The Top

The Top
The comic book history of The Top, an enemy of The Flash, from DC Comics.

When Roscoe Dillon landed in prison for armed robbery…again…he knew what he needed. And no, it wasn’t rehabilitation or a strong social support system or job opportunities. It was a gimmick. If he was going to move from criminal to super-criminal, from henchman to full-fledged villain, he required something that was going to set him apart. You can give him points for being a self-starter, I guess, but in the complete wrong direction.

The lesson? Don't let your kids play with toys, lest they become inspired by those toys to do supercrime. Image copyright DC Comics.

The Top Villain

The problem? Roscoe wasn’t super creative. He only had one interest and that was when he was a kid. He was super into tops. Not, like, shirts, but the spinning tops. The toys. Latching onto his first and only idea, he decided that was it. He was going to be…the top. Not only would it let him get back into his old hobby of being the only grown man at the toy store buying tops, but he could make a lot of top puns, too. Win-win.

Roscoe might not have been creative, but he was reasonably smart and when he got out of prison, he researched all he could about tops and gyroscopes and all that. He made a mask that was two top-shaped eye coverings, taught himself to spin very fast, and made a bunch of top related weapons. Also, when learning to spin, “the repeated centrifuge force moved millions of dormant brain cells to the out areas of [his] cerebellum,” thus making them active and endowing him with super-intelligence instead of a brain aneurysm. Finally, he was ready.

Naturally. Image copyright DC Comics.

After robbing a bunch of department stores and getting about forty grand, Roscoe, the [sigh] top villain in the area, decided to kick things up about seventy notches. I have no idea how he got his hands on weapons-grade uranium…or learned how to take control of the airwaves nationwide…but he issued an ultimatum to the world’s leaders: surrender the world to him or, in ten hours, he would blow up half of it. The Flash traced the broadcast back to the source, but the guy without super-speed got the jump on the guy with super-speed and in seconds Roscoe had the Flash unconscious and tied up on the floor. You know, I’ve given this Top guy a hard time, but he’s gone from petty criminal to taking down a member of the Justice League and holding the world for ransom. He’s transformed himself into a true super-villain, despite his ridiculous premise. You know what? Good for Roscoe. He saw a goal and turned his career around. Granted now he had a spinning nuclear grenade that was going to blow up half the world. Just goes to show how far you can rise if you really follow your dreams.

Unfortunately, he was too proficient as a super-villain, and that’s what led to his downfall. Instead of…taking care of the Flash when the superhero was unconscious and tied up on his floor, Roscoe made the mistake of imprisoning the Flash in his super-weapon, knowing that it would go off and kill him then. He then decided to take off to the other side of the world, so that when his giant bomb blew up his half of the earth, he’d be safe on the other half. I guess the spinning made him smart…but not that smart.

The Top studied at the Nelson Muntz school of comebacks. Image copyright DC Comics.

The Flash, even though he was pinned by the force on the inside of the spinning bomb, can vibrate his atoms and phase through things. He had to keep the bomb spinning, so he ran around it, building up enough compressed air underneath the thing to shoot it into space.

Bottomed Out

The world governments didn’t capitulate to Roscoe’s demands, and the Flash caught up to him on the shores of North Africa where, in an attempt to escape, Top spun so much he dug down into the earth and struck oil, because if you’re going to make a ridiculous villain, just go for broke. For the crime of the attempted murder of a few billion people…and robbing a few department stores…the Flash surmised that the Top was going to have the longest prison sentence ever seen, to which Roscoe pumped his fists in triumph. Even in defeat, he was the best.

There's a lot happening here. Image copyright DC Comics.

The Flash actually unwittingly killed the Top when, after so much spinning, the Top developed psychic powers when his brain cells moved around in his head. Unfortunately, those brain cells were destroyed by the Flash’s superspeed vibrations…somehow…and the Top found himself dying from a brain injury.

In death, though, he brought together heroes and villains, because he told the Flash’s Rogues Gallery that, hey, he planted bombs all over Central City on a Dead Man’s Switch. You’re welcome, guys.

They freaked out and tried to stop the bombs, what with them liking the city and all, but the Flash tried to stop them – seeing all his villains mobilized for a singular purpose is rarely a good thing. Eventually they put their differences aside and stopped the bombs, the Top having helped to bring peace to Central City, if only for a day.

He died doing what he loved. Supercrime. Image copyright DC Comics.

Despite that, of course, not being his goal at all. He just wanted to blow stuff up.

Holy Comic Book Sources, Batman!

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