Action Comics Weekly #607 (May 17, 1988)
Green Lantern: “Guilty!”
Deadman: “Escape From Hell”
Wild Dog: “Moral Stand, Chapter Seven: Legionnaire’s Disease”
Superman: “Familiar Face?”
Secret Six: “Gino”
Blackhawk: “Another Fine War, Chapter 7”
Writers – James Owsley, Mike Baron, Max Collins, Roger Stern, Martin Pasko, & Mike Grell
Pencils – Tod Smith, Dan Jurgens, Terry Beatty, Curt Swan, Dan Spiegle, & Rick Burchett
Inks – Tony DeZuniga, John Nyberg, John Beatty, & Pablo Marcos
Letters – Albert T. DeGuzman, Steve Haynie, Gaspar Saladino, Bill Oakley, & Carrie Spiegle
Colors – Anthony Tollin, Liz Berube, Michele Wolfman, Tom Ziuko, & Carl Gafford
Edits – Denny O’Neil, Barbara Randall, Mike Gold, Renee Witterstaetter, Mike Carlin, & Dick Giordano
Cover Price: $1.50
Alrighty… we are now 1/6th of the way through our Action Comics Weekly endeavor… and, boy are my arms tired? I dunno… not much more to say.
This week’s issue has a pretty great cover… Steve Lightle’s take on the all-new Secret Six. I think I’d be interested to see him do some interiors with these characters. It’s a very striking image.
Considering they are brand-new characters (and a niche concept) though, I wonder what this issue’s sales looked like… in comparison to last week’s Superman cover (or next week’s Green Lantern cover). Gotta figure more people might’ve left this one on the spinner rack than the others.
Not a great showing in the polls this week. Lowest turn-out yet. Maybe the “gimmick” is played out. Hell, maybe I’m just played out. Who knows? Anyhoo, Blackhawk reclaims his crown! The Secret Six’s “streak” ends with two. Thankfully though, Superman’s “streak” of getting zero votes is still intact. I voted for Green Lantern… really enjoyed him going through his list of friends (living and dead).
My Rankings for last week’s stories (#606) would be:
1 – Green Lantern
2 – Wild Dog
3 – Blackhawk
4 – Secret Six
5 – Deadman
6 – Superman
Here’s this week’s poll… vote, share, lemme know if you’re still there:
Shareable Link to Poll: https://linkto.run/p/JSND42V9
It’s morning in Coast City, and Hal Jordan has had one rotten night’s sleep. The fact that Arisia insists on leaving the blinds open isn’t helping. Well, the fact that she’s also chuckling along with the TV probably isn’t helping either! She’s watching… The Oprah Winfrey Show. Hey, I promised Oprah, we’re about to get Oprah… well, next week. Today’s subject: Born-Again House Invaders. Sounds more up Jerry Springer’s alley, but whattayagonnado?
Anyhoo, Arisia suggests Hal be a guest on Oprah’s show… for reasons? Hal gets out of bed, and questions whether or not he even really loves Arisia… which, at this point, I’m not sure I can blame him. He decides to clear his head with a flight around the world. After “Lanterning up”, and recounting the events of the past six chapters, Hal winds up first in Egypt, then in an unidentified war-torn “Middle Eastern Country”.
Amid the fighting forces, Hal spies a young woman attempting to carry her baby through the warring factions. At this point, he decides to intervene (he was content just letting it all play out). With constructs a’plenty, Hal saves the young lady…
… and gets slapped in the face for his troubles! Ya see, news of the “murderous” Green Lantern has spread, even into unidentified Middle Eastern Countries!
It’s at this point that Hal realizes that if he wants to repair his reputation, he’s got some damage control to do. Who betta to help out with that then… Oprah Winfrey?!
An interesting start to our second story arc. I tell ya what… the first time I’d read this (probably the late-90’s/turn of the century), I didn’t think for a moment that they’d actually go through with Hal appearing on Oprah. Heck, I was kind of taken aback by her even being mentioned here. Gotta figure, if this were to happen nowadays, there’d be skatey-eight hundred Oprah variant covers.
