Fri
May 25 2012 10:00am

Five Super Villain Schemes So Crazy They Might Just Be Crazy

Five Super Villain Schemes So Crazy They Might Just Be Crazy

In the first Austin Powers film, Doctor Evil’s demand of one million dollars comes across as hilariously absurd, not only because he doesn’t understand economic inflation, but because we’re all used to super villains acting like idiots. The underrated animated film Despicable Me further illustrates this tendency by having the plot of the movie center on the attempt to steal the Moon. But what about supposedly serious, or at least not intentionally spoofy villains with awful plans? Can we chalk up complications and ridiculousness to insanity? Perhaps. In the case of Khan in The Wrath of Khan or the Joker in pretty much every incarnation, the insanity plea is a good explanation for super villain plans being totally bonkers.

But there are some super villains who actually seem at least a little bit sane, and still somehow manage to enact schemes that are flawed to the point of being silly. Here are five of the most absurd super villain schemes, complete with my advice on what these big baddies should have done instead.

(Spoilers for some stuff below.)

 

5.  Palpatine Foresees... Unnecessary Complications

Five Super Villain Schemes So Crazy They Might Just Be Crazy

Though bashing the Star Wars prequels will provide endless entertainment for eons, we can always find solace in the wonderful performances from Ian McDarmind as Palpatine. And yet, Palps has done some awful, awful scheming throughout his entire career. The creation of a fake war in which he controls both sides seems like a reasonable enough way to obtain power at first. But he’s so obvious about it to the point of being sloppy. Palpatine also puts himself at a huge disadvange by keeping up with the Sith Rule of Two. Converting Anakin was, in the end, not that hard, so why not do it with like 12 or 20 Jedi? Palpatine already sort of breaks the Rule of Two by courting both Dooku and Anakin at the same time. Plus, there’s no way Palpatine just randomly met Dooku the second Darth Maul died — he was probably texting with that guy too!

The point is, Palpatine sneaks around too much in order to get what he wants, which creates too many secrets and lies. There are a million things wrong with his manipulation of the Trade Federation, but the biggest problem is loose ends. If he was more up-front with his Evil Empire from the get-go, he could employ a bunch of Dark Jedi and manage the thing like a corporation. He wouldn’t have to de-centralize his power to do this. If he claims he kept it down to the Rule of Two because he was really worried about his cronies ganging up on him well, that actually ended up happening. With one guy.

 

4. Voldemort’s Convoluted Cup

Five Super Villain Schemes So Crazy They Might Just Be Crazy

One of the strengths of the early Harry Potter novels was Rowling’s ability to throw in a massive twist at the end. The kindly Professor Quirrell has a freaky face growing out of the back of his head. Tom Riddle is Voldemort. Harry’s father was friends with this Sirius Black guy who was locked up in Azkaban and the guy is actually Harry’s godfather. And by The Goblet of Fire, we learn in the end that the Goblet Triwizard Cup itself was just a portkey to transport Harry Potter to a creepy graveyard where Voldemort snags some blood in order to be completely reborn.

Again: the entire point of everything Harry does is simply designed to trick him into touching a thing that teleports him somewhere. Is this really the best plan Voldemort could come up with? Why not turn Harry’s toothbrush into a portkey and just teleport him to the creepy graveyard right at the beginning of the book? Also, if he needs Harry’s blood, does he really need to have Harry present? Couldn’t Voldemort get one of his many spies to infiltrate Hogwarts and prick Harry with a pin? Better yet, send Malfoy to punch him in the nose, (which happens all the time anyway) and just get the blood from the resulting bloody nose. This would arouse zero suspicion from the staff at Hogwarts, and get Voldemort the blood he needs to come back to life. Hexing the Goblet of Fire Triwizard Cup seems pretty complicated when all you really needed to do was make Malfoy punch Harry in the face.

 

3. Goldfinger Misunderstands the Economy

Five Super Villain Schemes So Crazy They Might Just Be Crazy

With the aid of a lot of sexy pilots, supervillan Goldfinger plans to gas all the guards around Fort Knox, sneak in, and then set off a nuclear pulse, which will irradiate the main supply of gold in the United States. Called “Operation Grand Slam,” Goldfinger’s plot is one of monopoly; once the gold in Fort Knox is radioactive, it will make his giant supply of gold inherently more valuable, meaning the U.S. and other nations will have to do his bidding. The only problem here is the U.S. wasn’t technically on a strict gold standard in 1964, and by 1969, President Nixon ended it permanently.

