Legacy of… Gangbuster…?

Legacy of Superman #1 (Gangbuster)
“Gangbuster of Suicide Slum”
Writer – Jerry Ordway
Pencils – Dennis Janke
Inks – Mike Machlan
Colors – Glenn Whitmore
Letters – John Costanza & Albert DeGuzman
Assistant Editor – Jennifer Frank
Editor – Mike Carlin

We’re now halfway through the Legacy of Superman #1 (well, we will be once we’re halfway through with this story).  Today, we’re going to look at the saddest of the sacks, Jose Delgado… and see how he’s dealing, living in a world without Superman.

Our story opens in Suicide Slum, where Gangbuster is… well, busting a gang.  This is a pretty disorganized group of geeks, who have just imported… or at least somehow procured… mass quantities of guns.  Jose spends, what feels like a half-dozen pages (though, it’s really only two or three), beating the hell out of them.  Their supplier is a mobster in a pinstriped suit… this gang is a pretty sorry sight and, worth noting, includes a very skinny, weaselly sort of dude.

While the brouhaha brouha’s, one of the baddies grabs a shotgun… and shoots Gangbuster right in the chest!  Poor Jose can just never catch a break, can he?  Well, lucky for him his armored logo managed to save his life today.

Delgado then kips-up and resumes his baddie-beat-down.  After kayoing the underlings, he sets his sights on ol’ pinstripe.  The bad-guy-boss immediately surrenders… and begs Gangbuster to call the police.  Jose knows that this is a no-go, as ol’ pinstripe is “connected” enough to be back on the streets within minutes.

After pummeling the Pinstripe, Jose grabs the leader of the gang.  A rather low-rent looking goofball with slicked-back hair.  He ties him up with a rope, and after securing the other end to the leg of an easy-chair… deposits him out a window!

The easy chair skids toward the window, threatening to drop the leader all the way to the ground below.  In order to counter-balance the weight, Gangbuster tosses that skinny, weaselly dude into the chair.  The boss cries out for the geek to stay put in the chair.

After Jose leaves (with the supplier slung over his shoulder), the Boss begs Skinny Pete to pull him back in the window.  Unfortunately, the “Dim-Bulb” just isn’t strong enough to accomplish the task.  At that very moment, down at the station, Inspector Henderson gets a call from Gangbuster.

Henderson resigns to the fact that he’s going to have to deal with Gangbuster… he knows Delgado means well… and he also understands how the rules might seem a bit different in Suicide Slum.  But, he also knows that, ever since Superman died, Gangbuster has been ruthless as all get out… just beating the ever-lovin’ dog out of criminals left and right!

He is able to track Jose down to the Superman Memorial in Centennial Park.  He’s tying the kayoed gun-running mobster down, with a sign that reads “I sell guns to children” around his neck.  Gangbuster assumes Henderson is there to bust him, and warns him to stay back.  Henderson assures him this is a “friendly visit”.

In fact, he comes bearing gifts… well, a gift, in the form of a one-way bus ticket outta town.  Ya see, Gangbuster has broken a lot of rules of late… and he isn’t exactly “winning over” those in law-enforcement.  Henderson suggests Jose get as far away from Metropolis as possible… and warns that, if he doesn’t, so help him… Henderson himself will lead the charge against him.

Another solid look at the World Without Superman… this time, focusing on that part of Metropolis many would like to forget exists at all… Suicide Slum!  Many of the normal “rules” don’t apply here… which, is where Gangbuster comes in.

I appreciate how brutal he has become since Superman’s passing… as, without that fear of a caped-god flying overhead in the minds of criminals… they’re more inspired than ever to get a foothold.  If the name isn’t a dead giveaway, “Suicide Slum” was never the best place in the city… but, it was still a place under Superman’s watchful eye.

Without him, Suicide Slum is more vulnerable than it’s been in a long while… which ups the ante (and brutality) in Gangbuster’s purpose and methodology.  He needs to be rougher… he needs to be scarier… he needs to make an impact wherein his reputation as a force of justice proceeds him.

Unfortunately, that doesn’t exactly jive with the law-enforcement establishment.  Enter: Inspector Henderson.  Now, this little scene at the end is probably my main takeaway from this piece.  Henderson attempts to reason with Jose… and even shares stories of his working in Suicide Slum as a rookie.  He, Henderson that is, assures Delgado that the rules aren’t any different there.

Clearly (to me), Henderson might be a little too far removed from his time as a Suicide Slum flat-foot.  It’s plainly obvious (again, to me) that “penthouse” Metropolis and Suicide Slum operate under different “rules”.  Sure, the laws are the same… laws are the same everywhere… but the way in which enforcement is performed is where everything differs.

I can think back to a time where I worked overnights, managing a call-center… and if you pardon the very weak analogy… the policies between the three-shifts were identical… and the “establishment” (ie. daytime management) would swear up and down that there were no differences between the shifts.  However, things are in-fact, very different in the middle of the night.  Approaches are different, availability is different, priorities are different.  Things are just… different.

I remember requesting help in certain areas and situations, that… the powers-that-be... assured me were unnecessary… even going as far as claiming that I was imagining were needed.  No such situation existed… because, in their eyes… everything was identical across the board.  That’s what Henderson reminded me of here… and perhaps why, I leave this story pulling for Gangbuster to prove him wrong.

Very solid story… and, another where the “action” serves as more of a back-drop to establishing the tone and tenor of this new-look Metropolis.

Tomorrow: Kazaam!

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