Monday, 7 March 2016

Black Canary, Volume 1: Kicking and Screaming Review (Brenden Fletcher, Annie Wu)


I looked forward to Gotham Academy mainly because I’m a Becky Cloonan fan who enjoyed her By Chance or Providence comics and her more recent series, Southern Cross; but I didn’t care for the series when I read the first volume. I was curious about the new Batgirl title because Cameron Stewart’s a fine artist and a decent storyteller (see Sin Titulo); but it was dreadful. The common thing tying the two titles together? The co-writer on both, Brenden Fletcher.

So I approached Black Canary with some wariness - was he the reason why those other books sucked? Seeing as he’s the only writer on this one, it would be the acid test. After reading this comic I can say most definitely OH HELL YES, Brenden Fletcher is the king of shite comics writing! 

Black Canary has an amazing art team with both Annie Wu (Hawkeye) and Pia Guerra (Y: The Last Man) both drawing issues and the brilliant Lee Loughridge (Deadly Class) colouring; but Fletcher’s writing is so stupendously terrible, none of that matters - this was an utterly abysmal reading experience. The subtitle, Kicking and Screaming, describes what my brain was doing while I was enduring his Black Canary! 

The word naff was invented for this comic - Naff Canary! So Black Canary is in a punk band called Black Canary because she wants to raise money or some stupid thing and they’re known as “the most dangerous band in America” apparently. Are everyone’s eyes still in their heads or have they rolled out? There’s no plot, it’s just nonsense from there on out. Something about a sound alien and nobody’s favourite character Amanda Waller shows up, blah blah blah.

I love comics but it’s not a medium that can do everything. One thing I’ve never seen it do well is convey music to the reader and music and sound are a huge part of this comic. Just watching Black Canary and the band posing and being told they’re playing amazing music continually underlines the limitations of comics in this area. And the faux music press write-ups were painful. “Burnside Tofu Exclusives” written by “Tantoo La Biche”. Christ, you can smell the PBR wafting off the page! 

What else... the supporting cast are a forgettable group of loathsome hipsters including a child called Ditto - yes, they have a fucking child in this band! Dinah decides to teach these morons to shoot and one of them instantly becomes a deadshot because shooting guns is easy right? There’s a retarded rivalry set up between another hipster singer in a clumsy attempt to create tension, which it doesn’t do. 

I suppose I should try to be a little objective - the art team deserve some praise here. Annie Wu and Pia Guerra produce fine work and I liked seeing Dinah fighting the sound alien where their battle scene was depicted to look like musical notes on song-paper. Loughridge’s colours are awesome too - definitely has that Deadly Class feel. 

This Black Canary really wants to be fun, inventive, and exciting like Scott Pilgrim and it’s the polar opposite. All Brenden Fletcher does is show how talented Bryan Lee O’Malley is and how clueless he is in comparison. Do yourselves a favour and avoid anything with this Fletcher guy’s name on the cover. Paste Magazine called this the “Best Comic of the Year”? Fucking hell Paste Magazine, I hope the payola was worth it! 

Clearly Black Canary is for some people – if you enjoyed Gotham Academy and the Batgirl of Burnside comics, this is more of the same – but all I know is I hated it and will never read another comic written by Brenden Fletcher again.

Black Canary, Volume 1: Kicking and Screaming

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