Sunday, March 31, 2019

ACW #609 - Secret Six

Action Comics #609 (Secret Six)
"Canned in Boston"
Writer - Martin Pasko
Art - Dan Spiegle
Letters - Carrie Spiegle
Colors - Carl Gafford
Editor - Dick Giordano

Here's a non sequitur (which I just learned is two words not one)... 

When I'm working, be it schoolwork, biz work, or blogcast work, I like to have a bit of background noise.  I don't usually turn on the TV until late in the day, but I like having some, I dunno, "ignorable" noise most of the time.  Ya know, nothing I need to really pay attention to, while at the same time just being "there".

One thing I've turned to over the past couple of years are these compilations of commercials from the 80's you might find on YouTube.  Just real "easy-listening"... keeps me company, and I can muddle through whatever it is I'm doing.

Here's a weird thing though... I'm not sure if I'm just flashing back to being a nebbish kid or anything, but, some of these old commercials... especially ones for movies (and TV "movies of the week")... just creep the bejeezus out of me... and I'm not just talking about horror movies either.

There's just something... I dunno... detached about them.  I mean, they all have the "disembodied voice" thing going on... but, it's just so much more "raw" than today.  I dunno... maybe I'm just a nut.

Let's Secret Six...


We open in Boston... where Vic and Gary are still duking it out over the lovely, lovely, Mel.  Gary is shocked when Mel refers to the tall drink of water who just threw him through a window as "Vic"... because, ya see, Vic's supposed to be dead.  The fight escalates, with Gary hitting Vic so hard, it cracks his make-up... rendering him not unlike something out of Terminator 2... or maybe Cyborg Superman.  Boston's finest arrive, and haul 'em both off to the precinct.

We jump over to Frisco (I hear they hate it when you call it that), where the Secret Six is still discussing the who DiRienzi affair.  LaDonna finally wakes up, and facilitates a neat and tidy exposition dump.  Mockingbird might have lured the Originals to their death... their interloper is the son of one of those originals, yadda yadda yadda.

Speaking of that interloper, he's currently hiding out at the Barclay Hotel under the name "Gino".  Probably not the most creative thing to use your well-known nickname as your alias... but, whattayagonnado?  Anyhoo... "room service" arrives, only it's actually a couple of Mockingbird goons.  Gino gets slap-jacked and loaded into a crate.

Back in Boston, Mel arrives to bail Vic out of the clink.  Ya see, Gary is a wealthy fella... and has the ability to make things "go away".  Vic begrudgingly accepts... because, I mean, what other choice does he have?  He could stay locked up... and in a day or so when Mockingbird realizes he's of no more use to him, flip the switch on his headgear?

Vic walks Mel out to her car, and we learn that they have a daughter together... a daughter who believes her father died in the war.  This is how Mel would like to keep things.  She reveals that she only married Gary because she believed herself to be a widow... and by this point, she ya know, loves the guy... so she's not going to divorce him.  It's a tough spot to be in... though, I'm sure the size of Gary's checking account makes it a bit easier.  She hops into her convertible (complete with MEGABUX vanity plate) and drives off.

Back in Frisco (they hate it when you call it that), it's back to business.  The Sixers got a tainted meat plant to investigate.  Here's the thing, there's going to be a news item in the Washington Sentinel about Farmer Ralph's (it's "Meat Week", donchaknow), and so, a couple of the Sixers are going to pose as a reporter and photographer to try and get to the bottom of this.  They're wanting to know if the meat is being contaminated during the packaging... or, if there's something wiggy in the livestock.  Mitch's makeups will play a large part in this mission... which makes me feel like he might be the only Sixer earning his keep!

We wrap up with the actual Washington Sentinel staffers getting into their car to head over to Farmer Ralph's.  Then... the airbags deploy, putting them both to sleep.  Our Sixers are now about to get into position!


Alrighty, so we officially kick off the Six's second mission.  It's probably going to wind up being their final mission for this stint, because in a few weeks it'll be going on hiatus.  Checking with our handy-dandy ACW triptych... this feature will run until ACW #612, then return for ACW #619-630.

We're going talk more about "Meat Week" next time out, this week I wanted to focus on the Vic/Mel/Gary relationship.  It seems like a pretty rotten situation all around.  Mel and Vic are married.  Vic's feared dead, and so... (presumably) after grieving, Mel moves on with her life... meets a rich dude, gets remarried... only for Vic to reappear.  I mean, nobody did anything wrong here, right?  It's just a really uncomfortable situation.

