OK, full disclosure – this was supposed to be a write-up on “Death: The Time of Your Life,” as the title itself is a good description of the college experience – a time in your life. However, I do not have the issues for that miniseries yet, so that had to get ruled out.
Alternatively, I could have done it on “Death: The High Cost of Living,” which is also accurate to the financial side of the college experience, title-wise, and is something I actually have all the issues for, so make of that as you will.
But, despite that, I decided to put Brenden Fletcher and Annie Wu’s 2015-2016 run of “Black Canary” on showcase today, which, as it turns out, is the last one I’m allowed to put in this newspaper!
So, you may be wondering one of two things, or both, even – “Why is Robbie spending all this time on exposition?” and/or “Why is Robbie writing about a five-year-old comic series?”
Well, dear reader, both of those are good questions. … That will be answered later.
The fourth volume of DC Comics’ “Black Canary,” back when I read it in my senior year of high school, served as one of my biggest inspirations for making comics.
With witty writing from Fletcher and gorgeous, chaotic art from Wu, I was enamored right from the jump, and, as such, I wanted to emulate what made it so great in my own writing, because I sure as hell can’t draw like Annie Wu does.
The story of “Black Canary” is one that follows Dinah Lance, a punk rock singer for a band called … Black Canary. Yeah. That’s the band’s name – I swear I’m not making this up.
Anywho, Dinah is on a cross-country tour with her bandmates – Ditto, Lord Byron, and Paloma Terrific – as they perform from venue to venue, building their fanbase and social media presence.
Y’know, typical band stuff.
However, what makes this band far from typical is the number of encounters the band is faced with. At almost every venue they play, Dinah and the band manage to attract trouble, be it in the form of assassins, soldiers, or whatever might want them dead at that particular moment.
This in mind, Dinah has to use her powers to not only keep her fans out of harm’s way, but also her band. This becomes especially true of the character of Ditto, who, later on in the series, becomes a major target to capture from the enemy side of the conflict, as she has immeasurable power that Dinah’s foes can take advantage of.
Speaking of foes, one of my favorite characters in the series is this woman named Bo Maeve. She’s the former lead singer of Alias Insane, the band that is now Black Canary, and she is the perfect counter to Dinah in terms of ferocity and power.
The two women trade blows with one another in beautiful, two-page spreads often, and they really show the amount of detail that Wu puts into her art. Every action feels like it has weight behind it – from the banshee screams to the Krav Maga techniques, everything just hits hard.
In fact, that statement can extend to all of the action scenes. With Fletcher’s brilliant ability to pace a story and give it impact, as well as Wu’s aforementioned talent to bring those words to life, “Black Canary” is a gripping read that will have you reaching for the next page or issue.
Of course, with all this in mind, a shout out is definitely in order for the colorist, Lee Loughridge, who makes sure that every page is as vibrant, as chaotic, and as intense as Wu’s penciling. The fashion is also top notch, I should add.
If you’re looking for an adrenaline rush in comic form, you need to check out “Black Canary” any way you can. It’s the gold standard of what a raucous rock-’n-roll romp should be in the medium of comics and graphic novels.