With a tip-of-the-cap to Mark Engblom's "Comic Coverage" for many of the graphics and the general idea, I present to you our weekly geeky conundrum:
Discussion to follow!
- Justice League Watchtower
When you want to reinforce the idea that you're "super" and thus above the petty concerns of mortal man, nothing serves better than taking your headquarters into outer space. Packed to the rafters -- oh yes, every satellite has rafters, it's a little-known rocket scientist requirement -- with technological goodies like instant teleportation and a groovy workout room, this is the perfect place for your harried hero to retire after a long day of suffering the presence of the squalid masses of dreary old Earth.
- Doctor Doom's Latverian Castle
Reed Richards got a building, so Doom built a castle.
Reed Richards has a city who loves him, so Doom got a country.
You have to admire a guy who isn't content just with a building, but instead gets an entire nation of people to worship him as their liege. That means he basically has mountains, rivers, seas, and vast tracts of land as his "headquarters". Pretty awesome.
- Magento's Asteroid M
Like the Justice League with an edge, Magento also uses his HQ to flaunt his superiority over common humans. Only with Magento, he could drop it on their heads and wipe out all life in the process. I'd like to see a satellite do that! The battles between the X-Men and Magneto in and around Asteroid M are some of the best in comics history, which should probably be taken into consideration. But I could never quite understand where this giant asteroid came from. Did Magneto fly out to the asteroid belt one afternoon and drag it back? And if he can do that, why bother with all the picayune little plots for world domination, when he could just threaten the entire planet with destruction by dropping mile-wide rocks on it to get what he wants?
- Xavier's School for Gifted Children
On one hand, it's just a big school out in the country. On the other hand, a supersonic Blackbird jet can fly out from under the swimming pool! If my school offered that I might have graduated.
- Legion of Doom
Only Lex "I'm evil because I'm bald" Luthor could hatch a scheme to design one of the most awesome looking headquarters in history ("Make it look like Darth Vader's head!"), only to then bury it in a swamp.
- The Death Star
Ok, sure, the Death Star was in a movie and not a comic book. But they did eventually make a Star Wars comic, bucko! And it's the freaking Death Star!
- Superman's Fortress of Solitude
I grew up with the "Giant gold key" version of the Fortress, which competed with the Bat Cave to see who could stuff the most memorabilia inside its walls. Apparently even Golden Age Superman didn't have super design sense. But the idea of this god-like figure needing a retreat from the cares of the world was fantastic. Batman's HQ was very much an office, because Batman doesn't ever go off duty. Work is relaxation to Bats! But Superman doesn't need an office. He's Superman. He can do everything he needs to do wearing nothing but a smile if he wants. So it makes sense that his Fortress would be a retreat, a place to chill out and relax.
My favorite part of that Fortress, of course, was the key, which was "disguised" as a navigational aid for overflying planes. Like that wouldn't raise any questions.
"Uh, tower, I'm flying over the deserted Arctic ice caps and there's a big giant gold arrow. But it's pointing left and I want to go straight, what should I do?"
"Don't question the giant arrow, Bob."
- Batman's Bat Cave
Arguably the definitive super-hero lair, you have to admire the sheer Bat-craziness this thing represents. I mentioned before that Batman never relaxes, so it makes sense that his HQ would be a working office, jammed with equipment to help him fight crime even better. But he took it to the next level by basically making it a shrine to his Bat-awesomeness. "Look, this is a giant penny from that time I totally kicked the Joker's ass. I'm awesome. Wait, Bat-Self, do you need even more self-reassurance as to your might? Well let's walk this way, my friend!"
I think you can make a great case that Batman is the most jacked-up, psychologically speaking, of all the major super heroes, and the Bat Cave would be Exhibit A in that argument. Buried underground, sunk in bat-feces, surrounded by reminders of his worth, with no room for joy or happiness or relaxation. Just work.
- Avengers' Mansion
Nothing says "We fight for you, little guy!" like living in a mansion. In the middle of Manhattan. Why not just base yourself at a spa or the Four Seasons and call it a day? Jeez, they even have a butler. Can you imagine Batman with a ... oh, wait.
- Fantastic Four's Baxter Building
To me, the Baxter Building is a great outward manifestation of Reed Richards -- square, packed with machines that go "ping", and boring. If he had any sense of humor at all, that bad boy would stretch.
Since Batman wins everything, I bet the Bat Cave takes top honors here. Which might be appropriate, since it's pretty cool.
But for me, I have to go with the Legion of Doom's "Hall of Doom". They're living in Darth Vader's head, people! And then it buries itself in a swamp!
I grant you, I have a hard time imagining a more impractical location for a villainous lair. I mean, I grew up in Louisiana and I can attest to the fact that there aren't a whole lot of banks or high-tech companies ripe for raiding in the vicinity of a swamp. Plus it stinks. And how do you get there without attracting attention? I guarantee you, while a talking gorilla might not make much of a splash walking into the New York City airport, that same gorilla is going to get a whole lot of Cajuns riled up when he flies in for Lex's latest committee meeting.
And Cajuns have guns, folks.
What about you, what would be your favorite?