Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Detective Comics #236 (10/56)

Shades of Saturn! J'onn J'onzz is going to combat a band of laser-packing Martian raiders? No, of course not. He instead dove into the harbor after a crook, only to find the thief had vanished. Nothing was found using sonar in this third incredible underwater escape, and "nothing passed through our harbor net except the S.S. Stateside!"

Ah nuts. You've figured out the whole story already, haven't you? Nothing worse than when a reader is smarter than the lead character. "I-- I'm stymied! Even the extraordinary skills I brought from outer space seem useless against this thief! Guess I'd better relax-- try to get a view beam through to home again..." Oh hey, perhaps I misspoke, since I doubt you've been working on an interplanetary communication monitor in your free time (96" screen to boot!) "G-Great Scott! ...I'm getting through! After months of trying, I've finally established contact! Mother... Dad! Of course-- these recent solar explosions... they must have created space energy that carried my radio waves to Mars!"

Mother asked "J'onn-- our lost son! Where are you signaling from?" The reply, "I'm now a detective on Earth... I miss you... but I'm happy!" Mother inquired as to when J'onn would be coming home. "It may take years to find a way, mother! Meanwhile, I devote my time to fighting Earth criminals with super-powers!" Funny how he kept mentioning that, like he was trying to impress, either with his accomplishment or the lawless land too primitive to offer a means of escape. Father J'onzz established, "Strange... we could use a super-detective here, too... Canal raiders have been terrorizing the Mother City... they have been stealing the priceless relics from our Martian Memorial Halls!" As a random Martian shouted, "Stop them! They are plundering the very soul of our planet," the raiders escaped via immersion in water, from which they then vanished. "Only the giant canal carp and the food barges have passed the [Great Canal Locks!] Raiders could not escape through the irrigation outlets without being seen!" J'onn J'onzz considered the dual problems before him, taking note of the giant carp, "which swim by means of pilot fish attached to their bodies!" Father J'onzz, wringing his hands, said, "Thank you for trying, son... thank you!"

Aside from the solution being totally obvious to a grade-schooler, it all came down to simple deductive reasoning. "Shades of Saturn! If only the barges and carp use the canal" [major premise,] "and the raiders escaped" [minor premise,] the conclusion is "their can only be one answer! Father-- listen to me closely... I may have the solution! This is what you must do..."

In Det. John Jones' case, that was to visit his "Chief" on stakeout early. The "Chief" was wearing a hat, eliminating the major distinction between Saunders and Harding, but based on build I'll guess the latter. Also Saunders never seemed to leave his office at this point. Wow, I totally lost interest in the "mystery" on the second panel of page two.

Okay, Jones spied a crook with his "super-eyes," then dove from atop a building into the harbor, all directly after expressing concern about tipping his super-hand around the chief. Arriving ahead of the crook, Jones found a small submersible that would have attached to a passing freighter to escape the dragnet. "Here he comes... and since that tiny craft has a plastic nose, there's one sure way to get my man out of it! I'll ram it! No more free rides to safety, mister!" Jeez, watching that nose shatter against the ship's hull, I hope the dude was wearing his seat belt and a separate breathing apparatus. The chief congratulated Jones, who thought, "How could I tell him it was the giant Martian carp, with their unique pilot fish, that tipped me off-- and helped me solve a crime on both worlds!"

"The Great Earth-Mars Mystery" was written by Jack Miller and drawn by Joe Certa.

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