Wednesday, November 09, 2022

Speed Saunders versus The Spider, Part 2: Mister Roger's Neighborhood

At last report, Speed was pondering the wall-panel that opened to a secret exit in the Home of Count Ruskovsky, the Emerald Collector, by which means The Spider, in all his dashing glory, had escaped (presumably with some emeralds, but that's never actually discussed).

She's his Serge protector.

It appears Speed has met a foe has the same power he does: the ability to travel between panels!

But the Count disavows any previous knowledge of the secret passage.

I guess that settles it, then.

As an Ace Investigator, Speed then removes the wall-panel, explores the passage, follows it through to its exit, finds some clues, and goes to The Library to research them!

Just kidding; he does no such thing. Literally the next panel is Speed walking home (since he abandoned the Speedmobile) and getting shot at along the way.

Yeesh, no wonder he tesseracts everywhere. 
It's not just a time-saver, it's a life-saver.

Speeds recognizes his would-be assassin, The Spider, by his handsome mug and signature double-donut gun.  Unfortunately, the Spidermobile, as you can see, has no license plates to trace it by; the Spider's no dummy, you know.

Probably someone who's seen you drive.

Ticked by the shoddy attempt on his life, Speed goes to kvetch to the unnamed Police Chief, who, because things move really fast in the Saundersverse and he's impressed his superiors by calling in Speed Saunders, has already been appointed Police Commissioner since we last saw him.

Speed demanding leeway to handle things His Way is the funniest thing I've ever seen in a Speed Saunders story

Naturally, Commissioner Cooperation accedes to Speed's "demand" with some confusion, since he's well aware Speed doesn't report to him. Speed Saunders doesn't report to anybody.  Speed is the nail that organizational charts hang off of. Speed is the reason DC editors are afraid to exercise any authority over stories. On the Seventh Day, God asked Speed whether he could take the day off.


The next day, Speed goes to the DMV and DESPITE THE SPIDERMOBILE HAVING VISIBLY BEEN MISSING ITS LICENSE PLATES simply makes the Masked Manager give him the name of its owner anyway through force of will.

"The government hasn't named the area yet. We just call it Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood. It's very small.  A model community, really."

Speed tesseracts to Mr. Roger's neighborhood to confront the Spider, thinking that it all seems a bit "to easy". 

But this hit is a miss. Miss Rogers, to be precise.

"Can you identify and apprehend The Spider? That would be great, thanks. My other Female Informant wasn't much help."

WHOA. So, is that a blouse with a boob slit or is Miss D-Cup just bursting at the seams?  Did women actually dress like that in the Golden Age?  Anyway, the expected man with a smoking gun turns out to be a lady with a lit cigarette.  Speed skips over all explanation (at least for us, in the interest of time) and gets to what he's looking for.

That is DEFINITELY a boob slit.

At first I thought Speed was affecting an Irish brogue: "A big black car, it was!"  Then I realized he was  using his Judgement Face to force her to finish his sentence for him, because every second counts: "A big black car. It was--in my name?".  I like to imagine here that Speed is chivalrously offering her his arm and she is studiously ignoring it.  That's not happening, but it is a funny image.

Sometimes, Golden Age composition is consternating. THE CAR is what we need to see in this shot, not Speed's obstructive Physique Magazine posing.

So, to recap: the big black car driven The Spider is register to Mister Rogers, whose address is... the same as this Miss Rogers, who has a small blue car.  Speed is stumped, but not stymied.  He takes a walk by Greasy Poon, the restaurant for zombie cabbies, and formulates a plan of action.

In any normal comic that... thing in the red hat would be significant.
But this is a Speed Saunders comic.

Shadowing! This is one of Speed's special abilities!  It allows him to travel by means of silhouette, like a Golden Age Shadow Thief.  At least, that's what it always looks like.

If he hadn't specifically mentioned shadowing her, I'd picture him simply RUNNING behind her car (unobserved), because he STILL doesn't have the Speedmobile.  I think I'm going to picture it anyway because it's funnier that way.

Presumably, he uses his shadow-traveling to arrive, once again, at Durand's Little Night Club, where he emerges from the shadow of man-sized fern. Rumor has it Geoff Johns may soon retcon this very Man-Sized Fern as the Golden Age Swamp Thing.

"Hullo! We're the Foregrounds, Cyril and Sylvia! Welcome to Durand's! I'd shake your hand but for some reason my right arm is currently Sylvia's instead."

How did Miss Rogers slip in unobserved?  Where can she be?

"Haylow, darlinx.  I am Allupinya Foreground, Countess de Colletage."

Speed spends THREE WHOLE PANELS just milling around the club. Nobody dies. Nobody tries to kill him. Nobody gives him rubies.  It's a total waste of an evening.  But it least it provides enough time for the Speedmobile to finally be repaired and ready for use again.


Is that a portrait of Despair on the night club wall? How refreshingly honest. And accurate, since that's what Speed's feeling.  But now he's going to make up for lost time, and in between panels he's already driven to Miss Roger's Neighborhood and is preparing to invade her house by means of silhouette.

Never thought of Speed as a guy who'd name his, let alone name it  "Jimmy"

You only got two more pages, Saunders. Hurry, Speed, hurry!


Anonymous said...

I swear the Motor Vehicles guy is wearing a mask made out of Miss Rogers' boob slit. There's a story there all right.

Scipio said...

I also suspect he's the SAME guy whom Speed consulted at the "Rogues Gallery" in The Persian Jewel Mystery.

Anonymous said...

Am I drunk? No.
Am I high? Nah.

Then why can’t I make any sense of this Golden Age comic?

Oh no; I must be on SPEED.

- Mike Loughlin

Scipio said...

I....never thought of that.