ACW #612 – Deadman

Action Comics Weekly #612 (Deadman)
“Take Us to Our Leader”
Writer – Mike Baron
Pencils – Dan Jurgens
Inks – Tony DeZuniga
Letters – Steve Haynie
Colors – Liz Berube
Editor – Barbara Kesel

Feels like all our kids are growin’ up and movin’ out, dunnit?  With Deadman’s departure, that’s four out of our Original Six Features that’ve flown the coop.  Crazy to think that next week will be two-thirds full’a material that we didn’t start with.

Well, I guess that’s just life for Anthologists such as ourselves!

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.

Tomorrow: Who Watches the… Fellowship of Superman?!

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