If you've been reading this blog and my writing for a while, you know that Green Arrow and Black Canary are two of my favorite characters and that I'm a little obsessive about seeing them written properly. You also might remember how I savaged the first issue of Andrew Kreisberg's run on this title, noting that he portrayed Black Canary as being an incompetent fighter AND incapable of controlling her super powers.
The following issues have gotten worse and worse and worse, with Dinah's personal history having been rewritten to become a blatant rip-off of the origin of Rogue from X-Men (i.e. discovers powers by accident, nearly kills classmate). What is worse than that is that Dinah is being written more and more out of character, proving to be both incompetent in battle AND inexplicably jealous of the crazed killer who is stalking her husband.
This issue? Well, it looks Kreisberg has heard the fan complaints about how horribly out of character Dinah has been acting in his work and has responded by trying to turn Dinah into a completely unsympathetic bitch, hoping that the readers will come to be as indifferent towards Dinah as he is.
A bold statement? Damn right it is. But what else can we conclude from the text we are given?
How else do you explain why the comic ends with Dinah ordering Ollie to stop being Green Arrow, saying he is getting too close to the fire? This statement being made regarding how Ollie apparently did nothing after Stupid.. er, I mean Cupid (a.k.a. The crazed redhead hottie stalking Ollie) killed another murderer - a man who stabbed his out of control girlfriend for no readily apparent reason - in the midst of the recent rioting?
Refresh my memory - wasn't Dinah chewing Ollie out a few months ago for admitting that he sometimes wanted to kill the violent killer super-villains he fought against. And now she's chewing him out for NOT giving into that urge with a violent killer super-villain, who just happens to be a gorgeous redhead who is after her man?
The whole scene not only makes Dinah look controlling and jealous (which makes no sense) but it also makes her look like a hypocritical bitch, seeing as how most of her half of the comic centers upon her dealing with the consequences of what happens when a hero loses control. In this case, Dinah losing control of her powers back in issue #15 deafened a young musician, who became inspired to build a device that could cure his deafness, instill deafness in others and release sonic blasts. Calls himself Discord.
Kreisberg does himself no favors here incidentally. He has Discord's younger brother show up and note that what Discord has built to fix his hearing could revolutionize the hearing-aid industry, asking why he is wasting such a thing on petty revenge when he could be healing the world. The answer, naturally, is a sonic blast which knocks said brother off the roof.
Here's a piece of free advice for you writers out there; the only time you should ever point out that a supervillain's technology could be more profitable being used for good than evil is when you are writing a comedic deconstruction of the genre (a.k.a. Patton Oswalt's JLA: Welcome to the Working Week) or when you are dealing with mercenary characters like Mirror Master, who are only in it for the cash and will happily play hero or villain for the right price.
What really takes the cake though, is the flashback sequences in which Kreisberg - apparently not content with ruining two characters- has to make Wildcat (Ted Grant) and the original Black Canary (Dinah Drake Lance) look foolish. Here's the quick outline of what has been happening in the flashbacks.
1. A young Dinah injures her best friend/crush when she discovers her powers as a teenager.
2. Dinah tells her mom what happens. Terrified and in tears, Dinah Sr. calls "a friend" and asks them to watch Dinah and see what they can find out.
3. Dinah Jr. realizes she is being followed, runs home, and is shocked when a man in a cat suit suddenly jumps through the kitchen window.
4. Dinah Sr. gives Ted Grant an earful, says he was just supposed to figure out if Dinah Jr. is a metahuman or not and then find a way to cure her.
5. It is at this point that Dinah Jr. finds out that Dinah Sr. was The Black Canary and was a member of the JSA back in the day. She apparently retired to be a stay-home mom.
6. Ted Grant talks to Dinah Jr. in the backyard and says he can teach her out to fight and maybe learn the control she needs. He has this talk, with Dinah Sr. standing on the back porch, apparently watching everything.
It's pretty well established - in multiple sources - that Dinah Jr. grew up knowing who her mom was and having all the other JSA members as adopted uncles. This whole sequence pretty much confirms what we've long suspected - Kreisberg hasn't read one issue of Birds of Prey, much less the flashback issue there which showed that Dinah Sr. was an active heroine for a good long while and that Dinah Jr. was long aware of her mom's double life, to the point of staying up all night worrying and fixing breakfast for her superhero mom and detective dad as they got home from their late-night jobs.
But even if we ignore the history and continuity issues that only scholars like me are likely to know or care about, how do you explain away...
1. Why is Dinah Sr. terrified of the possibility that her daughter is a metahuman? This isn't Marvel, for crying out loud!
2. Out of all the people she knew who could figure out if her daughter is a metahuman (Dr. Midnite is a medical doctor, Hourman is a pharmacologist, Starman is a scientist, etc), why did she call the professional boxer who dresses like a cat?
3. For that matter, you'd expect Ted Grant to have more common sense than to wear his costume when he's supposed to be observing someone unseen.
4. You'd also expect Ted to have better sense than to jump through a friend's kitchen window, breaking the glass, just to show off.
5. I don't like the idea that Dinah Sr. gave up heroing just to be a stay at home mom. Didn't even run the Floral shop as a side business, it seems. Hardly seems like the actions of a woman who would become a superheroine in the first place.
6. I REALLY don't like how the decision to become a superheroine seems to have been suggested to Dinah Jr. by Ted, rather than it being her idea before she went to Ted begging for training behind the back of her disapproving mother. Again, I skimmed... but that's I think the book played out.
I really need to stop glancing through this book. It does me no good and I think I'm preaching to the choir at this point about how this comic sucks.
EDIT NOTE: I forgot to mention this as I was trying to remember the story writing the above, but in the last splash panel depicting Dinah - no longer depressed as she was a relative page earlier at the revelation that she inspired a super-villain to villainy - is jumping over the rooftops in triumph...
... with the front of her costume clearly unzipped. Seriously, the ring to her zipper is right there around her cleavage!
EDIT TO THE EDIT NOTE: Thanks to innerbrat for scanning this for me.