Warning: The following contains spoilers for Superman #17 by Brian Michael Bendis, Kevin Maguire, Paul Mounts and Dave Sharpe
There are a number of secretive organizations across the DC Universe, each with their own intentions and plans. Of them, S.T.A.R. Labs is one of the most iconic, often making the leap into television and movies as a fill-in for these kinds of groups.
However, the newest issue of Brian Michael Bendis' Superman may have thrown the entire organization into upheaval, with the Man of Steel seemingly forcing S.T.A.R. Labs to fall into their most dangerous financial position yet.
The Science and Technology Advanced Research Laboratories (aka S.T.A.R. Labs) was first introduced in a 1971 Superman book by Len Wein, Curt Swan, and Murphy Anderson, and has been a fixture of the DC Universe ever since. The organization is tied to the origins of Cyborg and served as the main setting for Superboy's adventures following the events of Death of Superman. It's also been a frequent target of Lex Luthor, who desperately wants to purchase the labs (and their various inventions) for his own use.
The lab location in Metropolis is one of the most prevalent, often assisting Superman either by helping contain his enemies or even his own powers when they get out of hand. S.T.A.R. Labs has been connected to various stories over the years, providing technical support for the heroes. But it's not always a positive location, as some scientists who work with the group end up using the tech to try and either gain power for themselves or bring down one of their enemies. Although, this direction might have ended up dooming the company once and for all.
THE SUPERMAN STARE
S.T.A.R. Labs was one of the targets of Leviathan, making them even more suspicious of the world around them. Part of Superman #17 takes place in a secret location for the company known as the Constellation. Doctor Glory, one of the heads of the project, speaks with a group of investors and board members about S.T.A.R. Labs' most recent discovery: that the multiverse is just but one of the countless multiverses across all of creation. The group wants to stay ahead of this discovery and mine it for all it's worth before the Justice League gets the chance to investigate and ruin their chances to make a great deal of money off their discoveries. Unforntatly for them, Superman arrives outside the base and causes an outright panic among the staff. Although Doctor Glory escapes, Clark Kent writes up a news report for the Daily Planet on it - and it does not look good for S.T.A.R. Labs.
The scientists there were caught tinkering with interdimensional experiments - without informing the heroes or the government. This meant there was no one to assist them if something was to go wrong. Working with Young Justice, Superman found the lab and all the various experiments that could have potentially caused rips in the fabric reality that had the potential to threaten the entire world. Doctor Glory is able to escape via the teleportation that's been designed, but the news causes S.T.A.R. Labs stocks to plummet to an all-time low. Since S.T.A.R. Labs was introduced, it was a group that was completely independent and could survive on its own financial merits. But if the stock is caving in, this staple of the scientific world might not be long for this universe. It could even get bought out by someone wealthy enough to acquire it.
While this could be a boon for someone like Batman, imagine how much damage Lex Luthor (now in his Apex form) could do with S.T.A.R. Labs now that they finally might be willing to take the check.
Superman #18, by Brian Michael Bendis, Ivan Reis and Joe Prado, goes on sale Dec. 11 from DC.