ACW #617 – Blackhawk

Action Comics Weekly #617 (Blackhawk)
“Seems Like Old Times…”
Writer – Martin Pasko
Artist – Rick Burchett
Letters – Steve Haynie
Colors – Tom Ziuko
Editor – Mike Gold

I don’t really have a pre-ramble today… but I wanted to start by thanking everybody for their outpouring of support over the past several days.

We open with “Chop-Chop” taking some picture in a photo-booth that he can send home to the “old man” to explain why he dropped out of school… and give him a good idea of just where he went.  On their way to the airstrip Olaf chats… about a semi-recent beef between he and Janos.  Turns out, they were both wanting to… ahem… “pork” Natalie.  Weng doesn’t think this is that big’a “phuggin” deal… which, I gotta say… it really surprises me to see such phonetic-near-cursing in a 1988 issue of Action Comics!

Back at Blackhawks, the gang kicks around the idea of helping ol’ Leslie Richardson out.  Naturally, they’re going to check into his background before accepting the gig… however, they might just go out and enjoy spending some of his non-refundable retainer before attending to that!

We shift scenes to Sumatra, where that old fella (Van der Houten) is still attending to that giant flower.  He is approached by his guy again with an update.  The woman ain’t about to talk… and would rather die.  The old man demands his men head back into the swamp to look for answers while he angrily hacks the flower to pieces.

We jump ahead three days, and find Blackhawk and Company finally getting around to doing their research.  A recent Stars and Stripes tells the story of the missing American Aviatrix, though the report differs somewhat with the findings of some Dutch Investigators… though, the “meat” of their report is classified, so who knows?

The fellas try and figure out why Leslie would go to such lengths as to hire them for this.  Assuming of course, that the woman is dead… what would be the point?  Just to clear her name as a clumsy pilot?  Either way, Jan ogles her picture for a bit, suggesting he wouldn’t mind “bunking” with her, before deciding they’ll take the gig!  The celebratory glass-clanking is interrupted by the arrival of our man Weng…

… who introduces Olaf!  We quickly get the jist of the beef between he and Jan.  Ya see, it looks like Olaf actually was the one to first… uh… “pork” Natalie… even got her pregnant!  Oh, and from the sounds of it, Olaf also beat the hell out of her… even costing her her eye!  Wha–?

Jan and Olaf break into a full-blown bar room brawl, which is halted with a single gunshot.  Hmm, I wonder who this shapely silhouette might belong to…

Another excellent chapter of Blackhawk!  Ya know, I was nervous when I first noticed Marty Pasko taking over for Mike Grell for this one.  Not that I dislike Pasko in any way, I think he’s fantastic too… it’s just that, with a property like Blackhawk… a property that I have such little working knowledge of, I was afraid that I might dislike another writer’s take.  Thankfully, that isn’t the case at all!

I’m even collecting the Pasko-written New Format Blackhawk series that follows this, and I’m really getting excited about checking that out after our little Action Comics Weekly experiment concludes!

Now, whatta we got here anyway?  Well, some phonetic-near-cursing, for one!  When I first read Weng’s use of “phuggin”, I thought to myself… “There’s no way the Comics Code Authority was cool with that!”, and, as it turns out… there’s no CCA Stamp on the cover.  In fact, there hasn’t been one since the switch to the Weekly format!  You’d think with all of the manipulations I’ve done with these covers over the past several months, I’d have noticed that!  I guess your humble host isn’t as perceptive as he thought!

I guess shifting the book off newsstands and into the Direct Market afforded DC some liberties, and allowed them to be a bit more mature-ish with the dialogue and subject matter.  Not that I mind (I actually think it’s kind of a hoot), it’s just one of those weird things to wrap your head around, ya know?  I mean, this is Action Comics… arguably the flagship superhero comic book!

So, phugs and porks aside, I think we’re building a really neat story.  There is mystery in the classified files, we’ve also got that wacko with the giant flowers… but the most interesting part to me concerns the Olaf-Nat-Jan business.  Janos believes Olaf responsible for Natalie losing her eye… though, Weng tells him (and us) that he has the story wrong.  I’m looking forward to seeing how this all plays out.  I mean, if Olaf did knock her up… then, rough her up… to the point where she loses an eye… there isn’t going to be any way to redeem him, right?  There’s got to be more to this story.

Overall, really enjoying this… and very happy Rick Burchett stayed on for the art!

Tomorrow: Wild Pup makes his move!

2 thoughts on “ACW #617 – Blackhawk

  • Matthew O'Hara

    I never noticed the absence of the CCA stamp either. You're probably right that it has something to do with not being on newsstands. I'm also thinking that having the Code sign off on each issue — especially if they request changes — might not work out too well with a weekly deadline.

    Glad to hear you're making plans to review the follow up BLACKHAWK series. (Actually, I'm just glad to hear you've got plans for continuing the blog. I'd surely miss it.)

  • Billy Hogan

    I hope you'll review the Blackhawk series in your blog.


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