ACW #629 – Nightwing & Speedy

Action Comics Weekly #629 (Nightwing & Speedy)
“Rocks and Hard Places, Chapter IV: New Friends, Old Enemies”
Writer – Cherie Wilkerson
Art – Tom Mandrake
Letters – Augustin Mas
Colors – Adrienne Roy
Editor – Barbara Kesel

Hey Gang, welcome to a very un-Super Bloggy installment of #SuperBlogTeamUp!  I say that because, for the first time ever, my #SBTU offering will be coming in the form of an episode of the podcast and not as a blog post!

If you’re interested in hearing what I have to say about both takes on DC Comics’ Resurrection Man (as well as talk about tiny birds who may or may not be attempting to bring you to your “Final Destination“, ill-fitting 2XL polo shirts, and Angel Love), you can click’a the audio below:

For all of the other lovely and talented Super-Bloggers, I’ll be including a list’a links at the bottom of this very post… So, if you’ve got some free time, maybe bask in the glow of immortality and make a day of it!

But for our “business as usual”, we’re going to check in with Nightwing and Speedy, to see how Life in a Northern Town goes!

We open with Roy and Lian about to enter their new Belfast digs, when suddenly they are attacked by… well, a little kid who’d been squatting in the place with her little sister.  The lights switch on, and little sister, Button (who doesn’t look completely unlike Alfred E. Neuman) is wondering just what big sister, Moira has gotten herself into.  When the kids see that this interloper is carrying a tiny tot, their demeanor immediately changes.  Moira reaches out and takes Lian from Roy’s arms… and Roy, who to this point has been handing Lian off to anyone who might wanna hold her is perfectly okay with this.  Is it any wonder she goes missing so often?

Just then, there’s a knock at the door.  Moira (who, for just this single panel, is not holding Lian) pleads with him not to answer it.  She admits that they’re squatting, but they’re doing so out of self-preservation.  Peeking out the window, she refers to the man as a member of The Sanas.  Not sure what that’s supposed to be, but I’m guessing he’s not part of the South African National Accreditation System.  She, Button, and Lian rush out of sight before Roy answers the door.

The fella introduces himself as Sean McMullen, and appears to be a pretty affable dude.  He welcomes Roy to the neighborhood, and invites him out to the pub some evening.  Once he’s gone, however, Moira fills Roy in on Sean’s true colors.  She claims that Sean killed her father… but doesn’t care much to elaborate.  We jump ahead to Roy at the pub, throwing darts (naturally) with McMullen and the lads.  He then asks just what in the heck “The Sanas” are.

The lads don’t much cotton to this stranger’s line of questioning… and like it even less when he accuses them of killing Moira’s father!  Roy gets his butt-kicked… and is summarily tossed into a back alley.  There, he runs into that dude from the Train Turlet again!  We learn that his name is Hunter, and he warns Roy to be careful… and maybe not ask questions about the F.O.E. (Friends of the Empire).  Not in a threatening “You bettah stop axin’ questions, see?” sort of way… more, with an actual concern for Roy’s mortality.

We shift scenes to a darkened office.  There, a pair of folks are talking about The Sanas versus the F.O.E.s… something, something, drug smuggling.  Something, something, weapons caches.  Oh, and also there’s that American who just moved to Northern Ireland who must be attended to.  I feel like there’s a bit of a lapse in equivalency there: Drugs?  Okay.  Weapons?  Sure.  That red-haired single dad who just moved in?  Mayyyybe not such a big deal?

We rejoin Roy walking home while licking his wounds.  Thankfully, he says what we’re all thinking… F.O.E.s?  The Sanas?  All these shadowy agencies, he’s going to need a scorecard pretty soon.  Anyhoo, by the time he gets home, Button has gone through all of his personal belongings and found his Speedy costume.  Clutch-secret identity-keeping there, bro.  Realizing he’s been outwitted by a three-year old, Roy decides to just change into costume right there.

Button freaks the hell out at the sight of our garishly-clad archer.  She’s afraid that all “heroes” are actually killers.  Before Speedy can calm her down, he hears the drumming of… well, large drums.  Looks/sounds like the Orange Day Parade is getting primed.  Moira tells Button to head to bed… although, it looks like it’s day time outside… although, Roy just spent the evening at the bar… ehh, who knows, we’ll just play along.  We’ll just chalk it up to a “Midnight Sun” scenario.

It’s here that Moira gives Speedy the full-deets on her folks.  Ya see, Dad was a Protestant and Mom was a Catholic.  The Sanas didn’t dig this, and so, they covered Dad with gasoline and lit a match.  Mom, then met and became romantically involved with that same Sean McMullen we met earlier… that is, until she overheard him talking about being complicit in Dad’s death.  She then hung herself.

Roy hugs Moira, and Button comes back downstairs complaining that she couldn’t sleep.  Though in fairness, it does still look like it’s the middle of the day.  We close out with a Molotov Cocktail being hurled through the window!

If you were to ask me to guess the direction this feature would go quality-wise once Marv Wolfman stepped away… I’d have probably made a toilet-flushing sound-effect.  That, would have been quite wrong!  If anything, I feel like the quality of this arc has improved quite a bit since his name disappeared from the credits!

Sure, we don’t get Nightwing (and haven’t in a few weeks at this point), and there are some minor flubs in panel-to-panel continuity… but, there’s a pretty good story here!  I had to do a little bit of research on Ms. Wilkerson (her name doesn’t come up all that often), and came to find out that she was working on the Ruby-Spears Superman animated series that was coming out around this time.  Interesting stuff!

Now, for the chapter… is this an I.R.A. riff?  I suppose I really ought to put a little bit of actual “real world” research into this, so I don’t have to keep asking that.  I feel like it probably is… but, ya know what they say about assuming.  Bound to be more interesting than our normal diet of “shadowy secret agencies” that abound in comics.

Roy here is… well, he’s an idiot.  Don’t much care for how he acts… yet, at the same time, I can’t say that he’s being written out of character.  He can be kind of a dunce.  I mean, mouthing off to a bunch of brawny Irishmen in a bar?  That ain’t smart.  Also, leaving his costume… and arsenal (!) somewhere a precocious toddler might find it?  C’mon, dude…

Overall though, (outside of the first chapter) this has been a really strong arc!  Looking forward to more… and, after these past couple of weeks, I’m even looking forward to our soloSpeedy feature that’ll be coming up as we enter the home stretch of Action Comics Daily!

Tomorrow: The Final Fate of Marcia Whatsherface!

But first, be sure to check out… 

Super-Blog Team-Up: Immortal!

Comic Reviews by Walt

The Super-Hero Satellite

Comics Comics Comics
Between the Pages
The Unspoken Decade
DC in the 80’s
Black, White and Bronze
The Daily Rios
Chris is on Infinite Earths

In My Not So Humble Opinion
Vic Sage’s Pop Culture Retrorama

Source Material Comics Podcast
Dave’s Comic Heroes Blog
Magazines and Monsters

Radulich in Broadcasting Network

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