Heralded as the House of Ideas, Marvel Comics prides itself on its ingenuity, clever storytelling, and rich characterization of its heroes and villains. The comic book company has certainly delivered some of the most recognizable superheroes on the face of the planet. Yet for all the epic events and awesome characters, there have been plenty of wacky missteps along the way. Superheroes and even villains need transportation to get around. Not everyone can fly or teleport; not everyone is a Thor or Iron Man, soaring around the city, or the universe, with little to no effort. Despite all the awesome powers out there, many spandex-clad men and women still need a car or plane to get around like everyone else.
The X-Men have the sleek-looking Blackbird, the Avengers have their Quinjets, and the Fantastic Four have their groovy and incredibly helpful Fantasti-Car, but unfortunately not every vehicle can be a winner. For every cosmic surfboard, there’s a floating castle or a garbage truck that kidnaps people. No one is above getting equipped with inept and cringe worthy vehicles, not even tyrannical space warlords or fan favorite superheroes. Today at CBR we’re going to look at 15 of Marvel’s most hilariously useless and inept vehicles.
15. THE HELICARRIER
Tasked with protecting the entire planet, the folks who work at S.H.I.E.L.D, take their job deadly serious, and they should. Folks like Nick Fury and Maria Hill have saved the world multiple times but that doesn’t give them a pass for the incredibly large and impractical Helicarrier they use to fly about.
Sure, it can serve as a mobile base of operations, but it’s constantly getting shot out of the sky. It’s such a big target, it makes no sense to bring it into a battle full of lasers and Hulks. Heroes like Iron Fist have knocked one out of the sky, but so have the X-Men, The Red Hulk, Iron Man, numerous supervillains, and even more heroes. It really only serves as an insurance liability or a giant bullet waiting to crash into a heavily populated area, wiping out a city in the process.
14. NAMOR’S BLITZ BUGGY
The Sub-Mariner is one of Marvel’s strongest heroes. He’s bulletproof, lives underwater, can fly, and is nearly equal in strength to the Incredible Hulk. Super tough and an expert combatant, Namor, the Sub-Mariner, is for all intents and purposes, a living weapon. So the question is why did Marvel decide he needed a little car to get from Point A to Point B? The man can fly!
Coming right out of the Golden Age, the Blitz Buggy was the fusion of American scrap metal and Atlantean ingenuity equipped with machine guns, but it looked foolish, and Namor as we know him would not deign to drive in something that looked dumb — he has his honor to consider. Certainly a shirtless man in a green speedo, driving in a roofless monster of a car wouldn’t be any less conspicuous then flying in from the sky.
13. BIG WHEEL’S WHEEL
Big Wheel is one of Spider-Man’s lamest foes. It’s a wonder he and his big wheel are still around. Jackson Weele was a corrupt businessman who went to the Tinkerer to turn him into a fearsome force to be reckoned with. That didn’t happen. What did happen was Weele assumed the moniker of Big Wheele and rolled around the streets of New York City in a giant mechanical big wheel, that also served as an offensive weapon.
For silly reasons, he decides to attack the equally goofy Rocket Racer. Spider-Man, caught between the two lame villains could only curse his luck, at a loss for words. At the battle’s zenith, Spidey simply rolls out of the way of Big Wheel and the unfortunate villain rolls into the ocean. You’d think Wheel would have installed a reverse function.
12. DOCTOR DOOM’S FLYING FORTRESS
On paper, it might make a modicum of sense for Doctor Doom to build a giant flying fortress. Doom isn’t particularly known for subtly, and with an ego the size of an interstellar space system…sure, let him have his silly flying fortress. Yet Doom has no purpose floating about in a massive boat of a target. His primary base of operations is his country of Latveria, where he’s more than happy to rule with an iron fist.
He enjoys mocking the Fantastic Four, saying there’s no way they can cross his foreign soil without it being considered an act of war. Anyway, he used the Fortress to observe a battle between the FF and Tyros the Terrible, before eventually abandoning the giant vehicle to partake in the battle. With an interior that looks like it was built by H.H. Holmes, you have to wonder what Doom was thinking.
11. THANOS’ SPACE THRONE
To anyone unacquainted with the Mad Titan Thanos, it’s important to realize he has a very self-inflated opinion of himself. So of course, if he’s going to be navigating the stars, then Thanos require a mode of transport.
Introducing Thanos’s Space Throne. It’s pretty much exactly what it sounds like. All the leisure of sitting on your couch at home, while you pontificate over life, its lack of meaning, and who you’re going to kill next. It certainly helps boost the self-esteem, or at least gets one mentally prepared for when you have flocks of peons bowing down to you. To the shock of many, the Space Throne can travel at the speed of light and generate defensive and offensive projectiles. So while it’s not totally useless, anyone with a shred of dignity wouldn’t be caught dead on the floating monstrosity.
10. THE FANTASTI-COPTER
The Fantastic Four do not need a helicopter. Seriously, there’s no reason for it. They already have the incredibly awesome and silly Fantasti-Car, so why downgrade? It didn’t make a lick of sense; granted the FF often needed to get around town to fight superpowered baddies, but a little helicopter?
It moved slowly and looked like it could barely fit the entire team in it. The Fantasti-Copter only appeared in a few issues of The Fantastic Four, and probably for good reason. Yet even after the Fantasti-Car was used as their primary means of transportation, Reed Richards never got rid of the blasted thing. For the longest while it would just sit on the roof of the Baxter Building like the world’s most worthless paperweight.
