Friday, August 20, 2021

The Death Sled, Part 3: FIGURE THIS!

We left Speed as he went to boss around all the druggists in town to find out who bought the digitalis that poisoned Tommy Dell. Before his head was smashed in with a hammer. And then he was wired to a sled which was rammed into a tree.  

Fortunately for Speed's schedule (and the town's druggists) it turns out to be the first druggist Speed visits.  

"I'm Speed Saunders and I want you to tell me something.
You're an unnamed druggist and you want to tell me."

Oh, now he's a SPECIAL Investigator. Must have happened off-panel.

This druggist takes AN ENTIRE PANEL of Speed's time to look this information up. Brave fellow.

By the way, you know where you went in 1936, if you wanted to kill some rats?  The druggist, apparently.

Speed arrived just in time; one hour later the druggist's head exploded from over-largeness.

Then we get a Speed-explanation about why the murder would poison a boy, then smash his head in with a hammer and it makes about as much sense as you'd think.

I guess if Speed says that's a thing that blood clots do, I can't question him.

Stop a second to appreciate the irony of SPEED SAUNDERS giving us a lesson in not making any hasty or rash deductions.  As for why the sled, well, I've already explained that myself: it makes a better story title.

That's not at ALL how that works, Speed.

In the interest of time and wrapping up the story, Speed completely misrepresents the legal process and double jeopardy. He's got a murderer to catch and since it's obviously not Miss Evarts (because she's The Dame), there's only one person IN the story.  I mean, other than Constable Safetybelt and those guys don't count.

Points if you remember that "Jameson" was the name of the butler.

Speed's obviously determined who the murderer is, but having babbled away too much already about the method he's left without enough palaver for his ending Speed-explanation, which needs to be fulsome enough to overwhelm the murder and dizzy the reader. So, where does he go for the answer....?

Where else?


It ain't the Metropolitan, but it'll have to do.

Let's see; given the amount of panels left, picking up the first book and reading it should do the trick (just as CobraMisfit predicted yesterday).

Those curtains really do get around.

Then, just like Eddie Valiant understanding "the Cloverleaf Connection", Speed gets it.

"That lame-brained freeway idea could only be cooked up by a Toon."

Speed's not the only one who's going to get it, as Jameson arrives.

Be glad that you, the reader, cannot see the Face of Judgement.

Here it comes; BRACE YOURSELVES!

Please note how close Jameson and Speed are;
it will be important later. 


Well, that was a... wait, let me stop and think about that.  

So, I'm Jameson and the family is away except for Tommy, and I want to look for the jewels (because, okay, sure, jewels, isn't it always jewels?) but instead of waiting until Tommy goes out--say, SLEDDING-- I do it while Tommy is AROUND the house, so I get caught. Okay. that's dumb. So, assuming I can't play it off ("Look, sir! I found them for you!"), I've got to kill Tommy so I grab the closest... um....syringe of digitalis? And inject a struggling youth with it? Or do I hit him on the head and knock him out and THEN inject him with digitalis? And then drag him to the shed to bash his head in with a hammer, so that... no one will think the boy died of a heart attack? THEN I wire him by his easily scarred wrists to a sled and shove him down a hill into a thicket of trees where he lands with a thudding sickening thump that a neighbor is close enough to HEAR but NOT close enough to reach before I myself walk down the road (because I am clever enough to use a ROAD), tromp out to the trees, snip the wires, tromp back to the road, go back to the garage (because it's cold out), where I drop the damning evidence of the wires without any concern, then on the way back to the house, whack a hole in the pond with the hammer and drop it to the bottom?  Also, I do all this in formal wear and then casually greet the nosy neighbor who must have been RIGHT behind me and who seems to have pulled an Ace Investigator OUT OF THIN AIR not five minutes after I murdered this kid?  Jeez, no wonder I didn't have a snappy comeback when they showed up at the front door.

Well, I'm not sure that makes me a mastermind, per se, but it's certainly... impressive.  After that spate of criminal improv work worthy of "Whose Crime Is It Anyway?", it turns out Jameson is much better prepared than you would expect because he


I told you to remember how close Jameson and Speed were.

Any ordinary being would, of course, just... be dead.  But the mad god Speed Saunders simply WILLS AWAY THE GUNSHOT and fires back.

Note that they are STILL the same distance apart.

There is NO WAY the Jameson could miss Speed. Nor it is one of those 'only a flesh wound' situations, because Speed is pretty clearly non-shot.  My only vaguely rational explanation is in the weirdly angled table and falling lamp, which may imply that Speed... saw Jameson getting out his gun, so he lifted the table with his left hand to block the shot while getting out his gun with his right.   

There's simply no TIME to show it so it all happens in one panel, I suppose.

Hand bandaged off-panel, in the interest of time.


John C said...

For the next few decades, many police officers and district attorneys will don masks and capes because "the system" lets too many crooks go free. I always assumed that they were just authoritarians who hate the idea of protecting civil liberties or otherwise terrible at their jobs. However, if we assume that Speed is right--who are we, after all, to question the legal expertise of an Ace (and/or Special) Investigator?--then maybe comic book law is flaky enough that failing to murder someone now means that you're forever exempt from being charged with their murder in the future.

But yeah, it does look like Jameson is falling back as he shoots, so Speed probably did something to disrupt the aim. Although the more satisfying explanation is that Speed's silhouetting has him pass through a red-checked alternate dimension that he accesses through the ubiquitous curtains. He looks so disappointed that Speed saw through his Byzantine scheme, poor guy; hopefully in the inevitable, gritty (grittier) HBO Max series, Jameson will get to wear flashier costume and be the infamous jewel thief only known as Overkill. Or Sled-Man.

Scipio said...

Overkill was already in the Tick;I loved that man.

John C said...

True, he was one of the few good parts of a series that didn't seem to have much to actually say.

Bryan L said...

Okay, my explanation of Miss Evarts as the murderer makes SO much more sense. And now we all see why I am not an Ace Investigator.