application for tushanshu
Age: Over 30.
Contact: innerbrat at gmail / lycanfae on plurk and AIM
Game Cast: I'm brand spanking new.
Name: Dinah Lance /Black Canary II
Canon: DC Comics
Canon Point: Just before the start of the Green Arrow/Black Canary title. Dinah is chairperson of the Justice League, and is adamant that the corpse shaped like her husband is not actually Ollie.
Age: Comics is fuzzy on this. Mid thirties.
Okay, so, in theory the DC Universe is a bit like our own, while at the same time being nothing like our own. Or like our own universe with a whole mess of stuff added on. All the major countries and cities in our universe exist there, but there are, for example, an extra half dozen or so major cities scattered around the continental US, not to mention additional countries abroad. And there's been magic kicking around for a few centuries. And people living under the ocean, and... Name it, it's probably happened to New Earth. NB: Due to Dinah's complicated canon history, this is a 'post-crisis' continuity which places her as the daughter of the first Black Canary. And not say, the original Black Canary shifted one universe over with her consciousness implanted into the body of her stasis-raised vegetative daughter. Because that's just weird. A major branching off point for this universe is the second world war, when Adolf Hitler wielded the Spear of Destiny, preventing people with meta abilities from interfering with the War in Europe. At this time, a handful of Americans with these very meta abilities banded together to form the All-Star Squadron to fight where they could. After the war, they reformed the Justice Society of America – the world's first public superhero team. They operated throughout the forties and fifties, disbanding in the McCarthy era when pressed to take off their masks, only to reform a few years later because this is a world that is always facing some sort of threat from alien invasions or megalomaniac supervillains or atomic monsters rising from the oceans. Among the members of the Justice Society was Black Canary, a judo master and trained detective from Gotham City who was married Private Detective Larry Lance. They had a daughter: Dinah jnr, who was almost raised by committee, the Justice Society becoming an extended family of uncles to her. As well as learning Judo from her mother, she learned to box from heavyweight champion Ted Grant, was given a tour of the world by the Flash, and was taken flying by Hawkman, Starman and Green Lantern. She idolized her uncles, and her world begun and ended with them and her parents. At some point in Dinah's youth – canon is tricky on this point – the Justice Society fought an alien called Aquarius, in a battle that would expand the lifespan of most of her uncles, but which killed her father, Larry Lance. After that Dinah snr hung up her stockings permanently. But Dinah jnr, seeing a Canary-shaped hole in the heroing landscape, soon stole her mother's outfit and broke out on her own, calling herself Black Canary and utilizing all the skills her uncles had given her. This despite her mother expressly prohibiting her from heroing. When Dinah snr found out, the resulting screaming match was explosive – literally. Dinah jnr has one thing her mother never did – a Sonic Scream capable of flattening buildings. It appeared abruptly in her teenage years, and as such she had never trained for it like she did martial arts. But she quickly incorporated it into her work, and now she had a superpower it was hard for her mother to say no. A few years after the Justice Society disbanded, a new group formed: Dinah, a second Flash and a second Green Lantern together with Aquaman and Martian Manhunter assembled to fight another alien invasion, and founded the Justice League of America, ushering in a new age of heroes. The first hero to join not of the original five was Green Arrow, aka Oliver Queen, and though he and Dinah fought a lot, that spark quickly turned into passion and Dinah moved from Gotham to Star City to be with him. And that's pretty much when it all got complicated. Since then, Dinah's world has had – actual literal retconning; merging of universes; the loss of superpowers through torture; the regaining of superpowers through magical resurrection pools; the death of Green Arrow in an exploding airplane, the resurrection of that lover as favor for his dead best friend; tech wizards in wheelchairs; and a lavish expansive superhero wedding so impressive that the Injustice Society crashed the ceremony.
Revised Settings Details.
She's learned to roll with the punches.
