ACW #640 – Wild Dog

Action Comics Weekly #640 (Wild Dog)
“Crack Up, Chapter 5: ‘Tween a Rock and a Hard Place”
Writer – Max Collins
Pencils – Terry Beatty
Inks – John Nyberg
Colors – Carl Gafford
Letters – Tim Harkins
Editor – Brian Augustyn

Today I was hoping to bring some exclusive news and pictures to the ol’ blogstead… but, it just wasn’t to be.

Ya see, yesterday there was something called “Old Man Con”, which… yeah, hate the name… but, love the concept.  The way it was described, it reminded me of the old Mall Cons I used to frequent as a kid.  It would just be a whole slew of local dealers setting up shop on folding tables throughout the mall.  From the ad, it looked as though that was more or less what this was going to be… so, I was pretty psyched.

Also, the artist of the very story we’re about to look at, Terry Beatty, was going to be there!  Today’s editor, Brian Augustyn (who I believe lives nearby) too!  I thought it would be cool to chat them up, take a few pictures, hell maybe even shill the site… even if it’s to get a few “pity hits”… when traffic’s as bad as it has been, I’ll take anything!

So, I take the drive into south Scottsdale… probably around 45 minutes from the house.  It was being held at an American Legion Outpost tucked behind a slew of trendy restaurants.  I learned that south Scottsdale is a pretty happ’nin’ place on a Sunday afternoon… and, unfortunately couldn’t find a parking spot to save my life!  I made no less than five passes of the area… and there wasn’t diddly-squat insofar as parking.  Not sure if it was all convention patrons, or if it was overflow from the mob of humanity that was hustling and bustling through trend-town.

Slump-shouldered and defeated, I decided to just head out.  It wasn’t a total loss, however… I swung by a record store, and managed to find the second issue of Street Poet Ray… which, up until then, I’d assumed was just a myth!

Anyhoo, I said all of that, in hopes that I could say this… today we’re looking at the penultimate chapter of Wild Dog, here’s a picture of me and his co-creator, Terry Beatty.  Oh well, I hope you enjoy the comic anyway!

We open with… could it be?  Is it her?  Oh boy, it is!  Ms. Susan King!  Finally!  She’s at the corner of Crack and Eightball, reporting the news of the fire Wild Dog set a couple chapters back.  Man, just check out at how happy she looks!  She’s lovin’ every second of this.  Anyhoo, she reports that the fire was set… though, she’s not sure if it was a “crack” house or “rock” house.  I don’t quite get the lingo, so I’ll assume they actually are two different things… or are different enough.  At the same ol’ bar, Lt. Andy and Lou Godder confront Jack.  They’ve got sneaking suspicions… and they want answers.

Andy invites Jack into “his office” (the toilet), so they can all get on the same page.  He and Lou start ripping into our man for his recklessness… and, outta nowhere, Lou brings race back into the equation.  He just won’t let this go!  Was he accusing Wild Dog of “going after” white people during the earlier arcs of this feature?  I don’t think he was.  This is really off-putting.

Jack throws it back in their faces… he says he’s doing exactly what the both of them want him to do… what they wish they could do themselves, if they weren’t cowards.  He’s getting his hands dirty, so Lou and Andy… and those they work for (the Press, and the Police respectively) can stay “clean”.  He also kinda kicks it back on Lou… saying he knew, as the crack/rock house was burning, he would call the Fire Department… only after he snapped some pictures for his newspaper article.  Great stuff from Jack!

We shift scenes to a hotel, where a couple of teen-age metal-heads are making their way toward a particular guest’s room.  A dude with dreadlocks answers their knock, and it’s pretty safe to assume this is going to be one of Jack’s next targets.

Before the deal can go down… they’re there to buy drugs, just in case that wasn’t abundantly clear… Wild Dog bursts in the window, postures, and spouts a few really great/cheesy lines.

Of the three dealers (who the Dog refers to as “Archie, Jughead, and Reggae”) two are immediately shot dead.  The teen-age metal-heads b-line it toward the door, leaving our man alone with the last surviving dope-pusher.  To be… concluded!

Man, another bang-up chapter for Wild Dog.  Just some excellent stuff.  I’m not sure where “popular opinion” falls on the Dog, but… I gotta say, getting to experience this feature (along with Blackhawk), might just make this entire endeavor worthwhile.

Let’s get into the story itself.  Lou Godder, what happened to you?  He’s gone from being the lone sane voice in this series to… a dude who accuses everyone of being a racist?  As I said during the synopsis, Lou has never pointed out the race of any of Wild Dog’s targets before… but now, it seems it’s all he can do.  It really doesn’t help his cause or his character.  It doesn’t shift Wild Dog’s constitution any further into the “shades of gray”… because, dude’s already a vigilante… he kills people (of all kinds!).  He’s already “gray” enough without entering race into the equation.

Jack had some great comebacks to Lou and Andy’s interrogation.  He rightly points out that he’s doing everything they would love to do, if not for all the red tape and consequence.  He points out the hypocrisy of Lou… only calling the Fire Department after he snapped a few pictures for his story.

Jack/Wild Dog has long been used as a pawn and a tool for the Quad Cities P.D., and Lt. Andy Flint in particular… to be told to “stand down” now seems silly… irresponsible, even!  I mean, he’s already gone past the Rubicon at this point… if he were to just stop, than everything he’d done will have been for nothing.  Li’l Georgie Washington’s death would be for nothing… torching the crack/rock house… would be for nothing.  All it would do is tick off some very dangerous people… and show them that Quad-Cities’ Finest and Wild Dog don’t have it in them to “stick the landing”… which, you gotta imagine would embolden them all the more.

Overall… really enjoyed this, though the attempt at giving Lou and Andy “layers” isn’t exactly working for me.  I can’t tell if they’re being used as strawmen, or as a form of conscience for Jack?  Either way, this one is worth reading.

Tomorrow: Wrapping up Penultimatum… before the actual penultimate issue!

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