ACW #619 – Wild Dog

Action Comics Weekly #619 (Wild Dog)
“Fatal Distraction, Chapter Four: One Mass Murderer to Go”
Writer – Max Collins
Breakdowns – Terry Beatty
Guest Pencils – Dick Rockwell
Inks – John Nyberg
Letters – Tim Harkins
Colors – Carl Gafford
Editor – Brian Augustyn

I can’t believe I forgot to say “Booyaka, Booyaka” when I opened yesterday’s piece.  Oh well, better late than never.  Hopefully at least one reader has the foggiest idea what I’m referring to… otherwise I will appear even odder than usual!

We open with a really ugly dude wearing both a horrible haircut and a “Save the Animals” t-shirt as he’s opened fire on a Hap Burg fast food joint.  Ya see, he just wants the killing to stop… ya know, meat is murder and all ‘at.  The news hits the Police radio, and it just so happens that one Jack Wheeler is “tuned in”.  Moments later, the Quad-Cities P.D. arrives on the scene.

Also arriving on the scene is a trio of boys, who just came to get something to eat.  An Officer informs them that there’s somethin’ bad goin’ on… and advises them to just go home.  Little does he realize, however, that one of these young fellas just happens to be… Wild Pup!

Also, also arriving on the scene is… oh yeah, Ms. Susan King!  Ever the opportunist, she is there for a story… in fact, she claims to be there to get the lunatic’s “side” of the story.  Andy Flint tells her to beat it, but I don’t think she’s goin’ anywhere.

Just then… ROVER barrels onto the lot… and right through the wall of the Happ Burg Restaurant!

Inside Wild Dog faces off with the Lunatic (by God, is he ugly!)… who is somehow still constantly firing bullets!  The Dog attempts to reason with the man, suggesting he let his hostages go… but, he ain’t much listening.

Just then… Wild Pup arrives and hops on the crazy/ugly gunman’s back!

Well, let’s get it out of the way… the art this time out comes from a fella named Dick Rockwell, off of layouts by original artist, Terry Beatty… and, well… there be some oooooogly faces here, no?  I’ll give Dick the benefit of the doubt and assume that they were accurate representations of ugly people rather than any sort of artistic inability… after all, his Susan King looks great!  Though, I suppose it is extremely difficult to mess with perfection.  One thing I will mention though is, Wild Pup isn’t especially “kiddish” here.  In earlier chapters it was easy to tell he was a child… here though?  Not so much.  Just a small complaint.

For a story, it’s kind of an “outta nowhere” occurrence, which… for Wild Dog works quite well.  That’s kind of the thing about strictly street-level vigilantism, I suppose… these threats come out of nowhere without antecedent.  At any moment, a bank could be robbed… or, an excruciatingly ugly fellow might open fire at a fast food joint!

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again here: I haven’t read ahead on this one, so I’ll be learning the fate of Wild Pup as I’m sharing it here.  Not sure on which side I’d stack my chips on this.  Will he live?  Does he die?  I could make a case for either outcome… which, really helps in keeping this arc as riveting as it’s been!

Overall, despite the eye-gouging ugliness of our antagonist, this was yet another fine chapter of Wild Dog!  I’m consistently surprised at the quality of these stories… and even more surprised that not much became of this character after this!

Tomorrow: Waxahachie… in the flesh!

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