ACW #628 – Black Canary

Action Comics Weekly #628 (Black Canary)
“knock ’em Dead, Part 5”
Writer – Sharon Wright
Pencils – Randy DuBurke
Inks – Pablo Marcos
Letters – Steve Haynie
Colors – Gene D’Angelo
Editor – Robert Greenberger

It’s pretty strange to be saying this, but… I’ve actually kind of been looking forward to this week’s “Black Canary Day”.  Dunno what it is, but the past few installments haven’t been half bad!  Maybe I’m anxious to see that “other shoe” drop, and for this to become as bad (if not worse) than the first arc?  Or, maybe I’m just waiting for it to cross over the line from “okay” to “actually good”?

Let’s see which direction that pendulum swings today!

We open with Dinah getting booked… or, at least that’s what it looks like.  It’s made pretty clear that our Canary has some friends on the inside, one of whom is that Ken Glazier who we’ve met a few times already.  They exchange information on what they know about this Barfly Killer.  Turns out they found blonde hairs on the scene, and an Unfiltered Lucky cigarette butt… which, Ken surmises isn’t the most ladylike of smokes.  Dinah hands off her leads, which includes a list of music stores, and the names Rich and Deborah.

Ken returns to his office, and receives a piece of mail.  It’s actually a note written up ransom-style.  Worth noting here, and I won’t be drawing much attention to it throughout today’s discussion, but this time out Ms. Wright is using this gimmick where she ends a scene with someone starting to say something, and starts the next with another character elsewhere either finishing the sentence or repeating what the person in the previous scene said.  It’s… okay.  If you look at the above image, you’ll see Dinah saying “I didnt–“ and the picture below has Glazier saying “–Sleep worth a damn last night.”  Like I said, it’s… okay.

Next, we shift scenes to the severe-looking woman, who is spiking the absolute living hell out of her hair.  As the gimmick goes, she repeats the last thing Glazier said in the previous scene.  Looks like she’s headed off to watch a production of Peter Pan?  Maybe… eventually?

We shift scenes over to Rich’s It’s Instrumental, where Deborah has just returned “home”.  Rich, a rather creepy little bald fellow, quickly greets her, but excuses himself to attend to an interview.  Turns out, the interviewee is the Severe-Looking Woman.  She claims to be a fan of his work in theatre productions… and he seems to really dig having praise heaped upon him.  She thanks him for the coffee, and leaves.

Following the interview, Rich and Deb get down to the nitty-gritty.  He tells her that the Police have been sniffing around, and suggests she find a new place to dwell.  He claims to have not told them diddly squat, but still thinks Deb ought to be on her way.  He gives her an address where she can pick up her next fix of “horse”.

Rich then takes a sip of his coffee… and, uh-oh… it’s been poisoned!  Rich… dies?

Back at Sherwood Florist, Dinah checks with Bob (who I still don’t trust) about a recent delivery.  Looks like the local production of Peter Pan ordered a boatload of arrangements… and since they’re rehearsing this evening, that’d probably be a great time to drop ’em off.  And so, we follow Dinah over to the theatre, where… she finds herself leaped upon by… a radioactive Bill Sienkiewicz drawing?!

Hol’ up, y’all.  Has Black Canary actually become… good?  Like ferreal?  Naw, couldn’t be… could it?!  Did we get us a new creative team’a somethin’?!

All kidding aside… I actually quite enjoyed this!  The past couple of chapters had shown some uncharacteristic promise, and I’d say I “trepidaciously” enjoyed them for what they were, but this outing was especially solid.  I can say, without any trepidation, that I genuinely dug this!

That said, and it’s just me being nit-picky, the scene-shift “gimmick”… I feel like if you’re going to use something like that, you need to commit to it for the entire chapter.  They only used it for the middle section here, and it kinda feels uneven.  But really, I think that’s my only real complaint… and, like I said, it’s nit-picky at best.

I think I’ve had Kelley Jones on the brain, because I’ve been saying “Kelley Jones-lite” in reference to Randy DuBurke’s new style.  It’s with this chapter that I can see how wrong I was to think that.  The new style is actually “Bill Sienkiewicz-lite”… and, ya know what… it really has its moments.  While the final panel is a bit much, I really liked Rich’s death scene… it really looked like something we’d see in a Sin-kev-itch book.

So yeah, overall… this one quite surprised me!  Hopefully it can keep up this level of quality throughout the rest of this arc!

Tomorrow: The Harpers travel by train

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