With the Legion of Doom and the Cosa Nostra in decline, the time seemed right to start my own criminal cadre. Recruiting talent was the easy part. As dean of the Fear Academy for Super-Villains, I already had some of the finest criminal minds on my faculty.
The hard part proved to be selecting a name. "Lords of Chaos," "Emissaries of Destruction," and "The Horde of Despair," were all taken by so-called death metal bands. I take umbrage at describing a mediocre genre of music as "death metal," a term that should be reserved for something like high doses of mercury secretly added to the coffee of a major donut chain by a criminal mastermind sometime next week (Oops! **SPOILER** alert!).
Discovering that everything with real menace had been taken, we settled on the Council for Unparalleled Nationwide Terror, somehow oblivious to the unfortunate acronym. Through theft, extortion, and conspiracy, we we succeeded in absconding with over $160 billion worth of ill-gotten gain-- an amount so massive as to guaranty us the Crimey Award-- until last week, on the eve of the awards ceremony, when the executives at AIG succeeded in persuading the Treasury Department to commit another $30 billion to their bailout, bringing their total to around $180 billion stolen from the American public.
When AIG was announced the winner, I was incensed. Granted, these pasty executives had made off with more money than we did, but surely creativity should count for something! The Council's schemes involved releasing radioactive monsters on major cities, making evil genetic clones of world leaders, and opening portals to parallel dimensions. But no, apparently the dollar figure is all that counts!
As Lex Luthor and Halle Berry pre-
sented the AIG execs with their trophy, I still held hope that I would win the Best Gloat Award. That's the prize for the villain who most flagrantly rubs his victory in his opponent's face. When I had that bird-lover, the Golden Eagle locked in my dungeon, I forced him to watch me eat a conturduckenary, which is a canary, stuffed inside a duck, stuffed inside a chicken, stuffed inside a turkey, stuffed inside his own pet condor. And then I nailed his girlfriend. But no, AIG won Best Gloat for using their bailout money to pay themselves bonuses, take lavish public trips, and (as was reported last week in the Wall Street Journal) send billions to banks overseas.
But there was still one category I knew AIG could not rival the Council in: Most Evil Costumes. Those gray flanneled executives could not possibly contend with my sinister, purple cloak, the Green Knight's armor, or Dark Shadow's mysterious shroud of fog. Unfortunately, the award went the Lords of Chaos. I don't wish to appear a sore loser, but be assured that heads will roll.
Illustration by Christie Allan-Piper