Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Reader's Diary #1304 - Brendan Fletcher (writer), Annie Wu, Pia Guerra, Sandy Jarrell (artists): Black Canary Vol. 1 / Kicking and Screaming

Not having yet made time for the Green Arrow tv show, not as well-versed in DC as Marvel in general, I was unfamiliar with Black Canary until she popped up in Cameron Stewart and Brendan Fletcher's (excellent) Batgirl of Burnside. After that Fletcher's Black Canary solo series came out to glowing reviews and it was game on.

And it was great! I'd not go as far as saying it was as good as Batgirl of Burnside, but definitely a lot of positives. First off, the art is great. I recently spoke a little negatively about Wu's art in the new Archie series, but here it's a perfect fit. It's just rough enough to fit the energy and attitude of the punk rock story but not slip it into an ultra dark introspective piece that would betray the focus on fun. Wu doesn't do all of the art, but when (Canadian) Pia Guerra takes over it is less jarring than when Wu took over from Fiona Staples in the aforementioned Archie book. Black Canary, a.k.a. Dinah Lance, bears a striking resemblance to Kesha if Kesha only had one outfit. Lee Loughridge's colouring is also superb, with most panels being monochromatic, giving panels warmth where necessary and always adding style.

Story wise, as I said above, it's fun. Revolving around Black Canary, the rock band (a good fit for a superhero whose talent is a sonic scream), there's a silent, mysterious, and young guitar player among them who seems to be attracting the unwanted attention of some unsavoury, possible alien, folks. At times the music angle is played hard and its Battle of the Bands scenarios make it feel like a Jem and the Holograms episode. Now, I was a big Jem fan, so that wasn't a real issue for me, but if you're going for realism, it's probably not going to cut it.

On that note, I wonder why rock music still seems to be the default cool music? I'm a big rock nerd, but even I have to admit that in real life it's pretty much dead. Pop, EDM, and hip hop are far more popular, and in many cases more innovative than most of the few new rock bands who have sprung up in the past 10 years. I'd love for rock, especially good punk rock, to make a resurgence, but as good as Black Canary is, I doubt it's the needed catalyst.

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