DETECTIVE COMICS #249: Target for a Day
When you give a character like J’onn all the powers he has, his comics start to involve a few reoccurring elements. First, something takes away his powers and he has to find a way to cope without them. Secondly, they will give him a weakness to deal with and this weakness will show up more than would ever be plausible. Third, he has to find a way to use his powers without letting anyone see him do it. Oh I forgot the fourth which is to give the bad guys superpowers too, my bad.
While a story might not always completely revolve around one of these, there’s usually a good chance of one of them coming up.
So one night at the governor’s mansion, someone hurls a rock with a note tied to it through the window. It is a good long throw too. You could narrow the culprits down to local shotputting champions probably. The governor takes the note off the rock and reads it: “IF THE EXECUTION GOES THROUGH TONIGHT, YOUR LIFE WILL BE FORFEIT TOMORROW. REPREIVE CARLSON.”
The governor calls the police who arrive with the uh, captain and John. The captain says that his men will guard the governor while other men round up the Carlson gang, but the governor is all “I ain’t gon’ let criminals tell me what to do. I’m gonna go about my bidness.”
John cleverly ducks into another room and shapeshifts his face to look like the governor’s. A few minutes later he pops out and says that oh, uh, you didn’t see it, but I TOTALLY brought my make up kit long and now I look EXACTLY like the governor.
In a matter of minutes. I know I could probably get a really good job on a Hollywood set for how fast I can do makeup this well but I would rather fight crime! I even already have an in in the movie business, but trips there never go that well anyways so…
John says he’ll pretend to the governor for the next 24 hours and then the gang will know he ain’t scurred. And maybe they’ll capture them too, but that wasn’t really discussed.
John takes a look at the faces of the five gang members they have to round up as he reviews the governor’s schedule for the next day. It has three items on it: Review a parade, meet a foreign dignitary at the airport, and lay a cornerstone at the new library. Being a governor in the 50’s was apparently fucking easy. Do I have to go to any meetings or anything? No? Fuck yeah this is awesome.
The next day as John watches the parade, he notices with his martian vision that there are two of the Carlson gang members hiding in a GIANT DRUM. But how, he wonders can I reveal them without giving away that I’m a martian? It’s easy, of course. He subtly blows a huge blast of air from his lungs at the drum, blowing it over and knocking the gang members out of it.
After they’re cuffed and dragged away, John suggests that uuuh, it must’ve been a GUST OF WIND that blew the drum over. Yes. A gust of wind.
To the airport! John greets the foreign dignitary and they get in a convertible to ride to town hall. As they are driving though, John notices a low flying airplane that is suddenly shooting at them! His driver makes a terrible face that I have to at least somewhat blame on the printing of the book, but I still love it all the same.
This time thankfully a storm cloud is nearing and John uses his martian powers to ELECTRIFY it and get a bolt of lightning to strike the plane down! No idea he could do that, huh? Well he can. He’s a goddamn martian.
As John and the captain look at the wrecked plane, the captain notes that twice now John has been saved by a fluke of nature. HAHA ISN’T THAT SOMETHING. HOW STRANGE. LET’S NOT DISCUSS IT ANY FURTHER.
Another two members of the gang rounded up leaves just one guy to deal with and one more event for John to attend. As he prepares to lay the cornerstone however, his martian hearing picks up on something on the other side of the wall. It is, of course, the last of the Carlson gang, Reagan, and he’s setting a bomb to kill John and also a bunch of the innocents that have gathered to watch something seriously boring. John notes that if he just walks through that wall, everyone will KNOW he’s not the governor, because everyone is pretty damn sure the governor can’t do that. Instead he focuses his martian vision on a nearby boiler causing it to burst and fill the area with steam.
Using the cover, he phases through the wall quickly and knocks out Reagan and destroys the bomb. He returns to the podium and finishes the ceremony. Afterwards the police find Reagan who will join heaps of other criminals in prison who also saw their crimes thwarted by a mysterious invisible force. Thankfully, everyone thinks they’re all just crazy.
The governor thanks John for taking his place but also feels the need to point out that it was just some CRAZY FLUKES that saved his life so ya know, it wasn’t even necessary really, right?
What I mean is, I’m not giving you a medal for this.