ACW #619 – Blackhawk

Action Comics Weekly #619 (Blackhawk)
“What’s a Nice Girl Like You…?”
Writer – Martin Pasko
Art – Rick Burchett
Letters – Steve Haynie
Colors – Carl Gafford
Editor – Mike Gold

Hey Gang, wanted to start out with a bit of a personal note today.

Yesterday I uploaded an audio update regarding Reggie’s recovery… if you’re not on social media (or just don’t follow me on it) you might not have seen it.  If you’re interested, feel free to listen here:

Now, let’s get Blackhawkin’…

We open with Ven der Houten’s men carrying the corpse of one of the recently-deceased pilots up to the volcano.  We learn that they must dispose of the bodies lest anyone realize they crashed there in the first place.  They conclude that they’ll be having to take another walk up the hill just as soon as “the woman finally dies”.  As they reach the top, they spy the wreckage of a Japanese aircraft (that we’ll assume is of some importance)… however, before they can act, the volcano… well, it doesn’t quite “erupt”, so much as it spits in their direction.

Back closer to sea-level, Janos and the Gang have been taken captive by Van der Houten and his men.  VdH lets it slip that Leslie Richardson is, in fact, an “American Agent”… and orders that he and Blackhawk be separated from the rest of the team.  We also learn that our baddie has a first name, Johannes… and he’s a spice merchant.  Also, he tawks kinda funny, ja?

Leslie starts running his mouth, and since he is a somewhat expressive fellow, it allows Chuck to notice a rather sizable scar on the back of his hand… a scar which he finds familiar.  Something about an O.S.S. Guy… Ya got me!  Anyhoo, eventually Blackhawk and Richardson are escorted to some nearby ruins… the same place as the missing woman.

As they’re are marched up the steps of the ruins, Jan kicks some rocks back toward their escorts.  This triggers a fight scene, during which we see that Les still has a gun!  That seems like some of the laziest hostage-taking ever, dunnit?

The fight causes even more rocks to fall, and before long it’s a full-blown avalanche of Earth!  Jan tackles Les into an opening in the ruins just in the nick of time… for them to become trapped inside.  Janos tries to rouse Leslie, but it’s no use… he’s out cold.

Jan takes a look around the place… and comes across the missing woman!  Heyyy, how ’bout that!  We wrap up with him… uh, removing his belt?!  Hey, waitaminute…

So… as far as cliffhangers go, this sure was one…

Not that I’m assuming next week’s installment will open with a full-blown sexual assault… though, I suppose I’ve been wrong once or twice before… but, I mean… this is a little bit weird.  Like, I think the first thing that’s supposed to come to mind is… well, some “action”.  It’s either that, or I’ve just got a far dirtier mind than I like to portray.

For the chapter itself… it was the kind I’d call “blink and you miss it”.  A few things happened, but it just felt quick and “beat-y”.  Not poorly paced, mind you… just “beat-y”.  Volcano-to-capture-to-ruins, beat-to-beat-to-beat.  I dunno, maybe I’m not making any sense.

Let’s look at the first-beat.  A pair of VdH associates head up Chekhov’s Volcano to dispose of a body… while there, they find the wreckage of a Japanese plane that they had evidently been searching for the whole time.  Can’t say for certain that this was ever addressed before, though I also can’t flat-out say it wasn’t!

Beat Two: Chuck recognizes Leslie Richardson’s scar.  The O.S.S. is the Office of Strategic Services which was formed in 1942 (five years before this story takes place).  VdH already “outed” him as an American Agent, so I suppose it isn’t much of a surprise that he’s an actual “Official”.

Beat, the Final: The scene at the ruins was a bit difficult to follow the first time through.  I just don’t think it was as clear as it could be that Janos kicked a bunch of rocks back at their escorts.  Heck, I still wouldn’t bet my lucky dime on that being what actually went down!  Also… why in the world did they not take Leslie’s gun away from him?  That just seems sloppy as all get out.

Overall though, I did still enjoy this.  I feel like we got enough new information, while at the same time we physically moved the story to where it needed to be.  Art is still very strong, if not a little difficult (for me) to follow during the scene at the ruins.

Tomorrow: Tyin’ that bow on the six-hundred-and-teens

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