At an age when most young people are uncertain about everything, Dinah Lance knows exactly what she wants out of life. More, she’s certain that she’s destined for big things and doing things that will change the world. The problem is that nobody else wants her to do all the things that she knows she can do.
Her father won’t let her join the GCPD Junior Police Academy, even though she’s a great detective. Her principal has it out for her and blames Dinah for every single random act of destruction around the school. And the band she formed with her best friends Kat and Vee are amazing and are sure to be a household name someday… as soon as they figure out what that name is going to be.
Fate has other plans for Dinah Lance, though she may someday become as famous a figure as in her dreams. But first she’ll have to solve the mystery of the strange figure shadowing her and what it has to do with her mother and a secret from her past that has come back to threaten them both. A secret that will show Dinah a side of her mother she never knew existed and the destiny that awaits her…
Black Canary: Ignite is a story that has been sorely needed for some time. Not only because DC Zoom’s new line of graphic novels aimed at middle-grade readers is satisfying the needs of a population that has been long-neglected by the mainstream comic book industry. (Seriously. How many of Brian Michael Bendis’ new Wonder Comics line for youths is aimed at 16+ audiences?) but also because DC Comics has sorely needed a modernized origin story for Black Canary that truly takes advantage of the character’s history and presents one of the few mother/daughter legacies in American superhero comics.
Many characters had their histories messed-up by the New 52 revamp, but Dinah Lance got one of the worst new backstories. A street-urchin in Gotham City who was adopted by a kindly old-sensei who taught her everything he knew about fighting, she was conscripted into the service of the government, developed a sonic scream after an experiment and went on the run after accidentally killing her husband. This was all sloppily retconned by a Black Canary limited series, which decided to turn Dinah Lance into a rock star, although it was never clear just how famous she was or why she thought fronting a rock band was a good way to stay under the radar of Amanda Waller, from whom she was hiding. But whatever.
Black Canary: Ignite is a throw-back to the glorious days of the Post-Crisis era, where Dinah Lance was a JLA founder and a second-generation superhero. While the timeline is decidedly different here and both Black Canaries have a sonic scream superpower, the classic legacy detailed in Gail Simone’s Birds of Prey and Mark Waid’s JLA: Year One is firmly fixed in the middle of this story. Meg Cabot does a fantastic job of playing with the various elements of Dinah’s background from over the years and blending them into a new cohesive whole. I especially like the touch that Ted “Wildcat” Grant is working as a middle-school athletics coach and starts giving Dinah fighting lessons to teach her the control and patience she sorely needs.
The artwork by Cara McGee and Caitlin Quirk is sure to appeal to the target audience. The entire book has the feel of a shojo manga, with soft colors, expressive yet streamlined faces and plenty of speed lines when the action starts. And while most of this book may be devoted to the classic coming-of-age shenanigans that dominate YA literate aimed at young women, there is action aplenty for us old-school Black Canary fans who are in it for the martial arts and the butt-kicking.
Black Canary fans rejoice! While Cabot, McGee and Quirk’s take on Dinah Lance is different, the heart of the Bird of Prey we love beats fiercely within Black Canary: Ignite. A must-read for any fan of the character and anyone who enjoys good YA entertainment.
Black Canary: Ignite is now available at comic shops everywhere.
It will be available on Comixology and regular bookstores on October 29, 2019.