Saturday, September 18, 2021

The Ski Murder, Part 2: The Ski-Stick

Having found a neat new corpse with a ski pole in its heart, Speed tesseracts directly in front of the face of the nearest uniformed, mustached authority figure. and takes charge, because of course he does.

"Mr. Saunders, will you... judge me harshly if I say I'm in love with you at first sight?"
"I already judged you before you even spoke."
"Then I have nothing to lose and everything to gain!"

There's a lot to unpack here in this panel.  First, Speed introduces himself (a courtesy, since everyone knows who he is).  He implies he carried the body three miles, uphill, in the snow; Speed is fit A.F., and must have thighs of steel.  He says "it looks like an accident"; a corpse with a ski pole embedded in its heart "looks like an accident."  Look, I'm no Ace Investigator, but I simply know of no accidents that could create this corpse, and watching industrial safety videos is one of my hobbies.  

Okay, fine; that's not true... we ALL know of an accident that could create this corpse because we've all SEEN it:

I mean, who DOESN'T remember Molly Post getting impaled by a hovercraft-hurled ski-pole in Batman #244 (September 1972)?

But it's a pretty safe bet that there are no hovercrafts in this Speed Saunders' story.

So the one last thing to notice in that panel is that Speed promises to "investigate in a routine way", which is probably the funniest thing he's ever said.  Sure ya will, Speed; I look forward to seeing what you consider "routine".

Apparently the first step in routine investigation is freaking out Ms Sigma.

"Do you have some sort of neurological problem that makes it hard to hold on to your handkerchiefs, Ms. Sigma?"

Speed must be pretty sure that the handkerchief is a false clue to confront her with it, unless he's just hoping for an immediate confession so he can wrap things up and get some skiing in.  Turns out to be a bit of both...

Whaddayaknow; another reformed female gang member willing to inform for Speed!  I think he gets a bulk rate.

Speed and the girl become swiftly acquainted, because that's how Speed does everything.

"I'll hunker down to give your word balloon some more room, because I'd REALLY like to move this along..."

Speed believes this whole frame-up story rather than asking how the (still unnamed, by the way) murderer managed to steal one of her handkerchiefs because he's already seen how careless she is with them, although why she so vehemently denied it was hers is never addressed and is completely unnecessary to the story. It's just one of those Speed Saunders details that make no sense.  Creator Fred Guardineer, after leaving comics, had a solid 20-year career in the postal service, and, while I'm sure that was a healthy decision for him and his family, I'm saddened that it deprived us of two decades worth of little mysteries like "why did Margot Lee freak out at a stranger returning her handkerchief on a train" that only Fred Guardineer could casually toss away like, well, like a discarded handkerchief.

Now I'm cold, I puff my pipe, but no one's there to see;
I ponder on the lesson of my life's insanity.

So now Margot Lee is going to be Saunders-Girl!  Will she get a puce dress and a crimson barcode scarf, or a cape made out of drapes and a complementarily horrible ski outfit?

Well, at least she got lunch.

Mere skiing bores Speed since it's no challenge to his thighs of steel, so he takes Margot to see where he found the corpse. At least there's still some blood to look at.

Maybe the killer can tesseract, too, Speed. Maybe YOU'RE the killer. That would save time!

Then Margot comes up with a ridiculous theory, not realizing that's Speed's job.

That's the dumbest thing I've ever heard of. Shut up, Margot; you're not fit to be Saunders-Girl!

First of all, it's a ski POLE. Only Brits call it a 'ski stick.'  Now it might comfort you to know that Fred Guardineer was born and raised in England and that's why his characters say 'ski stick', and, indeed, why Speed Saunders says so MANY of the odd things he does.  It might.  Unfortunately for you, it won't, because it's not true; Guardineer was born in Albany, as were his parents. The only British place he ever went was Bermuda on vacation with his parents when he was 10. And yet... "ski stick" it is.

Second, you just cannot throw a ski st-- POLE that way. Their balance makes that impossible; anyone who's ever held one would know that. Certainly not with the force required to traverse that distance and --with accuracy!-- pierce a snowsuit and a man's heart. The idea is ludicrous.

For god's sake, Fred, your father was a DARTMOUTH man ('03), how do you not know that?!  If you could kill people THAT way, Winter Carnival would be a bloodbath! And much more interesting.

Speed fact: that's the ACTUAL size of Speed's legs.

This theory is so patently absurd that
Speed immediately embraces it wholeheartedly. This is what happens when Speeds tries to figure things out WITHOUT using a library.

They're supposed to be sharpened, Speed; that's how they poke through the snowpack.

No, no, no, no, no, no, no. No.

No, Speed a ski-stick -- a ski-POLE is not "like a javelin; at fifty feet, thrown with any form, it would pierce any man." That's spectacularly wrong and in defiance of all physics.

However, you are the mad god Speed Saunders and the universe bows to your will, so this must be what happened.  I look forward to seeing what "test" you devise to determine that your (still unnamed!) suspect is the man who could make such a Herculean throw...


cybrid said...

"I think he gets a bulk rate."

Oh, is that what they called it back then?

John C said...

I'm no an Ace Investigator, sadly, but it seems to me that our prime suspects are Ra's al Ghul's hovercraft, Oliver Queen, and Superman under the influence of "nicotine tar kryptonite." Or maybe, on Earth-2, gangs spend the winter engaging in cross-country ski-warfare, with ski-poles so deadly that they're not allowed to be called ski-poles? That widens the suspect pool somewhat, and the pool of blood is actually a vaguely-credible map of Manhattan. Unfortunately, Speed moved the body, so the entry wound can't be superimposed to find the buried treasure. Haste makes waste, Saunders...

cybrid said...

"Haste makes waste"

Well, that's bad news to a guy named "SPEED"...