Now, one of the things I've called so many of these stories out for (especially of late) is their lack of subtlety.  I get the feeling here that we're supposed to really dislike Gary.  Sure, last issue he had a little too much to drink... though, he only did so because he isn't terribly keen on his wife disappearing for days on end.  But this time out, he seems like, I dunno... a fairly reasonable dude.

When he realizes the horror of tearing off Vic's face... he kinda cools his jets.  Heck, he even bails Vic out of jail.  That's not something he had to do, right?  He could'a left him to rot.  Maybe, considering the awkward circumstances, he should'a!

But... I feel like the point being hammered home here is... Gary's so stupidly rich, that he can only be the villain.  I mentioned that Mel's ride had MEGABUX as its vanity plate... and just to prove I wasn't joking, here it is:

Just pure silliness.

In other news: Rafael DiRienzi gets kidnapped after using the laziest alias possible... and LaDonna finally woke up.  I swear, for a series called "Secret Six", we only really get to see 2-3 people actually do anything... and one of 'em ain't even part of the team!

Overall... despite the sorta-kinda heavy-handedness of the Vic/Mel/Gary bit, I found myself really enjoying this.  I also really dug the visual of "Cyborg Superman" Vic.

Tomorrow: Superman sees the sign... and it opens up his eyes!

Saturday, March 30, 2019

ACW #609 - Deadman

Action Comics Weekly #609 (Deadman)
"Faux Pas"
Writer - Mike Baron
Pencils - Dan Jurgens
Inks - Tony DeZuniga
Letters - Steve Haynie
Colors - Liz Berube
Editor - Barbara Randall

Wow, it feels like we're on an episode of "I Love the 80's" or something here at Action Comics Daily... ya know, minus all of the C-List celebrities waxing nostalgic about a decade they may not have even been born during.  Also, I'm probably more an "R-List" blogger.

In Green Lantern, we've got Oprah Winfrey... and here in Deadman, we've got the Reagans and the Gorbachevs!  Gotta assume Magnum, P.I., Mr. T., Michael Jackson, and Hulk Hogan are bound to show up eventually!


We pick back up at the Big U.S./U.S.S.R. Gala, and Deadman is still in the body of C.I.A. Director, Stan Kriptman.  When we left off, he was confronted by his Mistress, Lynn... now that his wife left him, she can't think of a single reason why they can't be together.  Well, there are a couple of reasons I could think of.  Anyhoo, Boston-as-Stan guides Lynn out to a balcony so they can talk... and sorta-kinda comes clean.  Tells her he's there to fight Satan... then tells her that Stan never loved her, before vacating his body.  Kind of a jerk move... but, Stan had it comin'.

Okay... then we get to the "meat and potatoes" of this chapter.  Deadman can see that the Devil has inhabited the body of Premier Mikhail Gorbachev... who just so happens to be chatting up President Ronald Reagan.  You can probably guess what happens next.

And so, we get a couple pages of... well, Mike Baron illustrating his distaste for the President of the United States.  Bet a lotta new comics readers out there thought that was a more "current year" sort of thing.

After some chatting, Deadman and Satan vacate the bodies of the two biggest political movers and shakers of the day, and hop into... their wives!  This time, however, Satan picks the American.  Little does he know that she's... ya know... A MANHUNTER!

From here, we get a couple of pages of... well, Mike Baron illustrating his distaste for the First Lady of the United States... before "Nancy" hauls off and socks "Raisa Gorbacheva" in the mush.

Worth noting that Ronald Reagan thinks this is a hoot.  Anyhoo, "Raisa" rushes off, and returns... with that Mayan rifle!


So, yeah...

If you've read this little blog for any appreciable time, you'll know that I'd prefer to keep comics and politics just about as far apart as humanly possible.  That, of course, is a pipe dream.  I'm not really a "political animal"... and hate the way American political discourse has become "team sports" rather than acting in anybodies best interests.

Thing is, when you've got a 22-page comic to fill, you might be able to "hide" some political commentary (regardless of how subtle) somewhere in the issue.  It might be an offhand remark from a character... maybe a news report in the background of a panel... maybe a character is reading a newspaper.  Whatever.

Here, all we've got is 8-pages... and the crux of it is "Reagan.  No Sir, I do not care for him".  Hey, it's Mr. Baron's platform... he can do with it as he pleases, but... I mean... it just feels like this was written to get high-fives around the office.  I will say, however... at least he kept it lighthearted.

From a "funny, ha-ha" perspective... I mean, this is sort of a "must see".  It might not be as weird as Oprah interviewing Green Lantern... but, it's still quite silly.

