Friday, August 18, 2023

The Glass of Poison, Part 2: Seeing The Body (a.k.a. Death In The Living Room)

Following her dramatic introduction, Betty The Secretery (sic) accompanies Speed Saunders downstairs as he proceeds to ace-investigate Death In The Living Room, which I'm sure Agatha Christie would agree would have been a much better title for this story.  

First, they See The Body.

And what a body it is! Va-va-va-DOOM!

The world would be a better place if we all just admitted that one caption like "In the living room below lies - DEATH!" is worth ten thousand pictures of people shooting energy beams from their body parts.

Not wanting to waste time calling a doctor (since it's obviously too late to have anyone's stomach pumped, which is the only reason Speed ever calls a doctor), Speeds then uses his Face of Judgement It's one of the abilities that can arise from enough reading of Detective Comics well after midnight.

"Possibly while also being tickled to accelerate oxygen loss, her voluptuous bodily writhing in an unnatural and overwhelming conjunction of pain and pleasure which brought her to unknown heights of ecstasy even as it plummeted her in darkness. Perhaps."

Sometimes the role of a Useful Female Informant is to receive information rather than give it. Such is the case with Betty The Secretery (sic), who makes sure to destroy any notes CONTAINING the information afterwards, as is her professional responsibility.

"The cause of her poisoning? Well ... poison, ma'am. Perhaps at the hands of GYPSIES. Where were YOU at the time of the murder, and how do you know when that was unless YOU killed her?"

"Digitalis prussic acid, veratrim (sic) viride, and any number of other poisons."  So just.... any poison then.  "She may have eaten an undercooked roast scorpion in Chinatown, where I frequently encounter Oriental Artifacts. Perhaps."

It happens, you know.

Speed, perhaps realizing that this case is insufficiently bizarre for him or hoping to wrap things up before his morning breakfast reservation at a Chinatown roast scorpion restaurant, decides to lurch toward the surreal by suddenly accusing some nearby stemware of being the murderer.

I'm surprised it doesn't shatter at the undoubtedly rapid vibration of the Finger of Judgement.

Betty now has to make a dumb comment that allows for Speed to explain his behavior to the readers (as if readers have ANY expectation of understanding Speed's behavior).

"There may be fingerprints, which, fortunately, I, as an Ace Investigator, am capable of SMELLING."

Look, Betty; Speed's usual outfit is that puce Glenurquhart Estate Check jacket with an orange trilby. "How Funny He Looks" is NOT one of Speed's concerns.  Realizing that Betty is clearly too stupid to appreciate his methodologies he arranges from some minor authorities to serve as a proper audience to his ace-investigation skills.

One of the most charming aspects of the Saunderverse, which I've never mentioned before, is that it's FULL OF FLOWERS.  Really, it must be a LOVELY place to live until you're murdered.

Speed, who is, of course, on a first name basis with the Homicide Division, orders a few Boys and a Man to Take A Chemical Report, whatever that means.  Reminder: the "Ace" in Ace Investigator is isn't an adjective of quality; it's a RANK, because Speed automatically outranks any authority figure he encounters. It saves time figuring out who's in charge,  because it's ALWAYS Speed.

Back off, Betty; you don't rank a fourth-wall address. Leave transquartomuralism to the pros.  Nobody at a crime scene needs the opinion of a bare-shouldered gypsy with hickies, unless that crime was a lock-picking.

Betty, whose rich and layered portrayal allows her role to evolve with each panel, now serves as a more jaded and promiscuous Aqualad, telling us What The Inevitable Negative Outcome Will Be and How Not Even Aquaman Can Save The Day.

And Aquaman probably could not because Aquaman is only superhuman.  But this is SPEED SAUNDERS we're talking about here...

1 comment:

Bryan L said...

I am reasonably certain that the floral arrangement is actually the Black Mercy. It's been cowed into submission by Speed's Stare of Judgement. Kryptonians are all well and good, but Speed is a reality singularity, who shapes the universe in his immediate vicinity through force of will. A Black Mercy simply can't provide a fictional alternative to entice Speed, since he warps reality in his presence.