Star Wars: Return of the Justifications

Welcome to the first installment of Star Wars: Return of the Justifications!  So what exactly is this series all about?  Well several years ago I had the good fortune to be a part of a Star Wars-themed podcast called VaderCast.  It was my first experience in podcasting and in many ways influenced me to keep at it until I was even producing podcasts of my own.  Tim Kennedy, who founded VaderCast, thought highly enough of a peculiar habit of mine to justify elements of the Star Wars saga that were not adequately explored on screen to ask me to share some of them on episodes of the show.  Many were aired during teh show's run but some were recorded in "lost episodes" while still others had yet to be thought up by me.  In this series I will share all of the justifications I have come up with over the years.  Future articles will not have this much background information of course, so they will be more to the point.  

A Long Time Ago...

Back in the summer of 1977 I was going on 12 years old and had one of those life-defining moments.  I saw Star Wars for the first time!  From that moment forward I was fairly constantly thinking about the movie, its characters, and all that was presented in that fertile universe of George Lucas’ creation which had only just begun to be explored.  The depth of possibilities presented within each of the first three films gave my mind plenty to mull over during the years that followed each installment and preceded the prequels. 

When you think too much about the content of each film as I had done from the outset,  you find yourself seeking to reconcile some of the questions, problems, and little inconsistencies that can be found.  With three years between the original trilogy films there were bound to be aspects of the later plotlines that did not seem to jibe with what had come before.  Or things that did not, on the surface, make sense.  Without realizing it I had spent years trying to work out these cinematic puzzles but without ever seeking any answers.  That is until the day I expressed my thoughts on one sequence from Return of the Jedi to my friend Steve. 

I am speaking of the ground battle in Return of the Jedi (which had been described to us by a comic shop employee in 1983 as, “the battle of the Teddy bears vs. the Stermtroopers”) and specifically the Ewok war machine.  I have often referred to this as the “Swiss Family Robinson –style” ordinance that the fuzzy little denizens of Endor’s moon brought to bear when they joined the Rebel assault.  Perhaps because the Scout Walker fouling log roll reminded me so much of the similar use of felled trees in the aforementioned Walt Disney picture, the primitive heavy weaponry of the Ewoks always struck me as a bit silly.  To reconcile this in my mind I had always imagined that perhaps the Rebels helped the Ewoks in the construction of their various log traps.  Steve, however, had a better justification which would in turn set me on the path of justifying all such curiosities within the Star Wars Saga.

Before I share his justification, the only one in this series for which I cannot take personal credit, I want to say that every one that follows this one as the series progresses was inspired by the first.  Prior to this I had never considered trying to work out a logical explanation for some aspects of the films that beg for such explanations.  Steve, inadvertently, challenged me to explore the minutia of the Star Wars saga and provide fill in any blanks I found.  And now, the one that started it all (with a little further extrapolation on my part)…

Short Help is Better Than No Help at All

The various log traps, catapults, and other simple technologies that the Ewok tribe brought to bear when aiding the Rebellion were not something new to them, or indeed the Imperial occupation force.  By the time Luke, Leia, Han, and company arrived on the moon’s surface the Empire had established a growing presence in the forest.  It is not much of a stretch to imagine that an initial landing team had broken ground on the shield generator and landing platform some years earlier.  During those years the presence of Stormtroopers, engineers, technicians, and heavy equipment would not have escaped the attention of the nearby village of Ewoks.  Nor would it have failed to raise their collective ire!

Prior to the arrival of the Rebel detachment the Ewoks would have waged a fruitless guerilla war against the superior forces of the Empire.  At first an annoyance, the conflict would undoubtedly have escalated over time.  Initially the primitive Ewoks would have served to monkey wrench the construction phase of the operation by stealing or destroying equipment and supplies.  When troops were brought in to guard the facilities the occasional soldier would have fallen to an Ewok assault, though the impact would be minimal. 

