Black Canary is one of DC Comics’ prime legacy heroes. The original Black Canary (Dinah Drake) , her mother, appeared towards the tail end of the Golden Age of comics in Flash Comics #86 (August 1947) as a masked crime fighter who posed as a criminal to get closer to her targets. She quickly lost the mask, became more conventional, and joined the Justice Society (the forerunner of the Justice League). Her daughter (Dinah Laurel Lance) grew-up around the members of the Justice Society and heard from them about her mother’s exploits. Then when she was old enough the younger Dinah borrowed her mother’s costumed identity (stole it really) and became a second generation Black Canary. The younger Canary did have an advantage however. Her mother was just a good fighter, but Canary II possessed a “canary cry”, an ultrasonic scream that could stun bad guys or shatter concrete.
Black Canary has remained popular because… well because she’s a blond in fish nets and a leather jacket. For years Canary II was the on/off girlfriend Oliver Queen (the Green Arrow), but Queen’s wandering eye would often drive a wedge between them. Canary was on her own and at a low ebb when she was recruited by Oracle (Barbara Gordon – Commissioner Gordon’s daughter, the former Batgirl) to become the first operative of something called the “Birds of Prey”. This is a loose association of female superheroes and crime fighters who Oracle calls upon to undertake covert Mission Impossible style missions. The concept was adapted for the short lived Birds of Prey TV series with Rachel Skarsten playing the younger Black Canary. More recently Alaina Huffman has been playing Black Canary in Smallville.
This Black Canary is Young Justice’s trainer. In her opening speech she alludes to her own mentors which would, if we’re following normal DC canon, be a reference to the Justice Society. She is voiced by Vanessa Marshall who played Wonder Woman in Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths and Huntress in Justice League Heroes. Just like Black Canary’s mother, Marshall’s mother is in the same business – she’s Joan Van Ark who voiced Spider-Woman in the 1979 Marvel cartoon (admittedly that one of her smaller roles). This makes for interesting casting possibilities is they ever need to cast the senior Canary.
Black Canary is a member of the Justice League. No origin is given for her, but she hints at her own mentors which could be the elder Canary’s team-mates in the Justice Society. Canary was present when Batman announced that he was creating the Young Justice covert group. She was assigned or volunteered to be the team’s trainer (“Fireworks”).
Canary’s first lesson for the team was about acting rather than reacting and about not letting your opponent dictate the term of the battle. Superboy scoffed at her advice as he assumed that his raw power would automatically give him the upper-hand in any battle. She proved him wrong in the training room, but it wasn’t until he and Robin used her advice to defeat the Amazo Android – something it had taken Canary and seven other Leaguers four hours to defeat – that he was humbled and returned to her for instruction (“Schooled”).
Powers and Abilities
Black Canary is a skilled martial artist and was able to easily floor the super-fast Kid Flash and the super-strong Superboy. She also possesses a true superpower, a piercing sonic scream that can hint opponents like a jack hammer.