Thursday, September 19, 2013

356 Comics...258: Actions Comics Weekly #627 (1988)

The seams in ACW's production schedule were really starting to show at this point, given that last issue promised, I believe, a new Phantom Stranger episode, but instead we got a double dose of the restarted Nightwind (and Speedy) feature.  I notice in the letter column someone complaining that the Nightwing feature had too much Speedy for their liking, so I guess adding the "and Speedy" here was meant to address that this was indeed a team-up and not just a solo effort like the cover image would have you think.

These ACW Nightwing stories are, for some odd reason, collected in the new "Old Friends, New Enemies" trade paperback (I love that DC is just using this issue's ACW cover by the great Gil Kane for its solicitation, but I believe they actually used ACW #613's cover for the actual release).  This, I believe, marks the first time any of the ACW stories have been collected, mainly because, well, they're generally not that great and I don't believe anyone is clamoring for them.  If anything, the Blackhawk and Wild Dog features, easily the series' most popular, should be assembled.  I'm surprised there's not a Wild Dog Omnibus out there collecting everything in its entirety, except that, well, it's Wild Dog and who really gives a crap.

The Great Action Comics Weekly Poll:
1) Secret Six : it seems to be a toss-up in the letter column whether people love it absolutely or genuinely dislike it because it's not superheroes.  My favourite part is that Frank Springer keeps forgetting to draw Mitch's gloves, so it's up to colorist Carl Gafford to color them in (or white them out, actually)

2) Black Canary: universally reviled by the lettercolumn response, but I love the slow burn pace and the ridiculously moody art by Randy duBurke.  This issue, Black Canary gets arrested as a streetwalker.  Seriously.  It's a pointed comment on her fishnets and bustier costume that she fits right in unquestionably on a street corner.

3) Green Lantern: it's trying so hard to be something good, but it just keeps missing the mark.  Here GL and Captain Atom pursue an extremely powerful alien who has been misconstruing Earth's customs and causing rampant death and havoc, with Cap being far too aggressive in his resolution.  Priest just can't seem to find the right voice for Captain Atom.

4) Nightwing: what people are complaining about Black Canary for, for not being superhero-y enough and not being interesting, and just being Joe Average detective stuff that the layman could be left to do... that's how I feel about this Nightwing story.  Part 1 features a nonsensical sequence aboard a ferry to Northern Ireland where Speedy's off on some family heritage hunt (why Dick is there with him I don't know).  Part two finds them traipsing around Ireland, embroiled in a drug smuggling plot that's connected to Roy's past at the Central Bureau of Investigations.  This is really a Speedy story overall, using the far more popular Nightwing as a hook-in for the fanboys.  Also, dated SNL sketch reference ("-- And we run into drugs. Coincidence?  Or could it be--SATANNN?") and an ill-formed analogy ("So that's why I'm here.  'Roots--The Super-Hero Generation.'  Did you ever think you'd see 'Kunta Kinte' with red hair?"). Also Tom Mandrake is perfect for moody mystical stuff like the Spectre or Batman vigilante stuff, but bright spandex superheroes really aren't his bag.

5) Superman: It's a two-page ongoing serial and it wastes a third of its space with Clark daydreaming about how he would handle a situation as Superman, while in the middle of a chase sequence.  A fully visualized day dream, then rationalize out of existence.  Woof.

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