This isn’t to say gold didn’t have value or at least partially backed the dollar, just that the U.S. economy wasn’t as reliant upon gold as Goldfinger seemed to think. The U.K., Bond’s country of origin, also vacillated for years after WWII about returning to the gold standard (perhaps they anticipated Goldfinger?) and around the globe alternative monetary systems were being created left and right, the most well-known being the IMF. The point is simple: the United States has never had a problem of going into massive debt in order to get what it wants. So, if Goldfinger had been successful in his plan (which involved gassing a bunch of people!) the American government would have likely sent out every conceivable assassin to kill him, and continued to base their economic exploits on what every western nation is really worried about — oil.

In this way, Bond super villain Elektra King from The World is Not Enough had the right idea: forget the gold; control the oil. Fake ecologist Dominic Greene from The Quantum of Solace was also all about oil, even homaging Goldfinger’s style of execution with the substance. Obviously Goldfinger is a much cooler Bond film than either The World is Not Enough or Quantum of Solace, but in those two, the super villains have their shit together. Goldfinger doesn’t.

 

2. All of Megatron’s attempts to steal natural resources

Five Super Villain Schemes So Crazy They Might Just Be Crazy

In the early episodes of The Transformers most of the conflicts revolve around Megatron’s attempts to get natural resources and convert said resources into Energon Cubes. The Decepticons always seem to be running low on Energon, presumably because their base is underwater, and they waste a lot of power because they’re greedy bad guys. Why the Autobots seem okay on Energon in the early episodes isn’t clear, but I suppose we can infer it has something to do with having their base inside of a volcano. (The conversion of lava to Energon seems likely enough.)

But Megatron is always raiding army bases or digging into the Earth’s crust for oil to get what he wants. Most of his targets are seemingly small potatoes and almost always within DRIVING DISTANCE of the Autobot’s hangout. In later seasons, all of the Transformers would randomly be able to fly, but in the early episodes, only the Decepticons could fly. This is important because Optimus Prime has to use a jetpack in certain episodes, and the introduction of the aerialbots is a big deal. The point is, the Decepticons have the advantage of flight, and the Autobots do not. They could have been flying around the globe, stealing various resources, while the Autobots were stuck dealing with 80s travel agents.

Further, there aren’t very many powerful transforming robots on Earth, putting the Decepticons in a unique bargaining position. What about legitimate negotiations? Megatron doesn’t actually have to fire his giant death ray in order to get what he wants; the simple fact that he and all of his friends have death rays is enough to get most nations talking. The Decepticons biggest mistake: try diplomacy.

 

1. The League of Shadows Drives a Crazy Train

Five Super Villain Schemes So Crazy They Might Just Be Crazy

Though technically extreme vigilantes, Ra’s al Ghul and the League of Shadows get the award for All Time Most Unnecessarily Convoluted, Ridiculously Silly Super Villain Scheme. The climax of Batman Begins essentially boils down to Batman trying to prevent a train getting all the way to Wayne Tower in the center of Gotham City. On the train is a microwave transmitter thingamabob, which will vaporize the crazy looney-serum in the city’s water supply, turning everyone into a maniac. When this happens, the League will sit back as “Gotham tears itself apart.”

Now. This seems pretty silly for a lot of reasons. First, the notion of an entire city suddenly turning into homicidal maniacs and killing each other will look pretty suspicious to any outside entity. The FBI or the NSA or somebody is going to look into that. Which seems contrary to the very concept of the League of Shadows being super clandestine. There is nothing clandestine about unleashing unnaturally occuring crazy-town gas on a bunch of people. Even after Scarecrow declares a few test-subjects insane, people start to get suspicious. A whole city? Furthermore, why not just manufacture a version of the toxin that is already airborne? At least this would take out one complicated part of the plan: the driving of the train with the magic stolen transmitter.

Then, Ra’s al Ghul betrays even more dumbness when he reveals to Bruce that the League of Shadows has destroyed Gotham a few times before. Once with FIRE and another time with an ECONOMIC DEPRESSION. Both of these sound like pretty good plans to me, and it seems like all the ninjas are really good at setting fires. (They burn down Wayne Manor!) Fires happen all the time and are hard to trace, also, cheap to manufacture. Sure, there is no guarantee of permanent success, but this whole drive a train to set off crazy-gas scenario has even more variables than saying “Ninjas! Burn everything you see!”

