Brenden Fletcher and Annie Wu bring the events of the past six issues to a climax in "Black Canary" #7, which reveals the foe that's been waiting in the wings. As Dinah, Ditto and the rest of the band find out why they were brought together and some new plot threads are unspooled, Fletcher and Wu tell a story that uses the visual language of comics with great success.
As fun as it's been to have the band on tour with strange and dangerous encounters (both super-powered and mundane), it's also nice to see it's all been leading up to a larger conflict. The idea of the Quietus fits right in with a music-themed book, and it's nice to see how Ditto and Bo Maeve in particular fit into the larger scheme of things and why Dinah has been maneuvered so that she's at the right place to stop Quietus' attack. Even the reappearance of Kurt Lance feels right here, something that's no small feat considering how few of his appearances over the past few years have been worthwhile.
More noteworthy, though, is how Fletcher and Wu bring this story to life through the comics medium. Some of the storytelling techniques are almost invisible, like how many panels they pack onto a page without it feeling cramped or confusing. The panels of Dinah and Kurt radiating through the Quietus' form are another similar example; at a glance, it might simply look interesting, but the duo gives us a splash page that serves multiple purposes. There are also the bigger moments, like how the Quietus' soundwaves crackle and leap across the page from one panel to the next, with bright and almost jarring magenta overtones from Lee Loughridge. Considering how Loughridge uses yellows, tans and browns up until that point for the scene, it's no small coincidence. And then there's the moment the Quietus rampages through musical notation, complete with a silhouette of Dinah filling in where the sharps and flats (to denote the musical key) would go. It's a clever way to show us their battle, a method that gives us punches and smashes while showing us the effect of the Quietus on sound and music. As Wu winds the book down with a 16-panel page, just like the way the book opened, there's both a feeling of finality even as Wu and Fletcher remind us there's still more to be revealed just around the corner.
"Black Canary" #7 is a fun, inventive way to take a traditional battle between a superhero and a monster and deliver it to the reader in a less-than-traditional manner. Fletcher and Wu have enjoyed playing around with format in "Black Canary" (the earlier issues' blog posts were surprisingly fun, for example), and this issue is no exception. Here's to the next "Black Canary" tour; I know I'll be wanting some more front row tickets next month.