ACW #637 – Speedy

Action Comics Weekly #637 (Speedy)
“Exiles, Part 2”
Writer – Mark Verheiden
Pencils – Louis Williams
Inks – Frank McLaughlin
Letters – Tim Harkins
Colors – Julianna Ferriter
Editor – Robert Greenberger

It’s a new week… and, it’s still weird to be starting an issue on a Wednesday!  It’s also still weird to be starting an issue without talking about Green Lantern!

So yeah, plenty of weirdness today… let’s check in with our second (?)-favorite DC Comics archer.

We pick up where we left off last chapter… Speedy is facing down a dude with a gun.  He immediately recognizes the man’s erratic behaviors (ya know, outside of brandishing a pistol) as his probably being high on drugs.  A police officer arrives, which only heightens the sense of urgency… and makes this baddie’s trigger-finger even itchier.  He squeezes off a few shots, but Roy is able to fire off a blunt-ended arrow which disarms the dude.  Afterwards, our man chats up the woman whose purse had been nyoinked… and, get this, asks her out to dinner.  She’s down with it… even referring to him as “sexy”.  I dunno, from this angle it looks like he could stand in as a doorknob at Beauty and the Beast’s house, but… whatta I know?

We jump ahead to Roy meeting with William “Just Call Me Bill” Rettick, the owner and manager of the shop where Donald Lossner worked.  If you recall, and I wouldn’t blame you if you didn’t… Roy is working for a P.I. named Burley, and his first case is tracking down some information about this Lossner.  So, after Rettick fanboys out over meeting one of the Teen Titans, he gives Roy the run-around.  When the subject of Donald Lossner comes up, the tone shifts, and “Just Call Me Bill” gets all mum and angry.

Speedy’s next stop will by Lossner’s old apartment.  It’s so weird seeing him dressed in his Robin Hood gimmick (bow and arrow in hand), in broad daylight, sitting on a public bus… as a grown-up.  Oh well.  He gets to the place, and gets more of the run-around.  Lossner’s old landlord clearly wasn’t a fan’o the man… and he’s got himself a big ol’ bruiser to try and convince Roy to back-off.  Hmm, didn’t we recently see something just like this?

The Landlord warns his heavy to “be careful” because ol’ Robin Hood “probably got it too”.  Got “it too… are we really going down this road again?!  Roy kayos the creep, because… of course he does.  The landlord then grabs a 2×4 and proceeds to swing it in Speedy’s direction.  This doesn’t work out so well for him.

That night, Roy is spending some time with Lian… who, I’m sorry, is drawn to look something like a Capuchin monkey here.  Like, is this Yorick playing with Ampersand?  Anyhoo, he hears a police siren from outside and instinctively gets up as though he’s going to attend to whatever the situation may be.  That is, until he remembers that he’s a daddy now, first and foremost.  It’s difficult for him to do, but he lets the police do their job, while he gets back to his.

We wrap up the following day.  Speedy is popping in on Burley to provide an update on the Lossner case.  He winds up meeting Rettick’s secretary instead, who offers up a bit of information… turns out, Donald Lossner disappeared after he was diagnosed with… you guessed it… AIDS.

So… another AIDS story.  I guess it’s timely… relevant… all that jazz.  Not sure I wanna jump right back into one after that over-long Black Canary arc, but… I guess it’s really not up to me, now is it?

Let’s talk about the surreal nature of seeing Roy Harper… dressed as Speedy… carrying his bow and arrow… in broad daylight.  That’s just… I dunno… weird, no?  It’s not often I consider the notion that a superhero/vigilante might have to rely on public transit in order to go about their daily business… and, to be completely honest, I probably could’ve gone on just as well without actually seeing it!

It really pulled me out of the story… made it feel as though, at any moment, a couple of guys in white coats were going to start chasing our man around with a butterfly net.  I mean, couldn’t Roy wear his costume… like, under a trenchcoat or something?  Is he really so destitute that we couldn’t afford to draw him a jacket?  So weird.  Maybe our artist just isn’t good at drawing trench coats?

Tell ya one thing, our artist seems to be really interested in drawing chins!  Big ol’, chunky, well-defined chins.  So much attention goes into this one part of Roy’s anatomy, that the rest of him almost feels unfinished!  Hell, in a few panels here… the art was unfinished!  Sleeves were missing, lines were omitted… that could’ve been an inking or coloring error, but holy cow… they never missed a chin!

Keeping with the art.  What happened to poor Lian?  Not only did this ragamuffin get de-aged back into diapers… now, she looks like she ought to be walking on all fours.  Eesh.  I will say, however, this scene was probably the strongest of the chapter.  Roy battling that internal conflict over what his role in the world should be was pretty powerful stuff.  Is he a hero?  Is he a father?  Can he be both?  Really great scene… I hope we get more like that in the coming weeks.

Overall… a decent enough chapter, plenty of stuff to enjoy.  Roy as the world’s gaudiest Private Investigator was pretty neat… as was his stopping to chat up the purse-snatching victim.  The aforementioned scene with Lian was definitely the best bit of this, and might be worth it all on its own as a study in what changes when you go from kid-sidekick to adult-hero.

Tomorrow: Unca Etrigan Strikes Again!

0 thoughts on “ACW #637 – Speedy

  • Matthew O'Hara

    Speedy on the bus reminds me of that classic scene in THE BRAVE AND THE BOLD #132 where Batman and Richard Dragon, Kung Fu Fighter fly commercial. Gotta love Haney.


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