 

What do you think readers? I am wrong? Are all of these super baddies actually smart? Who has even WORSE schemes?


Ryan Britt is the staff writer for Tor.com. He is plotting his own destruction right now.

38 comments
StrongDreams
1. StrongDreams
re Goblet of Fire,
Not to mention that Barty Crouch, in the guise of Mad-Eye Moody, actually teaches Harry some really useful DADA stuff, including how to withstand the cruciatus and imperious curses.
StrongDreams
2. braak
Well, I don't know that the Batman Begins plot is as bad as all that. In the first place, they said they tried to destroy Gotham with an economic depression, but it didn't work -- and Gotham is still around, so presumably the fire plan didn't work either. The collapse of a major city would look pretty bad to the FBI, but wouldn't they start investigating Wayne Industries first? And wouldn't a city that had undergone a massive civic collapse be pretty hard to investigate?

Likewise, just manufacture a version of the drug that worked in the air is a good idea, except there's no reason in the movie to think that it's possible; they make it pretty clear that the aerosolized hallucinogen is the best they could do.

Of course, this does raise the question as to why it is that they use the microwave transmitter, the evaporated water takes the hallucinogen with it, instead of leaving it crusted on the inside of the pipes the way that evaporation always does. (I guess maybe the plan was less to evaporate all the water and more to increase the pressure in the pipes so much that the pipes burst and sprayed the poison everywhere, maybe?)
StrongDreams
3. mndrew
Obviously, these dudes are all rogues operating alone as they are. One of the primary rules of the Evil League of Evil membership is reading the Evil Overlords Handbook.
StrongDreams
4. Gundato
Regarding Palps and the Sith:
The Rule of Two spawned from back when the sith empire were largely sith/dark jedi. And they were incompetent because it was an army based on "individuality" and "being a dick".
So lots of in-fighting. The Rule of Two was meant to focus that in-fighting: Apprentice would try to take down Master, but only once Apprentice felt they were ready. If the Master felt the Apprentice sucked, the Master would get a new Apprentice, that the Apprentice would either kill or be killed by.

And, of course, it gets into a grey area regarding Dark Jedi VS Sith. Apparently there were a lot of Dark Jedi, but very few Sith. The big difference is usually portrayed in terms of skill and ability: the Dark Jedi is like pre-RotJ Luke, a guy who can use the force to be much more deadly/persuasive, but that is still largely a footsoldier.


Regarding Ras:
Ignoring the stupidity of the delivery mechanism (agreed, he should have just hired a crop duster), I think he was assuming/planning on destroying the evidence in the chaos. So while the authorities would be like "what the crap?" regarding the crazies, they wouldn't find anything concrete.
And if Ras had torched Gotham before, clearly torching it again won't fix things. But a city where everyone went batpoop crazy? That will send a message.
Also, look at the news: People unite when they see a tragedy (fire). They grow apathetic when they see rioters ("They did it to themselves").
StrongDreams
5. Rese
Hexing the Goblet of Fire seems pretty complicated when all you really needed to do was make Malfoy punch Harry in the face.

Voldemort: "Oh yea. Didn't think of that."
StrongDreams
6. Lsana
Voldemort's plan in Goblet of Fire always struck me as beyond stupid. Putting Barty Crouch in Hogwarts as an infiltrator was a great idea, but past that, he seemed to want to do things in the most complicated way possible. A better plan would have been to have Crouch say, "Harry, do you mind staying after class for a moment to discuss your essay?", thwack Harry over the head the second they're alone, then take portkey to graveyard. Plan can then procede as before. No need to get Triwizard judges or dragons or mermaids involved.
StrongDreams
7. kodermike
Wait, hold up, back the train down a dark alley - Megatron makes thisl ist, but Cobra Commander doesn't even rank? Destro? Hello?
Neil Sood
8. RanchoUnicorno
To jump on the Goblet bandwagon, my issue is also with the who Mad-Eye plot. I get why he wanted Harry at the graveyard - the later books point out that he wanted to kill Harry as his first act - but I don't see the value in how his mole was deployed.

Crouch's efforts to teach Harry and the other students advanced DADA effectively and not make any effort to harm him undermined the thought that he was in Voldemort's employ. The previous entries in the series were really good about planting clues as to the nature of the surprise, and did so logically. Here, there were clues as to what happened, but no effort to make the actions of the bad guy make any sense.

