Wild Dog #3 (November, 1987)
“Chapter Three: Rollin’ on the River”
Writer – Max Collins
Penciller – Terry Beatty
Inker – Dick Giordano
Letterer – John Workman
Colorist – Michele Wolfman
Editor – Mike Gold
Cover Price: $0.75
Let’s keep this Wild Dog train rolling!
To catch up check out the discussions of issues #1 and #2.
On the Dixie Belle riverboat crossing over to Arsenal Island, all four of our potential Wild Dogs are having something of a reunion. The foursome all played college football for the State U Red Dogs, which I guess explains Wild Dog’s jersey-uniform. The trip had been organized by Graham Gault. He sings the praises of his little cluster of friends, and had initially invited them along as a sightseeing venture… though, it is quickly made apparent that he has an ulterior motive.
As our favorite newswoman, Susan King (now with floppy hat) looks on from the periphery, Graham parcels out gift boxes for his bosom buds. Andy Flint the police lieutenant opens his to find a hockey mask not unlike that of Wild Dog’s. Newsman, Lou Godder finds a Red Dogs jersey in his, and auto mechanic Jack Wheeler comes up with a pair of camouflage pants. The three sit stunned, not quite knowing what to make of their pal’s “thoughtful” gifts.
Graham makes it perfectly clear that he suspects one of his friends is Wild Dog, and attempts to piece together an appropriate pattern of behavior for each of them. Lou’s wife is revealed as having been killed by terrorists, Andy’s an outspoken anti-crime advocate, and Jack’s army squad is revealed as having been blown up by terrorists.
The boat shores up at Arsenal Island and the foursome (along with Ms. King) disembark. Arsenal Island is the home of one of the larger military hardware command posts and boasts around 9,000 employees.
As the group browses the Arsenal Museum, Gault breaks away. He has spied Susan King off on the periphery and approaches her to find out why she’s been following him/them. She is not terribly keen to speak with him, but sticks around long enough to be given a warning. Gault tells her to back off on the Wild Dog story… she should just enjoy the headlines without digging any deeper.
The group watches a demonstration of a Rocket Propelled Grenade Launcher, and observes a soldier blow up a small house on the grounds. I’m thinking such demos may become costly, if they’re gonna blow up a house each and every time they want to show off their goods.
Back on the coast, a small boat full of what appears to be picnic-seeking tourists disembark. Security approaches them, and warns that they may be on the wrong island… only to get blown away by their semi-automatic weaponry. The tourists are in actuality terrorists, and have designs on taking over the Dixie Belle riverboat.
The picnic posse assembles their own explosives launching device, and proceeds to slaughter a group of civilians. During the fracas, the Wild Dog costume from earlier goes missing from the Dixie Belle.
Wild Dog is on the scene and is shooting fools without reservation. When he runs out of ammo, he is chased into the Arsenal Museum… where he finds a Browning Machine Gun under glass. Lucky for him, it’s loaded full of live ammunition.
He blows away a trio of terrorists before exiting the Museum. He runs directly into Susan King who directs him to another pair of terrorists brandishing a rocket launcher. He perforates them without even a thought.
As the Dixie Belle pulls away from the shore, Wild Dog knows his time is running out. He picks up the RPG launcher… and, well blows the riverboat to smithereens. Job well done, he sheds his costume and makes himself scarce.
Another fun issue of Wild Dog. In actually reading this series, I’m hard-pressed to understand how this character is looked at as something of a joke character. I’ll admit, this story had a fair amount of convenient moments in it (the live-ammo under glass, for example), but it is a perfectly decent and entertaining action-adventure tale.
The “Who is Wild Dog?” mystery continues to build to a boil. With one issue left, especially with it’s tell-tale cover, I’m guessing we are about to get a result. Is it one of the Red Dogs? Is it all of the Red Dogs working in tandem? I’m not sure as of yet, though I have my suspicions.
If I were to guess, I’d have to figure Jack Wheeler is our Wild Dog. He’s the only character of the four who isn’t really needed as a side-character. With Jack under the mask, the other three Red Dogs could still remain as a cast, without having to shoe-horn any of them in. If Jack remains a side-character, I can’t imagine there’d be much of an organic way to keep him relevant. There’s only so many times Wild Dog can have his car repaired, after all.
Susan King being warned by Graham was a nice (if not a bit creepy) touch as well. I really wonder what her take on the situation is. She clearly has her suspicions, though it is not made clear who she may be leaning toward.
Definitely enjoying this underrated gem a ton more than I had initially thought. I almost can’t believe that this one was never collected (along with the bits from Action Comics Weekly) into a trade paperback. This is a fun and intriguing story, that I wish more folks could discover. It could challenge their preconceptions and very likely capture their imagination. I love that this is firmly in the DC Universe proper, as mention is made to Superman… this is such a contrast to the colorful caped heroes, and really affords the reader a look at the familiar DC Universe in a novel way.
Of particular note… my copy of this issue *might be* autographed. There is a Max Collins signature on the bottom of the opening page. Whether or not it’s legit, I dunno. May just be a kid practicing his penmanship. Cool nonetheless.
|A fun series…
|After almost thirty years, I still can only solve one of these… Twimples.