Tuesday, April 30, 2019

ACW #613 - Catwoman

Action Comics Weekly #613 (Catwoman)
"The Tin Roof Club, Part 3"
Writer - Mindy Newell
Pencils - Barry Kitson
Inks - Bruce Patterson
Letters - Carrie Spiegle
Colors - Adrienne Roy
Assistant Editor - Dan Raspler
Editor - Denny O'Neil

Time to check back in with my two time (two time) Best Feature of the Week... Catwoman!  Been really enjoying this one so far... with my only complaint being, it's only going to be with us for four-weeks.

Let's hit it up with our penultimate chapter!


We pick up moments before we left off last week.  Selina realizes something's almost definitely "up", and attempts to pull Holly out-da-house.  Holly resists, insistent that her Arthur knows what he's doing with the Brooch.  Then... BOOM!  Selina managed to miss much of the blast... Holly, however, did not.  The pair share a few last words, with Selina giving Holly a kiss on the forehead before skipping out of dodge... or Jersey.

We jump ahead to Selina tippin' a bottle in her office at The Tin Roof Club.  She is interrupted by Detective George... who kinda walks the line between Officer and Friend.  He tells Selina that she'd best "dry up" and get movin'.  She claims that she killed Holly.  George waves it off.  He even goes as far as to tell her that he doesn't know that she was at Holly's last night... further, he doesn't know that she stole the brooch.  And, what he doesn't know... can't hurt her.  Though, next time they meet... he will have a warrant.  This was a really well-written scene!

We jump ahead again... to Gotham Plaza, where Holly's husband, Arthur is making time with, I assume, a prostitute.  Dude definitely has a "type", doesn't he?  Anyhoo, Catwoman bursts in... and he sends the "dumb tart" away, so they can talk.

Cool as a cucumber, Arthur laments the fact that there was a "gas leak" at he and Holly's home.  Selina tells him to cut the crap and demands the Brooch.  She even offers him a deal.  He hands over the piece, she keeps her mouth shut about the murder.  Arthur's response?  He calls Security to report a "cat-burglar".

Catwoman don't take kindly to this... and wraps her whip around Artie's t'roat!  He motions over to the nightstand, where Selina can find the Brooch.

Turns out, he's tellin' the truth!  Selina admires the Kitty for a moment... but is soon blindsided by Arthur, who tosses her out the window!


Still lovin' this!

Quickly, I feel like that scene between Selina and George really stole the show here.  This was some of the best-written dialogue I've read in a little bit.  George giving Selina enough rope to either hang herself or escape was really cool.  Digging the dynamic here.

Whatta we think about Holly?  Well, we know she'll eventually be back... and, a mid-2000's interview with Ed Brubaker reveals that he never even knew this story existed!  Here, take a look:

From The Comics Reporter (2004)
Posted: September 2, 2006
That's the kinda research-mindedness I love seeing from our comics' pros!  Not sure what's worse, the fact that Ed didn't know... or that whoever was editing Ed didn't know (or just didn't wanna pipe up)!  I mean, that's gotta be one of the reasons they're getting paid, right?  Oh well, Zero Hour happened between her death and return, right?  Guess we can just blame Zero Hour... wouldn't be the first time, surely won't be the last.

I thought the death scene was... as well done as it could be, considering the circumstances.  The story needed Selina to survive, and Holly to die... with a measure of deniability for Arthur.  This way of doing it worked!

Our cliffhanger is about as "comics-cliffhangery" as possible, but, again... it worked!  It looks as though Selina dropped the Brooch as she was tackled, so, this visit to Artie might've been a total loss.  I'm looking forward to seeing how this all shakes out.

Tomorrow: The Fate of... that Librado guy.

Monday, April 29, 2019

ACW #613 - Superman

Action Comics Weekly #613 (Superman)
"Wicked Business!"
Writer - Roger Stern
Pencils - Curt Swan
Inks - Murphy Anderson
Letters - Bill Oakley
Colors - Petra Scotese
Editor - Mike Carlin

It's Superman time... and, uh... I don't really have much more to say.


We open in that Illuminati Board Room... we learn that these evil men in suits are calling themselves "The Consortium"... so, we've got "The Fellowship" on one side, and "The Consortium" on the other.  Fair enough.  It's confirmed here that they are very much anti-Superman... and they discuss both discrediting and eliminating him to continue their "way of life".

Also confirmed is that one getaway driver (from like eight weeks ago) engaged his "experimental mass teleporter" in order to evade capture.  It's that Culpepper guy... the one who was thought to have been in "an accident" on the West Coast.  You remember him, doncha?