As far as Ra's al Ghul, I'm just disappointed that he went with a villian plan exposition. Even Syndrome, who was smart enough not to totally fall for a monologue trap, failed there. I just would have expected better out of a League built on being, well, shadowy.

@7 - Then again, at least the G.I.Joe force was mobile and could get to wherever there's trouble. I'm not sure how easily you could secure transport for several large vehicles, sentient robots or not.
StrongDreams
9. a1ay
Goldfinger’s plot is one of monopoly; once the gold in Fort Knox is
radioactive, it will make his giant supply of gold inherently more
valuable, meaning the U.S. and other nations will have to do his
bidding.

The other problem with Goldfinger's plan is: why does it matter if no one can go near the gold without getting a Chernobyl suntan? If he'd had a grudge against General Motors and irradiated their stockpile of affordable four-door saloons, that'd be a problem. No one wants to drive a radioactive car. GM can't sell any cars, GM is in trouble.

But Fort Knox doesn't sell the gold. It just keeps it there. Even in a gold standard country, just because a pound note or a dollar bill is theoretically convertible into a certain amount of gold doesn't mean that people are routinely converting them. As long as the US government has enough gold to back its currency, it doesn't really matter whether it's accessible or not. Even if it had to sell the gold reserves, this wouldn't mean them leaving Fort Knox - they'd just get reassigned to the new owners with a file note saying "Gold bar #340550 no longer property of Federal Reserve; now property of Bundesbank as of 5/13/65". This could be done without anyone having to go near the gold. (Lots of central banks physically hold gold that belongs to someone else.)

Goldfinger's plan was to harm the US by irradiating something, but he managed to pick the only thing in the US that is completely unharmed by being irradiated. He'd have done more harm by setting the bomb off in Butte, Montana.
George Brell
10. gbrell
On the train is a microwave transmitter thingamabob, which will vaporize the crazy looney-serum in the city’s water supply, turning everyone into a maniac.

I always thought the bigger question was why the microwave-emitter wouldn't vaporize all of the water in the human body.
Paige Vest
11. paigevest
My only comment isn't about the poor planning on the part of villians but about the innacuracy on the HP bit. It was actually the Triwizard Cup that was a portkey, which was (part of) the prize in the Triwizard Tournament. The Goblet of Fire was just the magical object that chose the Champions to participate.

Not contributing to the convo, I know, but I had to point it out. My inability to let things like this go is something of an obsession... but I am seeking help.

Actually, no I'm not...

;o)
Ryan Britt
12. ryancbritt
@4 Good point about the rioters. That is totally valid. Actually would have been nice in the dialogue between Bruce and Ras.

Bruce: People will look into this Ras.

Ras: Have you seen the news, Mr. Wayne? The rioters did it to themselves.

You should be writing these scenes!

@7 I think Destro is clinically insane, so I gave him a break. :-)

@9 That is an awesome point. I like the idea of a Bond villain having a bunch of Chevys and then screwing over Ford or something.

@10 How right you are! In which case the gas wouldn't be needed. See ya Scarecrow!
Ian Johnson
14. IanPJohnson
I just think of Goblet of Fire as a movie about the Tenth Doctor murdering Edward Cullen.

It's the only possible way to get through that movie, honestly.
Chris Hawks
15. SaltManZ
The Decepticons weren't low on resources/energon themselves: Cybertron was, though. Megatron's goal was to accumulate enough energy to repair and refuel their ship and then bring enough back to repower Cybertron.
StrongDreams
16. Jrh402s
Hm, if we allow that #9 is true and the value of the gold would remain stable then we should have let Goldfinger do it! Who's going to rob Fort Knox of all it's irradiated gold?

Goldfinger would have made our gold supply more secure.
Lenny Bailes
17. lennyb
In addition to Austin Powers, you might want to look at Austin Grossman for memorable Supervillain schemes.
Joe Vondracek
18. joev
Well, I think all of this can be explained by Dr. Evil himself, whom you referenced in your first sentence...

