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!