Action Comics Weekly #603 (Blackhawk)
“Another Fine War, Chapter 3”
Writer – Mike Grell
Pencils – Rick Burchett
Inks – Pablo Marcos
Letters – Steve Haynie
Colors – Tom Ziuko
Editor – Mike Gold
The Blackhawk feature has been my “dark horse” pick so far for these early Action Comics Weekly‘s. I really figured I’d glaze over them… ya know, just “grin and bear it” for completionist’s sake.
But, here we are… and it might just be my favorite. In fairness, we’re only three-chapters deep at this point, but… it’s been a neat little surprise!
We open with Janos and Cynthia getting into the skinny on the “Finder’s Keepers” gold. Apparently, it was part of a Japanese hoard left in Indochina back in 1945. After the French returned in 1946, they discovered it… but, it would come up missing again. A Parachutist named Robert Massie is thought to have stolen it… and had hoped to take it out through an abandoned airstrip in Northern Burma.
But that’s where the trail ends! It’s believed Massie was intercepted by a Chinese bandit called “The Red Dragon”. Cynthia believes that the gold is still in the possession of The Red Dragon… and so, that’s their current target.
Blackhawk’s all “Why in all hells would I want to get tangled up in this?“, to which Cynthia informs him that she’s “done her homework” on him, and knows that this sort of gig is right up his alley. Of course, she’s right. They bargain a bit about the split of the loot, and Janos decides to “throw in” after an offer of 30%, plus all expenses paid.
There’s also a bit of trademark Blackhawk lechery before the agreement.
We jump ahead to the hangar, where Blackhawk bribes a clerk to follow up on a telegram he’d sent to Saigon. Cynthia arrives, and Janos again asks who she is affiliated with… and she still won’t say.
Upon seeing the plane, Cynthia is somewhat surprised. They’re going to be flying in a cargo plane rather than a fighter. Janos explains that this will be the easiest and safest way into wherever-the-hell they’re going… after all, a fighter jet would very likely be shot down upon sight. The cargo plane is full of bootleg booze, which will serve several purposes, not the least of which, getting people drunk.
We close out with the plane taking off… and Blackhawk hoping The Red Dragon might be a formidable… and therefore, fun… foe.
Another nice chapter… and, I feel like if we were to compile/massage the three bits we have so far into a “full-size” single-issue, it’d make for a good one! One of the things I’ve been trying to keep in mind when reading these “features” is that, many of the creative teams involved might not have been completely comfortable writing in 8-page “bursts”.
That said, I might be giving some stories a “pass” when it comes to pacing. So like, while these Blackhawk chapters have featured quite a bit of “sitting around” and talking… I’m willing to accept that. I’m doing my best to read these with a few days between to best emulate what readers back in 1988/89 had to do… so, I guess we’ll see over the next few weeks if I can maintain my optimism.
So, whatta we got here? Cynthia Hastings lays it all out. The war gold has changed hands a number of times, and is now believed to be in possession of a Chinese bandit called the Red Dragon. Sounds dangerous… and I hope it proves to be!
I still dig the back-n-forth between she and Janos, lechery and all. I also appreciate Janos’ logic… “delivering” hooch rather than flying in guns blazing is an awesome idea on so many levels. The revelation that they could use the booze to possibly get their enemies drunk, and therefore easier to beat up, is pretty awesome.
The art continues to deliver… I’m not sure if I said it here, or on social media, but I feel like Burchett’s work is like a more “comic-booky” Darwyn Cooke. I think it’s pretty great! Feeling really good about this one overall!
Tomorrow: We’ll wrap up Week 3!