Weird that Arisia was watching the show in the morning… I always remember Oprah being on after school? Maybe I’m misremembering… not that it really matters. Ehh, we’ll talk more about all things Oprah next week.
Hal’s trip to the Middle East was pretty interesting. I’m not really keyed in to faction warfare… but, I’ll uneducatedly assume that the battle was some sort of an allusion to the conflict between Israel and Palestine. Not that it really matters… it really was just a backdrop for Hal rescuing that young mother and baby.
It’s interesting that this is what it takes for him to realize he needs to fix his reputation though! I mean, just last week, he cleared a city block just by showing his face… you’d think he’d want to do some damage control right away! Oh well.
Tod Smith feels much more “at home” this time out… he’s no longer doing his “best” Gil Kane impression, and the art is much better for that. Though, I will say, his Arisia is a little weird looking. In fairness, Arisia herself is a little weird looking, and very few artists have been able to make her look anything less than a little weird looking (you just wait for the next guy!).
Overall… pretty strong opening chapter for our next arc!
We open with Deadman and D.B. Cooper climbing up that great big mountain from last week. D.B. suggests Deadman keep his eyes forward… because if he looks down, and winds up falling… he’d break all of his bones. Hell-logic! He also warns not to speak with the “Old Man in the Cave”. They stop for a quick break, and Boston discovers a pitcher of Cherry Kool-Aid! Well, it’s actually a “face ripper” in disguise. Oddly, Deadman complains that he’s “dying of thirst”… which, I dunno… didn’t think he ate or drank (he had trouble during Brightest Day!).
They get back to climbing, and come to a plateau. Boston is overjoyed to find… and elevator! Well, that doesn’t seem right, does it? From the elevator emerges O-Sensei! D.B. warns that it’s actually the Old Man in the Cave in disguise… but, Brand decides to chat him up anyway.
The discussion becomes… confusing. I mean, really confusing… lots of double-talk and weirdness. Evidently, for every one-person who entered Hell via the Sumerian Jug… one may leave… or something. From here, it’s revealed that D.B. Cooper is actually O-Sensei… who is actually the Old Man in the Cave. He was using Deadman to gain egress from Hell… I guess? Whaa–?
Deadman fights D.B.-nee-Sensei-nee-Old Man in the Cave, and winds up kicking him off the cliff to his… I dunno… further demise? He then turns his attention to the elevator attendant O-Sensei.
And winds up kicking him off the cliff too!
We wrap up with the reemergence of D.B. Cooper… who reveals that he was the Old Man in the Cave? What the heck…?
What in the…?
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again… I can be a pretty dense fella. Even after reading through this three times, I’m still not quite sure what it was all about!
I’m guessing that Deadman is being put through some trials… but, that’s really it. D.B. is there to help/guide him… but, he’s also the same guy who he warned Boston not to talk to? Did Vince Russo book this issue?! I mean, just look at this word balloon…
“Then you say you’re not!” “Now you say you’re not!” Isn’t that the same thing?! I dunno, gang… this one didn’t really work for me. Hopefully next week we’ll be able to make better sense of this.
We pick up right where we left off last week. Wild Dog is kicking the tar out of the Moralists who invaded the Moline News. As the baddies grab their guns, he climbs a ladder leading up to one of the printing presses so he can begin unloading. Why he didn’t just do that last time, I’ll never know. Jack manages to smoke a couple of fools, and buy himself a few moments of breathing room.
Meanwhile, “Sir” (the Moralist in black) commands the last standing Moralist foot soldier to jam on out before the explosives they rigged go “boom”. Wild Dog sees this go down, and decides to pump one into the white-clad grunt. Sir, returns fire… in the form of armor-piercing bullets, one of which manages to wing the Dog’s right arm!
Wild Dog ain’t screwin’ around anymore… and so, he leaps from his perch, tackling Sir to the ground. He locks in a headlock, and threatens to break the Moralist’s neck unless he un-rig the explosives… which he does.
Wild Dog then sneaks outside, where he runs right into… Lou Godder! Lou tells “Jack” to get into his car so he can get him outta there before the police arrive.
