Debuting in August 1947’s issue of Flash Comics, Black Canary has been a major player in the DC universe ever since. Depicted as both a solo heroine and the partner of Green Arrow (as well as a member of the Birds of Prey), Black Canary has taken down her foes with her deadly Canary Cry in a large number of animated iterations. But, as it is with these things, some of her appearances are better than others.
Thus, to celebrate Canary getting her own solo movie, we rank her best-animated appearances from worst to best!
10) Justice League: The New Frontier (2010)
Yet again, Canary is relegated to voiceless cameos in this animated feature in favor of Superman, Wonder Woman et. al. Not much to say about this one, although props are given for showing two Canaries. The first cameo shows the original heroine as part of the Justice Society of America, the Justice League’s predecessor. The other shows a new Black Canary as part of the ‘modern’ Justice League. Nice character designs and all, but lack of content means a low place for this one.
9) DC Shorts (2011-2014)
Black Canary appears in the DC Shorts animated series, her design inspired by her Smallville iteration. Despite the cartoon seemingly tailored to younger kids than the others on this list, she’s surprisingly well-portrayed. She even has a freakin’ motorcycle in this version, using it to challenge Green Arrow to a game of how many robots they can defeat.
Kari Wahlgren gives Canary a good dose of snark to cope with Green Arrow’s empty-headed showmanship. While I’m sure certain fans will criticize Canary’s appearance (I wisely decided to avoid the comment sections of the shorts she stars in), this is a fun, light-hearted take on the heroine.
8) Justice League (2001)
Justice League didn’t feature the popular Dinah Lance iteration of Black Canary, but it did have an alternate version based on her. In one episode, the League team up with an alternate version of themselves, the Justice Guild of America. Among these heroes is Black Siren, the Guild’s version of Black Canary – later revealed to be named Donna Nance.
Black Siren is hardly the most memorable portrayal, especially given her limited screen time. But she is voiced by the great Jennifer Hale (Black Cat from Spider-Man and Shepard from Mass Effect) so that gives her some plus points in my book. Just a shame about her fate.
7) Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths (2010)
Black Canary’s appearance in Crisis on Two Earths is…short-lived, to say the least. She, along with Red Tornado and Aquaman, pop up as back-up for Batman when he enters the evil syndicate’s Earth. So, judging this iteration is hard given her limited screentime.
That said, she does get a line of dialogue (voiced by Kari Wuhrer) so we’ll include her in the list anyway. Her scene where she knocks out a member of the Syndicate with her sonic scream is pretty cool. Also, she displays the same athletic prowess as she does in other media. Not her best portrayal, but hey, it’s a cool scene.
6) DC Showcase: Green Arrow (2010)
This short, originally included in the Superman/Batman Apocalypse DVD set, is beautifully animated and one of the Emerald Archer’s finest ten minutes. If that wasn’t enough, it wraps up with him proposing to Canary, who saves his life at the last minute. She agrees and a happy ending ensues!
Grey DeLisle reprises her role as Canary for this super-short appearance. Given this short is more grounded than the comic antics of Brave and the Bold where DeLisle first played her, Canary is much more human. She is also as beautifully animated as her husband-to-be.
5) Vixen (2015-2016)
The 12-episode Vixen is notable for animating the CW’s Arrowverse for the first time. This, of course, means that Katie Cassidy’s Black Canary appears in this animated web series. Luckily, she kicks just as much ass in animation as she does in live-action.
Cassidy’s performance is not exceptional, her talents clearly suited to live-action. But because of the quality animation, it’s just good to see Laurel Lance whoop ass while performing feats she never could in Arrow. This alone makes it better than many of the entries on this list.
4) Justice Society: World War II (2021)
As I stated in April, I thought that Justice Society: World War II was just an okay-ish superhero animated film. But I always maintain that one of the movie’s strengths lies in its voice acting. Elysia Rotaru’s performance as Black Canary in this movie is certainly no exception.
And even when Rotaru isn’t in the booth and Canary is flexing her muscles and sonic scream, she exhibits tremendous power thanks to the film’s slick visuals and choreography. You add to the mix of Canary’s friendship with Hawkman and the tragedy that ensues, and you’ve got a pretty well-rounded take on the character.
3) The Brave and The Bold (2008-2011)
Batman: The Brave and The Bold offers a lighter look at DC’s superheroes than most of the shows on this list. Black Canary appears in a couple of episodes in her Silver Age form. Not only does she fight alongside Batman in the show, but in one episode, she even forms the Birds of Prey alongside Huntress and Catwoman.
Grey DeLisle does a good job at portraying this Silver Age-era Black Canary, but the real standout is her singing. And I don’t mean the Canary Cry. In both the show’s special musical episode Mayhem of the Music Meister! and The Mask of Matches Malone!, DeLisle gets the chance to flex her vocal cords as Canary’s singing voice. And in both cases, it’s pure guilty pleasure-levels of awesome. YouTube it now!
2) Young Justice (2010-Present)
As with her fellow adult Justice Leaguers, Black Canary appears as a mentor to the titular ‘Young Justice’ heroes in this beloved programme. In one memorable scene, she is seen mopping the floor with Superboy following his protests that training was pointless. However, in an odd twist, she also acts as the team’s therapist but is surprisingly effective at it.
Vanessa Marshall really pulls off the voice for Canary. Unlike Justice League Unlimited‘s Dinah Lance, Marshall gives the character the vocal maturity of a seasoned heroine. Fitting indeed, given the show’s premise of seasoned veterans teaching younger heroes how to hero.
1) Justice League Unlimited (2004-2006)
This Justice League sequel series gave a lot of lesser-known DC heroes and heroines some extra screentime. Among these, of course, is Dinah Lance/Black Canary, voiced by Morena Baccarin (herself no stranger to superhero TV and Film, having starred in Deadpool and Gotham).
Canary’s flirtatious and vivacious side is beautifully portrayed via a combination of Baccarin’s voice and JLU‘s slick animation. Given that Black Canary and Green Arrow don’t have many episodes centred around them, it’s impressive how quickly this animated series excels in establishing their romantic chemistry. More importantly, it depicts Canary as a straight-headed vixen with smarts and fighting skills to match – which is the way it should be.
What are your favorite animated Black Canary appearances? Do you agree with this list – or disagree? Discuss in the comments below!