ACW #638 – Phantom Lady

Action Comics Weekly #638 (Phantom Lady)
“Toast of the Capitol”
Writer – Len Strazewski
Pencils – Chuck Austen
Inks – Gary Martin
Letters – John Costanza
Colors – Glenn Whitmore
Editor – Mark Waid

I come to you today from… a weird place.  In fact, it’s a brand new place.  Well, kinda… ya see, yesterday morning… just a few moments after wrapping up the Superman piece, I retired to the couch to finish up on some light reading about Applied Behavior Analysis for class.

So, I’m sittin’ there, right?  Kinda rested into the corner of the couch… got my feet up on the coffee table.  Get about a chapter deep into the day’s reading, when I decide… maybe I’d be more comfortable if I were sitting on the other end of the couch.  Don’t know why I’d think that way… it’s not like there was anything impeding my current comfort levels.

Whatever the case, I decide to scoot to the other side.  In so doing, I kinda bounce my butt over… and slowly (ever so slowly) swing my legs over to the side I was moving from.  Well… as my legs swung from left to right… they whacked (remember, ever so slowly) into my coffee cup… which in turn, spilled allllllllllllllllllllllllll over my laptop.

And… again, I can’t state enough just how softly the impact was… it was like being in a car crash.  I watched as the cup slowly tipped over… and every drop of my coffee spilled in between the keys on the keyboard.  Dumbfounded, I sat there staring at it for a few seconds… then realized… oh crap (well, I didn’t say ‘crap’) I’d better do something!

I picked up the cup… and set it down next to the laptop.  I picked up the laptop, and flipped the sucker over in hopes that the thing would drain out.  When I flipped the laptop… get this, I hit the friggin’ coffee cup again, spilling what little was left all over my phone and Apple TV remote!  Are ya kidding me?!  Luckily (for the phone and remote), there wasn’t too much coffee left over.

I let the laptop “bleed out” for the better part of an hour.  I thought about grabbing a hair dryer, but the only one we have blows hot… didn’t think that would be best.  After waiting… and wiping, I was left with a squeaky clean laptop… that, well… no longer worked.

Well, the keyboard didn’t work anyway.  The touchscreen… sorta worked, so I was able to at least get some files where I wanted them to be… and, unfortunately, do some price-checking on a new rig.

I wound up picking up just a newer version of what I already had (an HP Envy).  Found a new laptop… with a ton more features than my six year-old unit… which costs probably less than half of what I paid for that one back in 2012 or so!

So… today’s piece is dedicated to my old laptop.  We had a lot of good times together… we graduated college together, we started a blogging and podcasting dealie together, it’s the end of an era.  I didn’t mean to kill ya… I promise!  I’ll still use you as a backup tablet, should the need ever arise!

So, that was my Saturday… how was yours?

Our story picks up as Dee arrives at the Capitol.  The weaselly Roger Richter is there waiting for her… and, well, he sees right through her disguise.  Not sure if it was due to her comically over-sized shades falling off, or if maybe Roger is a bit too obsessed with the young Ms. Tyler.  Anyhoo, they’re there just as a trio of ninjas terrorists have kidnapped the (Vice) President (and Speaker of the House)… it’s now up to them to prove that they’re bad enough dudes/dudettes to rescue the Veep!  Worth noting, this VP looks nothing like George Bush nor Dan Quayle… so I’m not sure when this is supposed to be happening.

Dee plans her next move, and decides to go with… well, her only move to this point, the little hologram projector she has on her suit.  She engages her holo-brooch, and charges toward the baddies.  Only, they see her as an absolute army of Phantom Ladies!  Oh, also… Dee’s cabbie calls her Phantom Lady, because he drove the original around back in the 40’s.

She gets the drop on the goons, which is all well and good.  Unfortunately, Roger Richter attempts to prove what a stud he is by running in waving his la pistola around.  This gets him swooshed in flames by the giant armor-wearing terrorist.  Dee delivers a missile drop kick, hurting her foot in the process.  Whoops.

The cabbie gets involved and tackles one of the smaller terrorists, before succumbing to the sheer number of ’em.  There were, two of them, by the way.  With the cabbie on the ground, one kicks him with such force that… I dunno, if you have small children around, you might want to shield their eyes.  I’ve never seen a beating like this before.  I mean, look at the hatred and vitriol behind this kick.  I will see this every time I close my eyes for awhile.

Back by the steps, Dee is in the clutches of the armored goon… and he proceeds to squeeze the stuffin’ out of her.  Here’s another panel that makes me feel uncomfortable, but for a different reason.  Feels like Chuck Austen spent a little too much time and effort getting this one “just right”.

Anyhoo, ahem… Phantom Lady uses that little wrist-mounted laser to bore a hole into the metal-man’s head, and he finally lets go.

The li’l terrorists go to flee, and so Dee makes a hologram of a van barreling toward them.  This causes them to swerve into a light pole.

We wrap up with the metal man removing his helmet… and revealing that, you guessed it, Guerrehart is behind the whole thing!  Who’s Guerrehart?  Well, he’s the only bad guy we’ve met to this point, so naturally he’s the brains of the operation.


This is a weird one, because… I kinda feel like it’s not that great, but I can’t lie… I’m having a lot of fun with it.  It’s just so silly and, I dunno… for a story about terrorists, it’s kinda “light”.  Even the Austen art, which I know isn’t all that great… I’m really enjoying!  It just fits the tone of the story… if that makes any sense.  It might not make any sense, actually… because I couldn’t even put into words what I think the “tone” of the story is!

I still find Dee’s costume to be pretty ridiculous… however, with the way she’s drawn, I’m not entirely convinced it’s not supposed to be a bit “much”… and by “much” I mean “way too little”.  It, again, fits the nebulous “tone” of the story.

I appreciate the all-too-brief callback to the original Phantom Lady.  That connective tissue, for whatever reason, really aids in my enjoyment.  I know I can drone on (and on) about my affinity for “lore”, but… ey, I am what I am… and I know what I like.

Overall… this was an okay chapter, that I probably enjoyed way too much… and probably for all of the wrong reasons.  I think this is the halfway point for ol’ Dee… so, we’re rapidly approaching our climax!

Tomorrow: Burning Down the House!

0 thoughts on “ACW #638 – Phantom Lady

  • Charlton Hero

    There is just something about this art that is simple..maybe a little Stantony in style but perfect. It's clear Austen likes drawing "Women" and probably used some "Reference" material in getting this one "just right".

    RIP the Sheenotron 6000. That computer has seen some stuff man!

    Great job as usual bro.


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