Back in Metropolis, Clark brings Galt to his apartment for safe-keeping, before ducking out, Suping up... and flying over to a California Burn Center in order to attempt to get some answers from that Culpepper.

Only... someone might've beaten him to it!


Well, not a whole lot of forward momentum here... but we did manage to get a few of our lingering questions answered.  I mean, we're not dumb people, are we?  I think we've already put two and two together, and figured out that Culpepper was one of the "bad guys"... and, I'm pretty sure it was already confirmed that he used a teleportation device... which gave the impression that he "went boom", when in actuality, he body-slid across the country.

We do actually learn that the "bad guys" are called The Consortium... which, I guess is something.  It's also hinted that they have a "different" way of life that Superman's very existence poses a threat to?  Okay.

Hopefully next week will give us a little bit more "meat".  The visitor to Mr. Culpepper... I couldn't tell ya if it were a "bad guy" or Superman... though, Stern and Co. seem to want us to think it's a bad guy.  Who knows?  And... unfortunately, who cares?

Tomorrow: After the Blast!

Sunday, April 28, 2019

ACW #613 - Phantom Stranger

Action Comics Weekly #613 (Phantom Stranger)
"Can't Judge a Book..."
Writer - Paul Kupperberg
Pencils - Tom Grindberg
Inks - Dennis Janke
Letters - Bob Pinaha
Colors - Petra Scotese
Editor - Mike Carlin

The Phantom Stranger again, eh?  Well... at least it'll be short...


We open on the New York Subway, where a woman is reading a copy of Daniel Gleason's latest horror novel, Mind Games.  Mind Games, eh?  Hmm... I thought Hal already took care of that guy!  Anyhoo, Gleason's work has been described as having the ability to (figuratively) "leap off the page"... and, well... you know where this is headed, don'tcha?  After the bizarre attack, the woman lay dead, apparently dying of... old age?!

We shift scenes to Bruce (Eclipso) Gordon and the Phantom Stranger exiting a movie theater.  They just saw something called About Sex Didn't Ask, which was a "Parody of Italian Art Films"... not sure if it ever existed, but it really doesn't matter.  Whatever the case, the Stranger didn't get the references.  They pass by a Newsagent and check out the headline, which talks about the mysterious death on the Subway.  The Stranger snags a copy, leaving Poor Bruce to cough up a quarter and dime.

We jump to a beach where... a young fella is reading Mind Games.  You'll never guess what happens to him!

We jump ahead to the evening... or an evening, I'm not sure if it's the same day or not.  The Phantom Stranger sits in his office... when suddenly, he feels a great and powerful evil headed his way.  Turns out, he's about to be visited by Daniel Gleason.  The Writer needs some assistance of the Occult variety, and has heard that's right up the Stranger's alley.

Gleason reveals that the mysterious aging death on the Subway wasn't an isolated incident... in fact, it's become quite the thing... so much so, that the F.B.I. has gotten involved.  He hands over the book... which the Stranger drops, realizing that the evil he'd sensed is coming from the book itself!

Daniel explains that his book is about Evil Mayan Spirits.  Hmm, wonder if any of them know Talaoc?  The Stranger presses Daniel for more information, only to learn that the book contains actual incantations... including a chant to Au Puch, a name the Stranger recognizes as a Mayan God of Death.  Check this out... Daniel then proceeds to, get this... perform the chant!

The window flies open, and Daniel is suddenly overcome with this purple energy cloud... when it dissipates, all that remains is the gruesome Au Puch!

The Stranger confronts the God, and vows to separate it from Daniel Gleason's body.  Au Puch, however, has a much different idea... he snags the Stranger with one of his weird tentacles, and proceeds to drain him of his energy!


Welp, here's where your humble host... eats crow!  I really liked this!  Thought it was pretty great!

I wasn't sure what quite to expect during my initial "flip through".  Just looked like Phantom Stranger-y hoo-doo, a great big beast, and ethereal smoke.  What I'll tell ya, is... I wasn't looking forward to it.

When I actually set in to read the thing, however... I thought this was incredibly strong!  I like the dynamic of the Stranger trying to act as though he were an ordinary human.  An ordinary human with an expertise in the occult, but "ordinary" nonetheless.

The idea of a Mayan Death God being trapped in a book?  It's alright as a concept... and it helps get us where we need to be.  I dig the way Au Puch took over Gleason as his vessel, considering that he's the one who "trapped" it into the book... though, Gleason chanting the incantation?  That's kind of a dopey thing to have done, wasn't it?  Anyhoo, I'm really looking forward to seeing how this plays out... and maybe, actually, becoming something of a Phantom Stranger fan?  Oof, I feel dirty even typing it.

