Action Comics Weekly #616 (Nightwing)
“The Cheshire Contract, Chapter Four: Counterpoint”
Writer – Marv Wolfman
Pencils – Chuck Patton
Inks – Tom Poston
Letters – Albert DeGuzman
Colors – Anthony Tollin
Editor – Barbara Kesel
Yesterday I shared a little bit of the Action Comics Weekly Preview Edition, and mentioned that I may or may not share the entire thing here. Not sure how interesting that might be to folks, especially considering it’s basically just a black and white version of Action Comics Weekly #601 (with some minor alterations), and we’ve already spoken at length about that.
The way I look at it, we’re building a “resource” here (which is what I tell myself as a comfort/motivation when I realize that barely anybody is still reading this blog), and as such, I really ought to devote a day to the Preview.
And so, this Friday I’ll serve it up in all is ephemeratic glory! This will alter our normal week, pushing everything back one day… so, starting with ACW #617, the “catch-all” post and poll nobody cares about will be on Friday instead of Thursday!
And now, onto Nightwing!
We open with Speedy staked out at, what we might presume to be, Cheshire’s “compound”. As he watches Wen Cheng chop wood, he thinks to himself how nervous he is. Wen finally heads inside giving Roy the opening he needs… that is, until Wen reveals that he knew of Roy’s presence and decided to pull a fast one on the archer!
Speedy fires an arrow, which Wen catches with ease. The two then engage in a bit of a knock-down drag-out, which Cheng gets the best of.
Meanwhile, at New Scotland Yard, Nightwing is chatting up some officials. He learns that Speedy has been visiting several local pubs, and beating up a bunch of local pub-patrons. Dick then bikes it to Ya Olde Mill to see if he can sniff out Roy’s trail. I mean, it should be obvious that he’s searching for Cheshire, right? We’re really making this a bit more difficult than it needs to be. Anyhoo, Nightwing pops in, which freaks out that one guy who Roy nearly castrated last week.
Dick tosses a projectile in the fella’s direction to stop him from fleeing, and attempts to reason with him in order to get some answers. Just as he’s about to crack, however, he begins to choke and slumps to the ground?
Dick looks up and finds Cheshire perched on a railing. Not sure how she choked the fella out… maybe a poison dart so small we couldn’t see it? Either way, she and Dick engage in battle…
… with Cheshire quickly taking over the offense. We close out with her just about to claw Nightwing’s face with her poison-tipped fingernails!
This is still quite good, but I can’t help but to feel like we’re getting into “filler” territory… at least a little bit.
I get having Roy get captured… that’s going to set-up the the next beat of the story, but spending half the chapter with Nightwing trying to figure out where his partner ran off to? I guess it’s lucky that Dick just happened to start his search at the very pub that the arrow-vasectomy guy was having a drink. Still, feels like this could have been tightened up a bit.
This might actually shine a light on the major flaw of anthologies… most every chapter has to end in a cliffhanger. And so, we’re always building to the next “gasp”… which, results in some weaker chapters every now and again. Here, it feels like we were just building to Cheshire pinning Nightwing down. I have little doubt that next issue will open with him flipping her off of him… but, we need that final cliffhanger panel…
… and to get there, we had to spend more pages than I feel necessary visiting the Pub. Again, not a bad chapter… still strong when compared to other ACW fare, just not up to the caliber of previous installments of the Nightwing feature.
Tomorrow: Don’t let the door hit ‘cha, Dinah!