Action Comics Weekly #624 (Black Canary)
“knock ’em Dead, Part 1”
Writer – Sharon Wright
Pencils – Randy DuBurke
Inks – Pablo Marcos
Letters – Steve Haynie
Colors – Gene D’Angelo
Editor – Robert Greenberger
Today… okay, let’s just do this… today marks the return of what turned out to be my least-favorite feature of this entire endeavor to-date. For the next… somethin’ like three-hundred and seventeen weeks, we’ve gotta cover Black Canary.
She even gets the cover… which, I mean… c’mon… talk about setting expectations high! That Alan Davis cover is prrrrrrrretty damn nice, innit? Can this opening chapter even hope to live up to that cover?!
Our story opens with a bunch of letters cut out ransom-style and an envelope simply addressed to “Seattle”. Fair enough. There is a framed-photograph of someone holding a child… I can’t tell who they might be, or why they might be important. The adult in the photo has the same hairstyle as Rita Librado… but, I wouldn’t swear that it’s her. Speaking of Ms. Librado, we shift scenes to Sherwood Florist where she’s just arrived to try and get on payroll. She is greeted by a man named Bob, to whom she presents her Employment Authorization card. He informs her that Dinah’s “out”, and also… if she wants to work here, she’ll have to deep-six her Kid N Play haircut. Tell ya what, I’m suspicious of this guy already!
We next jump to New York City, where Dinah is trying to tie down a large account for the Florist. She tries to sell whoever this guy is on what a great floral designer “Bob” is. Then, as we’ve come to expect from a Black Canary strip… we get some name-salad dropped in our laps. This guy’s named Bart… there’s a guy named Ken Glazier who might be important later, and there’s also a Walt? Though, I’m not sure if the Walt-scene is in anyway attached to the Bart-scene? What I’m trying to say is, the story-telling still ain’t there yet. Somehow this scene starts in New York with one guy, and ends… maybe… back in Seattle, with another? I dunno… I wouldn’t bet a dime on either.
The next stop for us is most definitely Seattle. In fact, we’re right in front of the Seattle Post Office… must get real busy around the holidays. Anyhoo, there’s a woman stood out front, who is approached by a fella driving a car with Oregon plates. He asks for directions to the University… and she’s more than happy to help him out. Dude seems pleased that she didn’t recognize him.
Another scene change, and we’re back with Dinah… now in her Black Canary gear. She’s at an old farm-house, where she trains to keep “Fighting Trim”.
Believe it or not, we’re shifting scenes again. This time to an apartment building, where a woman… who may or may not be the same one who gave Johnny Oregon directions to Uni, is about to shoot up some heroin?
We close out with Black Canary training at the farm… when, suddenly, she falls through the roof of the place!
If you’ve been following along for our Action Comics Daily endeavor, it’ll come as no surprise that I was not looking forward to the return of this feature. Last time out, it truly felt like the half-hearted work of an inexperienced writer, who was more interested in promoting agendas than telling a decent (and coherent) story.
This time out…? Well, I’m not gonna lie and tell ya this is worlds better… nor that I’m optimistic about where this is heading, but… it’s… it’s okay. During our synopsis, I might’ve had some fun drawing attention to “name salads”, and abrupt scene changes… but, I will give the creative team this: At least we’re being introduced to a lot of names and locales in the opening chapter, rather than during the second half of the arc! Last time, we were learning new names up to, and I believe including, the penultimate chapter. That was sloppy.
This… while not much more coherent, we get the idea that the writer is “setting the table” or “world building” or whatever writery turn of phrase you wanna use to describe it. These names and locales are being dropped very early, which gives us all time to learn how and why they might be important. I’ll save some of my own commentary on the cast for subsequent chapters, as right now… all I can think is that, much like Twin Peaks, it’s all Bob’s fault!
The art… is weird. Not bad weird, either. Get definite Kelley Jones-lite vibes here… it’s very stylized… which doesn’t make it much more “readable” (though that might not be the artist’s fault entirely), but it is much more fun to “look at”, if that makes any sense at all?
Overall… a… dare I say, pleasant surprise? Still not something I’d recommend you rush out and nab, but it’s quite a step up from what came before.
Tomorrow: The Wrap Up!