Friday, January 4, 2008

Action Comics #138 (Part 2): SUPERMAN SCOOP-PARADE

When last we read: Lois Lane is forever getting herself into tight spots in her relentless pursuit of scoops. Superman, tired of saving her, decides to back young Journalism grad, Herbert Binkle, thinking that if a newbie like Herb can outscoop Lois, she'll quit trying so hard. Yeah, I don't really follow the logic of that, either, but who cares? It's time for Part 2 of SUPERMAN'S SCOOP-PARADE!

Herbert heads home to Northville (the location of his scoop-finding mission) and wanders around town not seeing anything worthwhile. Lucky for him, Superman is on the scene. Supes uses his x-ray vision and finds some dinosaur bones.

A moment while you look at the panel of the bones. Please note that it's not one, but two Tyrannosaurus Rex skeletons. Then notice that both have all bones intact. Then discern that both are fully articulated. And finally, see that they appear to be in an attack posture, as if they died in the middle of a fight, never fell to the ground, somehow remained unscathed through millennia and happen to be in a small hill in Northville, wherever that is (I'm guessing it's not the badlands – the place where the bulk of Tyrannosaurus bones have been uncovered. None of which, I might add, came in fighting pairs, standing, and fully articulated).

Nothing odd about that, right? But oh, how does Superman plan to let Herbert know they're there? Get out a trowel and some brushes and carefully unearth the skeletons retaining all the surrounding earthen strata, marking each individual bone and citing its position, taking the next couple of years to do so, making sure the site is properly recorded for science?

Close. He takes an old pipeline, makes a funnel of one end, puts the funnel under a waterfall and then blasts the bones out of the hill via the force of the water. Miraculously, the bones emerge and they remain articulated even without the cohesion of the earth around them! It's a miracle! No muscles, sinew or connectors of any kind and yet the bones somehow remain in the exact position they held in life. Two giant Tyrannosaurus skeletons sticking out of a hill in a way seemingly impossible and Herbert is immediately struck by the scoopiness of the situation.

He phone Perry White and tells him that the "great scoop" he has is that Jenkins Hill just slid a little and now there's a new coasting hill in Northville. (I wonder if he's thought through how the coasters are going to get around those ginormous dinosaur skeletons bursting out of the hill? Perhaps Herbert missed the real scoop here and he should've told Perry that the slide ruined the local coasting hill by unearthing some pesky Tyrannosaurus Rex bones that are now in the way of a straight shot down).

At this point, Clark should realize that he's backing the wrong horse. Obviously, Herbert is completely lacking in journalistic savvy, observational skills, and wouldn't know a scoop if it bit like a fully articulated Tyrannosaurus Rex. Fly away, Superman, and leave Herbie to the local free shopping rag.

But no, Superman has made up his mind and is never, ever wrong. He grabs his water pipe (not the bong kind, the "I made a funnel out of this old oil pipe and will now make it shoot water" kind) and blasts the back of one of the skeletons. For reasons unknown to me, instead of causing the skeleton to explode in a shower of bones (due to there being absolutely nothing holding them together), the bones START WALKING DOWN MAINSTREET! (Pardon my shouting, but my suspension of disbelief was just shattered by a giant water jet and I didn't know if you could hear me over the laughter of every archaeologist and paleoanthropologist on Earth.)

Still on the phone, Herbert says, "And the slide uncovered dinosaur skeletons, Mr. White – huge ones!" (Huge bones that are walking down mainstreet with a bunch of water shooting off its fleshless back and Superman holding a giant waterpipe, but that's not news.) Perry decides to send a photographer and make it the feature story. Hope no one else needs any help that day because Superman is going to be too busy walking his bone puppets around town so the photographer can good pictures. After all, finding not one but two complete Tyrannosaurus Rex skeletons isn't much to write about. It needs more pizzaz.

And now we pretty much know how this story is going to go for the next few pages. Herbert won't find a scoop. Superman will create one. Herb won't recognize it. Supes will emphasize it. Perry will love it. Hopefully, you've now had enough scoop-drinks that it will all seem unpredictable as I retell it. But before you get too cocky, the stakes are about to be raised, which should make this even more fun. Stay will me for Part 3 of SUPERMAN SCOOP-PARADE!

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