Dr. Evil: All right guard, begin the unnecessarily slow-moving dipping mechanism. Close the tank!
Scott Evil: Wait, aren't you even going to watch them? They could get away!
Dr. Evil: No no no, I'm going to leave them alone and not actually witness them dying, I'm just gonna assume it all went to plan. What?
Scott Evil: I have a gun, in my room, you give me five seconds, I'll get it, I'll come back down here, BOOM, I'll blow their brains out!
Dr. Evil: Scott, you just don't get it, do ya? You don't.
StrongDreams
19. aspyre
I think you mean, see you Scarecrow in every Batman movie ever! Yay!

I still don't understand why Voldemort was too evil for shoes.
Lauren W
20. laurene135
@19.aspyre

Because he wanted to show off his villainous pedicure.
StrongDreams
21. nor3
As regards Harry Potter, I think the ritual in the graveyard itself was important. It's fairly clear in the HP universe that spells have to be done a certain way for the magic to work. Harry's Blood and Tom Riddle's bones and Wormtail's flesh have to come together in the right way to recreate a body for Voldemort.... "Having Malfoy punch him in the nose" probably wouldn't fit the bill.

Granted, they probably coulda just portkey'd his quill, or something. But maybe Voldemort was still hammering out the details of the spell.

And as for Mad-eye/Barty teaching them the tricks... Remember, he is a psychopath who's been locked in a tower with dementors for years on end. And you think it's odd that he performs unforgivable curses on children??
StrongDreams
22. valley butcher
First, yeah the Goblet of Fire plot was pretty ridiculous.
That being said, the problem with portkey-ing Harry's quill or toothbrush or something, is that I think only Dumbledore was capable of (dis)apparating while within the Hogwarts grounds. I assume this would apply to portkeys as well. So Harry had to be outside of the main grounds when he touched the portkey. Why they couldn't have simply portkey-ed a mug of butterbeer in Hogsmeade, I don't know. Did they ever go to Hogsmeade in that book?
StrongDreams
23. Subman
I'm surprised that Ra’s al Ghul and the League of Shadows didn't simply pour a cocktail of LSD, cocaine and heroin into the water supply at various reticulation points so the cocktail wouldn't get too diluted before it hit its victims. But then, they would face Captain Chaos' Dilemma - the CIA has (reputedly) already tried that out with LSD on an American city during the 50s or 60s.

A rather more lethal plan would be to re-route some of the (untreated) sewerage into the water supply while stopping water treatment for a week or so - e. coli would do unto Gotham City as e. coli would do. And it would have some unpleasant plausible deniability about it.

No wonder these super-villains are so easily taken down. All (frothy) mouth, no pants.
StrongDreams
24. Slaney
re Goblet: The whole point of entering Harry in the tournament was so that Voldemort could kill Harry and make it look like an accident (champions have been known to die in the past). He did not want the world to know of his return. If Harry - one of the most famous wizards alive - had just disappeared one day there would've been a huge inquiry, drawing a lot of unwanted attention. He did not want his enemies to have time to marshal against him.
StrongDreams
25. a1ay
Hm, if we allow that #9 is true and the value of the gold would remain
stable then we should have let Goldfinger do it! Who's going to rob
Fort Knox of all it's irradiated gold? Goldfinger would have made our gold supply more secure.

Very good point! (Best not to nuke Fort Knox even so, though.)

Also, of course, the gold wouldn't stay radioactive for very long. The longest-lived isotope of gold is Au-195, halflife of 186 days. In three years, the radiation level would have dropped to effectively nothing and the gold would be perfectly OK again.
Brian R
26. Mayhem
@25
You misunderstand - Goldfinger was going to detonate a nuclear device, burying most of the gold in contaminated fallout, not make the gold itself radioactive.

Of course, all the US would then have to do is quietly tunnel into the back of one of the vaults, slowly pull out some of the bars and decontaminate them. And then resell them on the open market.
"What, this gold? No, its all new. Our gold is all glowing in Fort Knox, remember. Honest. What do you mean you don't want to go take a look"
StrongDreams
27. drkmttr
Re: Palpatine-- Great post! The new Darth Plagueis book is useful here: 1) We learn that Palps had been courting Dooku and training Maul well before Anakin comes into the picture and that Plagueis (Palp's then master) planned to end the rule of two in favor of what he described as partnerships.

2) Palps doesn't convert Anakin as a child, because that's not how the Sith do things. They prefer to take on adults who have already been jaded by the world and have a predisposition to the dark side, and Palps (maybe brilliantly) lets the Jedi do all the heavy lifting through Anakin's teenage years.

