Here we are with the 8th volume, another complete volume with both sundays (in COLOR) and dailies. And here we have some of the BEST stories of Little Orphan Annie. I had read only parts of several of these stories, so its a great collection I've been looking forward to.
As to LOA, we have 2 main stories (broken up into several). The first is the conclusion of the classic Rose Chance/Shanghai Peg storyline. The second introduces the villain Axel, who will plague Annie for awhile (both in this volume and into the next one).
So, first off is the conclusion of the Shanghai Peg story. When we left off, Rose Chance's looser husband, Ace Chance returns. Jack is a bit despondent, as he had picked up the hitchhiking Ace. Ace, we soon learn, is a professional gambler. He is not interested in getting a real job. He steals some of their donut money to stake himself in a poker game, and it all goes wrong when he shots another gambler. If the gambler dies, he'll get life. But this story plays out in a way that's not expected.
Soon after this, the matter of the death of Caleb Alden is again brought up. Gudge seems the likely suspect, and he comes back from a trip and is bent on running Jack out of business. And Annie and Shanghai Peg get an eye witness that Gudge was the one who hired the killer of Caleb Alden 30 years ago!
But then Gudge disappears! And Shanghai Peg starts to fill in an old well. What does it mean? Then Shanghai Peg disappears and the police think that he may have done away with Gudge and buried him in the well. So they start to dig it up. What do they learn? As I said, many feel this story was one of the best LOA stories.
We then get a short sequence which serves to introduce Axel and his men, who are planning to kidnap Annie and ransom her to "Daddy" for 10 million. But they plan on killing her rather then returning her. This sequence serves to also have her leave the home of Mrs. Alden and flee. Axel and his men run afoul of some hobos, who beat and rob them, and they are picked up as vagrants and put in a work crew for 90 days.
This leads Annie to her next sequence. After being struck by a car, she and Sandy are rescued by a nice farm family, the Buckles. The Buckles are two brothers, and the wife of one of them. The wife is too busy with her 'civic work' to help around the farm, so Annie as usual pitches in and is quickly accepted. Mrs Buckle's brother, Melvin, soon joins them. A would-be writer, it is clear to Annie and the 2 Buckle brothers that he is a lazy*ss (something Mrs. Buckle is oblivious to, dotting on her brother). While things are looking up for Annie, Axel and gang are out and looking for her (tho federal police are in pursuit). They are able to capture her and take her down south.
In the next story, Annie is now a prisoner at a hacienda down south (South America some where, its not clear where). Annie is put under the care of Dona Dolores, who is very harsh on Annie. But we learn it's all an act. Dona is the daughter of the original owners of the hacienda, killed by Axel and his men, and she plots revenge, pretending to be a harsh woman. "Daddy" is informed of Axel having Annie, and plots his actions. "Daddy", aided by The Asp and Punjab, along with Wuy Wei and Tuck Buckle (the unmarried brother), come to the rescue, but Axel escapes after trapping "Daddy", Dona and Annie in a dungeon. Freed, Dona and Tuck hook up.
We then have another short sequence, as "Daddy" and Annie are on vacation in Canada. But "Daddy" needs to get to London, and so they start out, only to be waylaid by Axel and his men on the boat. "Daddy" is captured and Annie is tossed overboard! What happens next?
In the final story, Annie and Sandy are rescued by a kindly couple, the Tallums. He is a lawyer working as a law clerk for an trio of lawyers. Annie is passed off as their niece, now living with them after her parents died. Tallum is unhappy in his current position. He just makes the three partners look good. A case comes up where they will defend someone who has defraud another (and perhaps engineered his death). Tallum refuses to help out, and in fact quits. A secretary in the firm, Tally Rand, who is also a lawyer, decides to do the same and they go into a partnership (there is a hint of a possible affair, but this is dropped as we learn she is married and has children).
Another character soon appears: Nick Gatt, a racketeer who controls much in that town, including politians. It seems that Tallum is working against the people Gatt is backing, but we soon see that these people are doing this without Gatt's approval. And Gatt is not the heartless man he seems. Gatt actually helps those in need, tho he is a racketeer. And he helps Tallum behind the scenes and well as his partner Rand when her husband falls ill, in part due to Annie's intervention.
Toward the end of this sequence, Axel reemerges and goes after Annie, but she has the protection of Nick Gatt.
We will have to see how this storyline with Axel, Gatt, and the Tallums works out in the next volume!