Action Comics Weekly #611 (Black Canary)
"Bitter Fruit, Part 3"
Writer - Sharon Wright
Pencils - Randy DuBurke
Inks - Pablo Marcos
Letters - Steve Haynie
Colors - Gene D'Angelo
Editor - Mike Gold
Time for our ACW-Anchor... have I mentioned how much I miss Blackhawk yet?
We open with a few people getting caught at the border by Immigration... this turns out to be a dream being experienced by Rita and Luis Librado's father... who is laying in a hospital bed, being visited by those same (grown) kiddos. He's upset at the state of them... having been all beaten up, and recommends they stay in their own neighborhood. They tell him the beating happened in their neighborhood... and well, Papa is all out of suggestions.
We shift scenes to a dive called Rosario's, where an all gussied-up Dinah is looking for some information. She immediately attracts the attention of a pair of goons.
Back at the hospital, a Nurse informs Rita and Luis that visiting hours are over... and they're given the boot. As they leave, we can see Mr. Weird Beard from last chapter. He attempts to get Mr. Librado's room by telling the Nurse that he's a family friend. She gives him the boot too.
Over at Rosario's, the goons approach Dinah... who, in a very odd and confusing series of panels, manages to disarm one... and jam their gun into their, uh, lower-midsection. This is a really ugly-looking little scene. I think Dinah's supposed to be pained, but it looks like she's having a laughing fit.
She brings the goons outside, and starts questioning them about the attack on the Librados. Initially, they feign ignorance... but, ultimately come around. They claim not to know who ordered the beating... and before Dinah can dig any deeper, she hears the *click* of a gun behind her. She puts her hands up, and the goons beat a hasty retreat.
The new gunman, a feller wearing a cowboy hat, introduces himself as Doug Vallines, a friend of Hector Librado. Dinah returns the favor, introducing herself as "Bonnie Cardinal". They shake hands before Doug pistol-whips "Bonnie". Welp, that came out of nowhere.
We wrap up back in Hector's hospital room, where someone has joined him. After looking at his chart, the visitor pulls an Evelyn Cream on the poor guy!
Still not quite feeling this one.
Though, I will say... so far, we've received 24 pages of Black Canary... and, yeah... while I'm not really enjoying it, I can't deny that we've gotten "one full issue's worth" of story at this point.
I may have been unfair in the earlier chapters, where I placed the blame for my indifference plainly on the writer... because, this time out, all I could see was some very unpleasant art. So unpleasant, that it actually distracted from the story.
The opening scene in the hospital room was well-written... but I couldn't take my eyes off the fact that it appeared as though the elder Librado was breathing through a spinal column... oh, and the ugly faces didn't help either.
Speaking of ugly faces... what in the world happened to Dinah? Just so unpleasant all throughout. She kinda looks like she'd run afoul of this guy:
I mean, just look at her face...
Anyhoo... while we're a whole 'nother chapter deeper (and this was probably the strongest yet), we really haven't gotten many answers. Weird Beard is still lurking... and he (or whoever he's working for/with) has got some sort of a problem with the Librados. We get a reminder that there was a Border Crossing. We're nearly halfway through this arc, and everything still feels just so "piecy" (much like my own thoughts!). Hopefully it'll come together.
Something I meant to mention last week, but neglected to... mostly because I wasn't sure how to word it, was that I both liked and disliked the Librado's being sort of "Robin Hoody" in their "mischief". During Dinah and Rita's chat, we learned that all of the illegal activities the Librado's engaged in were done so only for the noblest of reasons.
Stealing, selling drugs, gang activity, yadda yadda yadda... all for the survival of the Librado family, and in service of their ailing father. It's the whole "Would you steal a loaf of bread to feed your starving family?" sort of ethical dilemma. Sure, we can see that they're doing dangerous, and potentially dastardly things... but their hearts were in the right place, maaaan. Very Robin Hoody... which, ya know, when we're Green Arrow-adjacent, it kind of works.
It's also... just so damn cliche. I feel like we're supposed to forgive them... or, rather, root for them to be forgiven, because of the reasons behind their behavior. I feel like Wright is trying to blur the lines between legal/illegal, right/wrong, and ethical/unethical. It's tropey, it's cliche, it's a slippery slope, but it's one of those things I feel we're going to have to accept for this story to land the way (I believe) it's intended to.
Tomorrow: Trade-Waiters and Poll-Voters Rejoice, we tie up Action Comics Weekly #611!