ACW #603 – Wild Dog

Action Comics Weekly #603 (Wild Dog)
“Moral Stand, Chapter Three: Censored”
Writer – Max Collins
Pencils – Terry Beatty
Letters – Gaspar
Colors – Michele Wolfman
Editor – Mike Gold

It was brought to my attention last week that we went through an entire Wild Dog story… without Wild Dog!  Outside of a very brief flashback, that is.

Well, check this out: We’re about to read another Wild Dog-less chapter of Wild Dog!

We pick up right where we left off… ReadWorld Books went boom… er, Ka-Whoom!  We see here that ReadWorld was just a few blocks away from Jack Wheeler’s garage, where he and Lt. Andy Flint are wrapping up their chat.  Andy heads over to check out the blaze, and Jack tags along.  Andy reveals that, only a few hours prior, this was the scene of an anti-porn demonstration… which absolutely baffles Jack.

Andy tries to corral the lookie-loos, and keep the peace… when Jack notices a freshly-painted “calling card” left on the side of the building.  It’s that Ghostbusters logo… just without the ghost.

Susan King arrives to report the news, and we can see that among the onlookers is… Dr. B. Lyle Layman, and he currently looks like the cat that ate the canary!  Susan questions him, but he has nothing to say.  Well, that’s not completely true… he does say “The Lord works in mysterious ways”.

Jack and Andy are watching the news broadcast from a local bar, and they both notice the lapel pin the Good Doctor is wearing… it’s that Ghostbusters-without-the-ghost logo!  Uh-oh.

Andy laments the fact that they don’t have anybody on the “inside” of Layman’s organization… which Jack takes as a sorta-kinda invitation to “play Wild Dog”.

The next day, Dr. Layman visits Helen Scournt, the President of the local chapter of the Legion of Morality… and he offers her a promotion!  Ya see, he’s thinking about hanging around the Quad Cities for a spell, and even opening up an official “Field Office” there.  He also hits on her… like really hard.

We shift over to Lt. Flint’s office, where Lou Godder has arrived for a visit.  We learn that in the ReadWorld fire, the nighttime security guard “burnt to a crisp”, which ups the stakes on tracking down the responsible parties.

We wrap up with Jack Wheeler, local businessman meeting with Dr. Layman about a contribution opportunity.

Last week I was enjoying the story so much that I didn’t even realize that Wild Dog wasn’t even in it… and this week, it’s more of the same.  We’re building a neat little story here, Wild Dog or no!  I assume he’s going to be making an appearance next week considering the “blurb” in the final panel, but so far we’ve gotten along quite well without “him”!

I think last week I described the Legion of Morality as “unsubtle”… I’m not sure if there’s a stronger word that could be used to describe them… I dunno, maybe “blatant”?  I mean, this Dr. Layman might as well have horns and a forked tail.  Just cartoonishly driven in his cause.  From his visit with Helen Whatsherface, it looks like he’ll eventually be exposed as some sort of perverted hypocrite down the line… which will be a fitting end for this type of baddie.  If I’m not mistaken, this is hot off the heels of the Jim Bakker/Jessica Hahn scandal… 

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it now… I really like the world-building Collins and Co are doing here.  Jack Wheeler may be Wild Dog, but he’s hardly the only character we’re paying attention to here.  This is a fun cast of characters, and it’s neat having them all get “panel time”.

Overall, another fun chapter… and if we were to package the last three parts into a single issue, I feel like they’d make for a nice little read.  Now that the table is set, I’m really looking forward to what’s to come.

Tomorrow: Wrapping up #603 with Blackhawk!

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