Monday, August 09, 2021

The Jade Buddha, Part 2: Lots of Silhouetting

So, having ascertained at the Metropolitan Library that a cursed jade buddha is central to the plot, what IS Speed's next step...?  He travels via silhouette to...

an Authority on Chinese Custom.

Of course he does.  Speeds Saunders doesn't need the internet; the entire world of expertise is at his disposal; he knows who everyone is, he knows what they know about, he knows where they live, he can tesseract to them directly or travel by silhouette, and no one would dare deny him.  And their expertise is always useful.

"I think you should seek professional help, young man. And I don't mean from an Authority on Chinese Custom."

I'm sorry, I mean to type "useless".  What on earth Speed thought Professor Pipepuff could tell him to help his investigation I can't imagine; who knows what goes through Speed's head? 

So he just goes wandering through the streets of Chinatown, wondering to himself out loud what other unknown character he can intrude upon when suddenly...

Um, Speed, that woman obviously has stolen that coffee pot, why are you letting her sneak away? Do you feel she's urned it?

I guess now we know what goes through Speed's head.

KONK.  With stars and everything.  It's all very "Moon Mullins".  Smart move to wallop Speed from behind; no use risking a stare-down with his Face of Judgement.

Speed gets carried away in silhouette by native squiggle-speakers.

I sincerely hope this ends with Speed being inducted into the Killers of Kurdistan.

He is brought face to face -- just as one would expect -- with an imposing Tong overlord. Imposing Tong overlords never just invite you over; it's just not done. They always have you konked on the head first and brought to them, but then are very apologetic about it; weird people.  But perhaps I am being culturally insensitive.

See? Apologetic.

This guy's a major player who doesn't fear staring down Speed's Face of Judgement.  But somehow this Madarin Hapsu fellow thinks konking and tying up an Ace Investigator is a good way of getting what he wants.  This ain't the Shanghai Badlands, Hapsu.

Ah; of course, Speed doesn't rent a U-Store-It, he just keeps all his crap at Headquarters. Because who is going to deny Speed Saunders?

Hapsu deputes some "Dick Tracy" strip–reject to go crack the safe at Police HQ to get the buddha.  

I mean, really: jade buddhas.  Isn't this all a bit much for a jade buddha? Just go buy one at the 古玩店 and "replace" it, they all look the same. But perhaps I am being culturally insensitive.

Meanwhile, Speed is relegated to a dungeon left over from a local Jaycee's Halloween Haunted House.

Is that left-side rat handing him a note?
"Thanks, but, not now, Gus Gus."

Speed decides he just can't sit around in that plaid suit any more, and I for one agree, so he decides to use the spooky candle to burn through his bonds.

"The trick is in not minding that it hurts."

He's still imprisoned, but, conscious that he's running out of pages and, always pressed for time, he decides to simply evince superstrength and rip the window out of the wall.

Like ya do.

Perhaps being burnt by the candle activated his latent metagene!  If so, the DCU's S&M dungeons must be crawling with superhumans.  Having escaped the dungeon with one-time superstrength, Speed uses one of his every day superpowers: exerting absolute authority over strangers.

"Yessir! Will you be, um, getting in the car, first, or do you want I should just give them a message when I get there?  Nice suit, by the way."

At last, Speed arrives at Headquarters in especially dramatic silhouette...
Although why anyone should make a fuss about the jade buddha, which should surely be returned to its rightful owners in India, anyway, is beyond me.


CobraMisfit said...

Like Hal, only a KONK on the head can slow down Speed!

Unlike Hal, Speed doesn't botch the escape.

Bryan L said...

These are villains of the highest order. One of them stole Speed's tie before consigning him to the dungeon. They already cost him his hat via konking. Clearly, they have no respect for Speed's sartorial integrity. Imagine, forcing him to traverse the city without hat and tie.

I notice the rat is captivated by Speed, choosing to hang around and observe from various distances. I assume the display of strength frightened it away.

John C said...

"Speed, m'boy, I keep trying to tell you that I'm not an Authority on Chinese Custom. That urn came from a garage sale, and...well, if you need a discount at the Persian restaurant supply store to help make your windows look smaller than makes sense for the wall, I'm your guy. No? Well then go drape-shopping with the tong overlord, see if I care."

As for the dungeon window, rather than super-strength, I prefer to believe that the rat's note says "dude, that's a hamster wheel, not a barred window." Just as improbable, but then the rats can get their own spinoff where they need to re-place their own cursed idol to Catbirdia with the aid of red-gowned (crescent-optional) lady-rodents or whatever.

Question about the silhouette process, though. Is Speed invisible but (somehow still) opaque enough to block light that he intercepts from the lantern that he helpfully hangs in every room he crosses, or does the 1937 Manhattan building code require lit walls along every staircase, and Guardineer is drawing the opposite wall...?

Anonymous said...

At first glance, that panel where they were carrying Speed away, I thought it was English but the word balloons were sideways because Speed was. That would have been a nice touch, with the creators explicitly playing around with the medium.

Scipio said...

Well, they ARE sideways; you just can't tell because you don't read squiggle-speak.

Scipio said...

As for the silhouette process, I'm unsure. It's just possible that the silhouetting is an artistic representation of Speed traversing the fifth dimension via tesseract, while casting only a "shadow" onto our four dimensional world.