Swiss Family Romba 

To stave off such attacks it would become necessary for the Imperial garrison to dispatch Biker Scouts to patrol their territorial holdings.  An AT-AT and several AT-ST walkers were also deployed to illustrate the technological superiority of the invaders.  Such actions would have been interpreted by the local villagers as a prelude to a further encroachment into their lands and the potential destruction of their arboreal homesteads.  Traps and destructive weaponry was then quietly built and amassed in the perimeters of their remaining territory.  This would have been a defensive move on the part of the Ewoks as the Empire would have long since shown them the futility of offensive measures.  Should the enemy forces threaten the village itself, at least their advance could be slowed considerably buying time for evacuation.

Once the Ewoks began to keep to themselves the Imperial Forces would have been content to let the savages remain undisturbed.  The moon of Endor served but one strategic purpose, a remote location to house the shield generator protecting the building and deployment of Death Stars.  There was no need to wrest control of the balance of the hemisphere, all that was needed for the business at hand had been achieved.  The indigenous population, posing no real threat to operations, could then simply be ignored.  There were certainly more pressing matters to attend to above the moon.  This would have left the garrison commander a bit confused when troops began to be massed at the base, but this action was likely dismissed at a precursor to the completion of the Death Star.  Like its predecessor it would be home to thousands of troops, officers, technicians, and other personnel once operational. 

Humans Ain't So Bad

Then came the Rebel assault team!  Their intelligence of the Imperial base extended only as far as its location and purpose.  No one would have thought to explore the contingency of an indigenous population or the possibility of recruiting them to the cause of eliminating the latest terror weapon in the Imperial arsenal.  The command team’s unexpected capture by the Ewoks was a happy accident for both parties.  The Rebels gained native guides to aid their attack strategy as well as bolster their forces when they were confronted with a larger troop presence than expected.  The disadvantages of the Ewoks’ defensive measures were greatly offset by the laser weaponry and tactical expertise of their new allies.  And undoubtedly their resolve to join the conflict was enhanced by the presence of a manifestation of their deity.

So the wood-based weaponry that was instrumental in the downfall of the Galactic Empire had long been in place long before it was utilized to its full effect.  What seemed to the Imperial commanders as little more than the posturing of primitives would usher in their doom.  Albeit with considerable assistance from human allies and not without losses of their own. 

With all of that in mind the more curious aspect of the Battle of Endor makes considerably more sense to me.  Check back soon for the next installment of Return of the Justifications in which I take an in-depth look at a particular lightsaber.

What Would Comic Book Villains Do? (WWCBVD?) Week 3

From the darkest corners of the pages of comic books come the villains!  The often deadly foils to the greatest heroes their four color world can offer.  We know they scheme.  We know they hate.  We know they destroy and kill and steal and maim.  But what do the do when confronted with simple moral dilemmas?  Let's ask a few, shall we?

Scenario: You see a co-worker stealing loose change out of other worker’s desks.  He does not know that he has been detected doing this.  You have become good friends with this co-worker outside of the workplace.  What do you do about what you have seen?
Sandman:  A co-worker?  Really?  I’m a super criminal!  I don’t have co-workers!  Okay, yeah, I guess you could call the other members of the Fearsome Five co-workers.  It is a bit of a stretch though.  It’s not like we all got hired by a big company and we are in the same work group or anything.  We just kind of get together to commit crimes and do battle with various super-heroes.  It’s not as organized as it looks, really.  If Green Goblin and Chameleon are working on a scheme and phone up Electro for advice, one thing leads to another and as soon as there are any five of the guys involved we carry out the plan as the Fearsome Five.  Have you never wondered why the roster of the group changes so often?!  I mean it makes sense for the Avengers.  They all have a common goal.  Villains are really more of the “every man for himself” mentality at the end of the day, so teaming up is not something that really works out on a regular basis.  Best just to just let the guy keep to his own devices and maybe hit him up later for some money for a candy bar or something.  It’s not like it’s coming out of his pocket, right?

The Riddler:  Oh how I do love puzzles, conundrums, and the like!  This one presents a most appealing scenario to me.  Anytime you see someone in the midst of petty larceny it is best to play upon any conscience they may have with little tricks that lead to ever crueler manipulation of your knowledge of their activities.  First you drop subtle hints by saying things like, “I think I will take my break at the QUARTER of the hour.”, or “I think I need to CHANGE a few things around the office.”  It is always fun to watch them pretend it does not bother them at all.  Then after that has softened the little thief up a bit start leaving notes that suggest that they are being watched.  Leave voice mails or anonymous emails sent from the public library computers to tell them they are being watched.  It is such sport to see people crack up under pressure!

