REVIEW: End of Month Reviews #50 - February 2008 [spoilers]

Martin Phipps martinphipps2 at
Thu Mar 20 11:21:25 PDT 2008

On Mar 20, 1:10 pm, Saxon Brenton <saxonbren... at> wrote:

> Superfreaks Season 3 #13
> 'The Sex Files'
> A Superfreaks [Superfreaks] series
> by Martin Phipps
>      One thought that occurs to me as I type this:  In real life,
> advances in technology mean a type of 'arms race' between lateral
> thinking criminals exploiting new opportunities and the cops and
> legislators trying to keep up.  For our purposes superhuman powers
> acts as a technology substitute.  Now, while the basic principles of
> detective work would remain the same (keep collecting evidence until
> you have enough to prove the crime) the police should logically be
> using both new techniques and technology as it becomes available to
> them, as well as trying to come up with new methodologies to deal with
> new and ever more esoteric types of crime.  For example, perhaps the
> Pepperton should have been making tentative steps to see what use
> supertech would have been in their investigations.  Moreover, now the
> entire alien civilisations (rather than just lone survivors, like
> Extreme) have made contact with Earth, they should also be expressing
> interest in extraterrestrial policing methods.
>      I'm of two minds about the fact that we haven't seen anything like
> that so far.

You got me.  The issue of future tech was delt with in Season 2 #'s
16-17 but I haven't delt with alien technologogy other than to have
Detective King warn the Dullkins to be careful about introducing to
Earth technology that could potentially be weaponized.

> On the one hand, it is a bit shortfall for a series that
> prides itself on making extrapolations of how policing in a superhero
> universe might work.  On the other hand, _Superfreaks_ can be
> interpreted as a 'hard science fiction' universe, by which I mean it
> *is* more interested in the logical extrapolations, rather than, say,
> making up technobabble to act as a plot hole filler ala Star Trek.  
> Just as it is extremely difficult for a writer to convincingly present
> a direct depiction of a super intelligent person, it would be difficult
> to convincingly present a direct depiction of advanced policing methods.  
> One would probably need to have (or have access to a consultant who has)
> a background in the subject to pull it off.  Still, it should be
> possible to hint at it obliquely, especially if it involves members
> of the Pepperton police department arguing about the relative merits
> of untested equipment.

Oh that happens on actual forensic shows.  One CSI episode had CSIs
using a "sniffer": a combination vacuum cleaner and sensor that could
be used to detect things like perfumes, drugs or explosives.  The
question of reliability came up: if you use a device to detect
something at the scene then don't you also have to collect samples
that you can take back to the lab to test under more controlled
conditions?  The answer is "Yes" because catching the criminal is only
have the job: you also have to provide reliable evidence that can be
presented in court.  But in the episode in question they were able to
identify a suspect based on her perfume and the question of whether or
not such evidence would stand up in court turned out to be moot
because the suspect ended up confessing.  Yes, the suspects on CSI
_always_ confess when confronted by the detectives so that the case
can be considered solved; the suspects on Law and Order _never_
confess when confronted by the detectives so that the lawyers can then
get involved.  It's almost as if the suspects know which show they are
on. :)


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