Dinah Drake (Black Canary)

Dinah DrakeThis week’s Arrow episode Dead to Rights introduced another character during the very last minutes: Dinah Drake, mother to Laurel and ex-wife of Quentin Lance. Portrayed by Alex Kingston, it seems that Dinah abandoned her daughter when she was young, and Laurel cut very bond with her following this event. The character already appeared in Birds of Prey, portrayed by Lori Loughlin: her name was changed into Carolyn Lance, a former super heroine going by the codename Black Canary, who was able to activate her signature Canary Cry by whistling. In the comics, she is quite different from both versions: she is indeed Black Canary, but she never had the Canary Cry, an exclusive ability of her daughter’s. Let’s see together.

Dinah Drake was born in Gotham City, a city overrun by criminality. She was the daughter of a renowned police officer, Richard Drake, and also her grandfather, and her grand-grandfather, were policemen. She inherited from her family the will to fight injustice, and she wanted to enter police too, but she was a woman, and it was 1947, and women weren’t allowed to be agents. Dinah surely didn’t want to enter police just to be a secretary, and gave up. When Richard, disillusioned, died from a heart attack, she decided to honor his memory fighting crime her own way. She started training by herself, in order to be prepared to blackcanarycomics1fight in the streets on her own. She became a skilled martial artist, and created a secret identity, the Black Canary, to protect herself and her family: wearing a blonde wig over her natural black hair, she started patroling the streets as a vigilante. Soon she realized that criminals weren’t stupid enough to just  let themselves been beaten, and she had to develop something that at least looked like a plan. She started the rumor about a fierce lady criminal, the Black Canary, who was interested in entering in business with Gotham’s mob. The bait looked more than pleasing for the biggest fish in the sea, and Black Canary entered some of the most ruthless and dangerous gangs in town, waiting for the right moment for breaking the gangs up from the inside. In that period, Black Canary met superhero Johnny Thunder, who was supposed to fight her, but actually fell in love with her (much to the dislike of Yz the Thunderbolt, the genie that granted him his powers). Johnny’s moral issue was solved soon after, when Black Canary revealed herself as a fellow superhero: together, the two of them took apart many of Gotham’s worst criminal gangs.

Unfortunately for Johnny Thunder, Dinah’s heart was already taken: she had fallen in love with Gotham City’s police officer Larry Lance, and the two formed a stable couple. Anyway, Dinah and Johnny remained friends, and when the latter’s powers became too blackcanarycomics2unstable and unpredictable and forced him to leave the Justice Society of America, he recomended Black Canary as a replacement, and Dinah finally entered the world of the big ones. Meanwhile, as Dinah Drake, she had married Larry Lance and had opened a florist shop. She also became close friends with Laurel, a libriarian, with whom she spent most of her time as a private citizen. Dinah and Larry had a daughter, and she chose to name her Dinah Laurel, after her best friend. The child was cursed at her birth by The Wizard, and every cry from her resulted in an uncontrollable destructive energy. Dinah asked her friend Johnny Thunder for help, but he couldn’t do anything but to put the girl in Thunderbolt’s dimension, until a cure could have been found. She would have become able to control her cry with age, and, against her mother’s will, she would have started her own superhero career. Dinah got widowed when the JSA battled a living constellation, Aquarius, a cosmic being of immense power: the creature was defeated, but Larry died for saving his wife’s life. The battle had some consequences also on Dinah, and, some years after, she would have found out that the radiations absorbed during the fight had infected her with cancer. Before that, Black Canary would have fought any kind of injustice along with her fellow heroes, parenting quite a problematic superhuman daughter and staying faithful to her oath with her deceased father.

Dinah Drake is a strong and determined woman, with an incredible willpower and a tough character, which makes her just as fit as any man in fighting criminality. She has her secret, sweet sides of personality, but she only reveals them to her husband Larry and her daughter Laurel. As Black Canary, she is a superb martial artist, one of the best fighter on the planet. She doesn’t use any kind of lethal techniques or weapons, firmly believing to be fighting for the law, despite officially being outside of it.

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5 Comments

  1. […] he tried to attack Opal City once again with this new power, but Starman, this time teamed up with Black Canary, stopped him […]

  2. […] Canary saw her origins changed and retold during the years. At first, the original Black Canary, Dinah Drake, travelled to another dimension, Earth-2, and became a member of the Justice League of America. […]

  3. […] mind control continued even after the android’s construction. When two superheroes, Dinah Drake aka Black Canary and Ralph Dibny aka Elongated Man arrived to MegaCorp following an […]

  4. […] code. He often helped his former colleagues in the resolution of hard cases. In Gotham, he met Dinah Drake, whose sense of justice was just as strong as his own: she tried to become a policewoman, but, […]

  5. […] seems that finally a new Black Canary has joined the team in Arrow…and her secret identity is actually the one of the very first […]


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