Sebastian Shaw, Black King of the Hellfire Club: Where you may see a petty criminal I see an ideal recruit for the [Hellfire] Club’s private army.  Utilizing a series of hidden cameras we have long utilized office shenanigans to help pinpoint the type of malicious and shallow people that have proved ideal pawns…um…soldiers in our cause.  You really do need to find the right mentality if you want people to wear a peach-colored hockey mask, a navy and red jumpsuit, and be the first line of defense against Wolverine!

Sinestro:  I would confront him immediately, threatening to turn him over to the boss.  As he begs and pleads I will be secretly tapping his fear to power my yellow ring.  Sometimes you need a quick boost for the ring when the Power Battery is back at home and it is going to be one of those long nights at the office.  After I got a decent charge on the old ring I would let him off the hook, probably even help him look for more cash laying around.

Tiger Shark:  I’d kill him!  Rend that sucker limb from limb and feed his remains to a pod of killer whales!  If there’s one thing I can’t stand it’s really wanting a Dr. Pepper and finding my loose change has been pilfered.  It’s not like you have time on your break to find someone to break a single for you.  And everyone knows that the bill acceptor that’s been broken for months will never get fixed!  Yeah, he is pretty much doomed if I catch him.

Solomon Grundy:  Solomon Grundy will handle like he handle all such problems!  ARRRRRRRRRGGHHH!!  Ahem!  Terribly sorry about that, needed to clear my throat there.  Firstly I would approach my coworker and advise him that rooting through other’s desks is morally reprehensible and terribly disrespectful of others.  His reaction to this gesture would color my next step in the process.  Should he appear embarrassed at his actions, admitting he was hoping to supplement what he had in his pocket by borrowing someone else’s change until the next day when he could replace it so he could get a candy bar to carry him through that lengthy report he has to finish then I would tell him to be sure to get that money replaced right away.  If he is belligerent or indifferent I would tell him that I am obliged to report his actions to our employer immediately.  You have to weigh the facts at hand in such situations.  Now if it was someone from the Justice Society or the Justice League, well that would be a different story indeed.  They really bother me!  They get under my skin and soon the rage is boiling in Grundy’s head and Grundy’s teeth begin to grind and Grundy’s fists clench and Grundy must destroy the Justice People!  ARRRRRRRRRRRGGGGHHHH!!!

Half-Ass Roundtable I - Where to Begin?

Greetings and welcome to the first ever episode of Half-Ass Roundtable, the first podcast of The JediCole Universe!  JediCole is joined by his HAR co-hosts Andrew Farmer of The United States of Geekdom and Stuart Baulk of The Midnight Movie Cowboys.  We are joined in the inaugral episode by the originator of the USG, Rick Gutierrez.

HAP - The Mascot of Half-Ass Productions
Details on what constitutes Half-Ass Roundtable are outlined at the start of the episode so I won't repeat things here.  Enjoy the fun as the team tackle not one but two (!) topics in one episode.  Content Warning:  I will not reign in myself, my co-hosts, or our guest on any episode of this show.  Some of what is said in the discussions may be offensive to some people but is really some great stuff.  If your sensitivities are too tender for this sort of thing this may not be the podcast for you!

A second episode has already been recorded and will appear on this website very soon.


The Apocrypha #2 - A Job History

Welcome once again to The Apocrypha, your resource for news and stories that never really occured. In the last edition I treated you to a mythological tale that I had written some years ago. This time I have a more recent story that, like the previous one, had its geneis in a conversation with Mrs. JediCole. There really is no more set up necessary as the tale takes care of itself in that department.

Occupation: Stick

     Behind every law, regulation, statute, edict, ordinance, act, decree, or rule is a little piece of history that led to a good idea becoming one of these aspects of a legal system. While it is often a simple matter to extrapolate what circumstance or occurrence may have made such legislation a necessity, it is not generally as easy to discover the story behind the aftermath of rules of law. A prominent case in point that stands proudly on street corners nationwide in spring and summer months are the professional Sticks.