I'm thinking back to a contemporary of this issue... another late-80's book, that we discussed here back in the long-ago... Millennium.  An absolute train-wreck all-around, that seemed nearly as interested in painting the Reagan's as villains, as it did actually telling a story.

Guess I can't really blame them... because the "story" of Millennium was damp garbage.

Keeping with Millennium for just another sec.  That story established that Nancy Reagan was......... a Manhunter!  Wouldn't Satan, upon possessing her body, realize that she's actually a thousands-year old killer robot?  Maybe they were already walking that back... which, is probably the smart play.

I mentioned above that this felt more lighthearted then it could have been... and I definitely want to hand it to Baron for that.  Such levity would not be possible had this story been written in "current year"... orrrrr, between the years of 2000-2008.

Overall... I guess we got a tiny bit of forward momentum.  Hopefully our writer has it all out of his system by next issue, and we can just get this thing moving along.

Tomorrow: For Love... or Money?

Friday, March 29, 2019

ACW #609 - Black Canary

Action Comics Weekly #609 (Black Canary)
"Bitter Fruit, Part 1"
Writer - Sharon Wright
Pencils - Randy DuBurke
Inks - Pablo Marcos
Letters - Steve Haynie
Colors - Gene D'Angelo
Editor - Mike Gold

Heyyy, here we are... our first "seat change" in the line-up.  Blackhawk's on break, and in his place... someone with the same first name, Black Canary!  I'm using the Birds of Prey-era logo in the banner... I like the way it looks there.

This here's a bit of an iconic cover... if any of Action Comics Weekly's covers can be considered "iconic".  It's a Brian Bolland piece, in which, Dinah burns her JLI-era "Jazzercise" uniform.  A decision I'm sure was mostly popular at the time.

It's only more recently that I see any sorta clap-back on that, and I'm sure there are folks who actually prefer the "80's getup"... but I think some of that has to do with the fact that, in the social media age we're all climbing over each other to prove to be "the one" with the "unpopular opinion".

Then... the "unpopular" opinion becomes the popular opinion... but we keep calling it the "unpopular" opinion anyway.  Ehh, whattayagonnado?

For me... I'm down with the classic look, so jot my name on the side of the "popular" opinion.


We open in a California orange grove, where a pair of workers are... well, working... and sweating.  They talk about the job opportunities afforded to them in the United States... and how the rest of their families still live in Mexico... and the danger of being "sent back".  I guess we're going topical.  Oh yes, we certainly are... our next scene is in the Headquarters of Immigration and Naturalization in Lincoln, Nebraska.  A William B. MacDonald is addressing his staff... with some, likely biased reports of mentally ill and dangerous "illegals" needing to be rounded up.  I'm guessing subtlety will not be a hallmark of this story.

We next travel to Seattle, where a young man is being chased by.. several other young men.  They catch up to him in an alley that can be seen via the kitchen window of a woman with a rather impressive Kid N Play hairdo.  She recognizes the boy getting beaten as "Luis", and rushes out to his aid... baseball bat in tow.

Next, we shift to Sherwood Florist... where Dinah is, you guessed it, burning her Jazzercise uniform!  Ollie remarks that it smells like "hot plastic".  Dinah doesn't really give a reason for burning it... but I'm sure it resulted in a few reader fist-pumps nonetheless.  As this goes down, there is a news report on the television, that I'm going to assume will become more important as we move along.

Dinah and Ollie head into the kitchen for some tea... at which time, Dinah reveals that she invited a woman named Rita over.  She is a recovering drug-addict (though Dinah refers to her as "chemically dependent") who once dove through the front window of Sherwood Florist.  Anyhoo, now that she's clean (or "chemically independent", if you rather) Dinah wants to offer her a job.  Ollie ain't too sure... and honestly, neither am I.

Then... the doorbell rings.  It's Rita... who is that same woman with the impressive Kid N Play hairdo (or maybe she's a Bull Nakano fan?)... and she's in quite a state!



I'll say this much.  I really miss Blackhawk.

There's really not enough here to pass judgment... but what we do get is awfully heavy-handed and unsubtle.  I have a feeling that this arc will be kind of a bummer... and more interested in making a statement than telling a story.  This is just my "hot take"... I haven't read any further, so I could be (and hopefully am) completely wrong.

What did I like?  Well, Ollie interjected a bit of levity... that much was fun.  The burning of the costume... ehh.. a bit over-dramatic perhaps, especially from someone who, not two panels later, refers to herself as a "hopeless nostalgic".  I mean, nostalgic folks don't normally burn their possessions, do they?  I consider myself nostalgic... to the point of being a packrat.  Oh well.

