ACW #616 – Black Canary

Action Comics Weekly #616 (Black Canary)
“Bitter Fruit – Conclusion”
Writer – Sharon Wright
Pencils – Randy DuBurke
Inks – Pablo Marcos
Letters – Steve Haynie
Colors – Gene D’Angelo
Editor – Mike Gold

Oh happy day… we’re done with Black Canary!  Well, for about eight-weeks anyway.

Let’s enjoy it while it lasts!

We open with Dinah in the drink… if you recall, she hopped in with hopes of catching Doug’s seaplane… which, she somehow does.  She uses her belt to get a grip on the seaplane’s landing gear, and then climbs up into the cockpit.  Doug draws on her, before realizing that she’s a friend.  He refers to her as Bonnie… and she corrects him, so I guess they’re on a “real name basis” now.

He reveals that they’re headed to the San Juan Islands where Vincent Scales has his “executive retreat”.  Them islands between Washington State and Vancouver have some pretty nice real estate, so it’s not much of a surprise that Scales has a place up there.  And so, we check in on the man himself… who, in between puffs on a cigar, is talking to (perhaps) the fella I mistook for Weird Beard last week… who might actually be the I.N.S. guy?  I mean, outside of Hollywood Doug and Weird Beard, all of these guys look basically the same.  They’re discussing the Vallines lawsuit… and are planning to dump the chemicals he (and Librado) was exposed to somewhere in Central America.

Back on the plane, Doug reveals that he’s probably going to kill Scales.  Dinah tells him to settle his tea kettle, and volunteers to scout the island herself.  Doug seems cool with the compromise, and so, Dinah does some reconnaissance.  She manages to get inside the “executive retreat” with zero challenge… and even gets close enough to overhear Scales’ discussion (which she records with a tape-recorder conveniently left on Vinnie’s desk).

Back outside, the fake Doug finds the real Doug pickin’ his teeth… and holds him up.

Back inside, Dinah garrotes Vincent Scales and reveals that she knows that he’s dying of cancer.  Worth noting that she flipped through his files prior to the confrontation.

Gary then brings Doug into the office… and gets smashed in the face with a desk lamp for his troubles.  Vincent gives Dinah the ol’ “Whattaya gonna do?”, after all, he’s going to be dead in a couple of months anyway.

We wrap up with news that Bill MacDonald of the I.N.S. was relieved of his duties… which is a plot point I know we were all losing sleep over.  Also, Hector Librado’s funeral!  Dinah looks on from the other side of the fence… and we can see that she still has the Vincent Scales audio-cassette.

You ever read something knowing there’s supposed to be a “take away”… but, after you’re finished you haven’t the foggiest idea what it was supposed to be?  Like, there’s definitely a reason for what you’re reading (unlike what you’re reading at this very moment), but… damned if you know what it is…

That’s how I’m feeling here.  This story, overall, was so muddled and disjointed… and I’m not even sure what the whole point of it was.  We’ve been following some of these characters for eight weeks now… and, there’s little to no closure.  Does Hollywood Doug succumb to illness?  Does Vincent Scales… the “big bad” we/I didn’t even realize was someone worth remembering until a week or two ago… die?  Does it matter in the slightest what’s on that audio cassette?

I mean, if these are intended to be cliffhangers… if these are the breadcrumbs to keep us excited for the return of this serial… they’re pretty weak!

Now, aesthetically… this was probably some of the most confusing “safe” art I’ve encountered.  The art style is traditional (DuBurke will get a bit experimental next time out… sort of a Kelley Jones-lite style), but the fact that the faces were interchangeable made this an absolute chore to both follow and “analyze”.  I mean, the synopsis portion of a review (or whatever it is I do here) might be the most tedious aspect of… whatever it is I do here, but it’s also the easiest.  I’m just summing up a story.  Here, though?  There were weeks where I wasn’t even sure where to start!

Overall, this story… I could’a done without it!  It’s not something worth getting mad at, it’s just a slog-and-a-half that I wouldn’t recommend to anyone.  They say every writer has X-amount of lousy pages (or, I suppose, blog posts) in them… let’s hope this arc ate up the last of Sharon Wright’s, and the next arc fares better.

Tomorrow: Wrapping up ACW #616…
The Day After Tomorrow: A look at the Action Comics Weekly Preview

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