DETECTIVE COMICS #230: The Sleuth Without a Clue
This issue is…befuddling at times, to say the least. We have the usual recap of J’onn’s story and a nice run down of the powers that are used at least semi-consistently: Passing through matter, allowing matter to pass through him, “Martian vision” which usually seems to manifest as just anything involving his eyes. Also sometimes it seems like when he lets the bullets pass through him he’s supposed to be mostly invisible because they like to refer to it as turning “translucent?” I’ll be honest, a lot of these stories need a caption under the occasional frame that says “Just…just go with it, okay?”
After the nice recap of his powers, we see that J’onn is currently have trouble with his current case, busting the Farrow Gang! The Chief (what happened to Captain Harding? What happened to Lt. Saunders? Are these the same people getting morphed every issue or is J’onn getting promoted and transferred without anyone mentioning it?) is in a meeting with the DA, who tells him that he’ll need to resign if no one catches the Farrow Gang within 24 hours! J’onn overhears this with his Martian hearing and is distraught. After all, he’s known the Chief for…this whole issue? Since he came to earth? I don’t know!
As the Chief leaves the office, J’onn tells him not to worry, that he’ll have the Farrows soon enough. He asks J’onn how he heard the DA’s threat, and J’onn pretends that he read in the newspaper that it might happen. Smooth, Mr. J’onzz.
J’onn hits the street to look for clues and while questioning a gun salesman, he hears one of the Farrow gang in the shop next door. He decides to quickly hurry into that shop by walking through the wall between them. Only as he makes his move, he discovers that for some reason his power doesn’t work, and just SMASHES into the wall face first. The shopkeep is staring right at him, but doesn’t say anything like “what the hell, detective? You know there’s a WALL there, right?”
Instead our hero leaps to his feet and runs outside where Bennet, the gang member is climbing into a getaway car. He turns to Detective Jones and shoots him. J’onn tries to let the bullet pass through him, but again his powers fail and it nicks his shoulder. His powers fail him a third time when his Martian Vision can’t read a license plate.
He looks towards the sky and realizes the most ridiculous thing. It’s the time of year when the BLAZER COMET is passing between Earth and Mars for the next 24 hours. And the comet is blocking off the rays from Mars that are suddenly the reason J’onn has magic powers. What. When did this happen?
He decides not to let this comet stop him however, and uses some old fashioned detective work to track the gang to a beach. At the beach, he can’t find their hideout and there’s only 2 1/2 hours left to save the Chief! Noooooo! Then he sees an old ship in the water and a trail leading to it. Deciding that must be the hideout, he heads that way, but is jumped by the Farrow Gang. They take him back to the boat and tie him up before deciding to leave for a new hideout. J’onn uses a nearby car battery full of battery acid to somehow eat through his ropes and chase after the crooks.
Outside the boat, Jones catches up to them and somehow more cops are there too. Not sure how they got contacted…
He apprehends them just in time to save the Chief, who says that sometimes haha, he thinks Detective Jones must have superpowers.
Oh isn’t that crazy. This is the one time when he didn’t!
And then J’onn winks to the reader. It’ll be our little secret!