The Immigration bit.  I'll withhold judgment for now... I don't know how Wright will handle this.  I have my suspicions... but, I'll keep 'em to myself.  I will say that ol' Mr. MacDonald may as well have had horns and a forked-tail.  Just cartoonish... which, goes back to our "unsubtle" situation.

Overall... well, I'm not sure.  The art is good, though it will take a bit getting used to.  We haven't had any Dinah-in-the-suit yet, so... what say, we just treat this as "prologue"?

Note: We won't be getting the next chapter for twelve days... as it will become the Action Comics Weekly "Anchor" story for the rest of its duration as part of the line-up.  Mr. Jordan will reclaim his spot as "lead feature" next week.

Tomorrow: "There you go again..."

Thursday, March 28, 2019

Action Comics Weekly #608 (1988)

Action Comics Weekly #608 (May 24, 1988)
Green Lantern: "Where the Heck is Green Lantern?"
Wild Dog: "Moral Stand, Chapter Eight: Winged Dog"
Secret Six: "Blind Impulse"
Superman: "Questions and Mysteries"
Deadman: "Gala Reception"
Blackhawk: "Another Fine War - Conclusion"
Writers - Peter David, Max Collins, Martin Pasko, Roger Stern, Mike Baron, & Mike Grell
Pencils - Tod Smith, Terry Beatty, Dan Spiegle, Curt Swan, Dan Jurgens, & Rick Burchett
Inks - Dan Bulandi, John Nyberg, John Beatty, Tony DeZuniga, & Pablo Marcos
Letters - Tim Harkins, Gaspar, Carrie Spiegle, Bill Oakley, & Steve Haynie
Colors - Anthony Tollin, Michele Wolfman, Carl Gafford, Tom Ziuko, & Liz Berube
Edits - Denny O'Neil, Mike Gold, Dick Giordano, Renee Witterstaetter, Mike Carlin, & Barbara Randall
Cover Price: $1.50

There's change in the air here at Chris is on Infinite Earths... this week marks the first time we put a feature back on the shelf.  Blackhawk's initial Action Comics Weekly story arc wraps up here.  We won't be seeing ol' Jonas again 'round these parts until May.

In his place will be Black Canary, whose feature actually starts tomorrow!  That's right, she actually bumps the Green Lantern feature to the end of the rotation for one-week only.

Of course, if you've been reading along, this isn't new information.  Figure I might as well include it for the "trade waiters" though!

Let's move on and take a look at this week's cover.  It's... well, it's kind of a thing, innit?  I saw that it was signed "Smith", and just assumed it was a strange take from (current GL-feature artist) Tod Smith.  Indeed it's not.  This is actually Paul Smith... one of my all-time favorite X-Men artists... and I couldn't even recognize it!

It's not the worst cover we've seen, but, I always have trouble with Hal's facial-to-neck structure here.  His face looks like it's narrowing toward the mouth... If I were to draw my eyes down it slowly, I'd be almost certain we were about to find out that a relative of Beta Ray Bill had become a Green Lantern.

Anyhoo... I feel like it's "okay", but a bit "off".

Uh-oh, we're about to head into Pollookaville, USA:

Better voter turn-out this week... though, I suppose that isn't saying much.  Blackhawk's streak continues with his penultimate chapter... I'm really looking forward to when the ACW Letters Pages start sharing the results of the actual polls.  Another streak... Superman still with the goose-egg.  Well earned, lad!

My Rankings for last week's stories (#607) would be:
1 - Wild Dog
2 - Blackhawk
3 - Secret Six
4 - Green Lantern
5 - Deadman
6 - Superman

Here's this week's poll:

Best Story in Action Comics Weekly #608

Green Lantern
Wild Dog
Secret Six

Shareable Link to Poll: 


We open with Oprah Winfrey shouting at a Producer... because her guest, Green Lantern has yet to arrive.  This is, of course, because Hal Jordan is a complete boob, who is incapable of keeping his appointments.  Actually, this time he gets to blame his near-tardiness on a "blasted hotel alarm clock", which begs the question... can't his ring just do that?  Like, act as an alarm?  Anyhoo... he bursts out of bed, and into the bathroom, where his underage girlfriend is in the shower.  He uses his ring to get him all gussied up for his big appearance.

On his way into Chicago, Hal happens across a group of armored car thieves... who are in the middle of stealing, well... ya know.  They realize that Green Lantern is on their tail, and so, they open fire.  Hal manages to deflect their shot... and then concocts a King Kong-esque construct to really ruin their day.

