ACW #631 – Black Canary

Action Comics Weekly #631 (Black Canary)
“knock ’em Dead, Part 8”
Writer – Sharon Wright
Pencils – Randy DuBurke
Inks – Pablo Marcos
Letters – Steve Haynie
Colors – Gene D’Angelo
Editor – Robert Greenberger

Hard to believe this is the eighth chapter for this one… and we’re not done yet!

We open with Black Canary walking past the Paper Lantern… pub?  Restaurant?  Whatever it is… and it appears as though she is being followed.  We shift scenes to a date between a Ron Thompkins and a “Peter Barrie”, who is really a very unconvincing Cat (the character, not the animal) in men’s clothes.  They confirm my suspicions from last week… this is going to be an AIDS story.  Looks like both Ron and “Peter” have it, so it ain’t as big a thang if they hook up.  Back outside, a car barrels toward Dinah, only stopping at the last moment when the driver (Ken Glazier) realizes it’s not The Deb in his headlights.

Inside, “Peter” mixes Ron a drink… and those of us following along know exactly what that means.

Back outside, Dinah demands answers from Ken.  We learn that The Deb was a woman he was having a fling with… and also, who he’d gotten AIDS from.  This got as ugly as you might imagine, and wound up costing him his marriage.  Dinah asks who might be next on The Deb’s hit-list, and, as luck would have it… he mentions Ron Thompkins!

Back inside, Ron feels the effects of the Chloral cocktail… but before he ultimately succumbs, he learns the true identity of his killer.  Duh, it’s Cat.  With his dying breaths, he lunges for her.  We do learn something particularly interesting here, though… according to Ken, he didn’t transmit the virus to her.  There’s a “but” to punctuate this sentence… but he doesn’t get the opportunity to elaborate.  Just then, the body of Ron hits the pavement right in front of them.

Inside, Cat changes out of her fella clothes and makes an escape.  At this point, Dinah chats up a security guard and kinda puts two and two together.  This wasn’t The Deb… but a woman who has experience playing a man… maybe one currently starring in a production of Peter Pan.

I hope this doesn’t sound like a cop-out or anything, but… if you’re following my coverage of this Black Canary feature, you can almost just reread any of the (repetitive) wrap-up thoughts from this arc, and it could apply to this chapter as well.  The story is solid, storytelling is a bit all over the place, and the experimental/stylized art does the narrative no favors.

We do manage to learn a thing or three this time out, however… so, let’s pull out the bullet points and itemize our discoveries.

  • Ken Glazier was trying to kill The Deb, after really mucking about in her life.
  • Ken Glazier might’ve also been the guy sending out the ransom notes?
  • The Deb transmitted AIDS to Ken… who did not then transmit it to his ex-wife, Cat.
    • But… 
  • … might’ve transmitted it to their child?  Maybe?
  • Cat is seeking revenge on everybody tied up in Ken’s affair… and is a very unconvincing fella.
I think that’s where we’re at.  I feel like if I am reading this right (which, honestly, I may not be), it’s going to be pretty academic from this point on.  I guess we’ll all find out together!

Tomorrow: The Phantom Stranger Combats His Greatest Foes!

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