The presence of superheroes has made a significant impact on the way the world works, and Dinah, as a person enmeshed in the middle of this community, has had her whole life defined by their presence. For example, it's a pretty common occurrence for a major city to face a violent threat in the form of an alien invasion, or a destructive robot, or a magic explosion. It's also uncommon, but not unknown, for a person in possession of a 'metagene' to develop a superpower, and often they don't then pursue a life of crime or heroics. Even people not involved the actual day to day business of stopping aliens, or evil robots, or magic are accustomed to their presence in the universe and while facing it themselves is scary, it's not unbelievable. But when you grew up with the Justice Society, you take these things even more for granted.
Dinah was born and grew up in Gotham City, an homage to the New York City represented in the noir genre. If she'd been born into any other city, she'd have been the police officer daughter of police officer parents. However, the level of corruption in the Gotham City Police Department, more or less run by the organized crime families for decades, drove her father to quit in despair and never approved her mother's application. In later years, Gotham would become a magnet for psychopathic murderers and gimmicky villains, but when Dinah was growing up there it was simply plagued by crime and corrupt on every bureaucratic level.
As an adult, Dinah would move across the country to Star City, an analogue of San Francisco. There, the crime was less ingrained, the threats more on a day to day street level, with the occasional masked villain showing up. Dinah worked in partnership with Green Arrow (Oliver Queen) at this time – an archery themed hero with whom she started a relationship in the Justice League.
Incidentally, both New York City and San Francisco exist in the DCU, which is obviously very crowded.
Dinah also spent a significant time of her life in Seattle, which in the DC Universe managed to avoid most of the themed and costumed villains of other cities, but still had all the usual gang and drug related crime of a major city. Dinah was kidnapped early in her time there, and tortured to the extent that she lost her powers, the ability to bear children, and most of her self confidence.
Dinah has in her time as a costumed crimefighter been a member of three significant teams: The Justice League (of America and Justice League International); The Justice Society, and a smaller team unofficially nicknamed the 'Birds of Prey.'
The Justice League of America, which she co-founded at age nineteen, was from its inception the highest profile team in the world. It has always featured big guns such as Green Lantern: whose constructs are limited only his imagination; Flash: the fastest man alive, and Martian Manhunter: whose suite of powers include telepathy and shapeshifting among others. Of the original five, Dinah was both the youngest and the most underpowered, but she helped bring the team into the public eye by organizing a press conference on their first meeting. Since then, the Justice League has been the center of attention, both of public media and of supervillains looking for a big target to make their mark. If the Earth faces a Crisis, it's the Justice League that organize the response.
Dinah was a member of the JLA until the “Crisis on Infinite Earths” (in universe usually referred to as 'The Crisis,' after which she joined the JLI which replaced it, only leaving that team when an incident in Seattle left her depowered and underconfident. Not until many years later would she rejoin the JLA, where she was quickly elected chairperson.
The Justice Society of America, originally disbanded before Dinah took up the fishnets, reformed later in her career at a time when she was refinding her feet as a costumed crimefighter. The new lineup was a mix of old members and their legacy, and became a place where Dinah could begin to take on a mentor role to younger heroes. The Justice Society continued to co-exist with the League, sometimes banding together, usually responding to different emergencies. The Society had a greater focus on legacy and tradition, and for Dinah at least had a very familial feel. At any one time, there are multiple teams of heroes operating in the world, but these two are easily the highest profile. Dinah left the Justice Society after dating one of the members (the new Doctor Mid-Nite), when the return to life of Green Arrow resulted in her attention being split too many ways.
The third team to change Dinah's world isn't even an official team, but started out as a partnership between herself and a person she wouldn't even meet for the first year or so of their acquaintance: Barbara Gordon, the first Batgirl, now operating as an information broker under the name Oracle. Oracle was at the time little more than an urban legend, mining computer systems for information which she passed on to organizations that could make the best use of it. Few people had actually had dealings with her other than Amanda Waller's Task Force X and the Batman.
