A Detailed Examination Of One Of The Most Ridiculous Supervillain Heists Of All Time
So the other day, I thought I'd dust off Legends and escape into the fantasy world of comics with a story where a demagogue uses his celebrity as a platform to turn average Americans against each other and even uses the office of the Presidency to nearly destroy the world by spreading hate. You know, fun-time silly superhero stuff.
But mixed in there with the main plot was something that I'd forgotten from the last time I've read it: A scene that is quite possibly the single most ridiculous supervillain crime I have ever seen in my life. And for me, that's saying something.
If you've never read it, John Ostrander, Len Wein, John Byrne, and Karl Kesel's Legends was the first big DC "event" after Crisis, and is mostly historically notable for technically being the origin story for both the Justice League International and the Suicide Squad, albeit one that's not really necessary to read either of those books.
The plot focuses on Darkseid and an attempt to destroy Earth's heroes by turning the public against the very concept of heroism, sending Glorious Godfrey down in the guise of "G. Gordon Godfrey" --- quite possibly the least subtle supervillain name since Turner D. Century --- to make speeches about how the superheroes are the real problem and how the common man needs to rise up. It's the kind of rhetoric that might seem a little familiar, even thirty years later.
By the fourth issue of the series, the President has even issued an executive order forbidding superheroes from, well, being superheroes. The only problem is that even if the good guys are obeying the law and taking a few weeks off while this whole thing gets sorted out, the villains aren't really motivated to do the same, leading to a crime wave that the heroes pretty much have to step up and stop.
Which bring us to Chronos, the first annual Chicago Antique Clock Convention, and a complicated heist that is Batman '66 level bonkers.
We're going to have to go through this step-by-step, because it is a sequence of events that defies all attempts at logic. So here's Step 1: Send a bikini lady into Clock Con. And really, this makes the most sense of anything that's about to happen.
I mean, for better or worse, it does work as a distraction, right? Clock Con seems to be a slightly more formal affair than most conventions in our trade, and the stuffy old dudes who have gathered to talk timepieces over champagne are certainly intrigued. So intrigued, in fact, that they decide to just gather around her as close as possible, because apparently they are just a bunch of Clock Creeps. And that... is their first mistake.
Which brings us to Step 2: Bong!
By which I mean, the bikini lady lets out ultrasonic church bell noises in order to disorient, deafen, and debilitate the Clock Creeps. Which, you know, is something she could've done without wandering over in a bikini, but what is a supervillain heist plan if it's not over-complicated and flashy?
At this point, it's time to reveal the true villain of the piece, and for those of you who had your money on Clock King, I've got some bad news. It's actually Chronos --- Time Thief!
I love this guy, because he became obsessed with clocks and timing and decided that would be the best outfit to convey that idea. Toe to tip, that's the concept of time.
Anyway, Chronos makes his dramatic entrance, announcing himself to his victims, which seems a little counterproductive considering that he has just had them deafened and rendered unconscious by church bells. And that's when we get the big reveal that the bikini lady is not actually a bikini lady at all. She's a bikini lady robot, and her name is Tikki.
And she is also designed with a special lower abdomen cargo bay to carry crime accessories.
Now, at this point, there are a lot of interesting choices to be made here. Since Chronos is just waiting outside the window in costume on a flying sundial, it's apparent that he could've just, you know, blasted them with church bells from outside, and that Tikki isn't strictly necessary to the plan. "But," you might think, "maybe he's going to use her cargo tummy to transport one of the more valuable clocks from the convention floor?"
He will not. Instead, she's bringing in Step 3: The Inflatable Custom Clock Shelf.
This, for me, is where this heist went into the tier of complete ludicrousness on par with the Joker's moon crimes. Like, he has a custom-made inflatable clock shelf that is designed specifically for the clocks he is stealing. Where do you even get that?! Who made this?! How do you even inflate it? Did Tikki have a helium tank in there, too?
Also, I don't want to get too far ahead of myself here, but check out the window through which Chronos makes his entrance and his escape:
Even if you can fit the inflatable clock shelf through that window -- and I have my doubts -- Chronos's dedication to time imagery means that it's definitely not going to fit on that flying sundial! What is he going to do with that stuff?! Where is he going to take it?!
Anyway, Step 4: Blow up Tikki to kill any meddling superheroes.
See, she's full of gears because she's a clockwork robot --- get it? --- and these will form the shrapnel that will... well, that will completely fail to kill Blue Beetle, which I think we can all agree is probably a lot easier than killing the Atom, Chronos's traditional arch-nemesis.
Which, in turn, brings us to Step 4: Leave, without the clocks, the inflatable custom-made clock shelf, the robot bikini lady, or any significant advantage. Seriously. Dude just dips, having accomplished zero things.
And that, I think is what makes this ridiculously complicated plan stick out, even in a genre that's stocked to the gills with needlessly byzantine deathtraps and complicated schemes. For all its moving parts --- ha-ha! --- this thing doesn't even come close to working! It's doomed from jump street!