Action Comics Weekly #630 (Nightwing & Speedy)
“Rocks and Hard Places, Chapter V: Attacks”
Writer – Cherie Wilkerson
Art – Tom Mandrake
Letters – Agustin Mas
Colors – Adrienne Roy
Editor – Barbara Kesel
Okay gang, I’m going to break one of my own rules today. I never really give hard-facts about “the numbers”… as in, how many people are still visiting and/or care that this site exists. I’ll make random mentions that the numbers “aren’t what they used to be” since starting Action Comics Weekly, which is true… but, the truth of the matter is, and to be completely frank… the numbers just plain suck.
This was never a widely-read blog, or a “destination” for the online comics community, but over the past several weeks especially… things have been, again, quite frankly, embarrassingly bad. Site visits, social media engagement, whatever the metric… it’s bad. All-time bad.
I can usually stop myself from lighting the candles on my pity-party cake by reaffirming that this site is some sort of a “resource”… something that future comics enthusiasts/researchers might use down the line… and that if this entire endeavor helps a single person learn a single new fact, that it’ll have all been worth it. Usually, that works.
Lately though, it hasn’t. I’m a fairly busy guy. I work, go to school, have a family, and a number of other projects. When the simple notion that my little blog isn’t doing so great starts to creep into those other aspects of life, I feel like it might be time to reevaluate exactly what it is we’re doing here.
And therein lays the problem. Since this blog is daily… and has been for nearly four years, we don’t get so much time to stop and reflect. I don’t want to give up the ghost on this thing just yet… but, it’s become a rather frustrating situation wherein I’m actively comparing my daily time investment with the fulfillment I get from writing… and, that’s never been what I wanted for this project. I’m still enjoying the creative aspects of this… it’s just everything else that’s killing my buzz.
I guess we’ll just play it by ear. For the handful of you who are still reading and sharing, just know that it means an awful lot to me.
Now, with that navel-gazing nonsense out of the way… let’s check out our third or fourth Nightwing-less installment of Nightwing & Speedy!
Picking up where we left off last issue, Roy’s new Belfast digs have just been firebombed. Fortunately, he’s already in costume… complete with quiver of trick arrows. He fires a sort of collapsible umbrella-arrow through a nearby window so the kids can attempt to escape the flames. Button manages to get to the outside, where she rushes over to the Train Turlet guy. He consoles (and extinguishes) her, before handing her off to a pair of police officers. Here’s the t’ing, though… these cops are the very same people who tossed the Molotov through Roy’s window! Button overhears them openly discussing this fact, and so they decide, this kid’s gotta disappear.
While Button is being gagged and tossed into a squad car, Train Turlet bee-lines it to Roy’s house… only to find that the doors have been boarded shut. Inside, Speedy grabs Moira and Lian and makes a desperate leap from the attic.
Roy’s none too pleased to see Train Turlet, and mentions that anytime there’s trouble… dude seems to be there. He asks for Button, and is directed to the spot where a cop car had been parked a few moments prior. Whoops. If it ain’t one kid Roy’s losing, it’s another. We soon learn that she’d been taken to a Friends of the Empire (F.O.E.) office… where they hope to use her as their “ace in the hole” if Speedy survives.
Inside the burned out husk of a house, Speedy is informed that he “lucked out”, the fire didn’t cause any structural damage. I wanna note here that Roy is decked out in his red and yellows during this entire exchange, and nobody’s even raising an eyebrow. He does eventually change into his civvies, however, as Moira isn’t comfortable around him in “uniform”. He gets a call, assumedly from Train Turlet… where he is informed that the F.O.E.s have Button.
Roy is pointed to a nearby train yard, where sure-nuff, Button is being held. The F.O.E.s are looking to use her as bait… kill Speedy upon arrival, and blame the entire mishegos on the Sanas (forgot about them, didn’tcha? I know I did!). Well, here’s the thing… the Sanas are there… and they storm the station! Speedy snares the F.O.E.s in a net-arrow and snags Button with a line.
Well, almost. One of the F.O.E.’s manages to cut the rope and reclaim the tot before hopping into a train. Roy then hops onto that same train… which we now see is rapidly approaching a car full of dangerous explosives!
Not a bad chapter… and, while I’ve enjoyed our time alone with Roy up to this point, I think it’s about time we call in Nightwing. I commented that I’m looking forward to the upcoming Speedy solo feature… which, I was surprised to discover (as I was “getting ahead” on creating Action Comics Daily-covers) wasn’t written by Cherie Wilkerson!
I know I’ve said it as a joke, a time or two, but damn… Speedy loses kids an awful lot, doesn’t he? I mean, even just making the observation… it’s like, every single time out, he either hands a kid to a stranger, or just flat-out loses one! That’s some wild and weird stuff.
What are our other real takeaways here though? We know that the police are in cahoots with the Friends of the Empire… and that the Sanas and the F.O.E.s are at-odds. I get the feeling it’s more a “race to the bottom” with the two organizations, and we’re not supposed to be rooting for either one, and that works fine. It is a neat bit of complexity for your standard superhero story… and there ain’t nothing wrong with that.
So yeah, another fine outing… downright strong when compared to the overall more “meh” features we’ve been getting during this stretch of Action Comics Weekly. I will say, however, that the art sometimes makes it look like Speedy is still on heroin… sunken eyes, sallow features… just not too pleasant to look at. Not outright bad, but, it’s been better.
Tomorrow: Mr. Blackhawk Goes to Washington