Oracle recruited Dinah for one particular operation, citing her martial arts abilities and her way with men, but as their relationship grew it became obvious that the partnership was obviously beneficial to both of them. Whether Barbara actually picked Dinah because she was clearly in a depressive rut at the time is open to speculation. Dinah grew into one of the world's greatest martial artists, and Oracle began to reach her virtual fingers into computer systems across the globe, as well as becoming the information broker for the entire superhero community.
Together Babs and Dinah dealt with injustices on a much smaller scale than the big teams: corrupt businessmen; slavery rings and potentially dangerous political situations, staying under the radar as that's where Oracle operated. The operation expanded with the addition of the Huntress (Helena Bertinelli) and Lady Blackhawk (Zinda Blake), and as it became better known to the wider world, it earned the nickname “the Birds.” Zinda tried to name the team “the Birds of Prey” at one point, but it didn't stick. Dinah eventually left the Birds after adopting a daughter, intending to quit the Canary to be a full time mother, but instead she ended up reforming the Justice League. Her relationship with Barbara suffered as a result.
Villains, Super and otherwise
Dinah's world is one that's constantly under threat from dangers of varying magnitude. Unlike many of her colleagues, she doesn't have a 'rogues gallery' of her own, although the Justice League and Justice Society regularly fight invaders from other planets or other dimensions, and with the Birds she had her hands full with blackmailers and arms dealers. And then there was that time in the Bronze Age when The Joker fell in love with her secret identity.
At two different points in Dinah's lifetime, the Earth has faced a Crisis - with a capital C. The first she'll remember occurred is the aforementioned 'Crisis on Infinite Earths,' and the ones that follow are usually generically referred to as Crises in continuity, despite having individual titles on a OOC meta level. Usually these involve a breaking down of the barriers between worlds and a threat from a whole other dimension. The most recent for Dinah's canon point involved an alternate Superman trying to replace Dinah's Earth with his own. Dinah wasn't directly involved in these events, but the repercussions hit everyone in the world.
The criminals that became significant in Dinah's world are the ones from the world of martial arts that focused on her as her skills drew her to their attention. The strongest connection of these would be Lady Shiva, sometimes said to be the greatest assassin in the world, pledged to perfect her art by learning from all the world's martial arts masters. Dinah and Shiva first met when Green Arrow was teaming up with the Question and the ladies excuse themselves to spar: a meeting that would have a significant impact on Dinah as she learned so much in one fight. Later, they discovered that they shared a sensei, and a bond formed between the two, as both of them value learning and personal growth. Shiva is a sort of dark mirror to Dinah: representing martial arts training and improvement for selfish reasons, rather than something to be used for a greater purpose.
It's not actually mentioned in the comics how Dinah met or was brought to the attention of Ra's Al Ghul, but her martial arts reputation is a safe bet. He introduced himself to her under the pseudonym 'Ray' and proceeded to romance her. Ra's is 600 years old and has dedicated much of his life towards achieving perfect world balance – something that often involves attempted genocide. He is the leader of a group called the League of Assassins, which also trained Lady Shiva, and has a great respect for competence, even in people who oppose him.
Ra's has spent much time and energy pursuing a male heir, and his romance with Dinah was a means to that end. His Lazarus Pits which were the secret to his longevity would also solve the problem of her inability to have children, and when she was submerged in one, she presumably healed in that way as well as regaining her Canary Cry. That she was even considered as a mother to his heir, earned her the resentment of Ra's' daughter Talia.
The attentions of Ra's are not the only way in which Dinah has come up against the League of Assassins. When she finally broke from Shiva's apprenticeship, she took with them an eight year old girl (Sin) who was being trained to replace Shiva, and they pursued her home to Star City to steal her daughter back. It was only the faking of Sin's death and her removal to an orphanage that fixed her safety.
Of the people who have tried to kill Dinah over the years, few have had as much hatred, or impact on her life, as the assassin Cheshire (Jade Nguyen). As well as her martial arts skills, Cheshire is a master chemist and an expert in poisons, to the extent at which touching her with bare skin is considered a bad idea. She is also the mother of Dinah's goddaughter Lian, whose father Roy is the closest thing Dinah has to a son. Lacking the honor system that Shiva and the League of Assassins usually play by, Cheshire is best known in the world as the mercenary who dropped a nuclear bomb on the country of Qurac. It is only Dinah's relationship with Cheshire's daughter that prevents her from attempting to kill her.