Ya see, what this means is… Lou Godder knows that Jack Wheeler is Wild Dog! Back at Wheeler’s Garage, Lou reveals that he’s known it from the start… but he didn’t want to know, ya know? Lou cites Jack’s friendship, and the fact that he’d saved his daughter (back during the mini-series) as reasons why he won’t turn him in.
We wrap up back at the Moline News, where Sir is being taken out in cuffs, while Andy Flint and Graham Gault look on. Before he can stuffed into a squad car, however, he… explodes?!
That was one breezy read… well, the first half anyway. Wild Dog continued his fight with the Foot Soldiers… who, proved to be rather poor shots, thankfully. What’s more, they didn’t really do much to avoid the fire from the Dog himself… they kinda just stood there!
Let’s talk Lou Godder. I like the idea that he knew all along that Jack and Wild Dog were one and the same. Stands to reason that an investigative journalist of his repute would be able to suss this out. It also really says a lot for Lou’s character that he didn’t just immediately “break” the story in the Moline News.
So, this only leaves Graham Gault out of the “original four” who doesn’t know Wild Dog’s true identity… at least, so far as we know.
This chapter ended with a bang… well, a boom… which, I swear this is like the third Wild Dog segment to end with one’a those. I like the idea of “Sir” going boom… because, Dr. Moral Whatshisface would definitely have a contingency to stop and of his captured followers from breaking under interrogation.
We’re heading into the home stretch… only two chapters left for the ol’ Dog until he goes on hiatus. It’s sure going to be strange going forward without both Blackhawk and Wild Dog!
Superman flies back into Metropolis proper, as he runs through the events of the past few chapters in his head. We know that the man he saved is named Bob Galt, and he’s part of a sort of “Church of Superman”.
Using his super-photographic memory, Superman recalls the face of the getaway driver, and decides to scan the Daily Planet records to see if can can put a name to that face.
Turns out, it’s a fella named Charles Culpepper, the Vice-President of a High-Tech Firm some three-thousand miles away from Metropolis. It also turns out, that this Culpepper was just burned in an electrical fire out on the coast!
But… didn’t the getaway driver “go boom” a couple of chapters back?! Hmm…
Alright… this was probably the strongest “chapter” yet… though, we still didn’t get all that much.
Superman “Kents down” and goes through some microfiche to deduce that the getaway driver (who exploded in his arms) is actually a Tech VP from the West Coast. So, I’m going to guess we’re looking at a body double… or a twin, or something?!
Either way, this feature is finally getting around to giving us a hint of intrigue, so I’m not going to complain! Maybe these two-pagers are ill-equipped for a Superman story… but, just the right size for a Clark Kent one?
Picking up where we left off… that masked individual (who definitely isn’t Rafael) has broken into Secret Six HQ, and is taking out our Sixers one by one. Well, until he works his way into Mitch’s workshop and winds up getting himself zapped. Turns out… and you’ll never believe it, but it was Rafael all along!
While Vic and Mitch contain the interloper, Mockingbird’s latest assignment arrives. The Sixers are to take down a Meat-Packaging Mogul out in Ellsworth, Virginia. Turns out, one Mr. Dorn (owner of Farmer Ralph’s Meats) is a bit sloppy when it comes to F.D.A. regulations. The Sixers are to “out” him for his negligence… and, get this, feed him his own contaminated meat… until he dies?!
With the assignment received, the Sixers turn to Rafael to get some answers for his trespass. He shares his secret origin with the team. Ya see, his father was Carlo “The Magnificent” DiRienzi… a stage magician, and of course, original member of the Secret Six. One night, he was held up by a “protection” racket… he was met by a Heavy who offered him protection, for a healthy cut of his profits. Carlo responded with a right to the mush…
… a move he’d almost immediately regret. That night, when Carlo arrived home… it exploded! Killing his wife, and gravely injuring his son “Gino” (Papa’s pet-name for Rafael).
