Action Comics Weekly #604 (Wild Dog)
“Moral Stand, Chapter Four: Unleashed!”
Writer/Co-Creator – Max Collins
Pencils/Co-Creator – Terry Beatty
Inks – John Nyberg
Colors – Michele Wolfman
Letters – Gaspar
Editor – Mike Gold
With a title like “Unleashed!”, it’s almost a certainty that after two-weeks, we’re finally going to get some Wild Dogging in… right?!
We open at the Time Machine, a Comics and Video store in the Quad Cities. I did a bit of research to see if this is/was a real place, but came up cold. If you have more familiarity with the Quad Cities of the 1980’s, please let me know if this was an actual shop! Anyhoo, it’s after-hours, and inside the owner and a couple of young fellas work on their comic book Mutant Commie Groundhogs from Uranus (it just had to be Uranus, didn’t it?). At this moment, a couple of masked Moralists spraypaint their logo on the street outside the shop… and, well… blow the place up real good.
Elsewhere, Jack Wheeler wraps up his meeting with Dr. Layman of the Legion of Morality. Remember, he’s trying to get “inside”. Turns out, all he really did here was unwittingly give the good Doctor an alibi!
Susan King and Lou Godder are on the scene of the bombed bookstore with the quickness. We learn that the owner was killed in the blast, and the young fellas were severely injured. Lt. Flint notes the “signature” left on the pavement… and decides it might just be time for Wild Dog… to be unleashed!
We shift scenes, and join a trucker… who looks like he’s wearing a costume beard. He stops to help a stranded motorist… but it’s quickly revealed to be a set-up. These are actually just more masked Moralists… and they demand he open up his trailer.
Ya see, the thing of it is… ol’ Weird Beard is hauling magazines… some of the Playboy variety. So, ya know… smut! The Moralists are planning on torching the loot. The trucker tries to fight back, but gets kayoed with the quickness.
Then… it happens! Wild Dog finally shows up! One of the Moralists chucks a Molitov Cocktail at him… and, get this, Wild Dog catches the damn thing!
Not only that, he chucks it back at the Moralist!
Unfortunately, he didn’t take into account that there were another two masked men there… who unload their pistols into his chest. Welp. It’s been fun, but I guess this is where we end our Wild Dog feature.
Well, no sooner does Wild Dog show up… then he’s gunned down in cold blood. I was hoping for so much more for (and from) him. Oh well, I guess the Black Canary feature will start showing up in its place next wee– whatsat? Bulletproof what now? No way.
All kidding aside, this was a solid chapter. Heck, it’s been a pretty solid run altogether… though, I will say, I’m glad Wild Dog does finally make an in-costume appearance here… even if it is just to get perforated real good.
These crazed Moralists are making for a pretty formidable and scary crew of antagonists. There’s that old saying that, regardless of what side of a conflict you’re on, you never see your side as the “bad side”… which only makes the Masked Moralists all the more dangerous! They’re convinced that their way is right, and will explore any means to reach their desired ends.
Speaking of “ends”, how ’bout that one Moralist getting roasted, toasted, and burnt to a crisp by way of his own Molotov?! That’s the kind of harder-core imagery we’re used to when it comes to Wild Dog… and, boy, it’s definitely “way out” from a lot of other mainstream stuff of the day!
One pretty glaring question comes to mind… how did Wild Dog know about this attempted truck-jacking? Seems kind of a lucky break for this Weird-Bearded Trucker that Wild Dog was “going his way”. Well, I’m sure we’ll find out soon… if, ya know, Wild Dog isn’t actually dead.
Overall… this arc continues to heat up, and I’m anxious to see which direction it goes!
Tomorrow: The Secret Six continue their inaugural mission!