One of the risks of having powerful friends with many enemies is the tendency that one of those enemies will use your relationship to get to your friends. Dinah's relationship with Green Arrow brought her up against some powerful enemies, but when she became involved with Oracle she attracted even more attention, as the only visible face of the operation. The most significant example is when the blackmail team Savant and Creote led her into a trap and captured her, breaking both her legs and disabling her sonic scream. Dinah fought her way out with the help of Huntress, but the incident hit her triggers regarding being captured and tortured after her experience in Seattle. Savant became an ally of the team, as Oracle tried to redeem him and help him become a force for good, but Dinah found it nearly impossible to work with him, at least until she'd beaten him senseless in a one-on-one match to prove she could.
Dinah lives, breathes and sweats the hero life. Her so-called 'secret identity' is one of the worst kept secrets in the universe. Once upon a time she paid lip service to that idea by wearing a wig when being the Black Canary. Splitting into 'Canary' and 'Dinah' never worked for her, so now she dyes her hair blonde and is the whole of herself all the time. This is here, not in appearance, because it's symbolic, dammit.
Dinah grew up surrounded by the Justice Society. She quit college (headcanon, but the only way it fits into ages we are given for her) to train in karate and returned from that in order to co-found the Justice League. Only when she is helping people and doing what she is best at can she be content. She's attempted to retire more than once, and it never stuck. She doesn't have a mission; she never took an oath: she needs to do this like she needs to breathe.
Family is the most important thing to Dinah. The JSA was her family growing up, the JLA her family in young adulthood, and then the Birds and the Arrow clan: Oliver's first ward Roy Harper is more a son to her than a brother, and not because of Ollie. She nursed Roy through heroin withdrawal and is the godmother to his daughter Lian. But she also has maternal feelings for Ollie's new ward Mia Dearden and his biological son Connor. She adopted a daughter Sin a year ago her time, but had to let her go to a foster family when the League of Assassins showed an interest. Dinah's love for her large extended family is unlimited, and extends to most of the superhero community. Part of this is her love of learning, and the strong bonds she forms with mentors.
Dinah's self esteem is rooted in being good at what she does, and that often translates to training, training and more training. She was at the lowest point in her life when she wasn't commited to heroing, and reached her peak when, after being kidnapped again, she pulled out her expansive phone book and started training with everyone she knew. The things she can do, she does very very well, the things she can't... she can't. And by that we mean: she hates computers and never learned to cook.
If there was one word I'd use to describe Dinah it would be "hope". She always looks for the absolute best in a person and in a situation. This has led her to make some really poor choices – like training with Lady Shiva and almost marrying Ra's Al Ghul, but it isn't something she does naively. She chooses hope because she's lived without it and won't do that again.
Dinah's reaction to being told she's 'in between' will be one of resignation, because these sorts of things happen, and determination, because when things like this happen to Justice Leaguers, Justice Leaguers get themselves out. Her first reaction on arriving will be to connect with the people already here, find out what they are doing and how she can help.
Dinah is in her mid (to late?) thirties and looks about 25, thanks to a trip in a Lazerus Pit a few years ago. She is about 5' 8”, caucasian with blue eyes and black hair dyed blonde. She's at the peak of physical fitness, strong particularly in the core and the legs.
Dinah was learning Judo from the first time her toddler legs gave way and she fell over. She learned boxing from her uncle Ted Grant. She's learned as many different martial arts disciplines as she can get her hands on, and then some. She would be ranked among the top martial artists in the DCU, except that most of the people who do those kinds of rankings tend to rule out metahumans and people with superpowers. Which brings us to:
Dinah is in possession of a Sonic Scream/Canary Cry that basically acts like a sonic canon, capable of bringing down buildings, causing avalanches and stopping Kryptonians in their tracks, at least temporarily. She has quite a lot of fine control over this power (she can shatter individual pool balls, calm dogs and snap garrottes with it) but it's fundamentally a heavy, blunt weapon and she doesn't like to rely on it. As she called it in canon “it's like taking a bazooka to a boxing match.”
