Action Comics Weekly #615 (Wild Dog)
“Fatal Distraction, Chapter One: Night Patrol”
Writer – Max Collins
Pencils – Terry Beatty
Inks – John Nyberg
Colors – Carl Gafford
Lettters – Tim Harkins
Editor – Brian Augustyn
Well, praise be… Wild Dog is back!
While doing some snooping around the internet in between bouts of crippling academic research, I came across a snippet of an interview with Collins and Beatty from an issue of Back Issue Magazine where they were talking about Wild Dog (primarily… Ms. Tree popped up a time or two as well).
Some interesting takeaways: Wild Dog was originally going to be called Red Dog, however due to there already being a Red Dog character in G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero, they made the change. So, if anyone ever wondered why there was a Red Dog on his jersey, there ya go!
So, why mention this today? Well, the article also included a draft/photostat of this very cover of ACW. Here, take a look:
I thought it was pretty neat, and was happy to find it with just enough time to share it here!
Without any further ado… let’s get Wild Dogging!
We open with Lt. Andy Flint, Reporter Lou Godder, and Auto-Mechanic/Vigilante Jack Wheeler stood before a dead body… the victim of a slashing. Flint proclaims this to be the work of the Quad Cities first-ever serial killer… which tells us this ain’t an isolated incident. He vows to find him, which Lou Godder is quick to suggest they might be dealing with a her, citing a “Jill the Ripper” case that occurred in the Chicago singles-scene not too long ago.
We jump ahead to the trio having drinks… and they’re still talking about this case. Jack offers to help, claiming that, since a “Certain Canine” can avoid jurisdictional hassles, he might be able to dig up some more dirt than a badge-carrying officer. Andy doesn’t say no… though, Godder passive-aggressively suggests that Wild Dog might be the Quad Cities real first serial killer. What a killjoy.
Later that night, Jack types up a letter to Lou Godder… and plainly writes that, while Lou may disagree with his methods, he has become something of a “silent accomplice”… and he’s not wrong! Last time out, Lou did save Jack’s bacon! Whether or not that was a “make right” for saving his daughter isn’t really the point. Jack then suits up, and heads out on patrol. Hey, it works for Batman, right?
Wild Dog happens upon a Convenience Store being held up… and decides to dispense with some street justice. He approaches the three would-be robbers… and perforates their legs but good!
A young boy sees this all go down, and appears to have decided that Wild Dog is his new hero! He felt so inspired by Wild Dog’s actions that he, himself, realized he had the power to take on the bad guys. Though, I wouldn’t quite put that theory to the test, kiddo.
We wrap up (in only seven pages) with a woman getting dressed in a smart outfit… and sliding a rather large knife into her pocketbook. She approaches a man at the bar… and they slink into a darkened alley to make out. Then… the knife!
I tell ya what, it’s nice to have Wild Dog back. Heck, over the past couple of days, both ACW-Originals we brought back have been of great comfort.
This chapter is a decent enough launch-point for our next arc… though, I wonder why it only “weighed in” at seven pages. The ad that follows it (for CBS/Columbia House) is a three-pager, so I wonder if that might have had something to do with it. I’ll try and include that ad this week… because, if you act now… I can hook you up with 6 CDs for $1.00! That includes such albums as Terence Trent D’Arby’s Introducing the Headline! Be still my heart.
Back to the story… I really liked Jack’s letter to Lou. It’s funny the moral high ground stance that Godder tries to project. If we go back to the original Wild Dog miniseries, Jack saved Lou’s daughter from terrorists. In Moral Stand, Lou saved Jack from being discovered and arrested by the police. As I mentioned in the synopsis, while that might’ve been a “make good”, it doesn’t change the fact that Lou is now sorta-kinda “on the hook” for anything else Wild Dog does. Those shot-up legs at the Convenience Store? Some’a that blood is on Lou’s hands. Conversely, the lives Wild Dog saved taking out the would-be thieves, also have Lou to thank.
It feels like, at this point, Lt. Andy doesn’t even have the energy to dissuade Jack from Wild Dogging it up. He gives him a very weak, “Eh, this one isn’t Wild Dog’s style”… kind of his way of going “on the record” that he’s against the vigilante thing… while at the same time, not exactly putting up much of a fight.
As for the Singles-Scene Killer, as soon as Lou suggested it might be a woman… I think we all kinda figured out that it would be. It’s not the worst thing though… I’m genuinely curious as to how Wild Dog might deal with a female serial killer. I haven’t read this arc yet… so, I’m really looking forward to watching it all play out.
So, overall… a really solid start, and I can’t wait for next week’s installment!
Tomorrow: Last week we watched in awe as Superman… opened a door. I ask you, friends, how could he ever follow that up? Perhaps with a little involuntary manslaughter?!