     Sticks, or Stick-Men, are individuals who’s vocation is to act as a kind of ambulatory analogue to a traditional inanimate stick. City ordinances have emerged over the years across the land that limit the use of signs tacked to wooden stakes, attached to aluminum rods, or otherwise connected to sticks for the purpose of temporary or permanent advertizing to the exclusive use of politicians. That is to say if said signs are to be secured in the turf of street corners or medians and abandoned for the duration of their purpose. Such statues are in answer to increasing demands on the populations of larger cities to maintain a level of standards in the beautification of public places. By legally classifying such signage as “litter”, the effective advertizing potential of a sign promoting “Two Large One-Topping Pizzas for $10.99” or “Quitting Business, Everything Must Go” was rendered not only ineffectual but also illegal.

     But for every law there is a loophole and shrewd business people began to exploit the glaring one that accompanied the signs-as-little laws to remarkable advantage. While a wooden or metal stick can be considered refuse a human being, from the standpoint of black letter law, cannot. And thusly was the profession of Stick born. By employing a hapless individual to spend their work day engaged in holding a stick that would in years past have been planted in the soil where they now stand. From announcements of grand openings to the promotion of limited time offers, the signs and their handlers effectively bypass the rules that would have spelled the end of an era in American retail sales.

     Some proponents of the oppressive sign laws cried foul but were soon forced to the resignation that the stringent definition of their legislation required that restricted signage must be effectively abandoned in one location for a prescribed amount of time. A skilled Stick Man never allows the base of their sign to even touch the ground and is commonly seen moving about along a personal territory of anything from one square foot to three linear yards. Even the most lethargic of the professional Sticks at the very least maintain possession of the signs at all times during their shift. Early into the Stick movement the question of vagrancy was raised as a possible means to end the practice but as the Sticks are engaged in the gainful employment of shop owners they cannot be legally considered vagrants.

     Once established as a viable and legal alternative to stationary and inanimate signage, the plight of the Sticks did not end. While public outcry has faded over the last few years with some communities even embracing their local sticks (in Paul’s Valley, OK the local Women’s Guild hand sew and deliver over 100 Santa hats to that city’s Sticks each December) , there are still trials and pitfalls to be faced by those who have made “sticking” their vocation. Many fall prey to the lure of high-paying temporary work directing passing traffic to garage sales.

     While the wages offered are generally higher than average for Stick Men employed by businesses, they tend to lack the amenities provided in the business sector. By law a full-time stick employed by a company of any size must be afforded two paid 15-minute breaks and a minimum of 30 minutes unpaid time for lunch. It has also become customary for employers to provide complimentary water or sports drinks to those they employ as Sticks. No such courtesies exist in the short term, contract work environment.

     But misleading employment offers are the least of the worries of the contemporary working Stick. The single greatest threat to the safety and comfort of these sign holders is “Gorilla Warfare”. The term Gorilla Warfare was first coined in 2007 when a minor altercation between a pair of professional Sticks in the employ of a family jewelry store that was closing after 75 years in business and a vacuum cleaner repair shop guy-in-a-gorilla suit escalated into a small urban war.

     Long before legal precedent led to the genesis of the Stick, the most common live advertizing and promotional occupation was that of the Vacuum Store Gorilla. In an age of increasing automation, animatronic primates have begun to surface but have often proven cost prohibitive. So as in days of old a guy in a gorilla suit continues to be the promotional stunt of choice for vacuum cleaner repair and sales outlets everywhere. While the connection between household cleaning equipment and counterfeit apes may seem inexplicable, the use of a person in a gorilla suit has historical background linked to the vacuum cleaner industry in this country.

     In 1908 a rather perplexed William Henry Hoover was contemplating the best way to introduce his new Model O cleaner to the market. It chanced that his sons Hiram and Malacek were participating in a school pantomime of Noah’s Ark in which the elder boy was portraying a “fierce gorilla of the Africas”. With the play still a week away, Hoover arranged the use of the costume and utilizing Hiram’s acting talents he showcased his “vacuum cleaning device” with the aid of a “tame ape” at the Chicago Exposition of Mechanical and Electrically-Powered Devices two days later. The fanciful gimmick captured the imagination of those in attendance and soon gorilla suit-sporting pitchmen became commonplace in the fiercely competitive vacuum cleaner industry for the next five years.