We hop back over to Oprah who is counting down the seconds to "showtime", realizing that she might have to use a "back-up guest".  Lucky for her (I guess), Hal arrives with a whole three seconds to spare!

As the program goes on the air, Hal looks to, well... clear the air about the whole Carol Ferris mess.  He even goes into the "quick and dirty" on the whole Green Lantern Corps.

After about a half-hour of jibbuh-jabbuh, Oprah turns to the audience for questions.  A woman asks Hal why, out of everyone, was he chosen to be Green Lantern.  To which, he replies... that he is totally without fear.  Fair enough, right?

Wellllll... the crowd ain't buyin' it!  Either that, or the Joker released some gas into the studio.


So yeah, it's the Oprah chapter!

A chapter that I had to do the ol' double-take over when I first read it.  Just couldn't wrap my head around it... I mean, I shouldn't assume, but I don't think there's much crossover between Oprah fans and comic fans.  Heck, I suppose I could be wrong.  Wouldn't be the first time.

I guess we could talk a bit about how Hal should never be late to anything... and how he should probably use the ring as an alarm clock rather than relying on whatever happens to be in the room he's sleeping in... especially when he's got a pressing appointment, ya know?

Nahhh, let's talk Oprah (that sounds like one of those Twitter accounts, dunnit?).  I think Peter David did a good job with her... though, there's (outside of her appearance) nothing really "Oprah-centric" about her.  I mean, this could'a been Bethany Snow... or whoever hosted that Impossible... But True! show in Gotham City.  I kinda think it's cooler using Oprah just for the "what the...?" factor, but I don't see much other added value.

I wonder if Oprah even knew about this?  Ehh, probably not.

All'at said, I dug the scenes taking place during the "show".  Kinda wish we didn't skip Hal's explanation though... I really wanted to hear how he'd explain away all of the craziness... to an audience full of "civilians", ya know?  The rolled-eyes in the audience would've been worth all the repetitive exposition alone.

Speaking of audience reactions, we wrap up with them raucously laughing at the notion that Green Lantern is truly a man without fear.  This is the concept we're going to be building the rest of this story arc on, and it's a darn good one.  I don't wanna spoil the "big reveal" (that was retconned just as soon as it happened)... but, we'll get there... and we'll have fun doing it!

Overall... a fun chapter that sets up our next arc quite well.


We open a moment before the ending of our previous chapter.  That black-clad Moralist (who we've been calling "Sir"... because, well, that's what he told us to call him) looks to have been sniped... but in actuality, he just went boom.  I mean, we couldn't have a Wild Dog cliffhanger without something blowing up, could we?  Well, I suppose we could have... but, what fun would that be?  Anyhoo, Flint and Gault are looking on and aren't quite sure what to make of it.  From here, we shift to an eating establishment where Helen Whatsherface is waiting for her date, Dr. B. Lyle Layman to finish up with a phone call.  He proceeds to lay the sweet-talk on pretty thick.

We rejoin Andy Flint as he arrives at Wheeler's garage.  He finds Jack, and immediately notices his bandaged arm.  Remember, he'd gotten shot with that armor-piercing bullet last time out.  He asks who patched him up... but he doesn't spill the beans.  We, of course, know that it was Lou Godder.  Andy breaks the news on "Sir's" explosion, and posits that Layman might have triggered the blast.

The true identity of Sir is revealed... and get this, he's a Merc-for-hire, who likely answered that "Call to Arms" in Soldier For Glory magazine... just as Jack suggested.  Andy suggests that Layman used a remote detonation device (of sorts) to keep the Merc's mouth shut... and, believe it or not, he's right on the money with his guess!  Worth noting that Helen Whatsherface witnessed Layman making the call...

... though, when Andy and Graham question her the following day, she denies it all.  After the in-house interrogation concludes, Dr. Layman emerges from an adjoined room, all sultry-like.  Helen expresses remorse, but Lyle tells her to forget all about it.

Then... Susan King sighting!  Susan King sighting!  Boy, it feels like it's been forever since we've seen her face!  She's on the news, talking about... what else, Wild Dog.  She reports that, in the earlier fracas, Wild Dog looked to have injured his right arm.  This report is via a television set, which is serving as background noise for Helen and Lyle... being together in the Biblical sense.

Later that night, Jack Wheeler reports in to the Legion of Morality... and is very apologetic for being a pretty lousy look-out during the Moline News Raid.  Lyle tells him not to worry, and sends him off into the locker room to "suit up".  While Jack's swapping clothes, however, a Moralist notices that his right arm is bandaged.  Hmm...

