DETECTIVE COMICS #238: Earth Detective for a Day
Oh no! J’onn is going to lose his powers for this one! I’m sure the reason will be entire plausible!
Some cops are chasing “Booby-Trap” Bagley into an abandoned circus area, but stop there, as Lieutenant Saunders ordered them never to follow him into a possibly booby-trapped area.
Lieutenant Saunders is back!?
I also just have to accept the abandoned circus thing. I try not to think about it too hard. It’s something I just need to go with and deal with it. Fine, there’s an abandoned circus. Whatever.
Meanwhile, J’onn is walking down the street past something that is on fire. Just the side of some building or something, on fire, happens to be on his walk to work. I think I actually prefer it when he just freaks out at cigarettes, because at least it’s semi-plausible that he would run into those on a regular basis.
At the station, Saunders is there telling J’onn they need to get to the abandoned circus right away! There is no heartfelt reunion, no pleasantries exchanged. They head right to the scene where the cops are ready to shove an empty police car down a hill into the circus area to see if it’s booby-trapped. Um, okay? They give the car a good push and as it reaches the bottom of the hill, the thing just fucking explodes. So I guess that’s a yes? The cops try flooding the area with tear gas to drive Bagley out but he’s in like a glass dome or something that is never explained.
The cops decide to draw to see who has to go in after Bagley, thinking that one guy might have more luck than that squad car. John, knowing that his powers would give him a definite advantage in this scenario, uses his powers to make sure he has to go in. I’m sure if he’d just volunteered, they would’ve let him too, but rigging a drawing is way more fun.
He heads into the circus area when some balloons start popping and he realizes they are filled with poison gas. To keep his powers secret, he pretends to cover his mouth and runs away. Then he spots Bagley who is out running around, instead of just staying in hiding somewhere, which is what I would do. Bagley jumps on a roller coaster and John jumps on the car behind him to give chase, as though a roller coaster doesn’t just eventually return someone to the same place. Why would you ever chase someone on a rollercoaster? Why wouldn’t you just wait? If they jump off, guess what? You’re already off the rollercoaster and ready to chase them. Why are you getting on the damn thing?
But he does it anyways and of course the rollercoaster is booby trapped so that part of it explodes in front of John’s car. He uses Martian Concentration (IT CAN DO ANYTHING) to fix the track and continues his chase of Bagley, who just rode his car back to the start of the track and got off of it. DON’T CHASE PEOPLE ON ROLLERCOASTERS.
After the ultimately pointless rollercoaster ride, John goes to chase Bagley into a building. Fuck opening that door, I will just phase through it. (This is totally what I would do though if I could phase through walls. I would never ever ever bother with opening a door unless for some reason I absolutely had to). As he does, oh god, he just smashes into it.
Deja vu? This happened before right? Yeah like 8 issues ago! That comet! I thought that only came around once each century though. Let me check. Yeah once each century. Blocking the rays from Mars or whatever.
Wait wait wait…
Now you’re telling me he lost his powers because of a DIFFERENT comet that passes between Mars and Earth once every YEAR? This one doesn’t block the rays though, it uh….”Wherever the rays penetrate a high ore content on earth, it cancels out Martian powers.”
The thing is…I don’t even know if the writer is intentionally inventing a different comet, or just doesn’t remember what the hell that first comet did and just decided to make up something new.
John just opens the door instead, but as he does he notices a bunch of clocks that were apparently going to be prizes in a carnival game before the carnival folk just up and left mysteriously. John notices that only one is set to the correct time and determines that must mean it’s a bomb and dives out of the way.
Disaster is only momentarily avoided though, as he sees a shadow around him and uses “Earthling Detective Sense” to dodge the aerialist platform plummeting towards him.
For some reason, Bagley flees to the high wire and J’onn again chases him. I used to think walking on a high wire was supposed to be hard but apparently anyone and everyone can do it, in loafers even. Bagley however, swings to the ground, and J’onn begins to lose his balance.
“Why did I climb up here, I should’ve just stayed down there and waited for this asshole to come down…”
He sees a water tank and is ready to jump in it but Bagley sets the water on fire, as he had put gasoline in it earlier. J’onn freaks out for a second, then remembers that he’s not got any Martian Powers right now! He can just jump into fire! Just like an ordinary earthman! Who loves fire!
He makes a perfect dive, climbs out of the tank, and as Bagley runs under the net (there’s a net now?! I thought we were worried about falling a second ago). J’onn uses another earth detective skill: Marksmanship! And shoots the supports on the net, making it fall and trapping Bagley.
Lt. Saunders congratulates J’onn on another successful arrest. Back at his apartment, J’onn realizes that his Martian Powers have returned because he breaks the door knob off of his door.
How you explaining that to your landlord, dude?