This issue starts with a piercing noise that deafens Star City and ends with Oliver Queen destined for a night on the couch. Finishing up a storyline that has put a great deal of strain on the relationship between the titular characters, this issue also includes a second feature that allows more of the story to be told, from a slightly different point of view.
The difference in inking styles between Rubenstein and Sienkiewicz is well played and strongly accentuated by the colorists accompanying those inkers. Rubenstein and Passalaqua enhance Norton’s tale of Black Canary’s struggle with Discord, a foe we are led to believe was created inadvertently by Black Canary herself. That segment is paced by a flashback to a simpler time in Black Canary’s life, shortly after she discovered her canary cry, but before she assumed her mother’s mantle. More clean-edged in style and traditional in color palette, Canary’s adventure is a heroic escapade. Green Arrow’s team-up with Cupid is less stable, featuring the jagged edges and grit of Sienkiewicz’s inks and a jarringly muted color palette that propels the characters out of the backgrounds. Each style suits the character and the action in each story.
Kreisberg uses the second feature format to split this issue into a “he said/she said” story of sorts. While Green Arrow appears in the first three pages, his immediate reaction to the exploding building isn’t revealed until the second feature, where we follow Green Arrow and his gal pal, Cupid, to a murder scene. The main story features flashbacks not only for Canary, but also for Discord, the villain of this tale. The actual conflagration between Discord and Canary is a brief conflict, but the conversations between Wildcat, Dinah, and her mother (the original Black Canary) really fuel the story, suggesting that perhaps Black Canary is at a crossroads in her career and personal life. Kreisberg doesn’t seem driven to disregard everything that other writers have established about Black Canary, he simply seems driven to add to the character’s deep, rich history and make-up.
This series has picked up a bit of steam lately, and with Norton drawing both the feature and second feature (plus he’s drawing the “Blue Beetle” second feature over in “Booster Gold”; rumor has it he’s also Santa Claus) every issue from this point forward is going to seem like a bonus-sized issue. Great for fans of Black Canary and/or Green Arrow, and convenient for Kreisberg and Norton, giving them extra room to let their stories stretch out a bit more.