As the true love of Oliver Queen in the comics, Black Canary has yet to catch a break when it comes to the latest live-action adaptation of the character. Thus far, the show has gone through multiple Canaries; first, Sara Lance burst onto the screen in black, before being killed, resurrected, and then becoming the time-travelling White Canary.
Then, Laurel Lance began training as the new Canary after her sister’s death, eventually becoming a full-fledged superhero and using a mechanical Canary Cry… before she, too, met her end. Two Canaries down, and a third appeared on the scene.
This third incarnation was short-lived, however, as it turned out to be Evelyn, a copy-cat who then became the traitorous Artemis. Then the doppelgänger of the original Laurel returned, as the evil Black Siren (who is sure to wreak some new havoc in the upcoming season), before a final Black Canary arrived on the scene: Dinah Drake. With her own Canary Cry and a new spot on Team Arrow, it looks like Black Canary may finally get the treatment she deserves…
However, it’s not just on Arrow that Black Canary has a rough time of things, however. In the comics as well, she’s been dealt some seriously bad hands over the years — from literal torture to her emotionally tortuous relationship with the Green Arrow, this pretty bird has been to hell and back again.
With that said, here are the 15 Worst Things That Ever Happened To Black Canary.
15. SHE WAS LED TO BELIEVE THAT SHE MURDERED HER HUSBAND
Post-Flashpoint, Black Canary is wanted by the police for murder. She is accused of killing a man by using her canary cry to shatter his skull… and has even admitted to the crime.
It turns out that, when she was younger, Dinah had a short-lived marriage to a man named Kurt Lance, a fellow member of Team 7. She believed that she had killed him with her powers, a secret that tormented her, although she attempted to move past it as she left Team 7 and formed the Birds of Prey.
However, she later learned that Kurt was alive and had been secretly working with Amanda Waller the entire time. Thie whole time, no-one had told her that she hadn’t, in fact, kill a man she loved at all.
14. SHE WAS BEATEN BY VIETNAMESE WARRIORS
After leaving Seattle and Green Arrow behind, Black Canary joined forces with Oracle and Huntress to form the Birds of Prey — a team that would grow significantly as time went on.
At one point during her time with the Birds of Prey, Canary swapped lives with Lady Shiva so that each could gain something from the experiences of the other. Lady Shiva fought with the Birds of Prey as the Jade Canary, and Dinah traveled through the life experiences of the other.
This included a hideous childhood experience of being brutally beaten and abused by a circle of men in a shanty town in the Vietnamese jungle. She is repeatedly broken down and attacked — the same way that Shiva was as a child- – and, although she chose to go through these experiences, it doesn’t make them any less brutal.
13. HER ADOPTED DAUGHTER WAS KILLED BY GREEN ARROW
During her time as Lady Shiva, Black Canary met a little girl named Sin, who was being groomed to take over as the next Lady Shiva. When Canary left the village, she took Sin with her, and began to raise her as a daughter of her own.
However, Sin was not able to live a peaceful life with Dinah, as she was hunted by the League of Assassins and targeted by Canary’s enemies, who hoped to use the girl to manipulate Black Canary.
Green Arrow, realizing that Sin would never be safe with Dinah, faked her death in order to save her. However, he didn’t tell Dinah the plan. Instead, he allowed her to believe that her daughter had been killed so that her grief would be convincing… even though he knew it would break her heart.
12. SHE WAS BETRAYED AND POISONED BY IVY
Although Poison Ivy is often thought of as a villain of the DC universe, she joined forces with Birds of Prey at one point… and then lived up to her reputation by betraying them and poisoning Black Canary.
Ivy is brought by the team to the Amazon in order to connect with the Green (the source of her power) at a point when she is near death. However, once there, Ivy reveals that it was a a trap, and that she has injected her teammates with a toxin that will kill them… unless they help her.
Knowing that they won’t be the only ones to die if they don’t help, the Birds go Bad, helping Ivy in her ecoterrorism. They eventually are able to break free and recover from the toxins, but Canary’s trust and her belief in second chances doesn’t recover in the same way that her body does.
