Action Comics Weekly #613 (Black Canary)
“Bitter Fruit, Part 5”
Writer – Sharon Wright
Pencils – Randy DuBurke
Inks – Pablo Marcos
Letters – Steve Haynie
Colors – Gene D’Angelo
Editor – Mike Gold
It’s Black Canary… hopefully we’ll start getting more answers and less questions here.
We open in Hector Librado’s hospital room… so, it looks as though he survived that attack. That’s the good news. The bad? He is currently comatose. Dinah, Luis and Rita are standing vigil… with the Librados begrudgingly filling Dinah in on the potential “hows” and “whys” of everything that’s gone down so far. At the same time, Weird Beard is talking to somebody on his car phone. Somebody named “Doug”. Not sure if this is “Cowboy Doug” or “Hollywood Doug”… I’m guessing it’s the latter, though I mean… we could probably just flip a coin here.
Back in the hospital, Dinah asks if either of them know of a Doug Vallines. They can recall the name from their Father’s days working in the Orchards. Doug was apparently a Crop-Duster.
Further, Luis assumes he might be the one Hector reached out to in order to “verify their status”. When asked for elaboration, it’s revealed that the Librados are in the country illegally. Now who saw that coming? Okay, okay… hands down. We learn that, since the Reagan Amnesty they’ve been trying to track down the proper paperwork they need… which is difficult when you’re living a sorta-kinda nomadic lifestyle. And so, Hector hooked up with a Forger. This causes a lightbulb to pop up over Dinah’s head…
Next we shift scenes to… a “faceless” man in a cowboy hat, who may or may not be “Cowboy Doug”. I mean, if it is, there’s no reason to shield his face they way they are here. If it’s not… it’s just yet another new character we don’t know or care about. Anyhoo, he’s talking to a fella, who might be Vincent Scales? Or, maybe he himself is Vincent Scales? They’re talking about a Hank Beecham, and a Gary… I mean, just too many names, with not enough faces. Just a mess.
Next stop, the I.N.S. Office in Seattle. A woman named Ellen Waverly receives a piece of mail regarding the Librados… and calls it in to William MacDonald (remember that guy?). We learn that Librado’s application had been flagged due to his being a Convicted Felon in Mexico. Further digging by Ms. Waverly reveals that none of that is actually true. Librado is (relatively speaking) squeaky clean.
After an overlong and confusing conversation… I mean, the word balloons were all over the place… and, at times, hard to attribute to a specific speaker, MacDonald ends the call. From here, he contacts… somebody… and requests “Chimney Sweeping” service in Seattle. Yeesh.
We close out with Dinah just happening across Beecham’s Market. We might assume this was Hector Librado’s “Forger”. Anyhoo, she peeks through the window, and witnesses him being beaten up by those same two goons who approached her at the Bar.
What’s the onomatopoeia for an exaggerated and overblown sigh? Is it “uhhhhhhhhhhhhh-hh-h-h-hh-h”? Or is it just “Sighhhhhhhhhhhh”. Whichever it is, that’s pretty much all I have to say here. This really isn’t very good.
This sort of story (and storytelling) would be more at home in the DC Sampler or DC New Talent Showcase than Action Comics Weekly. There are just too many fundamental storytelling hiccups here. Even if the story was interesting, it’s just too damn difficult to read.
I mean, how many names do we need dropped in our lap before they all cease to have any meaning or importance? How many shadowy people do we need to be introduced to before they all blur together? Why is everything such a mystery? This is Part Five (of Eight), let’s start shedding some light on things! Let’s know who we’re up against here! If we wait much longer, the “big reveal” will fall even flatter than it’s likely going to anyway.
There’s also the “message” that I think they’re trying to push here. We discussed this a few chapters back. The “Robin Hoodiness” of the Librados. How they might have engaged in unsavory ways, but always for the “right reason”, which… I dunno, is supposed to assuage them of guilt? Maybe?
I mean, we’re dealing with some “gray” stuff here… and yet, the Librados, for all of their “less than upstanding” behavior, are being depicted as relatively clean. I know terms like “whataboutism” has become fashionable (and overused), but this feels like we’re only supposed to empathize with the Librados because the are the less-est of all evils here. This just isn’t “landing” for me. Hopefully there are folks out there who are digging it.
Tomorrow: Tying a bow on #613!