Monday, April 18, 2016

Black Canary #10 Review and **SPOILERS**

A Day With My BFF (Beatdown Frenzy Fighter)

Written By: Brenden Fletcher
Art By: Moritat & Sandy Jarrell, Lee Loughridge
Letters By: Steve Wands
Cover Price: $2.99
Release Date: April 13, 2016

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

We now return to our regularly-scheduled story arc, which involves Black Canary having escaped from her aunt’s ninja cult, just in time for the rest of the band to fall into her aunt’s clutches. So what’s next for Dinah “D.D.” Lance? Well, she’s going to catch up with her old pal Batgirl, that’s all. They’ll get around to saving the day, first they’ve got to paint Burnside red and have some girl time. Of course, when Batgirl and Black Canary have “girl time,” a lot of crooks end up kicked in the head and in need of dental surgery. So let’s get to it, shall we? Pull on your fishnets and fix your lipstick, because we’re stepping out with two alumni of the Birds of Prey, and they’re certainly going to be well put-together. Read on, lads and ladies of the night!

Explain It!:

Dinah has returned to Burnside, Gotham City to visit her buddy Barbara “Batgirl” Gordon. Sure, she left in something of a huff about a year ago, considering Babs had burned down her van and then her roommate was less than hospitable to D.D. crashing on the couch, but these two are best friends and nothing can keep them apart! Particularly when Dinah needs something from Babs. This time, she needs Batgirl’s eidetic memory in order to recall some stuff about her ninja aunt. But first! Crimefighting! Our daring ladies take to the streets and start pummeling various criminals, eventually coming across evil DJ Mad Wax and his minions. During their tussle, which is halted by Babs threatening to break a rare vinyl record of Max’s, it comes to light that Dinah is actually D.D. from Black Canary, the band, and he wants her autograph. I think we can safely say now that naming the band Black Canary, when the lead singer’s alter ego is also Black Canary, was probably a bad idea. Actually it might work just fine, but it’s a pain in the neck for reviewing. Since reviewers are routinely pains in the neck, I suppose it’s a wash.

Dinah isn’t hanging around Burnside just to beat the pants off of hipster villains, however, she needs to use Batgirl’s super memory powers to remember a picture of her mom that was stashed in an old storage unit they shared until Babs burnt it down. This part…is pretty stupid, though it works if you’ve been reading the main Batgirl title. They sometimes plug shit into her brain or use pseudo-hypnosis to “access” parts of her eidetic memory, and while human memory doesn’t actually work that way, if you’re going to make it a DCU “thing,” I’ll roll with it. So by peering into her memory, Babs is able to make out a bunch of names on the back of the photograph somehow, and I’m gonna be honest with y’all, I really couldn’t tune into this part. I don’t know what it was, I read it three times trying to understand what was happening, but it ended up being a bunch of names I couldn’t keep straight that were important for reasons I didn’t understand. And it just went on for pages, getting more and more complicated while my brain receded more and more into humming the theme from Super Mario Bros. over and over. I have failed you, as a spoiler and a reviewer, and for that I am sorry. But I’m not going back to that crap for anything.

Luckily, things get interesting again when Dinah’s Aunt Rena smashes into the recording studio (that Dinah and Batgirl are using as an office for some reason) with a bunch of ninjas and attacks them. Aunt Rena “Greyeyes” is after the “Five Heavens Palm” which Dinah learned from her mom, and this is the first I can remember hearing about it. Batgirl, Dinah and the ninjas mix it up in some pretty satisfying action scenes, including one where Dinah unsnaps Batgirl’s cape and uses it sort of like a matador would against a charging bull. Eventually, Dinah and her Aunt agree to a faceoff, without using their powers, because oh yeah Aunt Greyeyes has electricity powers now by the way? And in their supposed fair fight, Greyeyes uses her nuclear electric powers or something and Batgirl can tell she’s going to explode somehow, so she grabs Dinah and Bat-Grapples out of there in a fairly dynamic scene that makes not a lot of sense. Back at Crash Pad Central aka Babs’ and Frankie’s apartment, Frankie informs Dinah that some thing on the internet indicates that her old bandmates are in Germany, probably held by the ninjas and stuff! So Dinah resolves to rescue her friends, which she should have done two issues ago!

This was a nice issue for people who missed the dynamic between Batgirl and Dinah that was present at the beginning of the revamped Batgirl book by Stewart, Fletcher and Tarr. Those of us actually following a story and who were hoping to be presented with cogent answers to pressing questions will be disappointed. There is actually a lot of new information in this issue, but much of it is presented without context or explanation, so it’s tough to tell what will be relevant later. There’s only two issues left in the series, however, so it shouldn’t be much longer before all is revealed. I always like to see Moritat on a book, though his style would be better suited to Batgirl than Black Canary. Sandy Jarrell does a fine job, but it’s a little jarring after Moritat’s decidedly rounder, cartoonish style.

Bits and Pieces

The Dynamic Duo of a bat and a bird is back in action, but this time it's Batgirl and Black Canary, and they spend half the issue talking about Black Canary's family tree. Some good action scenes in this issue, but also a huge info dump of which I could not make heads or tails. The art shift from Moritat to Jarrell is a little jarring, but it's really the extended yammering that made it more of a drag. Only two issues left to figure out whatever the hell it is we're supposed to care about involving Dinah's mother and maybe some weird Swedish dude that may or may not play an important role at the end of this series.


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