Moments later, Lyle joins Jack in the locker room... and pistol-whips him!  Looks like the jig is up, the news is out... they finally found him!

We wrap up at the Wundram Museum, where they're exhibiting some sorta risque pop-art... which will be the Legion's next (and final?) raid.


Alrighty... things are certainly coming to a head!

When I started this little endeavor, one thing I tried not to hold against these first features was "poor pacing".  I mean, if it was egregiously bad, I'd comment... but I was planning on grading pacing on a curve... ya know?  Many/all of these writers were more accustomed to writing twenty-odd page monthly comics.  These 8-page chapters were likely going to take some getting used to.

Gotta say though... I didn't notice any glaring pacing issues with Wild Dog.  This entire arc has been pretty tight, and really feels at-home in these shorter bursts.

So, whatta we got here?  Layman blew "Sir" up to keep him from squawkin'... and Helen Whatsherface looks to be conflicting regarding her blind devotion to the Doctor of Morality.  I mean, clearly, this guy was going to be revealed as a hypocrite... but, the fact that one of his "Lieutenants" is seeing it, is a pretty big deal.  I don't see his story ending well.

Jack's "discovery" was well-done... and, since now a handful of Moralists know about his dual-identity... well, just like Layman (and including Layman), I don't see their story ending well either.  Though, gotta say, Jack not taking better care to hide his wounded arm... even inside a locker room... feels a bit "off".  I'd assume he'd always behave as though he's being watched... because, c'mon, he usually is!

Overall... this is another one I'm going to miss while it's gone.  Next week will wrap up this arc... and we won't be seeing the Dog again for several weeks.


We pick up right where we left off last chapter.  Mockingbird has revealed to the Secret Six that... a fella named Rafael DiRienzi is conspiring against them.  He further reveals that ol' Rafe is the proprietor of the Enchanted Forest Magicians' Cabaret... or, he was, anyway.  Ya see, Mockingbird done burnt that place to the ground!  As Mr. Byrd continues his screed, Rafael decides to git while the gittin' is good.  The Sixers seem kinda split on the issue... they're not sure quite who to believe.

Mockingbird's transmission ends, and the Sixers set to fixing up the damage DiRienzi caused while breaking into the compound.  As this is going down, we shift scenes to the Pentagon, where investigations regarding the VTOL crash are underway.

Later on, back in Frisco, Mitch is fitting Vic with a latex mask so he can take a trip... and, ya know, hide the fact that he can only see via the grace of that weird helmet.  Turns out, Mitch is rather the gifted make-up artist... I mean, he's right up there with Amazing Adventures era-Hank McCoy here!

We follow Vic on his trip into Boston.  If you recall, he was with a young lady in our opening chapters... and it looks like he's looking for a bit of a reunion.  Only problem, she's married... to (naturally) a grade-a jerk.

Vic and Gary-the-Husband fight a bit... and Vic winds up punching the poor jerk right through the window of The Pelican restaurant.  It's worth saying that Gary did throw the first punch.

We shift scenes to the Patron City of the Cosmic Treadmill Podcast... Chevy Chase, Maryland, where a young mother is frantic over the illness of her son.  We join the scene as a Doctor is making a house-call, and for the life of him... cannot figure out what's wrong with the lad.  In the kitchen trash can, we see a package of Farmer Ralph's Bacon.  Hmm...

We wrap up back at Secret Six Headquarters where Maria and Luke have decided to watch the video tape DiRienzi brought with him.  It's of Mockingbird... and he's talking to the original Secret Six.  He tells them of their final mission... to train their successors.  It's here that our Sixers begin to put two-and-two(-and-two) two... er, together.


Strange little chapter here.  A lot of stuff I liked... and also some stuff that I really couldn't care less about (though, necessary for the story to proceed).

Let's start with the stuff I didn't really care for.  The cutaway to the Pentagon.  Yeah, I know we kinda need to follow up on this, but, really... it just drags things down.  It also reminds me that this is a situation we're going to have to deal with in longer form pretty soon.  Thankfully it only got three-panels here.

Vic's reunion with Mel?  Not sure why we oughta (is it "oughta" or "oughtta"?  I'm sure I've spelled it both ways... and will probably continue to) care about this.  I get that there's something between Vic and Mel, but, can't even bring myself to shrug in indifference (though, dropping a poorly-worded paragraph on the subject isn't a problem).  I will say that I dug Vic punching Gary-the-Husband through the window!

I also dug Mitch putting his special effects talents on display when making Vic look like less of a robot.  That's something this feature has done quite well (for the most part), really highlighting each characters' "specialities".