11. SHE WAS EMOTIONALLY TORTURED BY GREEN ARROW
Of all the things that Green Arrow has done to Black Canary, one of the worst (and yet, most forgivable) happened during the events of Blackest Night. Under the influence of a Black Lantern Ring, Green Arrow fought the heroes who he loved most — including Black Canary.
While battling, he said everything that he knew would hurt her most, including that he had not been raped by Shado, but that he had loved her. He claimed that they were together willingly, = that he loved Shado more than he had ever loved Black Canary, and that he and Shado were soulmates.
He taunted her, leaving her sobbing on the ground, even though she tried to convince herself that he was lying, and that these were nothing more than her worst fears come true.
10. SHE WAS REJECTED BY THE POLICE FORCE
The original Black Canary, Dinah Drake Lance, didn’t have quite as many tragedies in her life as her daughter would, but her life as a hero was still far fro
m easy. It also nearly didn’t happen, as Dinah didn’t set out to become a superhero, but instead, originally wanted to be a police officer.
She was trained by her father, Richard Drake, and spent her whole life trying to follow in his uniformed footsteps — when she was rejected by the Gotham City Police Department, her father died shortly after, broken-hearted.
She was left with an inheritance, and opened a flower shop instead. Dinah hadn’t given up on her father’s dream, though, and used the shop as a cover for her vigilante work, fighting crime on the streets in his memory.
9. HER HUSBAND WAS KILLED (TRYING TO SAVE HER)
Black Canary has lost so many people close to her over the years — her father was only the beginning. The original Dinah Drake Lance also lost her husband, Detective Larry Lance. She married Larry, a police detective, and the two had a daughter before he lost his life to save hers.
Larry died when the Justice League was battling Aquarius, and Black Canary was stuck to the ground with a special arrow shot by the Green Arrow of another Earth.
When Aquarius sent out a deadly ball of energy and it was moving toward Dinah, it was Larry who leapt in front of it, saving her by sacraficing himself. It was a serious blow to the Golden Age Canary, who had now lost both her father and her husband.
8. SHE WAS CURSED BY A WIZARD
There are multiple explanations about how Black Canary got her superpower: the Canary Cry. The Modern Age version of the character comes by her power naturally, but the Silver Age version was actually cursed by the Wizard as a child.
Not only was she cursed, but she was unable to control her cry, which led her to be taken from her parents and raised in statis in an alternate dimension. As a baby, little Dinah was cursed when the Wizard wanted revenge on her parents — the original Black Canary and her husband.
Unable to stay with them due to her uncontrollable cries, she was taken to an alternate dimension by Johnny Thunder, where she grew up in suspended animation. After her mother learned that she was dying, she found a way to transfer her memories into the body of her daughter, allowing herself to live on, now with the new power of the Canary Cry.
This was later retconned, however, separating Dinah Drake and Dinah Laurel into two entirely different characters.
7. HER MOTHER DIED (AND SHE QUIT THE JLA OUT OF GRIEF)
The fateful battle that cost Larry Lance his life claimed another victim many years later — that of the original Black Canary, Dinah Drake Lance. Dinah survived for several years after Larry’s death, long enough to raise their daughter, Dinah Laurel Lance.
Her relationship with her daughter is complex one, changed hugely between the golden age and modern age (as she went from being essentially one person to two very distinct women), but in both versions of the story, it ends the same way.
The elder Dinah passes away, succumbing to the cancer that developed as a result of the radiation she absorbed during the battle with Aquarius. After her mother’s death, the younger Black Canary could no longer work with the Justice League. Instead, she moved to Seattle with Green Arrow, setting up her own shop and working as a vigilante hero alongside her love.
After moving to Seattle, life didn’t get any easier for Dinah. She was hunting down a drug cartel when she suffered one of the most brutal experiences of her tragic life. Done by the men she was attempting to infiltrate, Black Canary was horrifically tortured (and many assume sexually assaulted). She is seen hanging from the rafters, dripping with blood and beaten almost to death.