3) Plagueis's original plan was not only to control the Galaxy, but also to turn the Galaxy against the Jedi so that even the "good citizens" would view them as a something like a vigilante terrorist group. That worked out fairly well.

All that said, Palps biggest error comes in Episode VI. He should have zapped either Luke or Vader from the start. Pick one and keep it moving!
StrongDreams
28. TommyO
Goldfinger was written in 1957, cut Auric, Fleming & the Broccoli's a little slack. The Gold Standard was solidly in place, circa 1957.
Jeremy Hanke
29. jlhanke
Ignoring a larger point on Megatron's schemes is that, in one of the first few episodes, he was able to construct a space bridge that magically and instantaneously transported any amount of mass of any kind through vast distances (Earth to Cybertron and back). The mechanics of the space bridge are never actually espoused on the show (for good reason - any explanation would have probably sounded dumb), so this is all speculation on my part. However, I would have to believe that it would take a TEENSY little bit of energy of SOME kind to power what essentially amounts to a teleportation device capable of moving mass at many times faster than the speed of light.

E = mc^2, remember? So, even assuming faster-than-light travel is possible because Einstein screwed up a bit (which, admittedly by any true scientist, is a possibility), it would require some kind of basically infinite source of energy to transport any mass at that speed. Or to create some type of wormhole or any other hand-wavy explanation you could come up with.

So, the question here is this: if you have access to enough energy to make a working space bridge, couldn't you just take said energy source back to Cybertron and use that? Just saying....
StrongDreams
30. StrongDreams
"He should have zapped either Luke or Vader from the start."

Back when RotS was fresh, I remember picking up a copy of the novelization in a store and reading some of the back pages. There was a statement that Vader/Annakin was mostly cut off from the force since his body was mostly no longer alive. He only had a fraction of his potential power and could never live up to the prophecy. So I always assumed that in RotJ the Emporer specifically wanted Luke, not Vader, but he had to play on Luke's fear and hatred of Vader and what he stood for (including fear of becoming like him) to get Luke to take the final step of killing him. If Palpatine had simply killed Vader himself, he would no longer have any leverage over Luke. Palpatine would never be a personal threat to Luke's soul in the way that his fallen father was.

@29,
SF is full of wormhole and other FTL methods that take no or very little power, you just need to know the "trick" that hasn't been discovered yet.

@28,
The Gold Standard was solidly in place, circa 1957.
Yet even then, gold was rarely physically moved from country to country. Even now, US reserve banks hold a large (and largely unknown) supply of gold owned by other countries. We're just safer and more trustworthy than leaving it at home or trying to move it around. #9's point is still perfectly valid (not to mention the relative ease of cleaning off a surface layer of contaminating fallout per #26).

@24, most certainly HP magic must be done in the right way, and I'm perfectly fine with needing to transport Harry to a certain graveyard on a predetermined date, and even needing to get Harry outside the grounds to do it. What makes no sense is for Barty to spend 9 months teaching Harry to be a better wizard. There are a half-dozen ways to get Harry to the graveyard on time that would not have required Barty to impersonate a teacher and do a good job at teaching to avoid raising suspicions.
StrongDreams
31. keeks
I haven't read HP-Goblet in a while, but didn't the real Mad-Eye begin the term (when he taught them useful anti-evilosity spells), and was kidnapped and replaced sometime later? Or maybe that's the way I remember it so that it made sense to me at the time I was reading.
StrongDreams
32. StrongDreams
@29, according to the ever-reliable Wikipedia, Crouch subdued and kidnapped Moody before the start of the term.
J Bizzle
33. wolfkin
I was set to call you wrong with the Batman one until you pointed out
Then, Ra’s al Ghul betrays even more dumbness when he reveals to Bruce that the League of Shadows has destroyed Gotham a few times before. Once with FIRE and another time with an ECONOMIC DEPRESSION. Both of these sound like pretty good plans to me, and it seems like all the ninjas are really good at setting fires. (They burn down Wayne Manor!) Fires happen all the time and are hard to trace, also, cheap to manufacture. Sure, there is no guarantee of permanent success, but this whole drive a train to set off crazy-gas scenario has even more variables than saying “Ninjas! Burn everything you see!”
That's actually a good point. As much as I can support that sure NSA and FBI would investigate by the time they get thru to the city it's already gone. Mission Accomplished and it's entirely possible this drug is undetectable so it could just turn Gotham into a ghost story. BUUUT as you point out. If they were able to do it with Fire and Depression in the past why change what works? I would change my mind if they really pulled a NML and said we're doing X and Y and the result will be that Gotham is cut off from the outside world for 2 weeks while the gas is on. THEN it would make more sense.
StrongDreams
34. Morganne
Regarding the Harry Potter thing, I think that given what we know of Voldemort's character, i.e.- intelligent, sneaky, arrogant, with a GINORMOUS chip on his shoulder where not only does he want to beat everyone else, but he wants to show how much smarter he is than everyone else and especially Dumbledore. This kind of character has a tendency to make more convoluted and subtle plans with grand gestures in them that he can pull off and then later go "Ha ha i did it right under your nose. I took someone you trusted and put my own guy in and you had no idea and then I took your hero right in front of everyone with the Triwizard Tournament, brought myself back, and then killed him with my own hands! I am smarter than you, Dumbledore! I am smarter than all of you!!!" This leads to plans with a higher chance for failure. And in the book, Barty Crouch keeps having to troubleshoot to get Harry to the point where Voldemort wants him. While Voldemort is intelligent enough to make sneaky plans and to do a lot of badness, Dumbledore's true seeing of him and Harry Potter's survival poked his ego in a negative way which in him like most people is the "act stupid button." So every time it comes to a plan regarding them he wants Dumbledore to know what's happening to him and he wants to be hands on with Harry to correct the earlier failure and he wants to make it flashy to show how good he is to himself and his flunkies. He wants to gloat and relive these successes forever, so the bigger they are the more of an ongoing egostroke it is. Also, as to why did he choose the Triwizard cup as a portkey? Same thing. Ego. As Dumbledore explained about the Horcruxes so it applies to the cup as portkey.

