ACW #620 – Secret Six

Action Comics Weekly #620 (Secret Six)
“just a little bug that’s going around”
Writer – Martin Pasko
Pencils – Frank Springer
Inks – Frank McLaughlin
Colors – Carl Gafford
Letters – Albert DeGuzman
Editor – Robert Greenberger

It’s time to discuss this week’s “cover” feature.  Let’s take a look at that copy – Secret Six: The Mission Falls Apart!  Now if I’ve learned anything from our time exploring Action Comics Weekly, I can say with a measure of certainty that the scene on the cover will definitely appear in the book…… probably in like 4-5 weeks, but still… it’ll happen!

We open with Tony kayoed in the back of a van.  Drake (that Hunter Thompson-looking guy) and his associate are in the front talking about a person named “Fenady” who might have something to do with the V75 Project.  Your guess is as good as mine, but I’m going to assume this has something to do with the VTOL.  Anyhoo, Tony is roused, and, since they didn’t bother to tie him up, causes quite the distraction!

A gun goes off, and the van careens right off the edge of a bridge.  Luckily, Tony is able to grab on to a piece of the safety railing to save himself from the fatal plummet.

We jump back to Frisco, where Vic is giving Gus a tour of the books.  We learn all about the Secret Six’s finances… which, is actually just a clever way of recounting some of the events from before the hiatus.  This includes confirmation that the Six were behind “Farmer” Ralph Dorn’s poisoning… a detail I’m pretty sure I missed the first time around.

Maria and Luke enter the scene and wonder aloud how LaDonna is doing undercover at Jefferson University… which takes us to LaDonna undercover at Jefferson University.  A Professor is discussing the virus, giving it the classification “V74″… which, I’m going to assume, is either yet another line-item on Mockingbird’s docket.  I could be completely wrong here, gang.  Anyhoo, it’s confirmed here that the virus can only be absorbed through the digestive tract.  After the lecture, a student (?) exits into the hallway and contacts “Fenady”.

We rejoin Tony, who has pulled himself back up to the highway where he flags down a passing motorist.  After noticing a helicopter hovering overhead… he hops in her passenger seat, pulls a gun, and orders her to drive.

We close out in at the Pentagon… more precisely, the office of Walter Fenady, the Director (of Meat and VTOLs?).  I’m going to assume he’s on the phone with then-President Ronald Reagan (it’s someone in the White House, and if I recall, DC staffers weren’t a fan of our 40th Prez), and they’re talking about “V75”.  We learn here that Mockingbird is most definitely still alive (I feel like this is the third or fourth time we’ve “learned” this), just as a bald man with a mustache bursts in with a report from (the now dead) Drake.

Ya know, I didn’t dislike this… but, man… there’s a lot of stuff going on here.  The main problem I’ve had with this feature (from the get-go) was it’s erratic pacing.  There have been chapters wherein next-to-nothing happens, and no new information is provided… and then, there are chapters like this that are both so exposition-heavy, and dropping in all-new information and characters, that it’s a bit overwhelming.  I mean, it’s not as bad as say… the Black Canary feature, it’s just a bit “much”.

If I’m not mistaken, this is the first time we’re hearing about the “V” line-items.  V74 having something to do with the meat-virus, and V75 perhaps having something to do with the VTOL?  Maybe?  Possibly?  I dunno… whatever the case, it just feels weird to have both of these things dropped on us in the same bit.  For all I know, it was a lettering error, and there’s only one “V” thing.

I suppose we could talk about Drake and his Pal’s lackluster hostage-keeping skill.  I mean, they didn’t even bother to tie Tony up?  I don’t wanna say they deserve what happened to them, but, c’mon fellas… that was 100% avoidable.  Oh well, at least Drake was able to send a memo before his fiery demise… the contents of which, I’m going to assume (there’s a whole lotta “assuming” today, ain’t there?) will be at least discussed next issue.

Overall, if I were reading this in collected format, I doubt I’d notice the odd pacing issues… but, I’m unfortunately reading it the way it was intended to be read… in weekly bites, and it’s not quite working for me.  The story is good, I just can’t get “comfortable” with it due to its somewhat erratic nature.

Tomorrow: Bob Galt Meets… Vartox?  No, that does not happen.  I apologize for getting anyone’s hopes up… especially my own.

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