I don't really have any complaints about this story... however, I've still yet to read a single "horror" comic book story that has scared me.  I feel like this is supposed to be scary... at least a little bit, but I just didn't get the heebie-jeebies here.  If anyone reading has any really scary horror comics to recommend, please let me know!

Tomorrow: Superman goes Coast to Coast

Saturday, April 27, 2019

ACW #613 - Nightwing

Action Comics Weekly #613 (Nightwing)
"The Cheshire Contract!"
Writer - Marv Wolfman
Pencils - Chuck Patton
Inks - Tom Poston
Letters - Albert DeGuzman
Colors - Adrienne Roy
Editor - Barbara Kesel

A couple weeks back, when we introduced the Catwoman feature to Action Comics Weekly, I wondered aloud how it took so long to incorporate a Bat-Family member into the anthology... and here we are introducing a second, though... perhaps more importantly, the first Titans-adjacent feature!

We gotta remember the New Teen Titans was the book around this time... and it's definitely a bit strange that it's taken quite this long to sprinkle some "Titans Dust" into the Action Comics Weekly experiment.

Let's get to it!


We open with Nightwing taking out a boatload of Smugglers.  Dick engages in some Spidey-esque banter with the baddies, and opines on the current state of hero/villain chatter being "grim".  He, of course, isn't wrong about that considering the era in which this takes place.  Dick winds up staring down the barrels of a couple of the Smugglers' guns... thankfully, from the dock, his buddy Speedy fires an arrow which disarms 'em.

After handing the cigarette smugglers over to authorities, Roy and Dick head back to Titans Tower to chat.  Roy has quite a proposition... involving a mission.  A mission that the other Titans cannot be part of, because it involves Cheshire.  Quite why that fact disqualifies the other Titans from taking part, I haven't the foggiest.  Dick seems confused as well!  Worth noting, they also discuss a recent meeting between Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev... which, are they talking about what went down in our Deadman feature?!  I hope so!

Anyhoo, Dick agrees, and next thing we know he and Roy are landing in Washington, D.C..  At the hotel, they talk about how they both used to be wards of millionaires... and they were both fired by those millionaires.  Dick take umbrage to this statement, claiming that he had voluntarily quit working with/for Batman.

The heroes suit-up, and head for the rendezvous point atop the C.B.I. Building.  Along the way, Dick fills Roy (and the reader) in on his evolution from Boy Wonder to Nightwing.  Atop that building, Roy's contact hands over a file, indicating that Cheshire's next hit is in London.

Turns out, that's exactly where she is!  She, and a hostage are inside the clockworks of Big Ben.  She is there in order to assassinate an Ambassador.

Next we know, Nightwing and Speedy are already in Londontown!  They are rushing through a Labor Party demonstration, beelining straight to that Ambassador.  Cheshire notices that her, ugh, baby-daddy is in her sights... and decides she's going to have to pull the trigger regardless.


Really good start here!

Weird to consider that it took so long for Nightwing to get his own ongoing title after this... he seems like a safe bet to carry his own book.  Though, continuity was (thankfully) much tighter back then, and I'd wager Wolfman and Co. would try and make all of his stories jive with those in New Teen Titans.  Might've been more of an editorial headache than it was worth.  Who knows?

Onto the story... it was a lot of fun.  Cheshire has never been one of my favorites, but I appreciate how they're using her here... and look forward to a little bit of "cat and mouse" that might be coming our way.  It's been forever since I've read this, so I don't remember how it plays out... actually, this was the first Action Comics Weekly story I'd ever read way back in the day.

Ya see, sometime around the turn of the century (I can't remember which side of 2000 it was, but it was around there), I bought a "blind box" of comics from a local shop.  It was something like $5 for fifty random books.  As you might imagine, it was mostly glut-era Image and obscure indie stuff... but also, this very issue!

Back then, I didn't know Action from Weekly, and didn't have a clue that this was ever a "thing".  The fact that Nightwing was on the cover of a book, which... far as I knew, was a flagship Superman book, caused me to raise an eyebrow.  So, I checked it out!  And, for the longest time, this was the oldest issue of Action Comics in my collection!

Anyhoo, back to the story.  I appreciate Marv playing up the similarities between Dick and Roy, I'd wager that this was pretty illuminating for newer readers of the day (including myself the first time around).  Also dug the quick and dirty explanation of how Robin became Nightwing.  In the days before Wikipedia, this would be much appreciated by curious new readers.

Roy's reluctance to include the rest of the Titans is pretty telling... as was some of the chatter between he and his C.B.I. contact in Washington, D.C..  Seems as though the fella was about to reveal something that Roy didn't want Dick to know.  I'm guessing this will all come to light before long.

