Women of DC Spotlight: Zatanna and Black Canary

These days, you’d be hard pressed to find a comics fan who doesn’t know who these formidable females that are constantly bringing it to the big boys and reminding them why they are such integral parts of the Justice League. One of the greatest things about these fishnet sisters is that underneath their immense powers and independence there is still the vulnerable woman who longs to fall in love and be loved in return. Despite these human desires, they don’t fall prey to the trope of damsel in distress or ditzy lover whenever their men walk into the room. They maintain clear heads and don’t take relationships lightly, the way I believe everyone should approach a relationship, superhero or not. After all, life is a balancing act with the obstacles of responsibility often tipping the scale.  



                                                                                 Photo Credit: Adam Hughes

Zatanna Zatara plays the role of our average magician, taking to the stage to shock and amaze her audiences, just like her father before her. Off-stage she battles dark magical forces that threaten to change her world for the worst. First introduced in 1964’s Hawkman #4, Zatanna has used her backwards speaking magic to subdue foes and aid her allies. She earned main billing in her very own Zatanna series by Paul Dini and Cliff Chiang.

Like most superheroines, Zatanna is able to use enchantments that magic has no power over, for one, beauty. Magic in itself is mysterious and captivating, throw a beautiful woman into the mix and even the strongest man may let his guard down. What makes Zatanna so appealing is that despite all of her powers and independence, she maintains the natural desire to love and be loved. Her biggest romance is with none other than the Vertigo turned DC mystic arts detective John Constantine. Constantine is boastful, sinful, and beautifully broken- everyone loves the tortured bad boy. The relationship was a happy-ish side effect of their working relationship. The two have enlisted each other’s help throughout their ventures over the past 50 years. Prior to the New 52, it was apparent that during their off periods they maintain a flirty, yet healthy friendship as they battle the occult. The New 52 version found them at odds after a seemingly bad break up they still work well together, despite the obvious tension between them.


                              Photo Credit: from Justice League Dark #3 by Peter Milligan and Mikel Janine

The bottom line is that Zatanna never lets her personal problems seep into her work as a crimefighting badass. The ability to separate your personal and work lives and cooperate with well, less than desirable people are traits that everyone should aspire to. 

                                                                                      Black Canary


                                                                                     Photo Credit: Adam Hughes

Dinah Drake Lance was transported from Earth-2 after the death of her husband and was forced to adapt to Earth-1 and with her new ability, the Canary Cry she joined the Justice League. After the retcon in 1983, the current Black Canary, Dinah Laurel Lance, her Canary Cry having several different origins, but is present nonetheless. Either way, she quickly establishes herself as a sexy, yet strong woman and has demonstrated her leadership abilities in both the Justice League and the Birds of Prey. 

Dinah’s relationship with Oliver “Ollie” Queen a.k.a Green Arrow has been long and consistent over the years. At every turn of DC’s continuity changes she is always fated for a romance with Green Arrow and there are few relationships more realistic or well-thought out. In the modern age of comics, Ollie is significantly older than Dinah but love knows no age. As superheroes and their civilian identities the two support each other, Ollie even bought Dinah her own flower shop, helping her achieve her dream. Their fights usually consist of regular domestic disputes, like having time for each other and talking about eventually starting a family. On this, she stated, “I want to make babies, not orphans.” Both of them being superheroes doubles the chances of any of their children losing both parents in one fatal battle, after all the two are on the same team. This one line is so honest and vulnerable that it makes the reader stop for a moment and consider the humanity of these superhuman people.

Eventually, the two get married with the support of family and friends. All seems well until the Prometheus story arc where Roy Harper’s (Ollie’s former ward) daughter, Lian had been murdered. Years later, during the Blackest Night event, a possessed Ollie (Nekron was able to control him) avenges Lian’s death by killing Prometheus. The unpossessed Ollie didn’t take this news well and was eventually jailed after surrendering for the murder of Prometheus. Sensing that Ollie wanted to be alone, Dinah leaves him, fulfilling his wish. An act of selfless love.


                                     Photo Credit: from Green Arrow/Black Canary by J.T. Krull and Cliff Chiang

Reading the superhero genre lets us live in a fantasy world where men and women in tights can subdue any foe whether they be mortal, alien, gods, the list goes on. We often forget to think about the reality that our beloved characters live in. It grounds the reader.

                                                              Black Canary and Zatanna Team Up!


                                                                                 Photo Credit: Joe Quinones

Zatanna and Black Canary were brought together in Paul Dini’s and Joe Quinones’ graphic novel, Bloodspell which featured the powerful women taking on criminals on Las Vegas. It’s a really fun read and highlights their friendship.

What other female team ups do you love? Leave a comment below. Like this article and follow Sweets and Geeks here on WordPress and on Instagram at instagram.com/sweetsandgeeks


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