Pop Culture

12 of the Best Superhero Vehicles

Superheroes need be where the crime is, and not all of them can fly, which means comic book creators and their cinematic collaborators have had to get creative over the years with various and fantastical forms of transportation. There’s no shortage of weird and wonderful vehicles out there for carting around the over-muscled, tights-wearing caped crusader crowd, and we’ve picked out 12 of our favourites for your enjoyment.

Batman’s Batmobile

Is there a superhero who’s seen more iterations of his daily driver than Batman? The ’60s gave us the open-top, rocket-powered two-seater with the flashing red light and the buzzsaw on the front, the ’80s ushered in Tim Burton’s long-hooded, armored answer to America’s rising crime rates, and Christopher Nolan introduced the all-terrain Tumbler that held up a mirror to the militarization of modern police forces. In between we also got Bat-cycles, Bat-copters, Bat-wing jets, and Bat-subs, all funded by the billionaire Bruce Wayne’s vast corporate resources.

Ghost Rider’s Hell Cycle

An unstoppable chopper with flaming wheels decorated with skulls? What else would an undead stunt motorcycle driver whose soul is bonded with the demon Zarathos ride? Ghost Rider’s Hell Cycle is the perfect vehicle of vengeance for Johnny Blaze’s alter ego, and was pretty much the only good thing about those terrible Nicolas Cage movie adaptations of this comic book legend.

Punisher’s Battle Van

It makes sense that former Marine Frank Castle would have a mobile arsenal to help him clean crime from New York’s streets, and given that he’s a practical man it’s also logical that he’d choose a van. In partnership with Microchip, his ’80s-era tech sidekick, the Punisher developed the Battle Van, which was loaded with guns, tracking devices, respectable off-road capability, and instant paint jobs to keep the heat off his tail.

Tank Girl’s Tank

If it’s in the title, you know it’s gotta be good, and whether you grew up with the Tank Girl comics or came into her universe via the indie film starring Lori Petty in the early ’90s, you know just how special this tracked beast is. Redecorated on a regular basis, and customized to offer not just the ultimate in badlands ass-kicking but also quirky comfort, Tank Girl’s tank is matched only by her partner Rocket Girl’s jet fighter.

Captain America’s Bike

When Steve Rogers was unfrozen, it was logical that he’d still have a penchant for Harley-Davidsons, given his origins as an WWII-era American solider. He’s been riding them ever since – at least in our timeline – both in the comics and on the silver screen, with various degrees of modernization. There’s a rumour that on Earth-600043, Cap rides a Yamaha TT 500, but the less said about that particular 1979 flick, the better.

The X-Men’s Blackbird

Heavily modified and of course, completely detached from reality, the X-Men’s main form of group transportation is based on the SR-71 Blackbird, the most successful no-longer-classified spy plane of all time. Capable of Mach 3 speeds and featuring a suitably menacing profile (if occasionally shown in a reverse-delta wing configuration), the “Blackbird” even made an appearance in several of the franchise’s on-screen chapters, most notably in X-Men: First Class.

Wonder Woman’s Invisible Plane

It takes a whole lot of guts – or is that artistic laziness? – to give a popular superhero like Wonder Woman an “invisible plane” that essentially lets her fly alongside her Justice League companions without being obscured by an airframe. She can remotely control it with her tiara, and it’s completely silent, but did you know that Wonder Woman’s creator originally intended the invisible jet to stand in as an allegory for women’s need to pass unnoticed in male-dominated workplaces during the Depression?

Wolverine’s Motorcycle

Wolverine’s ridden a few different bikes over the years, and given that the hero’s pragmatic, do-whatever-works philosophy guides most of his brooding decisions, this seems completely in character. In the original X-Men film, for example, he “borrowed” Scott Summer’s Harley-Davidson, a bike that appeared in a number of subsequent sequels (with a different Harley showing up in the 2009 prequel). Still, we can’t forget the Ducati Diavel that he also rode in 2013’s The Wolverine. Presumably, Cyclops was tired of walking to work in the morning.

The Green Hornet’s Black Beauty

Keen detective skills and a chauffeur who is legitimately more of a superhero were only two aspects of the Green Hornet’s crime-fighting portfolio. Completing the trifecta was Black Beauty, a custom car based on a 1966 Chrysler Imperial that featured missiles, knock-out gas, surveillance capabilities, and eerie green headlights. Brit Reid’s ride gained a number of additional upgrades for its ill-fated movie role in the mid-2000s, including a flamethrower, machine guns, and “shotgun” doors.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’ Turtle Van

None of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles had any kind of official driver’s licence, which probably explains why they had to steal the Turtle Van from would-be villain Baxter Stockman. Donatello’s elbow grease quickly stocked up the van with weapons and tracking gear, and gave it a cool turtle-shell paint scheme. In the movies, the van morphed into some kind of sewer-related 10-wheeled maintenance truck that actually featured spinning nunchakus, which we guess is pretty cool, too.

Judge Dredd’s Lawmaster

What is it with motorcycles and those that would take the law into their own hands? Okay, so officially Judge Dredd is the law, making his bike one of the official tools of his trade – specifically, execution. Featuring artificial intelligence and a direct link to what passes for a criminal justice system in Judge Dredd’s epoch, the ultra-bulky bike is a mobile court room that can be summoned at will or sent off to handle petty crime while Dredd deals with the Big Bad.

Blade’s 1969 Dodge Charger

When the designers working on the first Blade movie were tasked with creating a vehicle for the titular day-walking vampire, the concept they came up with was so close to a 1969 Dodge Charger that the producers just went out and bought one. Outfitted with a hood scoop, and presumably capable of dealing with the less-than-ideal octane found in eastern Europe, the Charger has become indelibly associated with the vigilante bloodsucker.