Action Comics Weekly #601 – Blackhawk
“Another Fine War”
Script – Mike Grell
Pencils – Rick Burchett
Inks – Pablo Marco
Letters – Steve Haynie
Colors – Tom Ziuko
Editor – Mike Gold
Today we’re going to wrap up Action Comics Weekly #601! Our anchor story, at least for the foreseeable future will feature Blackhawk. That’s not a character I have a whole heckuva lot of familiarity with… which is, ya know, one of the reasons why I’m so excited about seeing this project through.
Not sure why the War (and War-Adjacent) characters kinda intimidate me… but they do! I’m really looking forward to checking this arc out… so let’s do it!
We open in Flashback Land… and it’s V-J (Victory over Japan) Day (September 2, 1945). American streets are filled with celebration and ballyhoo following the unconditional surrender by Japan. American soldiers returned home, reunited with their loved ones… and in the words of one guy, pretended that life wasn’t “boring as hell”.
That boredom was short-lived, however… as just a year later there was some goings on in Vietnam that required their attention. Fed up with French rule, the Viet Minh started a revolution. Battles raged during the Winter of 1946/1947. This brings us to “now” as we jump ahead to February, 1947…
… Where Janos Prohaska… Blackhawk is taking a bath in a Singaporean… uhh, cathouse (?) while reading the funnies in Stars and Stripes. He’s rather displeased to learn that Milton Caniff had left Terry and the Pirates to start Steve Canyon… something Reggie and I briefly discussed during a recent Cosmic Treadmill After Dark!
Suddenly, the door is kicked in by a man called Zalecki. He’s ticked off… and wielding a blade, while demanding $10,000 (that’s about $112,604 in 2018 bucks). Meanwhile, downstairs a blonde woman arrives at the… uhh, cathouse… and she’s looking for Blackhawk.
Back upstairs, Blackhawk pulls the ol’ “You Brought a Knife to a Gunfight” thing… and shoots Zalecki in the gut. Our mystery blonde hears the gunshot, and might now know exactly where to find her fella.
This was pretty great! I liked it a lot.
The only (Janos) Blackhawk I have any real familiarity with was from the Howard Chaykin Prestige Format miniseries… and even that, it’s been over a decade since I read it. Really wasn’t sure what to expect going in here. Actually, now that I think about it, I suppose the Blackhawk I really know is Lady Blackhawk from Birds of Prey… which really doesn’t help us here!
It’s interesting how much “time removed” makes actual real-world history more acceptable to me as a storytelling device. The previous chapter of ACW featured Deadman tied up in some Contra stuff from the Reagan era… and, I dunno… it just didn’t connect with that as much as this. Ya know?
It’s almost like when I read All-Star Squadron, and see them check in with Franklin Roosevelt…. I can accept that (and actually feel like it adds to the “lore”), but I’d hate to see the Justice League confer with Bush, Obama, or Trump. Ya know? Maybe it’s just an unironic case of “Too Soon” for me? I dunno. Maybe I just trust Mike Grell to give us a great story?
What we get here… isn’t all that much. Blackhawk himself only shows up in the latter half, but I appreciate the “table setting” we get in the lead-up. Blackhawk is depicted as a prototypical action hero, spouting off cliche lines about “knives at a gun fight”… things I might usually roll my eyes at… yet here, I dunno… it kinda works!
Overall, at first blush… this arc is something of a “dark horse” for me. Wasn’t expecting to be quite this captivated… and certainly didn’t expect to be excitedly looking forward to the next installment!
Tomorrow: We wrap up our first week of #ActionComicsDaily final thoughts, and try and drum up some reader-engagement ACW-style!