Overall, Nightwing is a welcome arrival, and much more interesting than Deadman and Secret Six were toward the end of their first stints.

Tomorrow: The Phantom Stranger pokes his head back in...

Friday, April 26, 2019

ACW #613 - Green Lantern

Action Comics Weekly #613 (Green Lantern)
"Head Trip"
Writer - Peter David
Art - Tod Smith
Letters - Albert DeGuzman
Colors - Anthony Tollin
Assistant Editor - Dan Raspler
Editor - Denny O'Neil

It's a New Day... er, Week, yes it is!  This week gives us a very different line-up than the one we started with back in Action Comics Weekly #601!  Only two of our original six features are in this one... so, if you're worried about stagnation setting in here at the Infinite Earths, well... I mean, it's still me, so we're not completely in the clear of that.  There'll just be new things for me to talk about, is all.

Let's kick it off with ol' reliable Hal!


If you recall, last week's chapter ended with Hal getting zapped pretty good by Mind Games.  This time out, we're going to open inside Hal's head... and see just what this zappin' did to his noodle!  We're going to go through some very strong emotions with our man, starting with HATRED.  Hal finds himself surrounded by some baddies... who he, well... kills.  Hatred soon turns to GUILT, wherein Hal finds himself surrounded by... dead baddies.  He attempts to resuscitate Sinestro, but it's to no avail.

Next emotion, JEALOUS RAGE.  Hal is surrounded by... fellow Lanterns, and they're reading him the riot act for his trespass in killing the villains.  He lashes out, claiming that the Lanterns have no right to judge him.  Quite why this is being referred to as "jealous" in any way, I'm not entirely sure.  In fact, he accuses the other Lanterns of being jealous of him!  I guess we'll roll with it, though.

Next... is kind of the one we've been uncomfortably edging up to for awhile now.  This emotion is PASSION... and it has to do with his underage girlfriend.  Arisia enters the frame wearing some very revealing undergarments... she and Hal make out for a bit, before our man comes to the revelation that, ya know... Arisia's just a kid!  She breaks the news to him that... she always has been!  Uh-oh.

Star Sapphire then shows up, and asks Hal to "Take a Seat"... okay, no she doesn't.  She is there to explore Hal's FEAR.  Below Carol is the corpse of Katma Tui.  This almost works...

... but, lest we forget, Hal is completely without Fear, so this is just the trick to break him out of Mind Games' trance!  Hal wakes up, kayos the baddie, and takes him into custody.

After dropping Mind Games off with the Chicago P.D., Hal heads back to the Hotel.  He's surprised to find that Arisia isn't there waiting for him.  Turns out, she's still out with that Modelling Agent... and what's more, she's agreed to become a model!

We close out with Hal asking his Power Ring how he can be completely without fear.  The Ring informs him that he is "fearless as per instructions"... whatever that means.  Hal asks for clarification... and finds himself sucked into his own ring!


Now, this is more like it!  This is the "meat" that we've been working our way towards ever since the first Oprah issue.

We hop inside the mind of Hal Jordan... and find out it's quite the strange and creepy place.  He appears to have a great deal of pent up frustration... with his friends, his enemies, his lover... and with himself.

Let's get the most uncomfortable one out of the way first.  Arisia... is a kid.  Sure, they kinda swept it under the rug with some half-hearted explanation that her teen-agery form is actually that of a grown (and assumedly, legal) adult in her race... but, the fact remains that Hal Jordan, Earthman... is sexually attracted to a woman who has the appearance of a young teen.  What's more... with this chapter, he appears to come to that realization himself... and it freaks him out.

Now... here's the thing... Hal is disturbed by this, but why?  Is it because he knows it's wrong?  Is it because he fears he'll be punished?  Hmm... fear.

Let's keep tugging at that thread a bit.  Hal lashes out at villains early on in the chapter, killing them.  Was any part of that rooted in fear?  Once dead, he frantically tries to revive them... again, could that be rooted in fear?  Fear of doing something wrong?  Fear of reprisal and punishment?  Maybe...

I mean, this is all going to make more sense in the coming weeks, so I'll stifle it with the analysis for now.  Fact is, this was a pretty good installment, one of the best yet... and it's leading to a revelation that, if it were allowed to remain in continuity, would have led to some very interesting encounters to come.  We'll talk more about that next time.

Tomorrow: Welcome to the rotation, Dick Grayson!