Although Green Arrow swooped in to save her, she was hospitalized for some time — and the effects of the experience were more than just a few weeks in a hospital bed. She lost both her powers and her ability to have children as a result of the torture, and while her powers and health were later returned to her, this was a period of horrifying trauma for Laurel.
5. … AND THEN CHEATED ON
As though horrifying torture and the loss of her powers wasn’t enough for one year, things continued to get worse for Black Canary after this, when Green Arrow cheated on her with her own shop assistant.
Marianne, a street kid who was helped by Oliver and recommended by him to work for Dinah, harbored a secret love for him for a long time. At least until one New Year’s Eve party, where she confessed her love and kissed him. Dinah, of course, walked in on the kiss, and left Oliver as a result.
While he claimed that he didn’t intend to cheat (something Oliver is very good at doing), he did later sleep with Marianne (after the two had broken up). Then, just to really cap things off, she lost her job when her flower shop, Sherwood Florist, was destroyed, leaving her jobless, alone, and traumatized.
4. SHE HAD TO DIVORCE GREEN ARROW
While there is little doubt that Black Canary’s true love is Green Arrow, their relationship has rarely gone smoothly. Oliver has a bad habit of cheating on Dinah, and the two have struggled with his infidelity and his tendency to shut her out more than once.
However, the two actually managed to get married despite it all.. or at least before Dinah returned his ring, and the couple divorced. The biggest split happened when Oliver teamed up with Green Lantern to start his own offshoot of the Justice League, and his methods start to get a little… questionable.
Eventually, when hunting down Prometheus, he goes up against many members of the superhero community who believe that he is going too far. This includes his own wife, who hands back his ring as a result of his decisions.
3. SHE WAS FORCED TO KILL GREEN ARROW
Not only did Dinah end her marriage to Green Arrow, but she actually had to kill him on their wedding night. After the wedding was gatecrashed by supervillains, the two were finally wed and about to enjoy their wedding night… when Oliver seemed to snap, and pulled a knife on his new bride.
Unable to stop him, Dinah was forced to stab him through the neck with one of his own arrows, killing him. Thankfully, it turned out that that Green Arrow was an imposter, that the real one had been kidnapped, and that he was eventually rescued by Dinah, Speedy, and Connor Hawke.
The two were happily reunited, but at the time, Black Canary believed that the Oliver she married was the real deal – and still had to make herself murder him in their marriage bed.
2. SHE WAS TORMENTED WITH VISIONS OF HER WORST REGRETS
Speaking of Black Canary’s worst fears and regrets, Green Arrow wasn’t the only one who tormented her with her darkest thoughts. Mortis, Goddess of the Forgotten Dead, managed to reach out and touch Black Canary while she was distracted fighting someone else, and poor Dinah was plunged into a trance — one where she was forced to re-live her worst regrets and memories.
She is taunted by her dead mother and father, who tell her that everything that she has ever loved will die, and it is her fault. She sees those who she couldn’t save, asking her where she was when they died. She is trapped in this mental prison, sobbing and begging for mercy, before she realizes that, only by facing her demons, can she break Mortis’s hold on her.
1. SHE WAS RUINED BY THE CW
Black Canary’s tenure on the CW’s Arrowverse has also been filled with various brutalities and tragedies: from the loss of her sister (and the realization that she and Oliver had been cheating together), to her struggles with addiction, to her eventual death, Laurel Lance had a tragic life.
The new Black Canary isn’t faring much better, having been tortured before her partner was killed in front of her. However, for devoted fans of the character, the worst of it isn’t in the storylines, but instead the way in which she has been sidelined, killed off, and re-cast so many times by the show.
Rather than becoming Green Arrow’s partner, Oliver has found a new “true love” in Felicity Smoak — a character created specifically for the show, and one who doesn’t even wear fishnets. Given how incredible Black Canary is in the comics and how phenomenal a hero she is in her own right, seeing her demoted to occasional crime-fighter and tortured alcoholic in the show is more than many fans can bear.
Can you think of any other awful things that have happened to Black Canary? Let us know in the comments.