Thursday, March 17, 2016

Black Canary #9 Review and **SPOILERS**

A Gig's a Gig

Written By: Matthew Rosenberg
Art By: Moritat, Lee Loughridge
Letters By: Steve Wands
Cover Price: $2.99
Release Date: March 16, 2016

**Non-Spoilers and Score At The Bottom**

We interrupt our regularly-scheduled story for this one-off tale that was likely pulled from inventory. It’s not necessarily bad news, though: this one is written by Matthew Rosenberg of We Can Never Go Home fame and drawn by Moritat of All-Star Western and Generally Being An Awesome Artist fame. And honestly, the new story arc just began last issue, I’m not that invested that I can’t take a little prequel breather. I don’t know if that speaks well of Black Canary, or if it means I can pretty much take it or leave it. I do enjoy the book normally, but will a totally new creative team put me off of it forever? Or will it stoke my passion for this comic book to the level of a million brightly burning suns? Heck, if it’s drawn by Moritat, I’m probably gonna dig it. So let’s dive right into my review! Read on!

Explain It!:

Oh guys...guys. This issue opens with one of the most bad-ass splash pages I have seen in a minute. It’s just so good, I want to show it to you all so badly…but I shouldn’t, it would be giving away too much. But it’s so good! I can give you a peek, can’t I? Won’t the book benefit from people seeing how incredibly awesome the first page is? I think so. Don’t you? I know I shouldn’t, but what could be the harm…

So I did. Look at that shit. If that didn’t become your cellphone wallpaper before you even read the first sentence of my review, then I don’t understand you at all. Hell, I might get some actual wallpaper of this printed up and hang it up around my house. It just looks like something straight off of an album cover or a concert poster, capturing Dinah in all her bad-assedness with just one closely-cropped image. It also lets you know that this comic is going to look cool, so if that bothers you, then put it back on the rack and go suck your thumb you mincing crybaby. We’re about rock n’ roll over here.

Specifically, we’re about rock n’ roll at some spoiled rich girl’s Sweet Sixteen party at her family’s lavishly appointed penthouse apartment in Gotham City. Wanting for exposure and some cash, Black Canary (the band) finds themselves at the home for Allegra Madden, preparing to perform for her daughter Julia, an excitable sort of waif who knows every song of Black Canary’s by heart. She’s invited everyone she knows to her party, but especially her crush Louis Barbiere, who Julia plans to make her boyfriend. Not long after this, the guests begin to arrive, beginning with Tobias Whale, a mob boss whose surname proved to be prophetic. Dinah immediately gets to kicking the crap out of him, but due to his massive…er, mass, it barely fazes him. Allegra is pissed off at Dinah for karate kicking her guest, and informs her that many denizens of the underworld will be in attendance, for she is none other than the daughter of Carmine Falcone! And Ms. Madden expects Black Canary (the band) to be on its best behavior.

So the party’s nefarious guests begin arriving: Dr. Hugo Strange, Black Mask, and…Professor Pyg? This guy kidnaps little girls and mind-wipes them with creepy adhesive masks! How does he rate an invite to a little girl’s Sweet Sixteen party?! This would be like inviting Firefly to the Fireman’s Ball. Dinah grins and bears it for a while, but eventually gets sick of all the creeps at this party and bursts into whatever back room in which the band is hanging out and informs them that they’re ditching the gig. There’s someone new back there, however: dashing dude with a man-bun, Valentine Chan. Seems he and D.D. were on the Suicide Squad together, and both got away…I haven’t read every run of Suicide Squad and certainly don’t remember Valentine, but this comic gave me enough information to piece together the details, and I appreciate that. Dinah and Valentine engage in the old Suicide Squad secret handshake, by which I mean they fight each other, then hug it out and Chan agrees to leave despite having been hired to assassinate someone at the party—the birthday girl herself, Julia Madden! And to make matters worse, explains Chan as he stuffs some cocktail shrimp in his mouth and grabs a goodie bag on his way out, he’s not the only one hired!

So goes much of the rest of this book, with D.D. stealthily moving through the crowd of partygoers and taking them out, one by one. She tells the band to be on stage at 9 PM and arrives herself at the last second, only having taken out five assassins. From the stage, Dinah sees another killer advancing towards Julia, so she…sets the place on fire? Seems drastic, but it does seem to work. Then Dinah leaps into the crowd and kicks the crap out of various nameless thugs and henchmen. She takes a glancing shot to the shoulder, fired from the gun of Louis Barbiere himself! Louis aims his gun at Julia—clearly he is one of the hired assassins—and Dinah leaps in and beats Louis down to the essence. Julia is distraught at seeing her crush all crushed, and rushes to his side, denouncing Black Canary (the band) and Dinah for probably postponing the loss of her virginity! In the last scene, Allegra informs the band that, having made her daughter cry, they will not be getting paid.

So this was a pleasant surprise after having expected a continuation of last issue’s story. With Moritat on art, though, you’re going to have a great-looking comic book. And it does look great, full of expert plotting and unbelievable action sequences and—you gotta admit—some nicely-drawn gams. Matthew Rosenberg does a nice job here as well, with a good amount of dialogue and consistent pacing throughout the story. There are a couple of scenes with lots of dialogue, but it didn’t seem too dense like many modern comics do (though Al Feldstein has ‘em all beat.) Since a new arc just began in Black Canary, I wasn’t too mad at the break in the action, and the comic was really entertaining besides. Keep your eye on this Rosenberg fella. I have a feeling you’re going to see some big things from him in the future.

Bits and Pieces

We take a little break here for a one-off story and I'm okay with it. Moritat does an expert job on art, as one might expect, and relative newcomer Matthew Rosenberg whips up a fun little prequel story that is a joy to read. Since the new story arc in Black Canary just began last issue, this comic didn't jostle the proceedings too much, and its high quality has kept the momentum high. This is one of those inventory issues that is like having an ace up your sleeve, and I don't think many fans of the book will mind it having been dealt.

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  1. Main problem is it doesn't look like it will be back in rebirth so it only has 2-3 issues left but it's no batman 44

    1. Frankly, if this all wraps up in a few more issues with a reasonably satisfying ending, I'm good with that. It's been a fairly good run with some real high points and no terrible embarrassments (that I can recall!) Always leave the audience wanting more!


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