Thursday, April 25, 2019

Action Comics Weekly #612 (1988)

Action Comics Weekly #612 (June 21, 1988)
Green Lantern: "Mind Over Matter"
Secret Six: "Out of the Frying Pan... Into the Fire
Deadman: "Take Us to Your Leader"
Superman: "Where Lurks the Evil?"
Catwoman: "The Tin Roof Club, Part Two"
Black Canary: "Bitter Fruit, Part 4"
Writers - Peter David, Martin Pasko, Mike Baron, Roger Stern, Mindy Newell, & Sharon Wright
Pencils - Tod Smith, Dan Spiegle, Dan Jurgens, Curt Swan, Barry Kitson, & Randy DuBurke
Inks - Tony DeZuniga, John Beatty, Bruce Patterson, & Pablo Marcos
Letters - Albert DeGuzman, Carrie Spiegle, Steve Haynie, & Bill Oakley
Colors - Anthony Tollin, Carl Gafford, Liz Berube, Tom Ziuko, Adrienne Roy, & Gene D'Angelo
Edits - Dan Raspler, Denny O'Neil, Dick Giordano, Barbara Kesel, Mike Carlin, & Mike Gold
Cover Price: $1.50

It's like the end of an era this week, as we bid farewell to a couple more of our "original six" features, in Deadman and Secret Six.  They'll be back soon enough though, in fact, I'm pretty sure we'll eventually hit a time where ACW will consist entirely of the "original six" features once again!

Let's take a look at our cover, which stars one of our departing features, rendered by Paul Gulacy.  It's a heckuva nice, stylized cover... almost reminds me of those old Steranko Nick Fury covers.  Before ya freak out on me, remember I said "almost".  I like it, and it's a neat "send-off" for the Sixers.

Now, let's look at last week's Poll Results!

Heckuva turnout this week... best yet!  Big thanks to everyone who voted and shared the poll around!  Catwoman knocks it out of the park with her first chapter... it's actually the feature I voted for too (I didn't forget this week)!  Black Canary is our only "goose egg" feature, which I believe is rather fitting... it was the weakest of all the stories last week (even Superman).  Speaking of Superman... for the first time in around ten weeks, dude finally got some votes on the board!  How 'bout that!

My Ratings for last week's stories (#611) would be:
1 - Catwoman
2 - Secret Six
3 - Green Lantern
4 - Superman
5 - Deadman
6 - Black Canary

Speaking of Polls... it's with this issue of Action Comics Weekly that DC finally gives us the results of their very first poll (ACW #601)!  I'd never have imagined it would've taken twelve weeks to get here... but, here we are!

Let's compare their list... with ours, shall we?

Wow, not much in common there, eh?  Worth noting that the bottom three features in our list were tied for having the least votes... annnnnd, there might've been a little bit of funny-business regarding Deadman winning the day.  Ya see, this is before I put some "controls" on the voting, and somebody had a little "funny, ha-ha" and voted for ol' Boston over ten times in a single minute.  Future comparisons should (in theory) be a bit more legitimate... and, hopefully a bit more fun to compare with the original results.

So now, here's this week's poll!  Vote in good health!

Best Story in Action Comics Weekly #612?

Green Lantern
Secret Six
Black Canary

Shareable Poll Link: https://linkto.run/p/S8UR9NYR


Picking up where we left off, Hal has been zapped by that "Mind Games" satellite, just as Lt. Rensaleer finds the "Mind Games" note!  A maddened Hal lunges at the Lieutenant, and pins him to the ground.  Rensaleer strikes back with an ear-clap, that puts a bit of space between them.  Hal points his ring in his direction... emerald energy pouring off of it.

Back at the station, that modelling agent is still trying to sell Arisia on signing on with her agency.  In order to "seal the deal", she suggests Arisia could become the next Cory Anders.  Hey, we know her!

Back in the alley, Hal goes to blast the Lieutenant... but his ring doesn't seem to want to cooperate!  He's certain that it's charged, but for whatever reason, it refuses to fire.  Hal then freaks out, and begins flapping his arms... as though he's trying to fly, and forgotten how!

Rensaleer chases Hal out of the alley, tackling him.  A stray dog wanders over to the Mind Games note... and, uh, lifts his leg over it.  At this point Hal goes back to normal, and hasn't the foggiest clue what's been going on.

After cooling their jets for a bit, Hal and the Lt. catch the evening news broadcast.  Some nutjob busts in on the station, and demands $500,000 on behalf of... Mind Games.  To prove his power, he claims that, for a two-minute period, Mind Games will turn one-tenth of Chicago's population insane.  I feel like there's a real easy joke to be made there, but we'll let it go.

Those two-minutes begin, and one of the "crazies" turns out to be, Cynthia Whatsherface, the modeling agent!  While out to dinner discussing the finer details of a potential modelling contract, she lunges across the table at Arisia, and attempts to stab her with... a spoon.  Well, that was a lucky break!