Carlo took his boy to doctor after doctor… with no relief to be found. That is, until he was summoned to a specialist in Switzerland. The Doc offered to perform the surgery for free… because “Mockingbird willed it”. Rafael underwent the procedure and was put on a medication regimen to keep him up and about. Medication, that Carlo feared would be withheld if he went against Mockingbird. And so, Carlo joined the Secret Six.
Rafael explains how he found the Secret Six’s San Francisco digs… the box, the communication watch… ya know, all that stuff. Just as it appears “Gino” has gained the Six’s confidence, Mockingbird makes contact via the monitors. He warns that there is a traitor conspiring against them. A traitor, named… Rafael DiRienzi!
Well, if this hasn’t been a most intriguing entry… full of twists and turns (and I’m not just talking about the Bazooka Joe bombshell).
I was happy to see Rafael’s origin finally cleared up. I feel like he’s low-key become our “point of view” character… which was definitely something I wasn’t expecting. I appreciate his ties to the original Secret Six… and the feeling of “lineage” he winds up bringing to this little story.
His outing of himself seems to have put him at-odds with Mockingbird… which, I dunno… it’s already pretty clear that Mockingbird is using these new Sixers… he’s got ’em between a rock and a hard-place, so anything Rafael might reveal should already be known… or at the very least, assumed, by the newbies. Oh well, we’ll let it play out.
Speaking of “playing out”, the Sixers receive their second assignment… which is, as Mitch put it, tantamount to staging an execution! Mockingbird certainly doesn’t screw around. I’m really looking forward to seeing where this goes. Not sure if any of our “heroes” would be able to force feed a fella tainted meat… but, I’m certainly down to watch along.
Overall… another really nice chapter for the Secret Six. Wish this run was a bit more well known… hopefully these entries are helping to raise a bit of awareness (a very little bit, anyway).
We open with Janos and Cynthia unloading some booze from their “downed” jet, in order to make room for the Red Dragon’s treasures. Janos jokes that he’s going to have to leave Cynthia behind… which, last we knew was going to be the deal… but, he assures her that he’s a man of his word. He loads some treasure into the jet… but not enough to trigger Sheah’s “goons”. He also informs Cynthia that Andre Whatshisface in Saigon must never have gotten his message… otherwise, he’d have been here by now. Andre, by the way, is a member of the Blackhawks… which is probably something I should have already researched by now!
Janos watches as a storm draws near… and he’s hopeful that it draws nearer before they set off. Cynthia checks the cargo, and realizes that “it” is missing. And so, she charges back into Red Dragon’s palace. Blackhawk is stopped from following her by a goon.
Inside the palace, we find out just what “it” is. It’s a golden idol statue. As she goes to grab it, she is discovered by our pal, Massie… he refers to her as “Sister”, which I suppose we could take one of two ways. These two are either long-lost siblings… or, Cynthia might just be a woman of the cloth. I guess that might explain why she hasn’t yet succumbed to Janos’s overwhelming manliness.
Massie lunges for Cynthia, tearing at her clothes… even backhanding her to the ground. Luckily, Janos has found his way back to the Palace… and he wastes no time charging at the baddie.
It looks like a pretty even fight… until Sheah arrives and shoots Massie in the shoulder! She then turns her attention toward our twosome and tells them they have just enough time for an explanation… before they die!
Well, well, well… Cynthia’s a Sister. Either to Mssr. Massie, or… she’s a Nun. I suppose we’ll have to wait until next week for that shoe to drop. I’m leaning toward the latter though.
I wonder what’s so special about that golden idol Cynthia ran back for… I don’t wanna fully show my ignorance and proclaim it as being of Buddhist origin… though, that was my initial thought when I saw it. That, I dunno, might play into Cynthia’s vocation.
I’d all but forgotten about Andre… and from the little bit of research I did on the Blackhawks this past week, I’m guessing he’ll finally arrive next issue. I mean, otherwise it would just be a really odd waste of pages, wouldn’t it? Yeah, he’ll show up next time…
Overall, I wouldn’t call this the strongest chapter of Blackhawk, but I enjoyed it just the same. Art is still really good, barring a few panels where Cynthia looks kind of like Elongated Woman. Still happy to be reading it though… and will miss it when it’s gone!
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