You guys! Annie Wu’s pencils on Black Canary are SO GOOD! I am over-the-moon that Wu is the artist drawing my favorite character. Lee Loughridge’s creates fantastic colors, and illuminates the tone of the book. The two of them combined SET the style of the book. It’s edgy but not trite. It’s modern and stylized. The art is basically the shit. I mean, LOOK at my girl…

I am slightly less excited about the issue overall, my review below.

Black Canary #2
Written by Brenden Fletcher
Art by Annie Wu and Lee Loughridge
Lettering by Steve Wands
Published by DC Comics
Review by Vanessa Gabriel

With every concert resulting in fisticuffs or some seriously bad juju … or both, Dinah prepares her bandmates for the battles they don’t see coming. Unfortunately, while music is the top-billed priority for some, others seem to be hiding behind it. Through personal conflicts and dive-bar chaos, Brenden Fletcher is only starting to show us who Black Canary is.

Since the narrative is just getting started, the strength of Black Canary isn’t in the overall plot (yet). However, Black Canary sings in the finer details and is beautifully illustrated by Annie Wu and Lee Loughridge. Their art is full of untamed style, unexpected color and a signature cohesiveness with the intended daring spirit of the book. This creates some enjoyable character-building.

The first page strikes us with what a gorgeous issue Black Canary #2 is, filled with remarkable perspectives and tons of emotion. From the barrel of the gun that moves to the focused look in Dinah’s eye to her definitive jawline, Wu makes her stand out sharply as our leading lady and the gutsy girl she is. Wu hilariously flips that coin from serious to light-hearted later as Dinah globs purple bleach onto the roots of her blonde hair, and her bandmates look on in horror and awe of the potential scalp burn, deeming her a “superhero.” This bonafide self-bleached blonde chuckled.

That’s also where Fletcher playfully gets to the heart of the matter. Dinah is a superhero. Even if she doesn’t want to be right now, she can’t help herself. She shows her warm, protective side along with boundless martial arts prowess. You could fill an entire story arc with the origin of those skills, and Wu renders those sequences with ferocious dynamism. This creative team does an excellent job of giving Dinah her due gravity. The supporting cast is also worth its weight in nuance and modern characterization. There’s chemistry, conflict and mystery in just the right amounts.

Lord Byron is level-headed, loyal and serves as the voice of exposition. Paloma Terrific is the skeptical discontent, giving way to the creative differences that ultimately force Dinah to shoot straight from the hip – another tenet of the character. Finally, Ditto reads as the gentle savant with a magically enigmatic past that drives the narrative and creates curiosity for what’s coming. This characterization is also a nice contrast to the blunt-force, Hollywood-style edge of Dinah, Paloma and Byron.

For all of this solid foundation, the reveal of Dinah’s husband as one of the entities in the hot pursuit of the band is disappointingly predictable. Sure, one of the key themes so far is that these characters all have a past. But is it essential, in her many iterations pre and post-New 52, to intertwine her narrative with that of a significant other? It doesn’t necessarily make her more relatable, and she has much more story potential beyond the status of her love relationships. It may be too soon to write this plot point off, and it doesn’t rob the character of her agency, but it does read as a bit boring, though.

Black Canary is a worthwhile issue for the top-notch art alone. Combined with the distinct characterization, Black Canary feels authentic, even if mildly predictable at times. Perhaps once the narrative is further established, and we move beyond the first arc, Dinah can do her own thing. And if Dinah stays true to herself, we should be pleasantly surprised.

One thought on “REVIEW: Black Canary #2

  1. Yeah, I was really not sure at first, but I finally read issue one last week, and I loved it,.. and Annie Wu! So much so that I wrote my own review on my blog. I’m really looking forward to the second issue!! Loving the new premise right now.


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