At this point, Hal realizes that he could just use his ring to track where the crazy beams are emanating from... and follows them to a large satellite dish, which he destroys.  He enters a nearby building, and runs into a man... who we can only assume is Mind Games.  Ol' Emm-Gee hammers Hal with a mind-blast!


I'm going to give y'all a peek behind the curtain here.  I've had this synopsis written for like a week... and have just been dragging my feet in writing up my thoughts and "review".  There's just nothing really to say, is there?  It was my hope that something would come to mind... some sort of discussion thread would reveal itself... buuuuut, nope.

I mean, we're building to something... and next week's installment will be a ton more interesting than this... but for now?  It's just kinda "there".  I suppose we could wonder why Hal never thought to follow the psycho-waves before now?  Why the ring didn't pick up on a "disturbance in the force"... but, yawn, why?

It is what it is... and what it is, is kinda weak.  Don't worry though, next week we will kick things up a notch, and have quite a bit of fun digging around in Hal's dome!


We open with Vic and Luke at Sunnydale Farms, and learn about a fella named Jack Poundstone.  He learned about the leaner-meated (though, virally contaminated) minipigs that were being bred for medical research (at Jefferson University) and bought himself a male and female in order to get ta reproducing.  The University rep, a Stephen Traeger, was supposed to destroy the pigs, but figured there'd be little harm in making a few bucks on the side.  A pair of good ol' boy security guard bust in on our Sixers, but get beaten up pretty easily.

Meanwhile, we see that Ralph Dorn, C.E.O. of Farmer Ralph's was the "VIP" who was about to be fed the tainted meat at the end of the last chapter.  I had assumed it was going to be Rafael DiRienzi... guess that'll teach me for assumin'.

Though, speaking of Rafael... we rejoin him, still held captive at the posh hotel.  He is awakened, and placed before a television set.  On the screen... Mockingbird!  Looks like everything is going according to Emm-Bee's plan!  DiRienzi insists that there will be people looking for him... which, turns out, is all the better!

Back at Secret Six HQ, we learn that there might be a connection between Jefferson University's Science Department and... TechnoDyne?  I thought we were through with those guys!  Anyhoo, DiRienzi's pal shows up... just as predicted, and after a brief skirmish, is able to convince Maria and Mitch to hear him out.

We shift scenes to Washington, D.C., where they're still investigating the VTOL crash.  It's assumed that all of the passengers had perished.  It's also assumed that OG Sixer, August Durant was responsible for the whole thing... and, later in the conversation, he is linked to... Jefferson University.  Uh-oh.

Back with the Six, Rafe's pal tells his tale.  Turns out he was the Manager of the Enchanted Forest... but knew very little about the Secret Six.  All he knows is that the VTOL crashed, and that Rafe suspected Mockingbird was behind it.  He confirms that the club was later burned to the ground to "send a message"... and states that he'd received Rafael's communication device in the mail with instructions to visit Frisco (they hate it when you call it that).

We wrap up, with the revelation that Mockingbird could only be... one of the original Secret Six!  Rafael's pal offers to become the New-Sixer's "secret agent", trying to peel back the layers of this mystery... while giving them all deniability (and thus, holding on to their "gifts").  I think it's a pretty big assumption that Mockingbird doesn't have this entire place bugged... but, we'll play along.  Anyhoo... this is how we end things.  We won't be discussing the Secret Six again for... seven weeks!  Yes, really.



Twelve Weeks, Twelve Chapters... probably, three or four too many, if I'm being honest... annnnnnd, this is the "ending" we get?!  It's... it's not even an ending!  Heck, it's hardly even a "new wrinkle"... the Sixers already knew Mockingbird probably shouldn't be trusted.  Ay yai yai.

"Ending" aside... what else we get?

Well, we've established a Sunnydale Farms, Jefferson University, and a TechnoDyne link.  Also, that original Sixer, August Durant has links to potentially all three as well.  It's actually all quite interesting... though, at this point, probably should have been explained to us several weeks ago.  These aren't "Senses-Shattering" revelations, and the fact that we've had to wait so long to get 'em takes even more of the "oomph" out.

Rafael is still being held hostage, and it looks like he'd best get comfortable.  "Farmer" Ralph Dorn is dealt with... fed a platter of his own tainted meat... which, if I'm remembering right, is more or less exactly what Mockingbird intended to happen.  Hmm... maybe there's more to this "connection" than I'd originally thought!

Overall, as a chapter... it's a darn good one, though perhaps a bit "info-dumpy".  As a concluding chapter, however... ehh-ehh, nope.  I get wanting to leave the people wanting more, but this kind of kicks dirt in the faces of all of us who were expecting just a little bit of resolution before the hiatus.


