Action Comics Weekly #636 (Wild Dog)
“Crack Up, Chapter One: Wrong Turn”
Writer – Max Collins
Pencils – Terry Beatty
Inks – John Nyberg
Colors – Carl Gafford
Letters – Tim Harkins
Editor – Brian Augustyn
It’s weird… over the past several weeks we’ve jettisoned most of our ACW “Original Six”… and here we are today, bringing one back!
Let’s see what our main man has been up to!
We open in the midst of a drug-deal going down in a seedier corner of the Quad Cities. Li’l Georgie Washington has quite a racket, and is just about to hand over a little satchel of the white stuff when he’s interrupted by, our favorite vigilante, Wild Dog! Just like Nancy Reagan, our man has a hard-line against drugs… also, just like Nancy Reagan probably would, he throws the dealer through the plate-glass window of the nearby “Golden Tingles” massage parlor.
After doling out some street justice on the would-be purchasers of the stuff, Jack calls it a night. We rejoin him as he and Lou Godder are sitting down to a drink. Lou thinks Jack overreacted… which is kind of how most of these conversations go. He brings young Georgie’s race into the discussion too… which, I dunno, seems forced. Jack never mentioned that Georgie is black… he just had a problem with the fact that he’s selling drugs to kids even younger than he is. Lou is quick to remind him that much of Georgie’s clientele are white kids… and again, why? Is this an example of that “whataboutism” I’ve been hearing so much about lately?
Anyhoo, Lou continues… explaining that Georgie’s dad is out of the equation, his mom is on welfare, and he’s got a grip of siblings. If that isn’t bad enough, The Cosby Show is on… to remind him of all the things he doesn’t have?
We jump ahead to whenever Li’l Georgie Washington gets out of the hospital… and, whattayaknow, he shows up at Jack Wheeler’s garage. Ya see, he’s supposed to meet with a fella named Lou Godder about a job. Jack gets the jist, and gives the kid the gig… minimum wage, twenty-hours a week.
So far, so good… Georgie appears to be working out fine. Lou checks in with Jack, and we learn that Georgie’s older sister is close friends with Lou Godder’s daughter (who Wild Dog saved wayyy back during his original mini-series).
We wrap up with Georgie at school, being chatted up by some nogoodnik named Willie. He’s got himself some jewelry and a nice car… and also, an offer Georgie might not be able to refuse! Ya see, our G-Dub isn’t interested in getting back into the racket… he doesn’t even wanna touch the stuff. Willie informs him all he needs is for Georgie to keep an eye out for cops… he’ll handle the rest. I… don’t like where this is headed…
Boy, I’m happy to have Wild Dog back on the roster!
This was a pretty strong opening chapter, however… my main takeaway is the weird and forced racial stuff coming from Lou. I feel like I missed a panel… or a line, or something. His reaction here is akin to Jack having actually said something derogatory regarding black youth… but, he didn’t! He never brought up race at all… just so weird.
I wonder if maybe there wasn’t originally a line included where Jack makes some sweeping statement regarding black kids… and editorial realized that probably wasn’t the best look for a protagonist to have? Who knows… it was just a really awkward bit of dialogue.
It’s like when you’re in a conversation, and suddenly something pops into your head that would fit the discussion perfectly… only, the person you’re talking to is still talking. And so, you hold onto this nugget of chatter-gold, and even if the conversation goes in a completely different direction, you do whatever you can to wrangle it back so you can drop your little knowledge bomb. By which point, nobody cares… and you look like you’ve ignored everything they’d said since. Probably because you did. We’ve all been there… right? Right???
Anyhoo, everything else here… worked! It might be a bit cliche, kid trying to clean up his act… fly right… all that noise, only to be tempted into getting back into the racket by a smooth-talking pal. It’s nothing we haven’t seen before, but it works.
Tomorrow: Wrapping up the first “new-look/post-Crash” ACW!