Mockingbird destroying the Enchanted Forest was a neat touch... really goes to show that he's not foolin' around.  Gotta wonder if he knew Rafael was there watching.  The Secret Six never know whether it's "Live or Memorex" when it comes to Mockingbird's missives... so, for all we know, that was a live two-way broadcast.

This is also illustrated in how the team doesn't quite know how to react.  There's a pretty clear schism here between people who want to give Rafael the opportunity to explain his side of the situation... and others who would rather not risk losing the "gifts" Mockingbird bestowed upon them by asking too many questions.  It's certainly a complex situation, and the conflicted dialogue here served it well.

The scene with Farmer Ralph's Tainted Bacon sorta came out of nowhere, but I appreciate it being here.  I'd almost forgotten what the Six's next mission was going to be.  It didn't take up too much time or space, and served to remind us of what's to come.  Well done.

Overall... the Six have nearly lifted the wool from over their eyes... and I feel like things are really going to heat-up from here.


We've got three rows of panels... and three little story spurs to play with here.

First, Clark Kent inquires about the Culpepper accident in California, which really makes him wonder about the man who blew up in his arms a little earlier on.

Next, we get a little insight as to how Culpepper might be in two places at once.  It's not quite the doppelganger scenario I assumed last week.  Turns out, that explosion was actually the fella triggering an experimental "mass teleporter", which is probably why he arrived out the other side all burned up.

Then, Mr. Galt is questioned by Metropolis Police.  They wanna know just who might be out to get him.  He's certain that it's non-believers in His Lord Superman.  The Officers have had about enough, and are all but ready to fetch the butterfly net, when... somebody interrupts.


Okay... this is more like it.  Some good use of panel "real estate" here.  We get some answers... progress the story a bit... and actually get a cliffhanger that I wanna see play out.

Not much more to say about it... just that it's far better than all seven of the previous chapters.  Don't see myself voting for it in the poll, but it might not be the worst thing this time out!  Or... maybe it still will.


We open with Deadman... and a bat, proceeding toward a light at the end of a tunnel.  Not sure where ol' D.B./The Old Man in the Cave/O-Sensei/whoever that was is... heck, maybe he's the bat.  As he approaches the light, Boston takes a leap of faith... and winds up popping right out of that Sumerian Jug!  Wow, that was easy!  But maybe... it's a case of "out of the frying pan, into the fire", because it looks like something else escaped the Jug before him... and turned some of the guards into crispy critters!

Major Kasaba and C.I.A. Director, Stan Kriptman get an eyewitness account... the escapee looked just like the Devil himself!  Boston feels responsible... after all, the Devil tricked him, so I guess he's not entirely off the hook.  And so, Deadman does some Deadmanning, possessing body after body until he finds himself in the room with that ancient Mayan weaponry (wow, this is actually all coming together!).

He picks up the weapon... then finds himself possessing Director Kriptman himself!

As Stan Kriptman, he heads home... not sure how he knows where he's even headed... but, I'm not much of a Deadmanstorian, so this might just be something he'd "know" after taking over a body.  Anyhoo, Kriptman's got a wife... and Boston's really looking forward to meeting her.  There's also a hoity-toity Gala taking place for the Soviet Premier this evening... but, we'll get there.

Upon arriving at "his" home, Deadman discovers that "his" wife has left him!  Seems ol' Stan's a bit of a tomcat.  The phone rings, and it's a woman named Lynn... the very woman Stan's been out tomcattin' with!  She tells him that Mrs. Kriptman knows everything about their affair... to which, "Stan" suggests they both lay low for a bit... which was certainly not the answer she wanted to hear.

Then... there's a knock at the door.  It's some C.I.A. suit, and he's "checking in" because it's unusual for Stan to be home quite this early.  Guess these are peak "cheat on your wife" hours.  Anyhoo, Stan shows him the "Dear Scumbag John" letter, to which, the fella's all "Oh yeah, I saw your wife stomping outta here!".  They also briefly chat about another Nicaraguan drug trade thing... Boston tells him to "cool his jets" on that though.  So, some good might come out of this.

We jump ahead to the Gala... and Boston is convinced that the Devil will likely make an appearance.  He brings his briefcase, complete with Mayan Raygun into the reception hall with him... but is told that he'll need to "check" it.  We wrap up with "Stan" being called over by some fella, who happens to be talking with his "good friend", Lynn!


Well, we sure got outta Hell pretty quick, didn't we?  Prob'ly for the best... I think that place was pretty well spent.