Okay, so when we left off Talaoc was on his way back to Earth in that odd spherical spacecraft that busted out from the Mayan Pyramid.  Y'all remember that?  I don't blame you if you don't.  Anyhoo.  Major Kasaba, some bald guy, Deadman, and... Satan are watching this unfold on the monitors.  After a bit of a playful argument between the dead-guys, Boston hops into the body of the bald fella in order to communicate with their pending visitor.  Oh, and there are a few jokes about President Reagan being asleep... can't forget about that!

After Deadman-as-Bald Guy talks to Talaoc, they agree to meet up.  Upon landing, Talaoc exits the craft... but doesn't do so alone.  He is surrounded by several spectres (thankfully, not that Spectre) of "his people".  It's worth noting that he is also "see-thru".

Talaoc's ghost demands all of their weapons and artifacts returned... or else, they will possess all of the Earth's leaders and plunge the planet into a horrible war.  Major Kasaba's all "We don't negotiate with... uh, dead alien... god... things", which really isn't the best play.  Deadman bodyhops from Bald Guy to Kasaba in hopes of smoothing things over...

... only Kasaba's already got an inhabitant!  That's right, it's Satan!  Deadman pops back into the Bald guy, and backhands Kasaba good.

He instructs a soldier to fetch the Alien Weapons... and, after a few words with Talaoc, blasts the devil out of Major Kasaba.

Then, like a Ghostbuster had just thrown a trap, D.B. Cooper/the Devil evacuates Kasaba's kasabod... and (somehow) gets sucked into a containment unit.

Talaoc and Company collect the "specimen", and load it on their ship.  It turns out that "Satan" was actually the original leader of Talaoc's men, driven mad from all his time on Earth.  I know the feeling!

We (finally) wrap up with Major Kasaba waking up... and convincing the bald fella that they'd just undergone a "bad trip", courtesy of the United States government testing a new hallucinogen.  She suggests they sue, as Deadman takes his leave. 


And so ends our time with Boston Brand.  Kind of a convenient capper, but certainly not the worst ending I've ever read.

I feel like that's one of the biggest problems in comic book storytelling today, writers are afraid to... or unable to "stick" the landing to their epic stories.  So often, endings are so weakly written... such a letdown, that they manage to retroactively taint the rest of the story.  Or, they're being written as a "bridge" to the next "senses-shattering, everything you thought you knew was wrong" crossover event.

This Deadman ending... well, it worked.  Didn't rock my socks, didn't put a smile on my face... but, it worked.  All of the disparate story elements and characters came together, and nothing was left worse for wear.

As an arc, while overlong and dragging in parts, I feel like this had more hits than misses, which is more than I can say about most things!  Deadman was a "net-positive", and if you're a fan of the character, I have little doubt that you'll dig this storyline.


Galt's mental transmission continues to play, which really freaks Perry White out.  He doesn't seem to understand that none of what's before him is actually playing out.  Galt ends the transmission before Perry can start wildly swiping at thin air.

White inquires as to why Galt never contacted the authorities about this apparent massacre, to which he claims that the surviving members feared that somehow going to the authorities would cause reprisal from their attackers... and, the only person who can be trusted is, naturally, Superman.

Clark wonders aloud who might be behind all of this... which facilitates a segue to the West Coast, where a boardroom full of... I dunno, business-illuminati folks (?) are discussing current events.  They are wildly displeased that one of the Fellowship members has "made contact" with Superman... and they realize that, from here, they can only do one thing to "save the world": Kill Superman?!


So, we trudge ahead a good minute, minute-and-a-half this week.

Not gonna lie, this is pretty dull stuff.  While it's difficult to tell too much of a story in only two pages, this is just dreadfully slow.  Almost painfully slow... especially if you are a person who tasked himself with writing about it!

Not much to see here.  The Cadre of "Men in Suits" on the other coast ain't pleased... and maybe they're about to do something about it?  I dunno.  Honestly, I'm pretty sure I don't even care.


Picking up right where we left off last week, Selina has opened the door to her office to find her Bartender wielding a gun... and suddenly, a shot is fired.  Turns out, it was actually Detective Flannery's gun that went off... Bartender Willy hits the ground.  George begins scanning the office, and isn't too terribly surprised to see it littered with kayoed gangsters.  More than that, he's unshaken to discover Selina's whip and catsuit on her desk.  He's apparently clued-in on the alter-ego, but assumed Selina "killed the cat".

