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Old August 30th, 2011   Lorendiac is offline   #1
Neo Geoffan

joined: Oct 2005
Posts: 332

Default How often do smart DC villains come up with really bad plans?

I'm wondering -- what are the most memorable times that a supervillain, supposedly a clever one, has come up with some elaborate plan which had a huge flaw in it that he didn't even notice at the time?

I don't just mean "my plan failed because Superman showed up." I mean some fundamental flaw that meant the plan probably would have failed anyway, somewhere along the line, even if no superheroes had derailed it by doing something the supervillain wasn't ready to counter as fast as it happened!

I'd prefer to restrict this thread to DC-related stuff. (That includes old stories originally published at Milestone, Wildstorm, Fawcett, Quality, etc.) I'll probably start a parallel thread about memorable cases of Bad Master Plans in the Marvel Universe at some later date.

I'll provide an example which I mentioned in another thread yesterday. It was what got me thinking about a case where a supposedly-clever bad guy "really should have known better."

Way, way back in "Batman #276," published in the 1970s, The Spook (Val Kaliban) labored hard to set Batman up and make him think he was guilty of murdering . . . The Spook.

As I understand it from what I've read --, for instance -- the following checklist covers the way things were supposed to happen (but didn't) once The Spook set his "master plan" in motion:

1. Goad Batman verbally and use "subliminal messages" to get him to completely lose his temper and hit Spook really, really hard.

2. The Spook "drops dead." Thanks to his studies in India, he can reduce his vital signs to a point of "suspended animation" such that he appears dead if someone grabs his wrist and tries to find a pulse.

3. Batman, after failing to find that pulse, becomes convinced that he's gone over the line and murdered one of his enemies. (Or at least committed unpremeditated "manslaughter," I suppose?) Shocked by his own behavior, he abandons the role of Batman forever.

4. The Spook's death is officially confirmed. He gets a funeral and is buried in a graveyard. (After all, if the body disappeared an hour after Batman "killed" the guy, then Batman just might smell a rat.)

5. Weeks later, after Batman ought to be psychologically broken, The Spook wakes up from his "near-death" trance, somehow escapes from the buried coffin (perhaps henchmen have been paid in advance to excavate him?), and now he can have a blast in a world where Batman is no longer active. (My guess is that he would have abandoned the identity of "The Spook," however, so that Batman would never realize he'd been conned!)

Of course that plan never worked out in practice -- they didn't even make it as far as Step #2. Batman figured out what was happening and "dropped dead" himself (apparently using similar highly developed abilities of mind over matter to slow his vital signs to imperceptible levels). The Spook, furious at being cheated of his intended victory, started ranting and raving about how it was supposed to have gone!

The really funny thing is Step #5 in that plan couldn't have worked anyway, even if all the rest of it did!

The Spook's "brilliant" plan overlooked one important point. In the modern world, when a man's "corpse" is found, and the police have reason to suspect foul play, they have a Medical Examiner do a full autopsy on that corpse. Slice open the torso, start removing vital organs, examine each organ for signs of poison or disease or anything else which might conceivably be relevant to answering such questions as how and when and why this person dropped dead.

It would serve The Spook right if he had died on the dissection table under a pathologist's scalpel.

Even if his death were written off to "natural causes" or "accident" or something, a mortician probably would have set up his equipment to pump embalming fluid into "the late Val Kaliban's" veins before they buried him in a local cemetery, though. That could also be fatal!

So any way you look at it, The Spook's plan was doomed to fail, at least where the part about his living long enough to gloat about the destruction of Batman was concerned! He should thank his lucky stars that Batman derailed the plan at an early stage!
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