Black Canary

In honor of Black Canary #1 being released this week, I decided to read Tony Bedara and Paulo Siqueira’s limited series Black Canary (2007). There’s visual and linguistic sexism at play in this title, as well as the usual violence and blood. You’ll like this series…if you already like Green Arrow and Black Canary? Okay, no it has some interesting things about families, children, and assassins in there too.

Plot: Dinah Drake contemplates Oliver Queen’s proposal while trying to keep her adoptive daughter Sin safe.

Initial thoughts: Black Canary is one of my best friend’s favorite superheroes, so I was excited to finally read some Dinah Drake. My excitement wasn’t what let me down though: it was the numerous instances of brokeback, sexist jokes from Ollie, and exploitative female costume designs. And to top it all off Dinah can’t even be the hero of her own comic; instead, Ollie ultimately concocts and enacts the plan to save her and Sin, and her decision to accept his proposal is to his advantage in spite of admitting in #4, “You did all this….knowing it would tear me apart. Knowing you’d lose me forever.” This doesn’t sound like the kind of mutual respect necessary for a marriage now, does it?

There are some interesting, possibly feminist aspects of this solo title. For example, Dinah’s ex-husband, Craig Windrow, comes to her when he needs help for his screw ups. Feminist, right? Thing is, I’d say that it’s already assumed in society that women, particularly mothers and wives, have to deal with the screw ups of their children, fathers, husbands, and extended family members as though it is their responsibility to be caretakers of everybody except themselves. In fact throughout this limited release, we see how Dinah sacrifices herself for Sin, Ollie, Craig…practically everybody except herself. Perhaps the most ridiculous aspect of this limited release is how it masks itself as a solo title, yet Ollie plays an integral if not more important role than Dinah and the series just serves to explain why Dinah decided to marry Ollie… Oh yeah, I nearly forgot why she decided to marry him, because he betrayed her deepest trust. Right.

Itty Bitty Research: It’s hard what to research because everything in this series is pretty surface stuff. I guess I’ll start with #1, since they’re in Vegas and I am a Vegas native. Now, there are a few things I expect when Las Vegas is featured in media: 1) the order of casinos on the Strip will be wrong, 2) an Elvis impersonator will show up sooner or later, and 3) an obligatory instance or nod to an impulsive wedding. Luckily Black Canary was three-for-three, so let’s debunk some of these myths, shall we?

First up, the order of the Strip! Why people get the order of the Strip wrong really astounds me because you can literally find maps of the casinos online. Anyawy, here is one of the opening pages of Black Canary #1, in which we see the Paris hotel and casino in the background and the Bally’s sign boasting a stereotypical girlie revue (which are declining shows, by the way). We can safely say that this angle is the intersection of Flamingo and Las Vegas Blvd looking South. I’m going to give Siqueira the benefit of the doubt and assume that prior to 2007, the Bally’s sign didn’t have all the fancy upgrades, in part because I think he gets that part right! What he doesn’t get right is that on the next page, you see the Candlelight Wedding Chapel, which does exist (and hey! you can get married there if you’re a true Black Canary fan!). Fun fact: the chapel has existed since 1966 and is considered a historic building by the City of Las Vegas! So far, so good, right? Well, this building is located a bit further north than what used to be the Riviera (recently demolished). You can check out that distance on Google Maps, which calculates about a 30-40 minute walk. Now, I know that Black Canary and Green Arrow are fast, but fast enough to magically teleport?

Elvis impersonators! Trent Carlini was considered THE Elvis impersonator for awhile, but that’s died out a bit. In fact a lot of the buzz around Elvis has died, including a failed Cirque du Soleil show called Viva ELVIS. In Elvis’ defense, that was a pretty lackluster show and I love Elvis. Las Vegas also boasted an Elvis Museum called Elvis-a-rama since 1999, but it closed in 2006 after it was bought by Elvis’ official people. There’s supposedly going to be a big new Elvis attraction to take its place, but it has yet to open up. I know, I know, you’re just as concerned with the decline of Elvis’ popularity as I am, but if you come to Vegas and you’re just dying to get married by him, fear not, for you can make it happen at Graceland Wedding Chapel with packages starting at $199 or at A Elvis Chapel with packages starting at $195.

Finally, Dinah and Ollie kick some bad guy butt in what else but a quickie wedding chapel. Las Vegas is the wedding capitol of the universe. Yes, universe. I mean, you can’t really say I’m wrong about that. While it’s true that you can get married 24/7, there are a few limitations most folks aren’t aware of, like the fact that if you get married at 3 in the morning, they cannot grant you an official marriage license. Without blood tests or a waiting period and marriage licenses granted for only $60, it’s hard to deny that spontaneous marriages could be a real possibility anywhere else in the United States. We even have numerous drive-thru wedding services so that you can get hitched without leaving the comfort of your cat. Accessibility and easiness remain popular reasons why Las Vegas remains a popular marriage destination!

And just for fun trivia you can share with your friends, here are some fun facts from the Convention and Visitors Authority and Ancestry.com. It’s kind of a wonder with all that ease and immediacy that Black Canary and Green Arrow didn’t just get hitched right then and there, but I suppose that’s supposed to be part of the irony, huh?

Rating: 2.9/5

References: Bedara, Tony (w), Paulo Siqueira (p), Amilton Santos (i). “Living With Sin” Black Canary #1-4 (2007).

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