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White Canary: Why Isn't the Arrowverse Hero in Comics?

White Canary Green Arrow Rebirth

Later this year, The CW's Arrow will come to an end after kicking off a TV superhero universe during its eight-season run. While the show was ostensibly an adaptation of Green Arrow's comic book adventures, the show featured several notable elements that were created entirely for the show.

Chief among these creations was Sara Lance, the sister of Laurel Lance, who's usually Black Canary and Green Arrow's primarily love interest in comics. Despite Sara's popularity in both Arrow and her leading role in the spinoff series Legends of Tomorrow, she hasn't made the jump from the screen to the comics yet. Since it isn't exactly unheard of with breakout characters, Sara's absence in the comics makes less and less sense. Despite this, DC could still take advantage of the character's appeal and give her the comic book treatment she deserves.

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The Complicated Origin of Sara Lance

Arrow Sara Lance

On Arrow, Sara was secretly cheating with her sister's boyfriend Oliver Queen on his boat, Queen's Gambit, behind Laurel's back. The shipwreck which strands Oliver on the island supposedly claims Sara and much of the other passengers, until she shows up later in Oliver's flashbacks as a captive of the rogue scientist Anthony Ivo. She was believed dead again when she was swept away on Ivo's ship by a current, but was actually taken in by Nyssa Al Ghul and the League of Assassins. There, she was trained in intense martial arts, becoming a skilled warrior.

Sara eventually returns to Star(ling) City to protect her family, after the tragedy inflicted upon the city by rogue League operative Malcolm Merlyn. She becomes as a the vigilante known as the Canary, named after a moniker she had earned while with the League of Assassins. She is eventually killed (for real, this time) by a drugged Thea Queen, which is used by Merlyn to pit Ras Al Ghul and Oliver Queen against each other.

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She was eventually resurrected by her sister Laurel, who had taken over as the Black Canary role, and Thea but lacked a soul and was inhumanly savage and volatile. Oliver enlists the magic expert John Constantine to retrieve her soul and reunite it with her body.

After leaving Star City for a new start, she is recruited by the time traveler Rip Hunter to track down the immortal villain Vandal Savage. Before leaving for her time-tossed adventures with the Legends of Tomorrow, she is given a new costume and name from her sister, and becomes the White Canary.

White Canary In the Comics

White Canary

The White Canary titled existed briefly before Arrow, but she was an entirely different character. Created by Gail Simone and Ed Benes in 2010's Birds of Prey #1, this woman was an arch rival of Black Canary with no biological relation to her. Instead, she was the daughter of a legendary fighter named Huang, who raised 12 sons to be the heir to his martial legacy. All of his daughters were killed, except for one unnamed girl who survived a lightning strike that killed her midwife. Training as an adult, she tracked down and killed her failed brothers who had been defeated by Black Canary and the Birds of Prey.

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Although she attacked Black Canary and threatened her team, she would eventually aid them against Lady Shiva, who had originally sent her against the Birds of Prey. Though she promised to cross paths with Black Canary again, the promise was left unkept.

Not long after her introduction, DC would begin the New 52 reboot, which effectively erased most of its continuity at that point. Outside of an appearance in the Ame-Comi Girls toyline and comic book series, this version of the White Canary has yet to reappear.

Where is White Canary?

In the continuity haze of the New 52, John Diggle, another original Arrow character, joined the comic book DC Universe in Jeff Lemire and Andrea Sorentino's Green Arrow #24 in 2013. That character very much resembles his character on the series. Even though he wasn't around for too long, his precedent sets a precedent for bringing Arrowverse characters into DC's comic book world.

After the New 52 ended, DC launched Rebirth to undo some of the more controversial elements of the New 52, and restore some characters' past histories to continuity. A few characters who are still mostly following their New 52 continuity, however, are Green Arrow and Black Canary.

Ironically, this is actually a potential boon for Sara. Given the fact that the original comic book White Canary has essentially been discarded, DC could easily introduce Sara Lance as the official White Canary into the comics without contradicting anything.

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Much of Black Canary's Rebirth-era personal history has yet to be fleshed out, and her sister could easily  be introduced the Rebirth continuity's White Canary without upsetting too many established stories, especially considering the lingering effects of Doctor Manhattan's toying with the DCU in Doomsday Clock.

With the recently announced new Birds of Prey title coming later this year, Brian Azzarello, Emanuela Lupacchino, Ray McCarthy and Trish Mulvihill would have the perfect opportunity to flesh out Dinah's back story outside of Green Arrow. This could include her family life and possibly offer a way to introduce a Sara. Conversely, he could also introduce elements of Sara's characters that were integral to Arrow, such as her training with the League of Assassins and relationship with Nyssa Al Ghul.

Even if Arrow is ending, Sara Lance will live on as one of DC's most prominent female heroes in Legends of Tomorrow. Hopefully, it won't be too long before she gets to suit up as White Canary in the comic book DCU too.

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