Monday, August 25, 2014

Action Plus: ACTION COMICS #426

In the early 1970s, Green Arrow joined the "Action Plus" feature of Action Comics.  Black Canary made numerous guest appearances in her boyfriend's strip, sometimes in her costumed identity, and sometimes as civilian florist, Dinah Lance.

Action Comics #426 is cover dated August 1973 and hit the shelves May 31, according to Mike's Amazing World of DC Comics.  The lead Superman story is written by Cary Bates with art by Curt Swan and Murphy Anderson and a cover by Nick Cardy.  The issue included two backup stories, one featuring the Human Target by Len Wein and Dick Giordano.

The Green Arrow strip entitled "The Wrong Side of the Tracks" is written by Elliot S. Maggin with pencils by Dick Dillin and inks by Giordano.

The story begins, after Green Arrow shouts at the reader, with Oliver Queen entering Dinah Lance's Pretty Bird Flower Shoppe...

Dinah leaves the store to Ollie, telling him she'll be back in time for dinner.  So, while technically minding the store, he kills time by designing a new trick arrow with some of her tools in the back room.  Then two delivery men arrive with some freaky sci-fi sculpture, but Ollie points out that they're on the wrong side of town.

"If you drop a bowl of spaghetti out a window, the way it lands will look like a street map of Star City," Ollie tells the delivery men before redirecting them to the correct address.  Hmm... I've heard similar descriptions for the layout of Boston.  Clearly, at the time this story was written, Star City was imagined as an eastern city, not the West Coast hub it will become later in DC's history.

After the delivery men drive off, Ollie realizes that their truck is from a building that went out of business the year before.  He changes into Green Arrow and swings across town with his rope arrows.  He sees the delivery guys bringing the sculpture to a man named Chatsworth Osborne, Jr. (seriously!) and uses a bug-arrow to listen in on the recipient, but his surveillance equipment detects the presence of another bug in the office that must have been planted on the sculpture.

Green Arrow intercepts the delivery men leaving the office and questions them.  They say the Osborne Foundation's vice president, Gregory Gates, hired them and gave them the truck and sculpture; that's all they know.  Green Arrow turns them loose and then meets with Chatsworth Osborne, Jr. revealing the spy equipment hidden on the sculpture.  Chatsworth Osborne, Jr. is angry, so angry!  Can you imagine how angry Chatsworth Osborne, Jr. must be?!

Green Arrow leaves the office of Chatsworth Osborne, Jr. and goes to see Gregory Gates, the vice president of the foundation run by Chatsworth Osborne, Jr.  Ollie overhears Gates admit to spying on Chatsworth Osborne, Jr. after the "twerp" inherited Osborne Foundation and demoted him.  Gates doesn't approve of how unselfishly Chatsworth Osborne, Jr. wants to spend the foundation's money.

That's all Green Arrow needs to hear to spring into action.

Green Arrow recalls how his own million-dollar company was taken away from him by conniving jerks like Chatsworth Osborne, Jr. like Gregory Gates.  He beats the crap out of Gates and his men, and then goes to help Chatsworth Osborne, Jr.  He tells the young man not to let this experience spoil his entrepreneurial spirit or idealism.

Then, inexplicably, he convinces Chatsworth Osborne, Jr. to show him his financial records and goes through all of his books to make sure his company is safe.  Ollie mentions attending four years at Hudson University.  Clearly, he is well educated in business, but why the hell would this C.E.O. trust him with this kind of information after knowing Green Arrow for about six minutes.

At the bottom of the page is an ad for Mike Kaluta's The Shadow which looks awesome!

Another fun little Green Arrow story.  Dinah is just Dinah once again, not the Black Canary.  She doesn't get to kick ass in her fishnets and blonde wig, but she does look terrific as ever.  It's kind of funny reading these stories where she is treated as the hero's girlfriend who happens to own a flower shop.  In a way, these stories feel like Black Canary's Golden Age stories told from the perspective of Larry Lance.  In those old tales in Flash Comics, he didn't know Dinah and Black Canary were the same woman, and Larry always fancied himself the hero in his own mind.

Come back next Monday for another tale of Green Arrow and Black Canary in Action Comics...


  1. I will completely agree ... Dinah looks great. My first recollection of the character is in JLA by Dick Dillin. So these pages look perfect to me.

    But it would have been nice to see some Black Canary!

  2. I loved these stories! They're still some of my favorites, Oliver and Dinah were so happy with each other. I miss those days.