My brother and I long ago came up with what we called “the Cylon School of Marksmanship” to describe the targeting abilities of henchmen, flunkies, invading aliens, and other groups of interchangeable baddies. It was inspired by the classic 1970s “Battlestar Galactica” science fiction series, and the alien robot Cylons’ infamously poor record for hitting anything, either on the ground with small arms, or in space during dog-fights. But when people overheard us and we had to explain it, we always did it via a demonstration. We’d point a finger-pistol dead-center at the person and say, in the best Cylon voice we could manage, “Die, human!” Then we would swing the finger pistol wildly high and wide. “Pew!” Then we’d swing our aim in a circle all around the person. “Pew, pew, pew, pew, pew!” Finally, we’d imitate the brave, Colonial warrior pulling his blaster from his holster, firing from the waist, and casually taking out the Cylon with one, dead-center, shot.

That was a long time ago, but it’s still a great phrase (feel free to use it yourself). The more contemporary version, of course, are the Star Wars stormtroopers, who famously can’t shoot anything. It’s even become a running joke in the animated “Star Wars Rebels,” where Rex, former clone-trooper Commander, mocks the Stormtroopers who replaced them when they were forcibly retired. When he’s forced to wear Stormtrooper armor as a disguise in one episode, he references how you can’t see how to shoot with the helmet on, and complains that the armor “wouldn’t stop ANYTHING!” referencing another infamous Stormtrooper weakness. But last week’s (as of this writing) episode introducing Princess Leia to the Rebels series featured some of the most egregious Stormtrooper shooting and incompetence in Star Wars history. Hero character stood in the open at close range, stood up to massed small-arms fire, and escaped unscathed. (And we won’t go into the Keystone Cops” chases, ships being stolen from under their noses, or general inability to secure of guard ANYTHING through the entire episode.)

But it’s a common trope, especially in pulpy adventure stories and science fiction. No Batman ’66 henchman could ever ultimately beat a teenager wearing panty-hose in a fist fight. James Bond could hold off a literal army with a short-barreled automatic pistol. All through the ’80s and much of the 90s, armies of aliens, henchmen, robots, terrorists were stood off by one-person armies the likes of Sylvester, Arnold, Sigourney, Bruce,  Jackie, Mel and Chuck. With guns, fists, throwing stars, or star-fighters, great though their mojo was, the incompetence of their adversaries (especially their minor, secondary adversaries) just can’t be overestimated.

All of which explains the targets on the back wall of this cartoon.

One other note here. I came up with some back-stories and histories for some of the Minions at Work characters that I just really couldn’t explore properly in the single-panel format. Here’s an example. General Zed used to be a Minion, a contemporary of No. 1, and both were students of “The Ancient Minion” sometimes seen in other cartoons. No.1 became leader of the elite Minions White Squad, and Zed quit and became an overlord. There’s a lot of bad blood between them, especially when No. 1 is compelled to work directly for Zed. Here’s a rare example of that really coming out, but there’s no on-panel explanation for it. So, now you know!