Sunday, March 29, 2015

Down with vigilantes! Up with hoodlums!

Gather around, kids, because J'onn J'onnz has an important lesson to teach you:

Aren't they a DCU country/western band?

vigilantes are BAD.

Vigilantes, you see, are unauthorized people who take the law into their own hands. People without any of the regular training and boundaries, like graveside oaths, capes, or the ability to extract gold from seawater with their minds.

"Well, of course, we need a COMMITTEE.  We're businessmen-vigilantes, not SAVAGES."

Naturally, "John Jones" (who, remember, kids, is a duly authorized officer of the law under this fictitious identity and false background he created to disguise the fact that he's an extraterrestrial) is assigned to keep tabs on the Apex Chamber of Commerce's Committee for Vigilanteism, because, when you have 59 different superpowers for fighting crime, you tend to have a clear desk.

He'll need it, because this isn't your average Chamber of Commerce Vigilante Committee. 

"How you do get your weapons so unusual, Mr. Lee?""Ancient Chinese secret!"

That is a Vigilante COMMITTEE, kids.  Lavish homes.  Business suits all around.  Books organized by color.  Weapons made on spec.  This is the APEX CITY Chamber of Commerce Vigilante Committee and they are using their substantial wealth to get specially made 'unusual weapons'.  This is in a town where crooks ride around robbing banks in giant mechanical bears.  The mind boggles as to what an Apex Citizen considers an 'unusual weapon'.

And I'll say this for the Committee; they're proactive.

It is fair to say that I know a LOT more helicopter pilots than most people do.  Nevertheless, I am hard pressed to say how "a copter would seem to be challenging a CAR to race".
Helicopters aren't really about 'racing'.

Myeah, sorry, Jeff; you ain't showing 'em nutthin'.  That's no ordinary helicopter being piloted by some teenaged drag-racers. That's the Apex City Chamber of Commerce Vigilante's Committees' CLAWCOPTER!

"OOOOOoooooo! The CLAW....!"
Gotta hand it to the Apex City Chamber of Commerce Vigilante Committee;
they are already doing better than Hal Jordan could.

Convertibles. Giant Pennies.  There is nothing a comic book helo can't pick it.  Note, by the way, that our well-heloed businessmen/vigilantes have a highly illegal private jail.  There must be an abandoned particle accelerator in Apex City somewhere.

Naturally, JJ is driving by at that moment. Because what else has he got to do?

"Upholding the law!? Dude, we're upholding a CONVERTIBLE!"

Ooo, those nasty vigilantes are breaking the law and breaking it hard, hard as any hoodlum. That's... kind of hot.  And J'onn will have none of THAT, thank you. Apex City is his town, by H'ronmeer, and  nobody gets to pull ridiculous helicopter-style crap but him. So J'onn puts a stop to it by, well, pulling some ridiculous helicopter-style crap of his own.

That's... not quite how helos work, J'onn.
Or running. Or gravity. Or...oh, never mind.

These men just grabbed a moving car off a road with a helicopter, J'onn (and painted it RED, without even ASKING).  Unless they're filming Fast and Furious XXXII: Death from Above, they ARE breaking the law.  To say nothing of an astonishingly long list of FAA regulations.  Just change back into Detective John Jones and arrest them before ICAO hears about this.  You're not Superman and they aren't Lois and Jimmy and you don't have to "teach them a lesson".

Well, perhaps there's hope. Maybe this failure will make them listen to reason so the Martian Manhunter doesn't have to keep following them all the time.

Or perhaps not.

Silly Apex City Chamber of Commerce Vigilante Committee Chairman Weems!  

  1. He's 'the Manhunter'; following people around all the time is what he DOES.
  2. He's also Detective John Jones, which means he has nothing else to do, because he works in Apex, whose most notorious criminal is the Human Squirrel (and he's retired). 

Besides, there is ONE thing and one thing only that ALWAYS catapults the Martian Manhunter into action: CRAP HAPPENING IN THE AIR.  

Meteors. Falling safes.  Spaceships.  Giant waves. Toy planes. Flying rings. Floating objects.  Crazy bullets. Falling buildings.  The Martian Manhunter is the Gravity Police, buddy. And why? Because this early Martian Manhunter has every conceivable power except one: HE CAN'T FLY. 

And NOBODY gets to do something the Martian Manhunter can't do. Nobody.  Not in HIS city.

Next up: Biff Higgins! Eastview Drive!  Vigilanteism with puppets! So stay tuned.


John said...

What I always find funny about these sorts of stories is that, if the creepy, horrible vigilantes had a theme, they'd be the heroes.

Heck, their kids may well be the Green Team, inspired by their fathers' greatest enemy! And money, obviously.

And yeah, I'd demand my money back if I lived in the DCU and someone sold me a helicopter with a claw as "unusual." You can probably get crap like that at Walmart.

cybrid said...

No, J'onn, if they thought they were upholding the law, they wouldn't refer to themselves as "vigilantes." If Jeff Stobbs was a wanted fugitive, the joke would be on them because they would indeed be upholding the law and thus NOT be vigilantes because catching him would be a citizens arrest, more commonly known as a "citizens a-ray-est! citizens a-ray-est!" and that's legal.

Intervening in an ongoing crime as J'onn does here qualifies as being a good samaritan. And since catching wanted criminals and intervening in ongoing crimes constitutes most of the average superhero's workload, being a superhero is just an exaggerated version of being a good citizen. Fascists shmascists.

Joshua Roots said...

"That's... not quite how helos work, J'onn. Or running. Or gravity. Or...oh, never mind."


This is one of my favorite posts. Of all time.

Also, is it me, or do all the legal-beagles in the first image look like Neanderthals? No wonder they haven't been able to obtain more substantial evidence.

Bryan L said...

He couldn't fly back then? I am utterly taken aback. I had no idea. I pride myself on my knowledge of comics and, as God is my witness, I thought J'onn could fly.

Scipio said...

John; "Green Team"; nice one!
Cybrid; those are VERY good points and had never really occurred to me.
Josh: good call on Vandal Savage's Legal Team, there. I hadn't even noticed!

Scipio said...


That's because they kept finding ways for J'onn to effectively fly, without flying (things like twirling really faster, or helicopters his arms, or 'negating gravity', or blowing himself around with his Martian breath).

Notice how the caption makes it clear that J'onn has to JUMP on to the top of the helicopter... because J'onn can't fly.

SallyP said...

There is no doubt about it, Apex City is one exciting place to live!

Nathan Hall said...

Huh? That copter seems
To be challenging me to
A race. I'll show 'em.

A drive-by haiku
From a poetic gangster
That's so Golden Age.