In the world of superheroes there are men who can teleport in a heartbeat, leaving nothing behind but a puff of sulphur and a ‘bamf’ noise. There are young girls who can step through walls as if they weren’t there and there’s a rich array of spandex-clad ladies who fly through the air without a second thought.
Since so many of our favorite heroes don’t have to worry about transport options, it’s easy to forget just how many awesome vehicles have shown up in comics, cartoons and superhero movies over the years.
Here are ten of our favorite superhero rides from comics, TV and movies.
10. The Ant Farm – Frankenstein Agent of S.H.A.D.E
DC’s New 52 may have divided comic fans, but the new Frankenstein Agent of S.H.A.D.E books have introduced hundreds of thousands of new readers to The Ant Farm, an indestructible, flying, 3-inch globe which acts as a mobile S.H.A.D.E HQ.
The Ant Farm is accessed using a combination of miniaturisation and teleport technology and comes with an artificial atmosphere, sunlight and a limitless supply of food, fresh water and awesomeness. Does the Fantasti-Car come with all that? No, no it does not. You know why? Because the Fantastic Four suck, that’s why.
Sure, the Ant Farm is technically more of a base than a ‘ride’, but it’s cool enough to make the cut.
9. Hell Cycle – Ghost Rider
Ghost Rider’s flaming motorcycle is the exact sort of over-the-top transportation that you want to see in a comic book. Dripping in flames and chrome with a massive skull on the front and hellfire in the petrol tank, the Hell Cycle is an imposing beast with a list of abilities befitting the ride of a Spirt of Vengeance.
It can travel at amazing speeds, fly and even ride up vertical surfaces and across bodies of water. It also leaves a trail of fire behind it and obeys the commands of the Ghost Rider, even when he’s not riding it.
8. Technodrome – Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
The Technodrome is another vehicle/base mashup, this one was home to Krang the squishy brain monster and Shredder in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
It had 972 rooms, a portal capable of transporting people/stuff to and from Dimension X (Krang’s homeworld), missile launchers, lasers, giant mechanical cutting wheels, drills and an earthquake machine.
Sadly, the Technodrome also had endless technical difficulties. First it was stuck under New York, then it got itself buried in the core of the Earth. Eventually Krang piloted the Technodrome out of the Earth’s gooey core only to be promptly dropkicked back to Dimension X by The Turtles.
The Technodrome went on to bury itself in lava, get stuck at the North Pole, sink to the bottom of the Arctic Ocean, return to Dimension X without Krang or Shredder, fall into a black hole and finally get eaten by a tentacled space monster.
Despite all that, it’s still better than the Fantasti-Car.
7. Thundertank – Thundercats
A tank built out of the remains of a crashed spaceship by a cat-person named Panthro, what’s not to like about that?
Curiously, the Thundertank featured equipment better-suited to mining that combat. Nevertheless, its crushing mouth, smashy claws and drill attachments came in handy more than once in the battle against Mum-Ra.
6. Tumbler – Batman
The Tumbler is the latest and perhaps greatest of the Batmobiles. Christopher Nolan’s vision of the Dark Knight’s signature ride is a tank-like beast without even a hint of the cheesy campness that defined Tim Burton’s version.
There are no neon lights, no bat wing-shaped fins and most certainly no glossy plastic finish; the Tumbler takes the class of the 1989 Batmobile and takes it to another level. The big guns, rocket launchers, jet engines, stealth mode and heavy armour make the Tumbler the greatest superhero ride ever conceived.
Plus, it has an escape motorbike!
5. Battle van – The Punisher
The Battle van is the ride of choice for Marvel’s ‘budget Batman’, The Punisher.
Essentially, the Battle Van a heavily-armoured van full of guns and screens. It also features gadgets including night vision, radar, an on-board supercomputer, grenade launchers and a surveillance system.
The only real downside to driving a beat up old van like the Battle van is that it looks exceptionally creepy (not in a good way). The fact that The Punisher can sometimes be seen wearing a mucky-looking trenchcoat only makes matters worse.
4. Nautilus car – League of Extraordinary Gentlemen
Fair enough, the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen movie was something of a disappointment to fans of Alan Moore’s amazing comic book series. However, it did feature the best steampunk vehicle to ever grace a cinema screen.
Captain Nemo’s Nautilus car was a six-wheeled vintage style behemoth positively covered in ivory, silver elephants and pointless but beautiful decoration. It could guide missiles, travel incredibly fast (by Victorian sports car standards) AND was garaged inside a submarine. Brilliant.
3. Leapfrog – Runaways
Runaways is one of Marvel’s less well-known superhero teams. They were a group of teens who learned that their parents were part of a cabal of supervillains. The gang (which incidentally included someone with a psychic link to a dinosaur) decided to put an end to their parents’ naughtiness, so stole a bunch of amazing gear, ran away, and eventually defeated their evil moms and dads.
After their victory, the Runaways inherited Leapfrog, an amazing, green, frog-shaped craft that travels by jumping instead of flying. Leapfrog had lasers capable of incapacitating or killing enemies and, best of all, was sentient. It once comforted a member of the Runaways during a bereavement.
Given the age of the Runaways, Leapfrog presumably gave them driving lessons before before allowing them to pilot him/her.
2. Black Beauty – Green Hornet
The Black Beauty is the upgrade the Punisher wishes he could afford. It looks like something off Pimp My Ride, it has massive guns sticking out of the bonnet and it comes with a chauffeur, sort of.
It’s the ride of the Green Hornet, a rich slacker-turned-vigilante and subject of a deeply disappointing film adaptation.
1. The Herkimer Battle Jitney – Mystery Men
The other nine rides on this list are decidedly lethal. They’re bristling with guns and rockets and lasers and steampunk missiles. The Herkimer Battle Jitney is different: it’s the ultimate non-lethal superhero vehicle.
It’s indestructible, kitted out with a super-powered magnet and transports a team of superheroes with powers such as extreme anger, extreme flatulence, extreme shovelling and extreme bowling into battle.