     It is speculated that photographs of these gorilla-men of old inspired the more contemporary use of fake gorilla skins as a promotional stunt that could be utilized year round. The earliest documented use of a guy-in-a-suit was in 1970 at Hobson’s Vacuum and Home Appliance in Lindale, GA, though earlier attempts may have gone unnoticed. With a distinguished pedigree and lengthy history the formation of GiGS, the International Association of Guys in Gorilla Suits, in 1977 was a natural progression. With a professional organization well established, many older members of the gorilla-suit profession resented the arrival (and seemingly instant propagation) of Stick Men. The time-honored profession of standing in front of a business establishment waving at passersby had quietly tolerated clowns, Statues of Liberty, and even jester-capped teenagers clutching oversized facsimiles of music CDs over the ensuing years. But the arrival of these human sticks seemed to be the last straw.

     In the legendary incident of 2007 Martin Cooper, a 26 year-old itinerant worker from Bakersfield, CA and Dale Enders, a local 19 year-old student were brutally assaulted in western Huntsville, AL after their shift ended on May 17, 2007. It was the eve of the 30th anniversary of the foundation of GAGS and the two were accosted by (reportedly) six two eight gorilla-suited individuals who forced the pair into an unmarked van where they proceeded to administer a savage beating. The chief suspect in the assault was Mike Dougal, a 40 year old professional gorilla-man who specialized in children’s birthday parties but also found work with traveling carnivals and as a vacuum store ape. He was known to have had altercations with the pair of Stick Men who were promoting the closure of Moore and Sons Fine Jewelry which was located in the same shopping center as Vacuums, Etc., Dougal’s employer.

     Though he was cleared of all charges due to well documented whereabouts at the time of the incident he did impart to police that he had made reference to his difficulties with the neighboring Stick Men, who had repeatedly infringed upon his work territory, on the GiGS website forums. Frustration with Sticks was a common topic of discussion on the message boards with complaints ranging from lack of discipline to unprofessional attire to talking or texting on cell phones during working hours. A growing feeling of distrust and resentment was evident in the gorilla man community nationally but was most prevalent among the Alabama membership. Investigators were unable to formally charge any local gorilla men with the crime, though it would leave a lasting stigma on the profession for some years.

     Unfortunately the example set by this unfortunate instance was taken up by gorilla men around the country. From May 2007 to June 2010 (the most up to date statistics available) there have been as many as 25 such assaults perpetuated annually. By February 2008 the term Gorilla Warfare was in common use, replacing the previously used “gorilla on stick violence”. 2010 did see a decline in per-capita incidents, a fact that some suggest is a direct result of the GiGS organization officially denouncing Gorilla Warfare in May of that year, fully three years after the Alabama incident. Ben Yearling, president of the group, has pledged that he will continue to seek an accord between gorillas and Sticks. This coupled with greater community outreach and vigilance on the part of professional Sticks has helped curb the violence of years past.

     As of this writing a non-profit organization, Sticking Up for Sticks has announced that its outreach programs have been nationalized. With a support base that has been bolstered in recent years they have begun to lobby Congress for Federal classification of Gorilla Warfare as a hate crime and for funding to aid victims of such crimes. Despite great strides in the rights of Stick Men in the workplace, few employers of these sign holders offer health insurance benefits, making recovery from physical violence a costly proposal for those in the trade.

     For now it seems that the familiar Sticks that can be found pointing drivers to bargains on dining, goods, and services at strip malls and shopping centers everywhere are here to stay. Once a friendless occupation the Stick Men now enjoy a population of supporters as numerous and vocal as those who still oppose them. Federal Judges in five states have overturned laws and statutes that would have limited or eliminated the position for all time. A cover story on Stick Men in Newsweek, in which reporter Mark Rafferty spent six weeks in the trade, ran in early 2010 and further raised awareness of the ups and downs of this unique modern profession. With a greater awareness and understanding on the part of Americans on a whole the lives of Stick Men everywhere are starting to improve.

