ACW #628 – Nightwing & Speedy

Action Comics Weekly #628 (Nightwing & Speedy)
“Rocks and Hard Places, Chapter Three: Arrival”
Writers – Cherie Wilkerson & Marv Wolfman
Pencils – Tom Mandrake
Letters – John Costanza
Colors – Adrienne Roy
Editor – Barbara Kesel

Welcome everyone to a Nightwing-less installment of Nightwing & Speedy!  Will Roy Harper prove to be strong enough a character to support eight whole pages of story?  Guess we’re about to find out!

We open on board a Northern Ireland bound train, where Roy and Lian Harper sit waiting to arrive at their new home.  A brute enters the car, and notes that there are only three people here… the Harpers, and an old woman.  Roy hands Lian off to the lady so he can head to the bathroom, awfully trusting ‘e is.  On the way to the loo, he notices the brute… and what’s more, he notices the brute’s pistol!  A fight ensues!

Roy gets the upper-hand, and threatens to turn the brute over to the authorities.  Upon hearing this, the brute chooses he’d rather die… and actually throws himself from the train!

Our archer recovers, and a fella emerges from the train’s turlet.  They make eye contact, and dude asks if this is Roy’s first visit to Northern Ireland.  Worth noting, this guy is smoking… in a cramped train bathroom… good Lord, it must stink in there.  Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem as though Roy has been afforded the luxury of “holding it”.

The Harpers finally arrive somewhere in Northern Ireland… maybe Belfast?  I dunno.  Either way, they get out and head toward their new rental digs.  We can see the train turlet man looking on.  A shabby woman approaches Roy and sells him some really sub-par flowers for two shillings.  Our man figures it’d be easier just to cough up the cash than argue, and so… he does.  When he turns to hand the trash flowers over to Lian, however, he’s shocked to find that… she gone!

Like any terrified father might, Roy sneaks off into an alley so he can change into his colorful costume.  A gun-toting train employees (at least I think he is) calls in to base that they’ve got our guy cornered.  Not so fast, kemosabe, this doofus gets walloped and kayoed by a trio of trick arrows.

Roy follows the sound of Lian’s voice… which, I mean, why the tot hasn’t been gagged, I’ll never know.  This just seems like a very sloppy kidnapping attempt.  Anyhoo, it’s not long before Roy manages to find her… in a parking lot with a pair of nogoodniks.

Speedy swoops in and delivers a kick to a gross-looking dude… at which time, the woman holding Lian gives Roy a “biff” before rushing off down an alleyway.  Lotsa alleyways in this one.  The dude pulls a pistol… lotsta that happening in this one too.  Did Michael Scott Scarn write this?  Anyhoo, dude is distracted by an oncoming car, and opens fire.  He is then hit by said oncoming car.  Speedy just stands there looking like a dope.

Roy then runs into the train station to see if he can find Lian… only to find the entire joint empty.  Well, not entirely… the Train Turlet Man enters the scene and, wouldja lookit that, he’s holding li’l Lian!  He tells Speedy that some woman left her on a nearby bench… and hands her over.  I can’t remember, was Speedy’s civilian ID public?  Well, if it wasn’t before

We wrap up with the Harpers arriving at their new digs… and, gotta say, it’s pretty dang dismal.

Ya know… with as many random folks Roy leaves Lian with, you gotta imagine this is just like “Tuesday” for the dude.  Oop, someone’s snatched the baby again, best go suit up and look for her!

In seriousness, we’re introduced here to the “Friends of the Empire”… and for whatever reason, they’re really keen on catchin’ the kid.  You’ll have to pardon my extreme ignorance, but I’m not sure whether or not these folks are analogous to the I.R.A.  I think anytime I think of rumblings in Ireland during the late 1980’s, my mind immediately goes toward the I.R.A.  You’d almost think I knew a single thing about them… which, I’m sure I did at some point in my life… but, that point is not today.

I might just be projecting, for all I know these goofs are tied up with Cheshire… and she just wants her baby back.  Whatever the case, this isn’t all that bad a threat for Speedy to face off with.

This was a mostly solid chapter, though, tied up just a bit too neatly for my liking.  You’d think that an attempted babynapping would be a cliffhanger of sorts, and not something to be sorted out in a handful of panels… but, whattayagonnado?  I guess we need to get to the next beat… which, ya know, is fine.

Overall… I am enjoying this.  The art is a little bit wonky… got some very blobby-looking faces.  Not sure if this is Mandrake trying to “do Irish”.  As a man of Irish decent, I kinda hope not… because, woof.  There were also some perspective issues in the middle bit, looked like Speedy was actually balancing Spider-Man style on the side of a building in a few panels.  Otherwise though, not bad!

Tomorrow: Welcome to Metropolis, CA!

One thought on “ACW #628 – Nightwing & Speedy

  • Chris U

    I think I would like some actual Nightwing in my Nightwing feature.


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