Whether you're on the side of good or evil, you must respect a sick lair. If there's one thing that brings superheroes, supervillains, and intrepid government employees together, it's an appreciation for a secure, well-equipped base of operations.
But it's just so inconvenient when you're headquartered on the North Pole or a remote tropical isle. Hence the popularity of going subterranean! Here are the 10 sickest underground lairs in science fiction and fantasy.
The Bat Cave
Given that Bruce Wayne could probably float the Social Security Administration for a week with just the interest on his trust fund, it's no surprise he has the sickest underground lair of them all. The Bat Cave is the gold standard of superhero headquarters. No incarnation of the hero is complete without it. It's basically the ultimate rich guy's garage, crossed with an incredibly elaborate TV lounge, with a bit of Sharon Stone's closet from Casino tossed in for good measure.
The Torchwood Offices
The exposed brick! The subway tiling! The whimsical elevator! If it weren't home to a super-secret quasi-government outfit, it would be the perfect space for a trendy graphic design firm. Plus it's got sub-basements and alien whatsits and glass prisons and a tricked-out conference room.
The X Mansion
Professor X won't be forced to operate out of some dank basement. The X-Men use his mansion as their headquarters, but it's best not to tempt gifted youngsters with 24/7 access to superhero toys before they've cleared some crucial developmental hurtles. So the good stuff (like the Control Room and the Danger Room and the War Room is downstairs) in the gleaming Sub-Levels.
Doctor Evil's Liar, Austin Powers
We could cite any number of impressive villains' setups from the James Bond canon. Fortunately, Austin Powers already distilled them all down into Doctor Evil's bunker in Nevada. The meeting room comes equipped with trapdoors to the incinerator, just in case the flunkies get out of hand. There even plenty of room for laser-equipped sharks.
The Mines of Moria, The Lord of the Rings
As far as the dwarves are concerned, topside living is for the birds and the elves. It obviously makes more sense to just build cities underground, where all the jewels are. And so we get the Mines of Moria, one of Middle Earth's finest architectural sights. Highlights include a vast, cathedral-like stone gallery. Just don't dig too deep or knock any dead bodies into wells.
Lex Luthor's Subway Hideout, Superman
Forget that cold, spiky, blindingly white Fortress of Solitude. Lex Luthor hangs out in an abandoned subway system that's been refurbished to include marble staircases and a hot tub. It's the perfect lair for a villain with movie Luthor's joie de vivre. It's also extremely convenient if you need to shove someone — like a luckless cop — in front of a subway train.
The Shadow Gallery, V For Vendetta
Never let it be said that V doesn't have good taste. The stunt with Parliament is a bit much, but his underground lair is the height of elegance. Every bit as opulent as Lex Luthor's digs, V's hideaway is stuffed with art and books and rugs and all the accouterments. Plus, he's got plenty of room for really elaborate games of charades!
Mulder and Scully's Office, The X-Files
The FBI should have known it was creating the nerd Wonder Twins when it stuck Spooky Mulder and Dana Scully in a basement office together. Over the years, they turned that miserable government-issued box into the ultimate geek workspace. The walls are covered in posters and printouts and scraps of evidence of paranormal phenomena. There are pencils in the ceiling and books of questionable scholarly merit scattered around and stacks and stacks of manila folders. What it lacks in slick toys it boasts in character.
The Hoth Rebel Base, The Empire Strikes Back
It's sort on luxuries and if you're not careful with your space heater your closet might melt. But it also keeps our valiant heroes safe for quite some time, considering its location in an icy, barren hellscape. It's also basically a giant igloo, which is pretty sweet.
The Sewer, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
The Ninja Turtles obviously live in the New York City sewer system. But they're teenagers, so they don't live in a swanky James Bond villain's lair or a classy bachelor pad like V. Their home is more like a frat house, with Splinter as a den mother and a particle accelerator rigged in the dining room for Donatello's tinkering.