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The 5 Best Modes of Transportation in Comics

It’s rare to see superheroes tooling around on a bus. Not only do schedules and GPS monitoring make it easy for supervillains to anticipate their attacks, but the constant jingle of change is a dead giveaway when they’re trying to sneak up on snitches. There are also very few pedestrian superheroes, despite what the critics say (cue rim shot). They all need some method of reliable transportation.

Some solutions that the creators came up with are funny but disastrous. Tim Drake’s Robin had The Redbird. It was a car that looked normal from the outside, but was scaled down to fit a child, so when an adult rode along, they were comically contorted to fit in the too-small seats. Then he had the Redboard. It was a skateboard painted red. Other times, creators cheat, having the characters swing on lines, presumably connected to building which are out of frame, or crash through doors just in time with no mention of how they got there.Other times, creators come up with solutions that make you ache for the world of comics, even with its high mortality and mutation rates. Here are comics’ five best methods of transportation.


5. The Iron Man Suit

Let’s face it, this is what sold the movies. Sure, Tony Stark has all the money, all the power, and all the weeeeemen, but a lot of movies characters have that. And yes, he’s a genius, but that doesn’t make watching him any more fun. The fun scenes in both Iron Man movies is seeing him strap on the suit and take of into the sky. Okay, and maybe that part where he flew into a war zone and landed on one knee like he was going to suddenly go into a coordinated dance routine.

The point is, the Iron Man suit is pretty much like being Peter Pan with a jet engine instead of fairy dust. And a gun instead of that silly hat. It mixes childlike innocence and enthusiasm with the power to ruthlessly crush your enemies, and that’s always going to be fun.


4. The Authority’s Door

Yes, the Iron Man suit is awesome. And if someone strapped it on you, and let you zoom around the sky on your way to work, you’d love it. Then you’d get to work and take it off. Then you’d have to put it on to zoom back and take it off again. Exactly how long would it be until you got tired of that? I’m guessing a year.

The bright yellow thing pictured above, which just coughed up a human pyramid of superheroes, is called a Door. It’s in “The Authority” books, and it works like this: you tell it where you want to go, you step through, and you’re there. That’s it. There’s no long commute, no danger, no check in or out, no time needed to suit up. Yes, the rest of these vehicles offer fun and excitement, but a time will come when all you want is convenience, and you can’t beat a Door for that.

3. Wonder Woman’s Invisible Jet

Sometimes an otherwise ordinary thing just needs one tweak before it becomes great. With peanut butter it was chocolate. With sneakers it was little flip-out Rollerblades. With jets, it’s invisibility. More specifically, it’s the fact that every part of the jet is invisible, while the person flying the jet is completely visible at all times.

Add to that the idea that this invisible jet is given to a character who already flies and can be carried around because it scrunches up into a magical ball that she can carry in her purse, and it adds up to a method of getting around that is just too cheerfully ridiculous to be left off this list. Plus, if the invisible jet is truly standard in all ways, it has to come with some invisible snacks and sodas.


2. Webshooters

There is some continuity tangle with this one. In the comic books, Peter Parker invents web shooters which attach to his wrists and help him get around town via invisible sky scrapers. In the movie, the web fluid just shoots out of his wrists. While I admire the spirit of invention, and while I am slightly grossed out by the obvious ejaculation metaphor that the movie used, I have to say that I prefer the movie method of transportation.

Yes, it would be pretty gross to have that stuff coming out of your wrist the moment you turned the wrong way. It might even be considered a bio-hazard, since it’s both a body fluid and a product of unsafe radiation poisoning. Still, it gives Spider-man the one thing that no one else on this list has; complete independence. There’s no need to rely on technology, or equipment, or mystical spells that can allow you to carry a jet around in your purse. You don’t even need a jump line, the way Batman does. You just go outside in the city and head out. That kind of freedom is worth a lot.

 

1. I Don’t Know What This Is But I Want It

This appeared in “Wonder Woman #41″ and it’s named Mysia. It doesn’t have any other name, and it doesn’t need one. It’s a flying, double-trunked, triple-glowing eyed elephant. Forget the pure exhilaration of flying around in the Iron Man suit, or the practicality of Doors, or the quirkiness of an invisible, portable jet, or the independence of web shooters. If I had the opportunity to get one of these, I wouldn’t just trade in those other methods of getting around the world: I’d trade in my own freaking feet. The other things on this list are fun. This is a moving reality violation. It needs to be mine.

Either that, or a Prius.

What are your favorite methods of transportation in comics?

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