Friday, June 6, 2014

Pretty Bird: DETECTIVE COMICS #551

In the mid-1980s, Joey Cavalieri and Jerome Moore told Green Arrow's continuing adventures in the backup strip of Detective Comics.  The writer and artist two a two-month reprieve so Alan Moore and Klaus Janson could tell a memorable tale of the Emerald Archer and Black Canary in issues #549 and #550.

The next month, though, Cavalieri and Moore came back for a new Green Arrow story called "Sanctuary" that features Dinah Lance in a minor role out of her costume.  Detective Comics #551 starred Batman in the lead feature by Doug Moench with art and cover by Pat Broderick.

The story opens with Oliver Queen taking Dinah to lunch at a Spanish restaurant that Dinah takes every opportunity to criticize.

Before Dinah can sound any more bitchy and mean-spirited, the Immigration and Naturalization Service busts in and starts hauling out most of the kitchen staff for being in the country illegally.  One of the INS agents grabs a kind named Guillermo, who works behind the counter.  Guillermo protests that he's a citizen, but the agent doesn't want to hear it.

So Oliver Queen comes to the kid's rescue and punches the fed.  Yep.  Guillermo provides proof that he's a naturalized citizen and Ollie guilts the INS for acting racist, so the feds leave without arresting Ollie for assaulting a federal agent.  They do, however, take away a bunch of illegals from war-torn El Salvador.  Guillermo tells Ollie and Dinah how his people flee to the United States, not to take jobs but to escape the Death Squads of their home country.

Guillermo tells Ollie that is brother is hiding in the country illegally and gives Ollie the directions to where he is staying.  Ollie has Dinah take him to the location while she complains about not getting any lunch.

Wow... Dinah could not sound any less sympathetic to her fellow humans.  I don't know if Cavalieri wanted her to come across as funny, or as a bitch, but the latter definitely comes across stronger than the former.

Ollie talks to the priest who brings him down to the church basement where Guillermo's brother, Francisco, is hiding with his family using the church as a place of sanctuary.  Francisco and the priest explain how the church is one stop on an underground railroad for Salvadoran refugees.  But as they conclude their story, the INS agents show up.

As Ollie is taken away to the INS detention center with the priest and the refugees, we cut to some other place in Star City.  A young man comes into the back of the shop he works at and finds a young woman passed out.  The woman is Onyx, a character Cavalieri introduced earlier in the backup strips.

The young man mentions the Cheers season premiere when "Diane watches Sam get drunk".  Cheers being my favorite television show of all time, I instantly recognized the reference to the third season premiere, "Rebound Part 1", the episode that introduced the world to Kelsey Grammar's Dr. Frasier Crane.  The episode aired in early September 1984, whereas this issue of Detective Comics was published in June of '85, so that gives you some indication of how far ahead the story was written before hitting the stands.

Anyway, the kid lets Onyx stay in the back of the store and when he leaves, her inner monologue reveals that she's looking for Oliver Queen for some reason.

Come back next Friday for the second part of "Sanctuary" in Detective Comics #552.

No comments:

Post a Comment