Current Reviews


Green Arrow and Black Canary #1

Posted: Tuesday, October 16, 2007
By: Shawn Hill

ďHere Comes the BrideĒ

Writer: Judd Winick
Artist: Cliff Chiang

Publisher: DC Comics

Plot: Canary has had a month of bad days. Connor and Mia and the League take note. Most of them even understand her loss. Which is more than Canary can say for herself right now.

Comments: How to rate this book? Itís a challenge. It has some great things going for it. It also has some looming pitfalls, just waiting to trip it up. Do I grade it in fear of what might come to be? Or do I relax and enjoy whatís plenty good enough for a debut issue?

The problem comes down to the creative team. Cliff Chiang is an amazing comic book storyteller. Iíve only previously see him strut his stuff on a silly and dismissible Dr. 13 story in Tales of the Unexpected, and an arcane and rather pretentious non-canonical period version of the Creeper set in France. I didnít find the former story funny, and the latter one I enjoyed but it was hardly mainstream superheroics.

This issue is mainstream, as topical as the DC universe gets and Chiang pulls it off wonderfully. He has a bit of an Amanda Conner cartoonishness, but this in no way interferes with his dramatic storytelling. Thereís little silly titillation (rare for a Black Canary book), and lots of solid sequential storytelling and iconic views of recognizable characters. His characters are attractive, expressive when still and competent in action. Chiangís biggest strength may be the amount of expression he packs in to each page while using only the bare minimum of detail. Not many can pull this off; Chas Truog and the artists who work on Y: The Last Man come to mind, and thatís about it. The book is gorgeous from cover to cover.

But the writer is known for his dubious achievement of killing Donna Troy and Omen in one gimmicky issue of Teen Titans/Young Justice. Those distressing events give a certain spin to villains revealed at the end of this issue; the ones whom I thought had just completed a crossover which left them in quite a different position than how we find them here.

Are they as guilty as they appear, or is something else going on? A lot hinges on that question, and while I know Winick was one of the saner cast members ever on Real World, was really nice to Pedro, and married a doctor, Iíve found his comics work to be a bumpy ride. He delighted in beating Jade up in Outsiders, collaborated on a clichť denouement for Indigo/Braniac that hurt both his own book and Teen Titans, and writes way too much Kyle Lantern for my tastes.

This issue he portrays a reckless, violent Canary, though her feelings are understandable. Sheís got friends and family of exceptional skill to be smart for her, and itís great to see just how respected and loved she is. While Iím not all that sure about his ability to depict a sane Canary, Iím fine with his Green Lantern and Batman, who are her main allies this issue. Thanks mostly to Chiangís undeniable talent, Iíll definitely check back in next issue in hope of the best. But it could really go either way at this point.

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