What Would Comic Book Villains Do? (WWCBVD?) Week Two

They are evil.  They are treacherous.  They are nasty, cruel, scheming, and not at all nice.  They are the villains of the comic books!  And select members of their malicious fraternity are invited each week to share their thoughts on how they would handle a day to day or ethical situation. 

The best way to combat evil is to understand evil.  By discovering how the mind of arch-criminals works we might better understand how to defeat them.  With that in mind I offer up this week's scenario for our select panel of super-villains.

Scenario: You hear the cries of a kitten nearby.  Looking around you do not see the source of this sound until you chance to look upward into the foliage tree.  Standing in the fork of two high branches is a tiny tabby kitten frantically calling out for help in its predicament.  What do you do?

Lex Luthor: I would have one of my staff phone the Fire Department immediately.  We can't have stray kittens stuck in trees now can we?  They would of course immediately dispatch a ladder company to see to the rescue as the Fire Chief owes me a great many favors.  Once the little creature was safely down from the tree I would immediately adopt it as a pet.  In my meteoric rush to become the most powerful man in the world (yes, I said that Superman!) I never had time for a pet.  It would do me good to have a cat around the house.  One of my staff would of course see to its care, feeding, and training.  And it would be housed in a special pet wing of one of my Metropolis mansions.  And it would be assigned a full-time caregiver on call 24 hours a day.  Once every few months or so I might drop by and scratch it between the ears.

Stilt Man: Using my incredible cybernetic stilt-legs I would easily rescue the kitten from its plight.  My armored exoskeleton would protect me from its claws as I lowered it slowly to the ground.  You know how it is with scared kittens, they get all flailing about with their claws straight out.  They don't mean to scratch, they are just terrified.  Yeah, I would get the poor little thing down safely to the ground.  My therapist says I should do more things like that, you know?  Like using my incredible cybernetic stilt-legs to do some things that benefit mankind.  And once the kitten was safely on the ground and calmed down I would scoop it back up in my arms, rise up to the treetops and put it back in the high branches before taking a stilt-assisted stroll around the block (you make great time with 15 foot long legs let me tell you).  Once back around I would hear a little kitten crying out from the trees.  I should probably rescue it, that is the right thing to do after all!

Ocean Master: A kitten?  Seriously?!  I'm Ocean Mater!  I spend like 95% of my time under water!  Do you have any idea how many kittens are stuck in trees at the bottom of the sea?  I'll give you a hint.  The number rhymes with "hero"!  Honestly!  I mean I could have been jovial and said something like, "Well if I found a baby catfish stuck in a tree coral I would do this..."  You get the idea.  How patently ridiculous was this question to ask me?  You couldn't just wait for the question about someones jewelry falling overboard from a boating excursion and it being discovered on the sea floor with their phone number engraved on it could you?  No, not at all!  I be Black Manta gets invited to that one.  That is just so typical!  Do you realize how few undersea villains there are?  There's a reason we don't have a League of Aquatic Evil you know!  There aren't enough of us to pay the rent on a submersible headquarters!  So say hi to Manta for me.  That was sarcasm by the way... 



Copperhead: I would run.  Run away as quickly as possible.  Um, to get help.  Help to get the kitten down.  The little thing must be so scared and unsure of itself.  Someone should do something about that!  What?   Why don't I slither up the tree and back down again carrying it to safety?  I'm a super villain!  Do you think I took the name of  a venomous North American snake because I wanted to seem approachable!  I am the epitome of evil!  My heart is as frigid as Arctic pack ice and my soul is as black as the void!  And...I'm afraid of cats.  Okay?!  Are you happy?  You just pried and pried until you drug that out of me.  Yeah the great and mighty Copperhead is afraid of cats!  Lots of people are you know.

MODOK: Like my fellow super-villains I would use every means at my disposal to rescue the infant cat.  NO!  I most certainly did not read their replies in advance!  I merely utilized my genetically enhanced super-intelligence to glean their reactions based on an intense psychological study of each that took less than one trillionth of a second to calculate.  That aside I would utilize that self same hyper intelligence to aid me in using the  A.I.M. technology at my disposal to enhance the genetic structure of the young animal allowing it to grow to many times its normal size.  It's developing body would express bullet-proof armor instead of fur.  It's eyes would be capable of projecting deadly laser beams and its purr would create glass-shattering resonances.  It's indestructible claws would cut through thick reinforced steel like butter.  And it would be my loyal companion in all of my nefarious deeds.  Wow!  I just read everyone else's replies (I am capable of formulating my own before viewing theirs) and that Copperhead one really took me by surprise! 

