Action Comics Weekly #625 (Black Canary)
“knock ’em Dead, Part 2”
Writer – Sharon Wright
Pencils – Randy DuBurke
Inks – Pablo Marcos
Letters – Steve Haynie
Colors – Gene D’Angelo
Editor – Robert Greenberger
Welcome to August, everybody! If you’re still using the *ahem* “outdated Gregorian Calendar”… wow, that sounds douchey… you might think that August is simply the eighth month of the year. If you’re on a higher plane… as I know we all are… you’ll know that August goes by something altogether different. August is… #VartoxWeek!
In honor of that fact, just yesterday I released an episode of the Chris-Show where I discussed my “discovery” of the hairy-chested mustachioed hero, and shared a little bit about how he saved this very blog from falling to the very real threat of “burn-out”! If you’re interested in checking that out, you can do so right here:
During this next month, I’ll try and include some of Vartox’s greatest (and not-so-greatest) hits here and on the social medias… so, keep a look out for that… if, uh… if you celebrate, that is.
We open with Dinah crashing through that farmhouse roof… she, though the art is not at all clear, she grabs onto a beam… or tries to grab onto a beam, and somehow lands in water? Is this a farmhouse or a decorative covered-bridge? Whatever the case, we shift scenes too quickly to find out. We find a mustached man sitting in a chair, reading a ransom note. It reads (just in case the picture I’m about to include is unclear): “YOu DESTRoyed My LifE SoOn I’ll EnD Yours”. I like that the note-writer actually included an apostrophe for “I’ll”… it’s little details like that, that put him/her miles ahead of other ransom note writers.
Another panel… another scene-shift. Now we’re in a hotel bar with a Mr. Sarno. He jots down a note regarding a lunch meeting with Dinah Lance and Ken Glazier. Is that now? Is that later? Is that in the past? Is it even his note? I dunno. Anyhoo, a friendly woman sidles up next to him at the bar and starts chatting him up. The “camera” pans out, and we see that they’re being watched by a kinda severe-looking lady.
We jump ahead to… later that night. I suppose we can assume that lunch meeting with Dinah is for tomorrow then? I dunno. Whatever the case, we rejoin Mr. Sarno and the friendly lady head back to his hotel room for a nightcap. Of note, they draw particular attention to the fact that Walt Sarno is 6′ 5″ and 250 lbs. Not sure if that’ll be important later, but… “the more we know”, right?
Dinah is… still at the farmhouse, waxing poetic while… I dunno, napping in the grass? “Praise be to warm Autumn Nights.”? Really now?
We wrap up with the friendly-woman leaving Walt’s hotel room and affixing the “Do Not Disturb” sign to the door. You’ll never guess what happened to him inside…
This isn’t the greatest… but, I gotta say, we’re worlds ahead of Dinah’s last outing in the pages of Action Comics Weekly!
Let’s have ourselves a little bit of recap, since the story does not supply any such thing. Ken Glazier, whose name is on Walt’s notepad, was the fella Dinah met with (or at least heard about?) last week in New York. Walt (Sarno) was another dude whose name was dropped. There was also a “Bart”, who I wanna say we actually saw… but, he doesn’t show up this week.
We saw the “friendly-woman” last week in front of the Seattle Post Office… and, I wanna say (though I wouldn’t swear to it) that the person she gave directions to was the severe-looking woman who I called “Johnny Oregon” last week… because I thought she was a dude. Whoops! When art starts veering into the abstract, it’s sometimes hard to tell the difference! Then again, for all I know… these are two different people entirely!
So, whatta we got here? The friendly-woman, who might be the same one we saw shooting up last week chats up Walt Sarno… gets invited back to his room… where she kills him. Fair enough… and, despite some of the un-clarity of the scene, it was well-told enough. We’re building a mystery here, folks… and thankfully, this time around, we’re not waiting until the penultimate chapter to come to that realization. Dinah didn’t really get much panel-time here… and that’s fine. The strip is probably much stronger for it.
Let’s touch on the art before calling it a day. It’s… it’s weird. Ya know, it’s not great… but, there is something special about it. I mean, if we’re looking at it from a storytelling perspective… it kind of fails. However, it’s still pretty nice to look at. I enjoyed the more stylized Canary here… miles of blonde hair, contoured face… DuBurke does a good job on her. If these were just pin-ups, they’d be very nice!
Tomorrow: Wrapping up our 25th week!
Your Moment of Vartox:
|From Action Comics #498 (August, 1979)
Cary Bates (w) / Curt Swan (a)
Vartox saves a little Valerian girl’s cat-beast from a tree. Unfortunately, this is after he returned to the Sombero Hat Galaxy after unwittingly carrying a combustible element back with him. Valeron would explode moments later.