 7, 2011. 
  2. ^ "Black Canary is number 81". IGN. Retrieved May 9, 2011. 
  3. ^ Justice League of America #74 (September 1969)
  4. ^ a b c d Beatty, Scott (2008). "Black Canary". In Dougall, Alastair. The DC Comics Encyclopedia. London: Dorling Kindersley. p. 50. ISBN 0-7566-4119-5. 
  5. ^ Birds of Prey #66 (June 2004)
  6. ^ Birds of Prey #22-24 (October 2000-December 2000)
  7. ^ Green Arrow / Black Canary #15 (February 2009)
  8. ^ Justice League: Cry for Justice #1 (July 2009)
  9. ^ Justice League: Cry for Justice #5 (September 2009)
  10. ^ Justice League: Cry for Justice #6 (January 2010)
  11. ^ Justice League: Cry for Justice #7 (March 2010)
  12. ^ Justice League of America (vol. 2) #41 (January 2010)
  13. ^ Blackest Night #5 (November 2009)
  14. ^ Black Lantern Green Arrow #30 (February 2010)
  15. ^ Green Arrow #31 (March 2010)
  16. ^ Green Arrow #32 (April 2010)
  17. ^ Birds of Prey (vol. 2) #2 (August 2010)
  18. ^ Birds of Prey (vol. 2) #4 (October 2010)
  19. ^ Birds of Prey (vol. 2) #5 (November 2010)
  20. ^ Birds of Prey (vol. 3) #1 (September #1)
  21. ^
  22. ^
  23. ^ Legends #4 (February 1987)
  24. ^ Green Arrow #30 (April 2010)
  25. ^ World's Finest Comics #262 (April–May 1980)
  26. ^ All Star Batman and Robin the Boy Wonder #3 (December 2005) - #5 (July 2007)
  27. ^ Superman #349 (July 1980 "The Turnabout Trap!")
  28. ^ "DC Universe: The Source » Blog Archive » How about some more Rags Morales’ sketches from FIRST WAVE?". 2009-11-09. Retrieved 2011-01-15. 
  29. ^ Sands, Rich (2007-11-01). "Exclusive: Black Canary Swoops into Smallville". Retrieved 2007-11-01. 
  30. ^ "Justice League: Crisis On Two Earths Review". Retrieved 2011-01-15. 
  31. ^ "DC Animated Showcase: Greg Weisman Interview, Part 1". YouTube. Retrieved 2011-01-15. 
  32. ^ G-Man (2010-07-24). "Comic-Con: Brave and the Bold & Young Justice Panel". Comic Vine. Retrieved 2010-07-26. 
  33. ^ Pepose, David. "NYCC 2010: Young Justice Video Presentation & Q&A Live!" Newsarama. October 9, 2010. Retrieved February 4, 2011.
  34. ^ Black Canary's appearances in Justice League Unlimited at the Grand Comics Database

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