When Brave and the Bold #166 (S'80) came out, it was one of my regular DC books and it featured Batman teaming with his JLA teammate, the Black Canary. Now the Blonde Bombshell never came out well in her B&B appearances but even my fifteen year old self knew this one was wrong on so many levels!

Written by Michael Fleisher, best known for The Spectre and Jonah Hex, it portrayed a Black Canary who clearly was not qualified to help the Dark Knight against the terrifying menace of......the Penguin! She tried to interrogate a criminal who was completely unimpressed with her until, unbeknownst to her, Batman stands behind her! She is taken captured by the Penguin's men far too easily and is their helpless prisoner.

The Penguin sends an impersonator to basically seduce Batman as if that was her normal behavior. And where did they get a Black Canary outfit? They stripped it off her and left her tied up in her underwear! She doesn't escape; she waits until Batman comes to rescue her where she kisses her hero!

Where to start?

First Black Canary is treated like a novice compared to Batman when she started her career in 1947! She is a member of the Justice League who battled cosmic menaces and world-wide threats and she can't handle the Penguin?? To put it into context, in Justice League of America #135, it took Green Arrow FOUR panels to stop the Bold Bird of Banditry!

And she possesses a real, honest super-power!

Now Dick Giordano drew this story beautifully as usual but he was a major Black Canary contributor so making her just the fan-service of the tale is mind-boggling!

The Bronze Age didn't give Black Canary too many highlights but this is her nadir!

This story could not be published today and I'm still amazed it was out in 1980!

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  To be fair who looks more menacing?  A six foot guy in a dark costume with a reputation or a beautiful blonde?  Also 1980 was still the 1970's with all the attitudes of that decade.  In World's Finest when she was teamed with Green Arrow Dinah was often over powered.  As skilled as she was in martial arts all you really had to do back then was outnumber her and have a gag ready.  

As skilled as Black Canary is in martial arts, she doesn't need to look menacing, she needs to be formidable. It doesn't help if the writers don't write her that way. Chuck Dixon and Gail Simone did a lot in Birds of Prey to fix that.

You can go through all of Black Canary's Bronze Age appearances and be hard-pressed to create a "Top Ten Moments" list.

Especially comparing her to, say, Batgirl or Hawkgirl.

I'm pretty sure the idea of Dinah being one of DC's top martial artists was a Post-Crisis thing. As I recall most of her Bronze Age ajppearances she was shown to be a reasonable hand-to-hand combatant, but nothing particularly noteworthy or special.

In fact, I recall many of her late 1970's appearances being extremely high on the cheesecake.

Didn't she just appear on Earth-1 thinking she was the 1947 Black Canary when she was actually her daughter in some weird story that didn't make a whole lot of sense? Did that version have any training or did she just somehow absorb it from her mother?

There was a Secret Origins issue featuring Dr. Fate, Lightray, and Black Canary in the 1970s. The latter said she was being taught things like gymnastics by her father from a very young age.

When it was decided that Black Canary was really her own daughter, the story went that baby Dinah was cursed with a sonic cry, and the best the JSA could do was send the infant to the Thunderbolt Dimension, where she was basically placed in a coma (just how much damage could a sonic blast do in a dimension made of energy instead of matter?), so by the time her mother was dying from the effects of the same blast that killed her father, Dinah Junior was physically an adult, and mentally a blank slate.  It was decided to transfer Dinah Senior's memories, which presumably included her training and skills, into her daughter's body, and send the "new" Black Canary to Earth-1 with the JLA, while all the JSA & JLA members who knew about this pretending that she was really the original article.  Exactly how a woman who'd spent her entire life in a coma had the physical ability to make use of her mother's training remains a mystery--I guess we can blame the Thunderbolt.  As annoying as that whole story was, it did, most likely unintentionally, explain why Black Canary seemed to act more like a lost little girl during most of her  post-JSA appearances than the seasoned super-heroine she was supposed to be.

And Jim Shooter had absolutely nothing to do with that story.

Pre-Crisis or Post-Crisis?

Either way, my head hurts.

Dave Elyea said:

When it was decided that Black Canary was really her own daughter, the story went that baby Dinah was cursed with a sonic cry, and the best the JSA could do was send the infant to the Thunderbolt Dimension, where she was basically placed in a coma (just how much damage could a sonic blast do in a dimension made of energy instead of matter?), so by the time her mother was dying from the effects of the same blast that killed her father, Dinah Junior was physically an adult, and mentally a blank slate.  It was decided to transfer Dinah Senior's memories, which presumably included her training and skills, into her daughter's body, and send the "new" Black Canary to Earth-1 with the JLA, while all the JSA & JLA members who knew about this pretending that she was really the original article.  Exactly how a woman who'd spent her entire life in a coma had the physical ability to make use of her mother's training remains a mystery--I guess we can blame the Thunderbolt.  As annoying as that whole story was, it did, most likely unintentionally, explain why Black Canary seemed to act more like a lost little girl during most of her  post-JSA appearances than the seasoned super-heroine she was supposed to be.

Pre-Crisis, actually.

Post-Crisis, everyone knew that the Black Canary who was a founding member of the JLA was the daughter of the one who was part of the JSA.  However, no one seemed to be able to remember from one story line to the next if the original Canary was dead or still alive, or if she'd insisted her daughter follow in her mesh-stockinged footsteps, or if Dinah Junior had trained in secret against her mother's wishes.

Things were crazy before the crisis, they were even crazier afterwards.

Dave Elyea said:

Post-Crisis, everyone knew that the Black Canary who was a founding member of the JLA was the daughter of the one who was part of the JSA.  However, no one seemed to be able to remember from one story line to the next if the original Canary was dead or still alive, or if she'd insisted her daughter follow in her mesh-stockinged footsteps, or if Dinah Junior had trained in secret against her mother's wishes.

Not only that -- they didn't even know her mother's name! There were a few issues of Birds of Prey where they tried to push the notion that the Golden Age Black Canary's first name was "Diana." Fortunately, it didn't stick.

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