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Off My Mind: Should Superheroes Keep Trophy Rooms?

It's cool to keep villains' memorabilia but how safe is it?

As comic book readers, most of us have a tendency to want to collect things. Whether it's a true trophy or just a memento to remind us of something cool that happened, it's human nature to keep certain things around. Superheroes are no different. There are several heroes and teams that have dedicated rooms to commemorate their successful victories when battling the supervillains.

The supervillains almost make it easy. If they don't have actual superpowers, they most likely have some crazy or high tech weapons and gadgets. Upon their defeat (or even escape), items are discarded or appropriated. Villains can't be allowed to keep possession of dangerous items regardless if it is actually their private property. It seems committing a super-villainous act takes away some of their legal rights.

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These items are much too dangerous to sit in the police department evidence room and some most likely can't be easily destroyed, so it falls to the trustworthy heroes to take possession of them. The common place for these items is a room dedicated to storing and displaying the prizes from a battle.

Is this really a good idea? How safe is it for these items to sit out on display and how safely locked up are they really?

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You would think that a superhero team's headquarters is the safest place to keep trophies from villains. Sometimes their bases are even kept in hidden locations. They're rarely opened to the public so there shouldn't be a problem, right? Wrong.

We've often seen even secret headquarters infiltrated by crafty villains. Batman keeps several trophies in the Batcave and the Justice League has a trophy room as well. Because Batman is the World's Greatest Detective, that implies he's a pretty smart dude. He would make sure only the best security system is being used. Any base that he is involved in should be impenetrable to outsiders.

Yet, how many times have people casually wandered into the Batcave? This is Batman's ultimate private space. Villains have strolled in and could have access to any of his toys or trophies. The Hall Of Justice even has public tours. Sure, tourists aren't given full access but would it really be that difficult for a cunning villain to enter a restricted area?

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The current X-Force team decided to have a secret base since the other X-Men don't know of their existence. Cavern-X is their place to gather as well as keep any spoils they feel looks really cool on display. Things got bad the last time the X-Men discovered there was a secret X-team of killers so you would think Wolverine, Angel, Psylocke and the others would go to great lengths to keep their activities and base of operations a secret. Yet, Magneto easily uncovered their secret, strolled in and made himself at home. Well, he is Magneto so that says something, right? Magneto is the same person that has been defeated by superpowered teenagers time and time again. There are other smarter villains out there that could easily discover the location of the X-Cave.

Going back to public headquarters like the Justice League or Teen Titans use, who maintains the facilities? I have never seen any member sweeping up the floors or dusting the trophy cases. They must have some sort of janitorial team. How heavily are they screened before getting hired? Even if they have the highest clearance and are scrutinized by Batman, they could easily be influenced or used by villains. What happens when a villain kidnaps their loved ones and forces them to get them access?

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The heroes usually win their battles at the end of the day but happens if the team doesn't survive? What if they get transported to another world like in Secret Wars or Heroes Reborn. The heroes base would be left unattended and eventually someone would be able to crack their security system.

The trophy rooms we've seen do have some pretty cool stuff. If anyone has a secure place, it might be Superman with his Fortress of Solitude. But even that place isn't completely secure. If the heroes are looking to keep dangerous items away from villains, it makes sense for them to take possession. If they're just taking them to display in a boasting manner, their motives should be reassessed. Keeping so many dangerous items in one place is asking for trouble and eventually, it's going to result in the loss of innocent lives.

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Avatar image for redheadedatrocitus
Posted By RedheadedAtrocitus

I don't know, for some reason collections contained in secret rooms seems reminiscent of a serial killer to me since many collect "trophies" as well to reminisce about the past.  Not that heroes keep things from battle for reasons like a serial killer would, but still it just seems creepy and even a bit lame, as if heroes are resting on their laurels of their past successes.  I mean unless the artifact is something that can and must be kept out of villain's hands, then I see no use for such trophies being contained in a trophy room.

Avatar image for gmanfromheck
Posted By gmanfromheck

Some images that didn't make it into the article:

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Staff
Avatar image for outside_85
Posted By Outside_85
The Power of Trigon 2
The Power of Trigon 2



Even demonic overlords like to keep stuff.
Avatar image for mrcipher
Posted By MrCipher

I'm all for having a vault of some kind in which to store dangerous items that cannot be dismantled, or if destroyed would be more devastating than if left in tact, OR as evidence and a means of discovering a villain's next move.
But trophies? No way. Trophies seem like an arrogant, out-dated, and almost puerile tradition - I suppose if the "hero" is on some sort of personal "conquest" or is full of themselves, then the idea fits (I guess Batman's obsession, and Booster Gold's, or Wally West's arrogance fits). But that sort of hubris warrants a backlash against the hero who is engaging in such behavior and leaving these things around is an invitation to a vengeful villain to seek out a hero's secret stronghold, or an inspiration to a would-be villain to take up a cause where a defeated villain left off, or even just out of spite for the hero.
Either way it's probably wise not to invite the media into your top secret headquarters to show off your stash on national t.v.

Avatar image for ellocobruja
Posted By Ellocobruja

Realisticly.. people like stuff...

People like trophies... Not having a trophie room is inhuman.