So, the reason the flawed hero beats the flawed villian is because the flawed villian is too busy trying to show how awesome he is to see his shortcomings whereas the flawed hero keeps getting smacked in the face with his.
StrongDreams
35. Shaman
I want to make corrections to the one about Gotham. It is not the case that they destroyed Gotham before. One guy mentioned half of this but there is another correction. Go back to Ra's' conversation with Bruce and he says "We sacked Rome, loaded trade ships with plague rats, burnt London to the ground". Then he goes on to say that they TRIED economics with Gotham, but economics is far harder to control and they underestimated it and "certain of Gotham's citizens".

A city as modern as Gotham and ours today is not one so easily burnt. An ancient order of vigilantes were perhaps stupid enough not to try this with massive bombs, but that requires a whole lot of money and manufacturing and other tools they don't have (planes, etc), which attracts a lot of attention. The League wants to remain unnoticed, which means their options are far fewer and far harder.

As for the evaporation thing, one guy did mention that it wouldn't really make sense for the transmitter to project the poison in the air, but even natural evaporation has been known to pick up small fish and frogs in extreme cases; the substance is probably as light as water. As for bursting humans apart...I often wondered that myself when I first saw it and completely forgot about it. I guess that is a problem and makes it a very frightening weapon indeed.
StrongDreams
36. Shaman
So what I meant by the quote I put there is that they never tried burning Gotham; it was London they tried burning.

Also the poison just induces mass panic - it doesn't turn them into homicidal maniacs. It's just that the League released all the maniacs into the Narrows as well. Crane used his poison to create false evidence that Falcone's gang members were maniacs (and some actually were) so that they could all be gathered in Arkham Asylum to help make the poison and be ready for release by the League. For the bunch of them that are already homocidal - and would kill at the drop of a hat - just imagine the danger they pose when induced with fearful hallucinations. It only takes a few people to cross the line by killing (and homocidal maniacs on psychopathic hallucinogens are a pretty good bet) to cause everyone else to believe they have to do that to survive. It's got a really scary question there about what we are willing to sacrifice and the plan has more merit to it than you think.
StrongDreams
37. andrewrm
Worth pointing out re: Batman Begins, that the point is not only to destroy the city, but also to do it in such a way that proves the point of the League of Shadows is trying to make.

They claim to be a balancing force, compensating when civilizations become too decadent and begin eating themselves alive. So the point of the fear toxin is to make that metaphor literal, that the city is literally gone mad and is tearing itself apart (the depression and the massive disparity between rich and poor being the metaphorical demonstration of this).
James Glendinning
38. slephoto
Dominic Greene wasn't about oil. That was a cover for the FAR more valuable resource he was after... water.

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