Sara Lance has become one of the most iconic heroes in the Arrowverse. Like nearly every other character in the galaxy of shows on the CW, Sara has her roots in the original DC Comics the series are based on. But unlike most, she has no direct analog in the comics. In classic comic book fashion, she’s an amalgamation of a few different characters.
Unlike a character like The Atom, Sara Lance’s history in DC Comics isn’t deep or obvious. Even longtime comic book fans might have to do a little bit of digging to get a deeper sense of who she is and how she fits into the storied history of the DC Universe.
10 Sara Lance Is Actually Original To The Show
One thing viewers of Legends Of Tomorrow may not realize is that Sara Lance is actually an original creation for the Arrowverse. She has no direct analog from the comics, though she draws inspiration from a couple of different sources.
In the beginning, when she first appeared in the pilot episode of Arrow, she is simply The Canary, ostensibly inspired by the DC Comics character of Black Canary. But there are some major differences there, as her name and backstory don’t share many commonalities with the comic book heroine.
9 The Black Canary
The Black Canary is a significant character in DC Comics history. She is a master hand-to-hand combatant on par with some of the best Marvel martial artists and later versions of her could emit a powerful sonic scream. Dinah Drake, or later Dinah Laurel Drake, was co-created by writer Robert Kanigher and artist Carmine Infantino.
She first appeared in Flash Comics #86 back in 1947. Though Sara’s earliest appearances in the show borrowed a little from Black Canary’s many costumes – and her older sister was named Laurel – it wasn’t a direct realization.
8 Earth-Two Black Canary
Part of the reason Sara Lance isn’t exactly a perfect adaptation of Black Canary is likely because there are so many versions of Black Canary in the comics (there are quite a few in the Arrowverse as well). One of the most important is Dinah Drake, the first version in the comics who hails from Earth-2.
Earth- 2 was the first of what would be many alternate Earths in the greater DC multiverse. This Black Canary is most similar to Sara Lance in terms of appearance and story. She doesn’t have the sonic scream and is mostly trying to take down criminal gangs in the comics.
7 Post-Crisis On Infinite Earths
Crisis On Infinite Earths changed continuity significantly for DC Comics in 1985 (as it did many of the details in Arrowverse continuity). Black Canary was affected by the streamlining of the multiverse as well. Black Canary is now Dinah Laurel Lance, the daughter of Dinah Drake, and many aspects of her backstory are updated.
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She wanted to become a police officer like her father but was discouraged from doing so. She took up her mother’s superhero identity and eventually met Oliver Queen, the Green Arrow, a man her mother was also well acquainted with in her adventures.
6 Relationship With Green Arrow
One thing the earliest version of Sara Lance in the Arrowverse got right with the comics is that Black Canary had a relationship with Green Arrow. While their affair on television happened before the start of the series and ended in failure, Green Arrow and Black Canary in the comics are very much relationship goals.
The two have been together off and on for decades, even marrying at one point, though that era of happiness was wiped out by another major revision to DC Comics anon in 2011.
5 New 52 Update
Black Canary was revised again – and her marriage to Oliver Queen retconned out of existence – with the New 52 reset of continuity in 2011. Black Canary is once again Dinah Drake and the founder of the Birds Of Prey, which became both a short-lived television show and a movie including Harley Quinn in 2020.
This version is an undercover agent, infiltrating terrorist groups and criminal organizations, and known only as the Canary at first. She appears to have the most connection to the Arrowverse version that debuted a year later.
4 Incorporates Some Of The White Canary
Sara Lance has continued to evolve dramatically in the Arrowverse. She died and then was resurrected, later becoming a major member of the Legends Of Tomorrow. In the course of doing so, she became the White Canary. The White Canary is a character in the comics but has little relationship to Sara.
The White Canary is a deadly assassin who debuts in Birds Of Prey #1 from 2010. Though she goes by the alias of Sara Lance at one point, her true identity remains a mystery.
3 Fighting The Birds Of Prey
The White Canary makes her debut by blackmailing the Birds Of Prey, threatening to kill a person every hour until her demands are met. Dinah Drake deduces quickly that the White Canary appears to be trained as well or better than other major DC martial artists like Lady Shiva.
The White Canary faces little resistance in taking down the entire Birds Of Prey squad, besting the Black Canary and the Huntress, two characters who would be part of the movie team along with Harley Quinn.
2 The Brothers Silk
The White Canary is eventually revealed to be the only female member of the Brothers Silk, a criminal organization of supremely skilled martial artists led by Si Fu Huang. Traditionally, females aren’t included, and daughters of Si Fu Huang are even killed, but a bolt of lightning stopped her drowning.
This led her father to see her as chosen to be one of the Brothers. Some aspects of her origin share a similarity with Sara Lance’s original backstory in the Arrowverse, where she was a member of the shadowy organization known as the League of Assassins.
1 Other Versions
There are many more versions of the Black Canary in the comics. Though some of her earlier incarnations were retconned away, the concept of the multiverse has come back and along with it, numerous other alternate takes on the character. Among the most prominent is from the ’90s classic mini-series Kingdom Come.
Black Canary II is the daughter of Oliver Queen and Dinah Lance. Earth-11 has a male version named the Black Condor. Earth-3 has an African American version, part of the Crime Society, a group not entirely unlike the League Of Assassins.
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