The Fishnets Brigade: Dini & Quinones’ ‘Black Canary/Zatanna’ Graphic Novel Confirmed For May 2014 [Preview]
Promised for years but continually delayed, Black Canary/Zatanna will finally become a reality when it goes on sale in May of next year. Written by Paul Dini and drawn by Joe Quinones, the original graphic novel finds the fan-favorite DC Comics heroines in their more traditional looks and teaming up to bring down a new threat who puts both of their fantastic abilities to the test.
Dini announced he was working on a Black Canary/Zatanna team-up OGN about a hundred years ago, when it was to be drawn by Amanda Conner and Jimmy Palmiotti. The news was met with a lot of excitement not just from longtime DC readers but also from fans of Warner Bros. Animation's Batman and Justice League animated series, where both characters' respective recurring appearances were among those shows' best episodes (episodes written by Dini, in some cases). Naturally, that both Black Canary and Zatanna are fond of using fishnet stockings in their crime-fighting costumes invites a crossover of epic proportions, and recalls a remark made by John Constantine in an issue of the Neil Gaiman-written Books of Magic, in which famous trench coat-wearing supernatural bros Constantine, the Phantom Stranger, Dr. Occult and Mister E join forces on a magical mission: "Just what the world's been waiting for. The Charge of the Trenchcoat Brigade."
However, the Fishnets Brigade book was a long time coming. Dini would later go on to work on the Zatanna ongoing series while Conner and Palmiotti kept busy with numerous other projects. Unfinished pages surfaced in 2011 that confirmed Quinones, of DC's Wednesday Comics and more recently of Marvel's Captain Marvel covers, had taken over from Conner/Palmiotti. ComicsAlliance has confirmed with DC that the book is finally scheduled to go on sale in May 2014.
UPDATE 08/27/13: We've also confirmed that Black Canary/Zatanna will retail at $22.99 for 152 pages that includes a reprint of Dini and artist Rick Mays' 2003 one-shot Zatanna: Everyday Magic.
The story as we understand it goes something like this: martial arts mistress, superhero, Bird of Prey, and biker boots fashion pioneer Dinah Lance aka Black Canary defeats some dangerous women baddies whose fearsome leader refuses to be taken alive. She dies, but not before swearing vengeance on Canary from beyond the grave. A year later, some kind of supernatural force is taking out the remaining girl gang members with Black Canary seemingly next in line, prompting Dinah to look up her old friend, the magical mistress, Justice Leaguer and perennial cosplay inspiration Zatanna Zatara. Together the heroines take on this unholy evil, who has a talent for using Zatanna and Dinah's talents and shortcomings against each other.
As you can see from Quinones' cover, the versions of Black Canary and Zatanna depicted in this graphic novel would seem to be the more or less original, whimsical, pre-New-52 versions with which most people are familiar. We'll know more for sure later, but if this assumption is true it strikes us as a good thing. Not to cast aspersions on the modern incarnations seen in Birds of Prey or Justice League Dark, but it is true that the New 52 line is extremely prescribed in terms of continuity and aesthetic. DC is offering fans of these two most beloved female heroes a Paul Dini story that stands on its own, and giving an artist as talented as Joe Quinones the necessary lead time to draw it. It's an intriguing model that we hope the publisher will continue with more fun characters and idiosyncratic creators.