Several years ago in the DCU, a series of blackouts in Gotham City not only affected a new vigilante named Bruce Wayne as he was forming the identity of "Batman," but a few other "future-heroes" had to fight their way out of the dark too.
That's the premise behind DC's November tie-ins to Batman: Zero Year, the storyline running through the top-selling Batman comic. For one month, several of DC's comics will show what other characters in the DCU were doing at the same time as Batman's adventures in Zero Year, years before superheroes started appearing.
In the tie-in issues, young versions of DC characters will be caught in a blackout in Gotham City before they were superheroes. As Newsarama has been reporting, that means readers will get to see Jeff Lemire write the first meeting between Oliver Queen and Bruce Wayne, Kyle Higgins write the young Dick Grayson's first masked adventure in Gotham City, and Barbara Gordon don her first armored costume as she defends her family in the midst of the darkness.
The blackout also affects the young Dinah Drake, the woman who would become Black Canary. In November's Birds of Prey #25, written by Christy Marx, Black Canary's history will tie into Batman: Zero Year. The solicitation copy, provided exclusive to Newsarama along with the cover for the issue, reads:
BIRDS OF PREY #25
Written by CHRISTY MARX
Art by ROMANO MOLENAAR and JONATHAN GLAPION
Cover by JORGE MOLINA
On sale NOVEMBER 20 • 40 pg, FC, $3.99 US • RATED T
BLACK CANARY: ZERO YEAR?! Well, it’s definitely a BATMAN: ZERO YEAR tie-in issue as we look into a pivotal moment in Black Canary’s history! Don’t miss assassins, mystery men and an ancient evil in Gotham City!
Newsarama talked to Marx to find out more about her plans for Black Canary's Zero Year adventure, and we asked about what's coming up in the Birds of Prey title — particularly when Dinah finds out her husband is still alive.
Newsarama: Christy, we've seen some of Black Canary's history thanks to the Team 7 comic. What part of her history will we see in the Zero Year tie-in? What's her life like as we pick up her story in the issue?
Christy Marx: I’m delving into who Dinah Drake was before she was recruited into Team 7. My version of Dinah is someone who comes from a more troubled and difficult background who has had to struggle to find a place for herself.
Nrama: Set up the issue for us: What's the premise of the story?
Marx: The blackout that propels the overall Zero Year story also becomes a defining turning point for Dinah Drake. It’s a personal story about her background, where she came from, where she is when these events overtake her, and how she deals with it.
Nrama: Does this tie into what's happening with Black Canary in Birds of Prey now? Or will we see ties to things from your run?
Marx: : This is a deeper look at the Black Canary you’re seeing in my current run. The plan is to have some additional elements that will tie into an upcoming present time story arc, in a very loose sort of way. I know that sounds vague, but I can’t get into details just yet.
Nrama: Does Kurt play a role in the Zero Year story?
Marx: No, this is well before she meets Kurt.
Nrama: Since we're on the subject of Kurt... let's talk about what's happening right now in Birds. It looks like, in the current storyline, Black Canary is going to be discovering the secret of her husband being alive. How important a role does that discovery play in the upcoming issues?
Marx: An enormous, utterly significant role. It changes everything, not only for Canary, but for Condor and the entire team. There are layers of revelation involved in this discovery and the aftermath will test Canary to her limits.
Nrama: I've noticed that some readers of Birds of Prey have had a tough time warming up to Condor, even though Dinah apparently has. (I think a lot of us are still wishing she'd meet Ollie!) What can you tell us about Condor as a character, and will he continue to play a role in the comic?
Marx: I’ll confess, I’ve become fond of Condor and am trying to flesh him out more. I do plan to put him through the wringer, though. He genuinely cares for Dinah, but there’s another secret about the relationship that he’s keeping from her. He comes across like a bad boy, but he’s quite different inside.
Nrama: Do you have plans to expand membership in the Birds?
Marx: Not at this exact moment.
Nrama: What else is coming up in the next few issues of Birds of Prey?
Marx: I’m introducing a new character who will have an important impact on the team without being a member of the team and whose nemesis is Ra’s Al Ghul.
Nrama: Well that's cryptic, but any enemy of Ra's is probably a friend of the Bat-characters. Anything else you want to tell fans about the comic?
Marx: I’m working to bring Batgirl and Strix into the foreground a bit more to counterbalance the recent emphasis on Canary and Condor. The time is coming when only Batgirl may be able to keep Canary from going totally off the rails.