Superheroes are great at solving crimes, but downright awful at the intricacies of spatial design.
As proof, we're taking ten of the jazziest superhero headquarters ever committed to paper and judging them at face value. Did you know that the supervillain Thanos is great for property values?
1.) Environmental Hubris
To disguise the Bat-Copter, Batman has built a mountain that forever burps out pollution, a tactic that may backfire on those sunny Gotham afternoons.
It's a wonder the US Geological Survey hasn't attempted to investigate an active volcano in Bruce Wayne's backyard. Click on the above to expand. (Batman 203)
Most superheroes aim for subtlety. On the other hand, The Teen Titans once built their headquarters in the shape of the letter T, which is an audaciously stupid design when you think about it.
It must noted that the Teen Titans were just teenagers, so all of their decisions were clouded by a haze of hormones and the impulse to play hooky and drink wine coolers in a parking lot somewhere. (The New Teen Titans 7)
3.) No Kitchens
One of the greatest sins of superhero architecture is that it categorically denies human biological imperatives. There's no starker example than the Justice League Satellite, which lacks both proper food preparation facilities and toilets. Superman may eat sunshine and fart rainbows, but Batman doesn't have such a luxury. ( Justice League of America 95)
4.) Insufficient Accommodations
Although the Baxter Building has a room devoted solely to Giant Maps, it is sadly lacking in residential space.
Note how the Thing must sleep in a Barcalounger and the Human Torch must commute from the suburbs to his asbestos-lined cupboard. I know Manhattan real estate is perpetually at a premium, but this is ridiculous. (Fantastic Four Annual 3)
5.) Ineffective Energy Usage
As epitomized by the Legion of Superheroes, whose ship comes equipped not with batteries, but "quasi batteries." Why not spring for the real thing?
6.) Superheroes' Pets Live In The Death Star
I knew Krypto was a bit of a despot, but this is truly an eye-opener. (Superboy 157)
7.) Rampant Consumerism
Marvel's maps of Asgard were alway pretty trippy, but Jack Kirby's decision to build a shopping center smack dab in this mythical realm has been glossed over in recent years.
8.) Thanos As A Catalyst For Urban Development
I never read Captain Marvel 207, but why the hell would the population of Titan go up after Thanos did his thing?
I always thought that Thanos was very anti-"everything that breathed and ambulated."
9.) Nobody Writes Any Blueprints Down
Note how many of these maps implore the reader to save the designs for future reference. We are therefore led to believe that our favorite crime-fighters are too doddering or punch-drunk to write any of their schematics down.
10.) Conflicting Diagrams
Look how razzle dazzle Cobra Island looks here. Now, let's compare it to the following diagram.
Which is canonical: the laser dystopia or the boring old marshland? I doubt even Cobra's engineers know, and if they do ask, Destro makes furniture out of their bones. In any case, it's nowhere as good as the Joes' base.