What Would Comic Book Villains Do? (WWCBVD?)

Welcome to a new series for The JediCole Universe!  Every week or so I will explore the dark underbelly of comic books with in-depth discussions on how comic book villains, primarily from Marvel and DC Comics, would approach some everyday situations.  While comic book heroes are bastions of all that is right, we can often learn a lot from those who have devoted their lives to criminal enterprises.  By looking at their reactions to certain common circumstances we can learn more about the state of society and ourselves.

Scenario: An old woman is walking along a city sidewalk nearby when a ruffian rushes out of the shadows and attempts to snatch her purse.  She is able to hold on to one end of the strap while the crook tugs on the other.  They are both only about a yard away from you.  What do you do?

Dr. Doom: If this is in America I would not be there on that street.  It may look like I am but in all actuality it is one of my Doombots.  I use them in most cases when I am perceived to be abroad so that should my schemes run afoul of the Fantastic Four I am not personally inconvenienced. Witnessing of purse snatching is not in the present programming of my Doombot army so it would seem I would do nothing as a result.  If this were in Latveria I would stun them both with a mild blast from my gauntlets, see them safely taken to one of the nearby prisons, tried, and executed before tea time.  The criminal for the act of thievery he attempted and the old woman for having the audacity to publicly flaunt the ownership of a handbag on my streets!

Joker: Well this seems more up the Riddler’s street.  Perhaps it takes place on the Riddler’s street!  I made a little joke there.  And you’re not laughing!  I don’t like it when people don’t laugh at my jokes!  And you won’t like me when I’m not liking you!  But in answer to your question, I would cheer the petty little thief on, even lending my assistance if necessary.  Then as he made good his escape I would chase after him yelling, “Stop…thief!  Police!  Help!”, that sort of thing.  This would thoroughly confuse him enough to let me catch up to him and offer him a safe place to hide.  We would retreat to one of my hideouts where my henchmen and I would subdue him and place him on the bench of a dunking booth over a tub of acid or piranhas (depending on which hideout) and take turns hurling softballs at him until Batman arrives to thwart us.  I can promise you that he will never steal again!  If only the authorities would listen to me.  Joker-style criminal justice always sends even the hardest criminals back onto the street as reformed and productive members of society!

Ultron: I would vaporize the purse snatcher thus engendering my synthetic self to the old woman.  Then I would vaporize her as I suspect to an organic sentient being that would be an unexpected action.  Then I would vaporize the buildings nearby.  I would follow this by further vaporizing of cars, buildings, traffic signals, pigeons, and those little easels in front of cafes that show the daily specials.  Then I would pause in my vaporization efforts to allow my power cells to recharge before vaporizing anew.  Can you tell I like to vaporize things?

Toy Man: I would yell, “Hey!  I was going to steal that purse!  Go find you own!”  I think that would be pretty funny.  In actuality I wouldn’t be planning to steal that purse at all.  Unless I happened to have a wind-up monkey or a little racecar with a  retractable purse-catching hook on the side to do it with.  But alas, I do not.

Chameleon:  I would watch the theft play out and then discreetly follow the thief to wherever he has snuck off to count his loot.  Quietly I would sneak up on him and change my appearance to look like the old lady, thus shocking him into returning the stolen goods.  As he runs frantically away from the woman’s doppelganger I would then take on his appearance for a time.  While I wear his face I will commit some major bank heists and even hold the United Nations for ransom before quietly disappearing.  Imagine his surprise when an entire army of International law enforcement officers converge on his apartment to arrest him!

Darkseid: I would not hesitate for a moment.  Even a moment’s hesitation would be too much to afford mere human beings.  No, there would be no hesitation on my part.  Nor would there be any action.  I would give the incident no notice as it serves me in neither accomplishing the completion of the Anti-Life Equation nor wresting control of Earth from her super-powered champions before reshaping it in the image of my beloved Apokolips. 

Check back in about a week to see what our next six super villains have to say on the topic!

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