ACW #612 – Black Canary

Action Comics Weekly #612 (Black Canary)
“Bitter Fruit, Part 4”
Writer – Sharon Wright
Pencils – Randy DuBurke
Inks – Pablo Marcos
Letters – Steve Haynie
Colors – Gene D’Angelo
Editor – Mike Gold

I hope you’re all sitting… because we’ve got some big news today, friends!

Remember the other day, when I was kvetching about being unable to find real Bazooka Gum?  Sure ya do… it was my most riveting post in months.  That, of course, was piggy-backing off that other time I was kvetching about being unable to find real Bazooka Gum.

Well, this morning I wake up to find this comment in the hopper:

To which, I was totally shocked!  How come I didn’t know about this?  I could’a sworn I’ve Googled around for that several times over the past few months.

Anyhoo, so I decide to google it again… and find this!  A news item from… one day ago!  Going a step further, if we venture over to BazookaJoe.com, this is what we’re greeted by:

I think we’re safe to take complete and total credit for this.  I mean, there are dozens (annnnnd dozens) of folks reading this blog every single day… Okay, I’m kidding… but, really… how cool is this?

So, what’s your humble host to do, but… drive all over town trying to track down some of this stuff!

It took a few stops, but… after it was only after wandering into a Party City that our epic quest comes to an end.

Is it too much to hope for the individual pieces of gum to be wrapped with the old-fashioned packaging?

Yes, it looks like it is too much to hope for.  But, it’s not the packaging… or even the gum itself we’re banking on here.  Do these retro gums come with… a comic strip?!

You bet it does!  Just as corny as I remember.  I could do without the code on the bottom… but, that’s just the world we live in these days.  Worth noting…

… unlike last time, this code actually worked!

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.

Tomorrow: Wrapping up our first dozen issues… and finally finding out how all’a dem DC Comics fans voted back in 1988!

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