Realizing that he has very little choice at the moment, Flannery goes to arrest Selina.  He only manages to get one cuff on her before she overwhelms him.  And by "overwhelms", I mean she just beats the hell out of him.  Before "suiting up" and taking her leave, she cuffs George with his own manacles.

Turns out, Catwoman is heading to New Jersey to check in with Holly... if you recall, last week she'd "gifted" her that precious cat brooch.

Catwoman sneaks into Holly's place.  Holly, is pretty surprised by this, and jokes that Selina might be there to "rob" her.  Selina asks for Holly to hand the gift over as it's too dangerous for her to have it.  Holly admits that she didn't wait until Christmas to open the package... and further admits that she'd given it to her husband, Arthur so he could drop it off at their Safe Deposit box at the bank for safe-keeping.

Selina asks to see Arthur... but he ain't home.  She asks Holly if it's weird for her husband to be out at three in the morning.  Before she can answer, however... the house explodes!


Wowie!  With an ending like that, it's almost like we're back reading Wild Dog again!

Really not sure how this one's going to play out.  I mean, clearly, Catwoman is going to survive the blast... but, will Holly?  I think we're meant to assume that Arthur was planning to "make off" with the brooch, and rigged his own house to blow, wife included, in order to cover his getaway?  At least that's my "hot take" on the subject.

Jumping back to the beginning of the story, I really enjoyed the back and forth between Selina and George.  I'm digging this George character an awful lot.  We can tell that he doesn't want to arrest Selina, and he's trying to be as patient as possible with her... but, in times like this, he can't really turn a blind eye.

Overall... Catwoman got my "Best of the Week" vote last week, and as of right now, it's very likely that it'll go two-in-a-row for me.  Really enjoying this... it's a shame that it's already halfway through!


We open with a homeless woman giddily finding a gun in a pile of garbage.  In the background, there's a dumpster which slowly creaks open.  One the lady is gone, we learn that the inhabitant of the dumpster was... Dinah!  She is soon joined by Doug Vallines, that fella in the cowboy hat that I (I could'a sworn) clubbed her last week.  Doesn't seem as though Dinah recollects any of that though.  He explains that they were attacked, and he had just woken up in another dumpster himself.  He estimates that they've been "out" for around two hours.

Doug guides Dinah over to his pickup truck and drives her to a restaurant where she might call for a cab.  Ya see, despite not wanting to ride with this fella, she... well, rode with this fella anyway.  Oh well, at least this way he won't know where she lives.  That's somethin'.  Before they part company, Doug hands her his card so she can have Hector Librado give him a call.  Well, we already know that's not gonna happen.

We shift scenes to a pitch-black room, where a man answer a phone call.  This guy is either Vincent Scales... or he's talking to a guy named Vincent Scales.  It's not entirely clear.  Anyhoo, he's given an ambiguous status report.

We next go to a scene of Dinah taking a shower... a very awkward-looking shower.  It's almost as though she knows we're reading this!  Or, maybe she just doesn't like Ollie watching... because, he totally is.

Ollie makes his way in, and they talk about everything that went down that night.  Or, they would have, if not for being interrupted by the phone.  On the line, is Rita!  She's calling to tell Dinah about what happened to Hector... though, they're being pretty vague about it.

We wrap up with a stocky, balding jogger... stockily and baldly jogging in the Hollywood Hills.  He stops at a payphone to make a call to someone named "Barry"... but, here's the thing... he introduces himself as... Doug Vallines!


Well, it's improving... I'll give it that much.

Let's talk art.  It no longer looks like Dinah's having her head smooshed between Mark McKinney's fingers, but it still isn't all that pleasant.  Also, there are few storytelling hiccups here that really muddle up the narrative.  Too much is being kept too vague, which I suppose I shouldn't blame squarely on DuBurke.

Last week, it really looked like "Vallines" clubbed Canary when they met.  This week, I wasn't sure why Dinah didn't even mention that.  Now, I'm beginning to question what I even saw in the first place.  That really should have been more clearly illustrated.

Also, the panel layouts here strike me as pretty wasteful.  Look at the scene where Rita calls Dinah... like 1/3 of the page is white-space.  That just seems like a waste, especially when we're talking about an eight-page story.  What's more, we don't even get confirmation whether or not Hector was killed in the hospital!

Speaking of phone calls... there's that "Vincent Scales" page.  Just what was that?  Heck, who was that?  Does that have anything to do with Rita's dad?  Or is this just our weekly reminder that some pilot is suing an airline?  I'm not saying there can't be a little bit (or a lot) of mystery... but, this just feels a little too "all over the place", especially at this stage of the story.

All told, this chapter was probably the best yet.  Unfortunately, I don't feel like that's really heaping any praise on it.


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