Thursday, November 10, 2022

Speed Saunders versus The Spider, Part 3: A Plan Unfolds

When last we left Speed, he was using his silhouette powers to break into Miss Rogers' house.

Actually, Speed, there is: you. You are highly suspicious.

I guess Speed's shadow-powers allow him to... see in the dark? I can't think how else he'd able to pronounce that there's Nothing Suspicious Here in a room where all the lights are off. 

But there is a solution to that problem.

And that solution is armed and a member of the Supergirl Fan Club.

Ooof. That's gotta be embarrassing. Unless you're Speed Saunders.


YOWTCH.  Well, at least he's comparatively polite about slapping a women in her own home without a search warrant. In the Golden Age, you usually need a search warrant to slap a woman in her own home. But he's Speed Saunders. What is she doing to do: call the police? She must feel absolutely helpless, just like her idol, Supergirl.

Seething, she accompanies him on his tour of her house.

"Naturally, I kept them."

Wait... Miss Rogers is... Mrs. Rogers? Her husband ... left her? Or is she... the Widow Rogers? I don't know. Does Speed? I don't know. Does she?! I DON'T KNOW. The Saudersverse is a unique dimension, composed entirely of απορία. 

Speed, being Speed, doesn't care anyway. The vaguer reality is, the easier it is for him to alter it later, if necessary.  He's all about the blueprints now, because those are like PLANS and he likes those.

Wait, Count Ruskovsky described his home as an apartment he was renting. But now Speed makes it sound like... a residential hotel?  I guess that was a thing in the Golden Age. But if it's a residential hotel, why didn't Speed talk to the hotel manager or owner?  For that matter, why didn't he do that if it was an apartment building? Or did that happen between panels?  I think Speed just found some blueprints and is using them as the basis for retconning reality, like he's the Golden Age Geoff Johns.

So, now I'm utterly confused and need a glass of water. Apparently I'm not the only one.


I love the look of disbelief on Ms. Roger's face at Speed's presumption: "OH, can I please POISON that for you while I'm at it?!" Miss Rogers is not a Speed Lover.  

Not like Durand; now that is what love looks like.
Find somebody who looks at you like Durand looks at Speed.

While Rogers is fetching Speed's water (which was a transparent excuse), he pockets one of the blueprints.

You've been there twice already Speed; are you having that much trouble remembering the layout? 

Don't you wonder who Speed is talking to in that panel? I think we are actually witnessing Speed using his reality-manipulation powers, activated by performative utterance. It was just a random blueprint, but once he focuses his Force of Will and emphatically states "THIS THE PLAN FOR DURAND'S NIGHT CLUB!", why, then the plan for Durand's Night Club it becomes, both in the present and retroactively.  

When obviously ticked off Rogers returns with his glass of (hopefully poisoned!) water that was an obvious ploy to get rid of, Speed doesn't even both to maintain the fiction of the ploy.


Ms Rogers must have superhuman self-control not to have thrown that glass of water in Speed's face. But considering that Speed has literally dodged bullets fired at point-blank range, it probably would have missed his face anyway, or its constituent hydrogen and oxygen molecules would have spontaneously decoupled from shame before the Face of Judgement.

Speed's only got one page left to solve the mystery, so no more lolly-gagging waiting around for glasses of water!  We cut immediately to a new time at a new place as Speed's beginning a new plan with a new person based on new information we have to infer from previous performative utterance.

And if you can't keep up, then maybe you should be reading a VICTORIAN NOVEL, bub.

Hm. Reading between the lines of that panel: Speed has deduced from the blueprint he stole from Ms. Rogers that there's a secret passage at Durand's Night Club, just like at the Home of the--I mean, The Royal Arms.  Which he's now going to use for some reason. And he's dragooned a bluecoat to ... complete a delayed rearguard pincer?

So, then Ms. Rogers shows up and uses the secret passage.

I mean... I guess that's what's happening in this panel. Who can tell? I only know it's Ms. Rogers because she's still wearing her Supergirl Fan Club outfit.

Speed follows.

Thank you, Speed, for taking the time to explain the ONE thing about this story I could have figured out myself.


Better make a note of this historical first in his Wikipedia page.

Good heavens, it's the Spider! Is Ms. Roger's architect husband NOT so dead after all? Is Mr. Roberts the Spider?!  And he has... a secret hideout INSIDE Durand's Night Club, from which he robbed Durand himself, after two months of other thefts?! It's ingenious!


None of the above.

Because that would make some sense.

Because the Spider is, in fact...

Whaddya know; the water WAS poisoned.


Yes; that's right.

This tall lanky person...

is this person, in disguise.

Oh, but wait.

There's more.

"Why, that's it, Robin! There are two Ds in Durand; DOUBLE-D! It was LITERALLY staring us in the face the whole time!"

Yes, that's right.

This person...

was ALSO this person, in disguise.

Can't you see the resemblance?




you were clever
but you forgot your face
and it was familiar to me
i'd seen durand
when i came here last night
and didn't find you
i thought of durand
and knew you for him
i wanted proof
and got those blueprints!

I have read and said those words aloud over and over again.
It's like a poem. A beautiful dada poem. It doesn't make more sense with repetition. In fact, with each repetition, everything else in the world starts to make less sense. It's like... like a black hole of sense. But I just keep repeating it.
Over and over....
Someone please help me.


CobraMisfit said...

The only explanation I can come up with is that Speed, needing a culprit as the final pages began to inch closer, merely Terreracted Durand into Roberts.

Anything else literally breaks the Multiverse.

Bryan L said...

There's just so ... much. I can't ... so the Miss Rogers that Speed slapped was disguised Miss Rogers? The first Miss Rogers is ...

Wait, are there two Miss Rogers or just the one?

No, no. The Spider was Miss Rogers and Durand all along. S/he (I'm not totally sure if it's a woman disguised as a man or a man disguised as a woman disguised as a man) was wearing stilts in the Spider disguise.

Miss Rogers wanted emeralds, and used her ... dead ... husband's blueprints of secret passages to steal said items. Because secret passages abound in hotels. Or was Miss Rogers actually Mr. Rogers who knew all along that he needed to plan a secret passage in order to steal ... wait, from himself? As Durand?

I'm going to be pondering this enigma for days.

Bryan L said...

And I completely skipped over the fact that Speed broke into someone's home and when confronted, slapped her (or him -- still fuzzy on that point)? I guess it's a testament to the efficacy of the shock ending that I ignored the fact that a paragon of law and order in some sort of unnamed jurisdictive capacity committed two crimes in two panels, and then demanded to be served refreshments.

Anonymous said...

απορία -- as in, made of bees? Probably not what that means, but I need to hold on to confidence about SOMETHING.

So the "Barbarella" villain Durand Durand (or Duran Duran, there is some dispute) took his name from this panel. I've seen more puzzling. Both John Galt and James Kirk appeared in Whiz Comics #2 in a "Scoop Smith" story. I mean, he's no Speed Saunders, but could anyone be?

Scipio said...

the expression of doubt or uncertainty for rhetorical effect
an irresolvable internal contradiction or logical disjunction in a text, argument, or theory.
confusion, a state of not knowing

Anonymous said...

James Joyce couldn’t write a more obtuse set of words.

- Mike Loughlin

Scipio said...

A man of genius makes no mistakes; his errors are volitional and are the portals of discovery.

Anonymous said...

See, I understood that! But we all know that James Joyce was no Gardner Fox.

- Mike Loughlin