Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Black Alice

Black Alice is a DC Comics character introduced in Birds of Prey #76 (January 2005). She uses her magical powers to prey on drug dealers in her hometown of Dayton, Ohio.

Lori Zechlin is a teenager who lives with her father John and drug addicted mother. Neither Lori nor her father suspects Mrs. Zechlin's addiction because she abuses stolen prescription pharmaceuticals supplied by local drug dealers.

One day, overwhelmed by shame, Mrs. Zechlin commits suicide by overdosing and drowning herself in her pool. Lori discovers the body when she comes home from school. Lori also discovers, later that same night, that she has a mystical ability: she can "borrow" the magical powers of other superheroes or supervillains. She did not have the same control over the powers as their owners and had little control over when she could take them or how long she could use them. Despite this, Lori (taking the name Black Alice) formulates a plan to avenge her mother's death and punish the prescription drug traffickers.

Lori's father, shattered and slipping into depression, becomes a recluse, although he tries to pretend for Lori's sake that nothing is wrong. Her mother's death also distresses Lori, but she is aware of the change in her father and assigns herself the role of caregiver. Her grades begin to slip, and she becomes alienated from her peers. Her primary social group, a Wiccan circle, expels her, claiming she is emitting "black energy" after her mother's death (in actuality, the circle's leader, Lori's best friend Dawn, is jealous of Lori's real and growing powers).

Having recently left Gotham City following the destruction of their clock tower headquarters, the superhero team the Birds of Prey are traveling the country by jet in order to identify and help previously unknown metahumans. Oracle becomes aware of Lori's power, but not her specific abilities. She sends Huntress, disguised as a school teacher, to keep an eye on Lori and offer counseling, while Black Canary is tasked with keeping surveillance on all of Lori's activities, to determine the specific nature and strength of her powers.

While Black Canary watches, Lori abruptly leaves her boyfriend, Kyle, when Doctor Fate's powers manifest, and seeks out a trio of suspected drug dealers. When Lori seems intent to use lethal force, Black Canary intervenes to save the lives of the three men. Doctor Fate's power fades, and Lori flees the scene, tailed by Black Canary. Suddenly manifesting Zatanna's powers, Lori binds and gags Canary and escapes.

Black Canary and Huntress unite to tail Kyle in the hopes of rediscovering Lori, and instead find that Kyle is two-timing Lori with Dawn. Lori discovers the same thing shortly afterwards and prepares to destroy a shopping mall (having now manifested the powers of Black Adam) in her efforts to avenge herself on Kyle. Black Canary is able to bring her down in an all-out brawl, but the Huntress brings a stop to Lori's rampage by presenting a contrite Dawn.

Oracle turns Lori over to the care of the real Doctor Fate, where she would receive guidance in the use of her powers.

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