The Many Songs of the Black Canary

CW’s take on the DC Universe has always been a rather interesting one. Starting with a 10-year run on the Superman mythos with Smallville, and attempts at Aquaman and Wonder Woman, the network has never shied away from putting their own unique spin on things. A good couple of years after the hype of Smallville had died off, the network was back at it again with Arrow, infamously helmed by the same people to be blamed for the Green Lantern movie in 2011.

And five years later, here we are with a quadruple dose of superhero awesomeness weekly (with more to come), and also a quadruple dose of Black Canaries thus far (with maybe more to come?)… wait, what?

This week, we’re properly introduced to a new character named Tina Boland… whose real name is actually Dinah Drake. That’s right, the Dinah Drake. For those of us familiar with the comics, we all know that Dinah Drake, or Dinah Drake Lance, is the real name of the real Black Canary… a name that’s already been used twice by two other people—both surnamed Lance—and a third time, somewhat, by Evelyn Sharp (who now goes by Artemis). And, let’s not forget that Dinah Drake was also the name of Laurel’s and Sara’s mother.

Now, while I’m open to a fair bit of creative liberty being taken with source material in their adaptation (like Ollie ending up with Felicity instead of Dinah), this seems a little unnecessarily complicated.

Before going any further, here’s a little bit of history:- At its most complicated, the DC comics had two Black Canaries. Much like Green Lanterns or Flashes or Green Arrows, the Black Canary was kind of a legacy heroine as well. Originally a member of the Justice Society of America in the ‘40s, this Black Canary was named Dinah Drake and would get married to a police officer named Lawrence Lance having a child named Dinah Laurel Lance.

Much like her mother, Dinah Laurel Lance would go on to become a super heroine, honouring her mother’s alter-ego (mostly to spite her), and, influenced by her uncles in the Justice Society, would go on to become a founding (or early) member of the Justice League of America. Unlike her mother, though, this Dinah possessed an active metagene which allowed her to wield the deadly “Canary Cry,” a supersonic scream.

While Dinah Senior and Junior were often at odds, due to the former wanting the latter to have a safe, non-superhero lifestyle, they eventually reconciled shortly before the elder’s death by way of cancer.