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--Oh my--! Dad, did you know there's a frozen monkey on the couch? And a hooker?
--She's not a hooker.
--She's dressed like one.
--I think that's supposed to be some sort of superhero costume.
--Dad, I'm speechless.
--Good, because we need to have the kind of talk where you listen... They seem to think you were like them. Honey, are you some kind of superhero?
---Black Alice and her Dad, Day of Vengeance#4.

In 2005, someone at DC Comics finally heard about this "Goth" trend some of the kids were into, and decided to create a character who might reflect, perhaps even appeal to, that demographic. After all, their past attempts to be hip had yielded such relevant and realistic fare as the Teen Titans and the Forever People. The result: Black Alice, a teenaged antihero filled with angst, and inclined towards wardrobe that reflects both the Goth sensibility and the exposed thong/faux slut look (neither of which was exactly in its heyday anymore). Her sobriquet reaches back even further in pop-culture history.

Her origin-- as one might expect from an angsty media teen-- involves Important Social Issues.

Young, occult-interested Lori Zechlin lives in Dayton, Ohio with her alcoholic father and her drug addict mother. Mom commits suicide; her daughter finds the body. These events, depicted in Birds of Prey #76, cause the girl to discover her supernatural powers: she can temporarily borrow the abilities of any nearby magic user, however powerful. She also temporarily gains an outfit that mixes her own sartorial style with whatever her source was wearing. This permits DC artists to draw dark 'n' skanky versions of well-known costumes. What Lori does not gain is the level of control her source had. The person whose powers she gains, of course, loses them temporarily.

She quickly wreaks vengeance against the local drug dealers, whom she blames for her mother's death. Then, after being ostracized by her friends for her increasingly bizarre behaviour, she nearly destroys a shopping mall while gunning for her ex-boyfriend. Fortunately, the super-powered women from Birds of Prey intervene, and turn Alice towards more heroic pursuits.

She has since appeared in a number of comics, including the Day of Vengeance mini-series, where she turns down the opportunity to join the Shadowpact. She has remained an ambivalent character, using her powers rather excessively against high school bullies and other people who annoy her, restoring her mother to life as a kind of zombie, and becoming addicted to the prescription drugs she uses to control her mood swings. She has been courted by both heroes and villains who see her control over her power growing and hope to turn her into an ally.

Black Alice's future in the DC Universe remains uncertain, but she has shown some potential to last, a figure of moral ambiguity and teen angst, and potentially the most powerful girl on DC's earth, "except," as Detective Chimp notes, "when she isn't."

Both a novel and a film exist with this title, though they have nothing to do with the DC character, nor with each other.

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