 

Avatar image for moonleming
Edited By Moonleming
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Best trophy room ever. (Planetary 14)
Avatar image for mrcipher
Edited By MrCipher
@GraveSp said:

If Batman does it then it must be okay

If Batman jumped off of a bridge, would you do it too? (Even though you don't have a grappling hook like he does?)  :)
Avatar image for sevangrim
Posted By SevanGrim

im pretty sure the Hall of Justice has a cleaning crew, as its more of a museum than a HQ now. And im also pretty sure the Watchtower and Titans Tower are super hi tech self cleaning marvels. And the JSA probably takes turns cleaning their HQ as a family/team building exercise. And on the Marvel side, Tony and the Avengers have cleaning crews and cleaning robots in sure.

most heroes shouldn't have a trophy room, even batman. thats kind of dickish to hang all your so-called Selfless acts of heroism on a wall somewhere. How can they be mad at Booster Gold, when collecting trophies makes them more or less just like him?
 The only exception for me is the JLA, as they use extensive knowledge of many different technologies and magics to tear things down so they can put them safely in their museum. They arent keeping those to stroke their egos. They keep them to educate the public. I put that more on line with the Titans hall of Fallen Teammates than the Batcave.

good read Tony. Stop waking up at 4 in the morning. we appreciate it, but we can wait until later to read our news. :)

Avatar image for xerox_kitty
Posted By xerox_kitty


I officially hate Cavern-X.  For 40+ years the X-Men have coped without ripping off the Bat-Cave, so they really need to start now?  NO!  The very idea that they'd hang a giant Sentinel head from the ceiling is ludicrous.  It would have been dismantled & studied, not hung up as a permanent reminder of the persecution they've had to face over the decades. 

 

It is the X-Men's eqvivilent of Kirk Douglas'  secret underground room from Sky High... holding on to "trophies" for no reason at all other than Plot Induced Stupidity which will inevitably lead to deadly villains getting the drop on the heros in their own 'home'.  Lame lame lame...

 

Let the Bat-Cave be the one and only Cave.  Cavern-X is an embarrassment.     
Avatar image for airdave817
Posted By deactivated-579fe0ae58107

I think with Batman it's more of "evidence" storage gone wild. How exactly do you get a giant penny and a dinosaur into an underground cavern without it going unnoticed...oh, wait that's right! - he's really an eccentric millionaire making additions to Wayne Manor that involve excavating...

 

Kind of funny that most of the stuff in a "trophy" room is all broken **** that doesn't work anymore - or shouldn't work anymore...

 

Y'think maybe it's kind of subliminal? Well, all the cool super-heroes collect valuable stuff...I need a cave or a fortress or a private room for all my swag and guano, too!!!

Avatar image for EndlessKnight
Posted By EndlessKnight

My room would contain the heads of all my fallen enemies, and I would talk to them every day, and ask advice.  Wait, never mind... That was Babylon 5. :P


If your HQ is well-enough hidden, I don't see why you couldn't have a trophy room.  It might be best to hide it within your hidden base, and booby trap it, so the items would be dissolved by acid.  If the authorities manage to find your HQ, at least you won't have to worry about any evidence being found.
Avatar image for radread
Posted By Radread


 

 It's a great question, I remember during the old Flash TV series where the Nightshade told Barry he had to start his collection because one day his work would be done and he had to be reminded of the good work he had done. That's how I see trophy rooms in comics, TV and movies. I will agree, you have to watch what you keep in there. As pointed out in Sky High, Justice League, Justice Society trophy rooms can backfire on you. However, with Batman, Superman and the Avengers. It really helps to keep that stuff around.

Avatar image for crimsonavenger
Posted By CrimsonAvenger

I'm sure the Justice League has robotic janitors, they would never have ordinary people do it. I love trophy rooms, I think they're great ideas.

Avatar image for billy_batson
Posted By Billy Batson

Good read

Avatar image for bunkerbuster05
Posted By bunkerbuster05

I've said it once and I'll say it again. Tony is the hardest working man alive! I feel like every single time I log on, no matter the time, there is a new article up.


I'm all for trophy rooms. Batman's been around for over 70 years, it's nice to see all his victories available to see. It's just a cool thing to see, and shouldn't really be a huge plot device. 
Avatar image for comiccrazy
Posted By ComicCrazy

Nice topic I have often thought about this one myself and well they kinda address it in All Star Superman which was cool.

Avatar image for out_of_space
Posted By Out_of_Space

Some superheroes should keep trophy rooms but i don't think that really matters so much.
Avatar image for gravesp
Posted By GraveSp

If Batman does it then it must be okay


Avatar image for tdk_1997
Posted By TDK_1997

They should keep Trophy Rooms like Batman
Avatar image for nightfang3
Posted By NightFang3

Batman and the Flash keep trophy's in the Batcave and the Flash Museum, so why not let all of them have one!?

Avatar image for artisticneedham
Edited By ArtisticNeedham
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I'll have to read the rest later, but off the top of my head I'd say that every time I see Kid Flash take a trophy home in Young Justice I think "Oh no!"  Probably gonna be a bomb, or camera, or microphone, or transmitter, or something, inside it.  Maybe instead of actual objects they should just frame newspaper articles about them or the event.
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Here is a smaller, screen cap
Avatar image for Drowsap
Posted By drowsap

nice late story cant wait to read

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