Sunday, August 20, 2023

The Glass of Poison, Part 4: Unwarranted Danger

When last we left Speed Saunders, Ace Investigator, he was rummaging around in a(n alleged) gangster's mansion to look for some evidence tied to the poisoning death of exposé author Phillippa Rowen, while his latest sidekick Saunders-Girl (a.k.a. "Betty") holds a gun on said gangster.  It's a bit extreme, but all things are permissible in the Saundersverse in the interest of time and it's not like Speed really needs a warrant.  As the old Ace Investigator saying goes, "A Whim is as good as a Warrant."

Does he find something? Of course he does; he's Speed Saunders and doesn't have time NOT to find something.  And where? The same place he usually does: IN A BOOK.

Well. Isn't that convenient.

Pro tip for murderers manqués; don't underline your murder methodologies as if you're studying for your Social Studies final.  It just MIGHT seem suspicious.

What WOULD Speed do without BOOKS?  They contain all information, all clues, all answers.  I suppose nowadays Speed would spot a "bookmark" on a computer, labelled "prussic acid" and linking to a page on  

Does Speed reveal the info he has discovered? Of course not; Speed always keeps info to himself until the last panel, when it all spills out in the info-dump of the Speed-splanation.  

"Thank you, Shoeshine Boy; you're humble and loveable."

Yes, thank you, Speed Saunders. For breaking into my home, accusing me of murder, and holding me at gunpoint while you ransacked my house for evidence against me.  Please, sir; may I have another.  Bettini is clearly bucking for admission into the Golden Age Gentlemen Gangsters Hall of Fame, along with Broadway Bates and Hapsu.

You'll notice, over time, that the moon is ALWAYS full in a Speed Saunders story, which implies that Speed only solves one crime a month and only has 24 hours to do so.  It explains a lot.

Then Speed, moving fast as is his wont, asks Saunders-Girl to stay the to-night.

"That way, you'll have to come and get ME."
Speed Saunders makes James Bond look like an arthritic tortoise.

A lot happens between panels in a Speed Saunders story, that's all I'm gonna say here.

What the--?!

There's a lot to unpack from this panel.  

First, Speed really DOES have only one (non-skiing) outfit: a puce Glenurquhart Estate Check, that Reverse-Barberpole tie, and an orange trilby.  

Second, Speed has an "office" somewhere, which I don't believe for a minute.  My theory is that Speed ALREADY, between panels, accompanied Saunders-Girl ("Betty") back her place from his and he is now RETURNING to his office (which is within his apartment).  Why is he taking the subway, which is highly uncharacteristic of Speed Saunders, you ask? Because he drove her home in the Speedmobile and then ABANDONED IT, which is highly characteristic of Speed Saunders.  Probably left it with his adoptive cousin, Slow Saunders, Ace Auto-restorationist, to have the top of the car re-attached.  

Third, something really bad is about to happen. How do I know this? Because Speed is on public transportation and the only narrative reason for that is: TO SLOW SPEED DOWN.  He's about to be "too late (or just in time) to stop something" and the only way make someone who can shadow-travel and tesseract "too late" for anything is to impede them with obstacles; it's just like in a Flash story.  

Hm. So I guess Phillilpa Rowen was a NOVELIST rather than an exposé writer and to write a .. crime novel (?) she gathered ...  incriminating intel about real-life gangsters (?), who, um, were going to be portrayed in her novel with character expies, and... yeah, I give up.  That's ... just not what novelists do.  That's more like what exposé reporters do and we know they exist in the Saundersverse because Speed's reading one of the right now. 

How on earth a news-writer knows that Rowen had intel on Bettini and that Betty The Secretery (sic) also had access to it -- that I do not know.  This is literally the day after Rowen was murdered, so the news-writer didn't Find This Out, they already knew it.  Maybe.... Rowen was planning on giving the info to the exposé writer, but didn't get to do so because she was murdered? That's really the best I can do with this.

Speed likes apostrophes.  Even unwarranted ones.  Or maybe he just likes unwarranted things, like all his searches of other people's property.

Speed HATES death warrants, because Speed hates ALL warrants, so he has to put a stop to this!

Speed commandeers a uniformed person's vehicle, which is one of his hobbies.  That, Oriental lore, and goldfish.

Saunders speeds to rescue Saunders-Girl! WILL HE BE TOO LATE?!

Tomorrow: Speed is Too Late.


Anonymous said...

Speed Saunders! The only comic strip designed for milk cartons!

- Hoosier X

Anonymous said...

I think we have a clue in the "Hey, Taxi!" panel. It looks like something out of a Zatara or Ibis comic, where the hero alters reality to his will; in this case, Speed has summoned a taxi into existence. Or maybe turned a random passerby into a taxi.

Bryan L said...

Exactly. Speed is a reality singularity. Anything he believes becomes reality until Speed turns his attention in another direction.

Speed's reality-warping ability is like a spotlight in the dark, except that when Speed focuses his attention on a subject, it becomes what Speed perceives.

In other words, it's Speed's world. We're just living in it.