Dinah is fluent in a number of languages, and is never seen having any translation difficulties. She's lived in Japan and trained under a number of masters over the world. I can't list all the languages here, but I assume Japanese, Mandarin and most of the romance languages.
Dinah loves motorized vehicles that go fast. This includes a weakness for fast cars, but it's more often manifested in her (inherited from her uncle Ted Grant) passion for motorcycles. She rode Ted's old motorcycle for a while when starting out, and later acquired herself a personalized Canary themed bike (it didn't take). She is an expert motorcyclist and can handle a bike to keep up with her superpowered friends. [In an episode of JLU, which is never contradicted in comics, she says she built a bike from scratch. I usually keep this as headcanon for the comics.]
Dinah has no things. DINAH NEEDS NO THINGS.
No, actually when she arrives she'll have her leather leotard costume and fishnets, but worn under jeans. Her gloves (one of which has a lock pick hidden in it) are in her pockets along with her car keys. She's wearing her wedding ring – a gold ring with a Flash symbol lightning bolt and a diamond arrow head for a stone.
Oh and she's wearing earrings with a microtransmitter in them. Not that they'll work.
I honestly don't care, and neither will Dinah. I'm leaning towards water, one floor is fine.
She knows what they're doing. Don't think that she doesn't.
She knows why suddenly all of Roy's usual stable of babysitters has fallen through and he's calling her up every time there's a Red Arrow emergency. She knows why Connor comes to her fresh from his meditation every morning, adds an orange to her breakfast and asks so sweetly if she'd train with him today. She knows why Mia's suddenly finding she needs help with homework she was breezing through before.
On her less charitable days she calls it pity, but she knows that's not true. Pity is why she's taking a leave of absence from the League right now. This is something else. It's a reminder, that's all. They're going through this too. They miss him too. This is a family thing and she's married to them now, there's no running into a pit of bad decisions like the last time.
The last time. Why doesn't that feel weirder to think?
But it's not like the last time. It's not an exploding airplane. It's not a show down with Clark. It's not 'for the good of Metropolis.' It's her. Her hand, his arrow, their bed. Their wedding night.
And it wasn't him. She doesn't care how many tests Bruce runs. She doesn't care how much Hal's ring checks and double checks. She doesn't care how many 'I'm sorry's Diana and Wally and Helena give her.
They weren't there. And even if they were, they wouldn't understand, because they don't know him. Not the way she does. It's been a decade, on and off, dead and alive, and she knew him. Knows him. Knows the way his body moves, the way he wears it. Knows it almost as much as she knows her own body, and she knows that better than most know themselves.
She fought him, when he tried to kill her. And when she's fighting, she sees a body better than even is she was making love to it. She saw his body then, that night.
It wasn't him.
And she feels like she's the only person in the world who realizes this.
Dinah stands in the bathroom, splashing her face with cold water. When she looks up into the mirror she catches sight of the earrings that she's still wearing. After all this time, she's still wearing them like they're just earrings. She smiles sadly at her reflection, and reaches up to press her transmitter on.
“Hey,” she says. “I was thinking of breaking open a bottle of wine and rewatching Die Hard tonight. You in?”
“Well,” Barbara's voice is light, almost laughing. “I've got to monitor this situation in Realasia and Helena's leading an operation in Metropolis, but I can totally multitask.”
[When the feed starts, there's just Dinah's face, looking at it somewhat expectantly for a few seconds. She had hoped, somehow, that activating this thing would bring up a familiar green face, but apparently her luck isn't going to run that far. The next moment her mouth spreads into a closed smile. She can deal with this.]
Okay, guys. This is Black Canary. If that means something to you, do you mind checking in to let me know what's going on with you?
Or tell me the best place for dim sum, because right now I'm starving.