Batman or Black Canary?
It's a pretty easy choice, actually. Black Canary is still very similar to her Golden Age version. Same outfit for the most part, same martial arts schtick. There are a few differences, of course.
Controversial though this decision might be, I don't count "Dinah Lance, Junior" as a different person from the original Dinah Lance. She's her daughter only in a retconnish way, kind of like how John Byrne made the current Wonder Woman the daughter of the one in WWII. In fact, she's just a different generation's version of the same person. I've noticed that you almost never see Dinah with her mother; is "Senior" dead now? And I mean, really; know how many women name their daughters after themselves? Zero. Only men are that vain and uninterested in fostering sense of individuality in their children. And don't bother giving me any real-life counterexamples of women with the same name as their mothers; it won't prove me wrong, it will just prove that those people are really, really weird.
No, Dinah doesn't "lose" because she's a replacement. It's for other reasons... .
The modern Black Canary has a superpower; in the Golden Age, she didn't. That's such a powerful difference in kind that almost nothing else matters. It happened, you'll recall, when she "migrated" from Earth-2 to Earth-1 . It may seem cool or perfectly natural for her to have a power now, so many years later. But at the time it was one of the most painful examples ever of "Ironic Superempowerment", the phenomenon by which unpowered characters just happen to acquire superpowers that just happen to fit with their previously chosen name or identity.
She's pretty much the same otherwise, but she's 'traded up' a good deal. She still has a macho jerk for a boyfriend, but now he's a superhero macho jerk. She still has a daughter who could follow in her footsteps, but she didn't have to quit her career on go through anything like, you know, childbirth, to get her. She's still a respected hero in her own right, but is now also known for her leadership in Birds of Prey and the Justice League. Black Canary's changed a lot, and, unlike most of her contemporaries, she's changed for the better.
This brings us to Batman, who I think is our winner. And how does Batman win? The same way Batman always wins.
By cheating, of course.
I'd been avoiding trying to tackle the issue of how different the current Batman might be because I couldn't figure out exactly what "the Golden Age Batman" meant. A lot of people think it just means "the dark and eerie figure of the night", the lone avenger of Gotham. Not so.
Smiling Batman, happy Batman, Robin's partner, deputized by the Commissioner and awarded a diamond-encrusted police badge? That happened in the early 1940s, folks; the Golden Age. In fact, that corner was turned, in my opinion, in "The People v. Batman", Oct/Nov 1941, Batman No. 7, in this very scene:
The nice thing is that, while Batman became Smiling Batman early in the Golden Age, he never forgot how to be scary. For example, in the panels below, B&R find themselves in a corrupt town where they can't work with the police. "That's okay, " Batman says. "We'll do in the old fashioned way and just scare the bejeezus out of 'em.""By reverting to our earliest technique-- cracking the nerves of the underworld. Remember the bat costume's origin and how the press described it? 'A dread shadow that silently stalks the nocturnal corridors or crime.' "
And so he does.
This is the Batman who, as a bad guy fell to his death from a skyscraper construction site, said to his little boy sidekick, "Quick, Robin! Snap a picture!" Do you really want to know what he means by "or else"? Shudder.
Anyway, my point is that Batman's entire literary history has been the process of weaving back and forth between the two sides of his Golden Age personality: Smiling Batman and Frowning Batman. And I love the statement above that it's a conscious tactic that Batman employs. Batman is neither crazy nor a fool, but a master of psychological warfare. He's accessible when he needs to be and implacable when required.
That's what he was in the Golden Age; that's what he is now. Least changed? Batman