ACW #638 – Wild Dog

Action Comics Weekly #638 (Wild Dog)
“Crack Up, Chapter Three: Burning Down the House”
Writer – Max Allan Collins
Pencils – Terry Beatty
Inks – John Nyberg
Colors – Carl Gafford
Letters – Tim Harkins
Editor – Brian Augustyn

Y’all get that iPhone update?  Man, I thought I turned off automatic updates… but, I guess I didn’t… because I woke up to the brand-new IOS 13-point-whateverthehell… and boy howdy, did it shuffle up the stuff on my phone!

One one hand, I suppose I should be happy that Apple is still supporting my five-year old phone, but at the same time… man, why mess with things that don’t need messin’?  The only thing that really affects me is the camera and picture interactability… and that’s only because of this here site.  But, dangit… it’s all weird now!

This is my way of saying… if the pictures over the next few days/weeks/whatever aren’t up to my usual “standards” (heh), it’s not that I’ve gotten even worse… it’s all the phone’s fault!

All the greatest artists and craftsman blame their tools when things don’t go quite as well as they’d like… right?

We open at that bar where Jack, Andy, and Lou hang out and chat from time to time.  Ya know, I didn’t even realize this would be a recurring scene until now.  I really like it as a means of “working through” some of the story beats.  As you might imagine, today’s topic of conversation is the death of li’l Georgie Washington last chapter.  Lt. Andy is pretty upset about the whole thing, and says that the officer who actually shot the lad is pretty shaken up as well.  From here, Lou Godder jumps head-first into a racial rant… claiming that the cops don’t care about killing black kids.  This really feels forced, ya know?  Really doesn’t seem “in character” for what we know about Lou… he always seemed so even-keeled.  I get that this is a horrendous (and avoidable) situation, but… he’s really ripping into Andy here.  What’s more, while he’s reading him the riot act, he isn’t exactly making any suggestions for what the police ought to have done.

This is just a rotten situation, no matter how you slice it.  A poor (relatively) innocent kid, who was in the wrong place at the wrong time… with the wrong people, wound up dying.  Andy stammers for a bit… he’s at a loss for words.  After all, he was just doing his job!  The problem is, when you clear one group out of a condemned crackhouse, it doesn’t take long for another to move in.  So, not only was Georgie’s death avoidable… it also won’t do much of anything to stop the drugs from being trafficked.  After Lou leaves, Jack tells Andy not to take anything he had said personally.

We follow Lou to… hey look, it’s the crackhouse!  He watches as a (white) kid drops a delivery through the slot.  I don’t think it’s a big deal that the kid’s white… but, who knows?  Anyhoo, as Lou watches… he is joined by, believe it or not… Wild Dog!  Feels like we haven’t seen him in weeks!  They chat for a bit… and it’s kinda contentious.  The Dog tells Lou to get in position to snap a few pics, because he’s about to make some news.

And so, Wild Dog heads up to the crackhouse… with a gas can in hand.  Y’all smell where this is headed?

Naturally, the kids inside ain’t keen on letting him in… but, that’s okay… Jack’s got himself a master key to the joint.  Once inside, he even drops some bad-ass action movie line about being the “fire inspector”.  Really good stuff!

The Dog proceeds to pour gasoline all over the place… I mean, this gas can is deceptively deep.  He then presses the kids up against a wall, and dangles a lit match in front of them.  They give up the name of their boss (that’s that Willie guy we met last time).  He lets them leave, but decides… what the heck, might as well burn this place down anyway!

The kids run through the kitchen, where a third is smokin’ on that crack.  This goofball runs into the front room to confront Wild Dog, and winds up getting a gasoline bath for his troubles!  Our man is still rattling on about being the “fire inspector”, which… isn’t as funny the third and fourth time.

We wrap up with Jack pouring even more gasoline all around this kid… including onto his crack pipe!

A very solid and entertaining chapter!  Wild Dog doing what he does best… raising hell!  I feel like it’s been a minute since we’ve seen him “in action”, but boy-o-boy, this installment makes up for that in spades.  I mean, here he is… burning down a crackhouse!

As has been my normal complaint for this arc, I’m not a big fan of how Lou Godder is depicted.  I always looked at him as the most analytical of our Wild Dog “inner circle”, but here he’s just angry and ranting without taking any explanation into consideration.  Sure, this is a heavy subject… and it’s being treated as such.  Lou’s rant kind of cheapens the whole thing by reducing it to race.  It almost robs Georgie of his humanity… to Lou, it seems he’s just a “black kid”.  Maybe that’s heading somewhere… maybe it’s just a means to an end to get Wild Dog to burn the crackhouse down… I dunno.  Whatever it is, it’s uncomfortable.

The Fire Marshall Jack scene, though?  Man… so silly, but so great.  Him spouting off tough guy lines and pouring from a seemingly never-ending gas can… that’s some weird stuff.  I mean, dude actually ended the chapter by telling one of the druggies that “smoking is hazardous to his health”.  Corny, but great!

Overall… looks like we’re ending this issue of Action Comics Weekly on a high point.  Had a lot of fun with this feature, as I normally do… it’s still so weird to me that Wild Dog never got a shot at his own ongoing title!

Tomorrow: Tick-Tock, we draw ever closer to the end of the project!

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