What we get here is, pretty solid.  Possession is 9/10's of, not only the law, but of Deadman stories... and, to me... it's both a good thing, and a bad thing.  In case you're just joining us... uh, there's a button to the right where you can catch up... but, also... Deadman ain't one of my favorites because... well, he's just too powerful.

Here we have him possessing the body of the Director of the C.I.A.... what's to stop him from just invading the body of the President... or the Soviet Premier?  Uh, I didn't just give it all away, did I?  I dunno... just seems too "easy".

BUT... despite everything inside me telling me this isn't something I should like... I do kinda dig it.  Am I maturing?  Am I softening?  Well, let's not throw any babies up in the air just yet.

I certainly appreciate the call-back to the Mayan Temple... I'd nearly forgotten that's where this whole story started, and was quite surprised to see it mentioned again.  It makes me optimistic that there is a story here, and it's not all being written "on the fly".  With the change in scene-and-stakes, I didn't expect it to wrap back around.  Good job!

Overall... not sure I care all that much about The Many Loves of Stan Kriptman, but this was a really good chapter nonetheless.


We pick up right where we left off.  Red Dragon blasts a hole into Robert Massie's gut... and he slumps to the ground.  Sister Cynthia rushes to his side, and it's here that it's made clear that she is, in fact, a Nun... and not Massie's actual Sister.  Though, since there's no DNA evidence to the contrary, I suppose I shouldn't make such a definitive statement.  Janos is shocked to learn that his patron is a Woman of the Cloth.

And so, it's story time.  Cynthia states that after Vietnam fell under Vichy rule, Buddhist Leaders were fearful of religious oppression.  The Catholics offered their services to protect their artifacts until everything blew over.  Unfortunately, between then and now, these treasures found their way into the hands of the Japanese Military.  Massie was an Army Clerk, who happened upon the records, and took off in pursuit.

Cynthia hopes that by returning the Buddhist treasures, she could help mend relations between the Buddhist and Catholic Churches.  So, ya see... she wasn't here for any gold... just that idol, so she might return it to it's proper Temple.

Janos is relieved... but not for long, we mustn't forget about a certain Red Dragon.  She ain't hip to the jive of bein' bamboozled, ya see.  And so, she demands her guests by pumped full'a holes.

Just then... there's a loud rumbling... and a bolt of lightning hits a nearby tree.  In the distraction, Janos jokes that it must be Devine intervention... while socking one of the guards in the mush.  He and Cynthia then high-tail it to the jet, and go for take-off.

The Red Dragon takes off right after, and she ain't shy about exercising her trigger finger.

When all hope looks to be gone... Andre and the rest of the Blackhawks join the dogfight!  Hey, it's about time he showed up!  In fairness, he was at a "Saigon Cathouse" (his words, not mine), so he kinda had his hands full.

Red Dragon cuts in front of Janos, and opens fire... however, she is quickly overwhelmed by the Blackhawks.  We watch as she's shot down, and see her bail out before hitting the ground.  Though... it kinda looks like her 'chute might be on fire.

We wrap up with Cynthia telling Janos that he'd earned his reward... in this life anyway.  He's just happy to know that she only turned down his advances because she's a Nun... and not because he lost that ol' Black(hawk) Magic.


Well, there we have it... Blackhawk: Another Fine War, is in the books.  It'll be joined next week by Wild Dog: Moral Stand... so, it's about to become a little different around the humble blog.  Some might say "it's about time!", then again, that assumes anybody is still following along.

I'd say this was a very satisfying ending... Everything came together, the Blackhawks were reunited, Massie's dead (I think), and Red Dragon... might... have survived to strike back another day.  I'm no Blackhawk-istorian, so for all I know, Red Dragon could be among the tippity-top tier of his foes.

The "Sister Cynthia" revelation was well handled.  I was pretty sure the "Sister" title was in reference to her being a Nun (rather than Massie's biological sister... though again, I have no DNA proof sayin' otherwise).  I feel like her mission was just, and I'm happy she was able to reclaim the Buddhist idol (Heyyy, I actually called that one correctly last week!) to return to its proper owners.

All told, this story was a whole lot of fun.  Pacing was tight, it had a lot of "heart", and it actually "put in the work" to set everything up.  Really, just can't say enough good things about it.  Before actually "committing" to this little endeavor, I didn't know Mike Grell ever wrote Blackhawk... it's a bummer his run was so short!  He will definitely be missed... though I'm optimistic that Martin Pasko will do well once he's handed the baton in ACW #615.

So, with a tear in our eye... we're going to put a pin in ol' Blackhawk.  In his place will be Black Canary, who we will introduce to the party next week!


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