- Well, butter my butt an' call me a biscuit--!
- — Lady Blackhawk src
Zinda Blake, determined to become the first woman member of the famed World War II fighter squadron known as the Blackhawks, trained herself to pilot a wide range of modern aircraft and made herself an expert in various forms of combat and weaponry.
Her first attempt to join the group took place in Africa when she helped rescue a member, Olaf Bjornson, from a modern-day pirate called the Scavenger. Despite her able assistance, Zinda was told that the Blackhawk codes forbade a woman from joining the team.
Only a short time later, the Scavenger returned and managed to capture the entire Blackhawk Squadron, holding them prisoner within his floating island citadel. Blackhawk sent a radio signal to Zinda who arrived just in time to help extradite the captured Blackhawks and defeat the Scavenger. In recognition of her resourcefulness and bravery, Blackhawk decided that she could become an honorary member of the team.
She came to the Blackhawks aid once again when she helped rescue them from Penelope, ruler of the island nation of Xenovia. Penelope captured the Blackhawks when she mistakenly believed that they were agents of a rival known as the Iron Duke.
Zinda then tried her hand at acting, but after a failed attempt to land a carreer in Hollywood, she returned to service assisting the Blackhawks. On this venture, she used her remote control plane to aid them against a villain called the Spear-Master.
After a number of adventures with the Blackhawks, Zinda became the victim of the villainous Nazi operative Killer Shark, who used a chemical potion to brainwash her, forcing her to take up the identity of the costumed Queen Killer Shark. Zinda battled her former comrades a number of times before she was freed of the effects of the potion.
Due to the time-warping effects of Zero Hour, Zinda was thrust into the present looking no different than she did in 1959. During the Crisis in Time, Zinda befriended other heroes, including an alternate-universe version of Batgirl. They had several adventures in various time periods, including the Wild West. Ultimately, the small group was separated by the events of the cross-over. She later served as an employee and colleague to Guy Gardner and worked at his super-hero themed eatery, Warriors. Zinda was instantly accepted by Guy and assisted him and his makeshift team against various super-villains, often serving as a pilot. Zinda's companions included Arisia, a former Green Lantern, Buck Wargo, a millionaire adventurer, and Tiger-Man, a half-tiger, half-man.
In 2004 Zinda began service as the team pilot for the Birds of Prey. Team leader Oracle recruited Zinda Blake as the team's fourth member. Since Zinda was looking for a change, she gladly acceptted. When she left the Blackhawk organization (and her stake in the company), Zinda took with her but one thing: a state-of-the-art jet (the Aerie One) with which she transported the Birds to their various destinations.
After leaving Gotham City, Oracle established a headquarters at the Dalten Towers in Metropolis. Zinda appeared with a new helicopter, the Aerie Two, and handed out new jackets bearing a modified Blackhawk logo to the other Birds of Prey.
For a time she harbored an unrequited attraction to Creote, who she did not realize was gay. Upon learning this fact, Zinda exclaimed: "Holy Crow! The boy is fancy?!"
Blake soon resigned from the Birds of Prey rather than see Oracle forced to dismiss her under orders from the group's new leader, Spy Smasher; she marked her resignation by punching Spy Smasher in the face. However, she came to Oracle's aid in Birds of Prey #108, and rejoined the team when Oracle's command was restored.
Blake established a close friendship with Big Barda after she joined the Birds of Prey. Following Barda's death as part of the "Death of the New Gods" event, Blake traveled across the country in order to place Barda's photograph on a wall of honor at a pub near Edwards Air Force Base in California; the wall featured photographs of Blake with her now-deceased colleagues in the Blackhawks.
The Killer Shark later returned, apparently still looking as young as he was when he brainwashed Zinda. After some time of stalking and a quick spar, he left a map for her to follow, hoping to get her at his side once again. Zinda was left contemplating the idea to follow him, as he promised revelations on her past. She soon discovered that he was actually the original Killer Shark's grandson, a young genius in marine engineering, heir of the Killer Shark's legacy and a large supply of his brainwashing serum. As his late grandfather never disclosed to him the location of the booty amassed in a lifetime of crime, he simply decided to brainwash Zinda into remembering it for him. The alliance was short-lived, and Zinda was freed with some help from her teammate Helena Bertinelli.
Some time later the Birds of Prey disbanded and Oracle returned to Gotham City after Batman's death. Zinda was summoned along with many other heroes to form part of the Network, a team that would keep order in Gotham during Batman's absence. As a former member of the Birds of Prey, Zinda worked closely to Oracle and Huntress.
Powers and Abilities
- Aviation: Zinda is an ace flyer, able to easily handle any type of aircraft.
- Hand-to-Hand Combat (Basic)
- Military Protocol
- Multilingualism: She can order beer in thirty languages, and has some proficiency in Pashto.
- Zinda's placement in the modern day timeline causes a bit of a continuity snarl. At the time, the prevalent (but unused) Blackhawks were Howard Chaykin's reboot, with Natalie Reed as its Lady Blackhawk. Later appearances establish she was active during World War II, which she never was in the Silver Age, and show her team of Blackhawks as a mixture of Mark Evanier's Bronze Age run (in which she herself did not appear) and Chaykin's Post-Crisis run. It may be these changes were brought about by Zero Hour, or she, like the Batgirl encountered, was actually from an alternate timeline.
- Zinda first suggested the name Birds of Prey for Oracle's team in Birds of Prey #86.
- Zinda was a one-time movie actress.
- Typically, Zinda Blake does not possess any superhuman abilities. However, on one occasion, she was granted temporary superhuman strength after being exposed to radiation by Baron Brane.
- 123 Appearances of Zinda Blake (New Earth)
- 63 Images featuring Zinda Blake (New Earth)
- 4 Quotations by or about Zinda Blake (New Earth)
- Character Gallery: Zinda Blake (New Earth)
Birds of Prey member