9. HAWKEYE’S SKY BIKE
Clint Barton, Hawkeye, just can seem to get a break. The weakest member of the Avengers, Clint is constantly trying to prove his worth day in and day out as he fights alongside super soldiers and thunder gods. If Thor has Mjoinir and Iron Man has his armor so they can get around, Hawkeye needs his own mode of transportation.
Enter the Sky Bike. The little air bike was so laughably useless it’s a wonder Clint stuck with it for as long as he did. While it might be cool to have a flying moped, Hawkeye was constantly getting knocked off it. It got to the point where it was plain hazardous to ride the thing for risk of being shot off at a fatal height. To this day, Hawkeye doesn’t take it well when someone brings up the Sky Bike.
8. SHE-HULK’S FLYING CAR
Lots of superheroes are proud owners of flying cars, but very few of them use their vehicles to travel in space. A character like She-Hulk really has no business riding atop cars in the vacuum of space, which is something she’d probably be more than willing to admit.
Regardless, when She-Hulk tried to rescue NASA’s first faster-than-light spacecraft, she gets stranded thousands of light years away from Earth. An alien AI, along with the trucker Ulysses Archer, help She-Hulk return to her home world by modifying a ’59 Dodge with the capability of flight. Weirdly, the car was only capable of flying once, though it did come equipped with a recall system so it could space-warp back to Archer in case it needed repairs. Like we said…weird.
7. ARCADE’S GARBAGE TRUCK
For the longest while, the Spider-Man turned X-Men villain known as Arcade was seen as a joke. In his early appearances he captured the mutant superhero team and trapped them in ridiculous toy-themed deathtraps. What was worse than his fashion sense, wearing an awful, massive polka-dotted tie (though it was a theme he took seriously), was the means with which he captured superheroes.
Arcade crafted a garbage truck that could literally swallow people. Somehow, whomever it swallowed got conveniently knocked out in the process, and would then take them to Arcade’s underground deathtrap amusement park called Murderworld, where it was left to chance to decide whether the heroes would live or die. The point is, the garbage truck was an incredibly silly vehicle and had no business existing.
6. THOR’S CHARIOT
Thor, the God of Thunder, transverses universes and other dimensions, flying at the speed of light and beyond; it’s all thanks to his trusty magic hammer Mjoinir. Capable of doing whatever the story requires, Thor’s hammer is downright mighty; he just doesn’t feel complete without it. As his primary mode of transportation, and an epic one at that, keeping a space chariot around as a secondary option is a questionable decision at best.
Pulled by the giant, and often irritable, Billy goats known as Toothgnasher and Toothgrinder, their sole purpose in life seems to consist of taking Thor wherever he needs to go. On the odd occasion Thor loses his hammer it’s nice to have an alternative means of transportation. Still if you’re going to choose magic space goats over anything else Asgard likely has in store, like Viking spaceships, then maybe it is time to turn over your hammer.
5. THE SPIDER-MOBILE
Spider-Man has never been the luckiest superhero. Forever falling prey to that nasty “Parker luck”, getting outfitted with a car didn’t help his life any. The Spider-Mobile, given to him by Corona Motors to promote their new non-polluting engine, had the ability to do anything a spider can. The car could drive up and down walls and shoot webbing from a couple nozzles up in front. It’s a pretty awful-looking beast of a vehicle, a real travesty.
Spider-Man thought it was a dumb idea, but still tried to make use of it. The Spider-Mobile didn’t work out for him. In fact, the car even turned on him and tried to kill the wall-crawler, but settled with defeating Spider-Man; ensnaring him up with the webbing and taking him to the Tinkerer.
4. THE GLA’S QUIN-JETTA
Calling the Great Lake Avengers D-list heroes would be an insult to D-list heroes everywhere. A team of heroes nobody wants anything to do with, they tend to get a bad rep, especially considering they just aren’t very likeable people. Seemingly meandering from fight to fight, the Great Lake Avengers patrol the Midwest, though they were eventually reassigned to Detroit.
They have saved the day multiple times, much to the surprise of the superhero community. Really, they just want to be respected and taken seriously. That wasn’t likely to happen when they drive to battle in the GLA Quin-Jetta, or rather just a regular old car. It doesn’t have any fancy gadgets installed, as Mr. Immortal, the leader of the team, can’t afford them, it just has the Great Lake Avengers logo shoddily painted on the side.
3. GREEN GOBLIN’S BROOMSTICK
The Green Goblin is arguably Spider-Man’s greatest foe. He’s devious, powerful, and carries a wide array of gadgets to mess with the wall-crawler. Not to mention he knows Spider-Man’s secret identity, Norman Osborn has spent years trying to destroy Spidey. Back in the early days however, the Green Goblin seemed to struggle with the concept of intimidation. Before he rode his breathtaking Goblin Glider, looking like a banshee flying out of a heavy metal album, he rode a mechanical broomstick.
It looked pretty awful and that’s doing it some justice. With literally no offensive capabilities, the only thing it would do was create a smoke cloud to help the Green Goblin escape a battle. The broomstick constantly needed refueling and it always looked like Osborn might fall off at any second; it looked super slippery and no sane person would ever ride it.
2. SQUIRREL GIRL’S SQUIRREL-A-GIG HELICOPTER
Over the years, Squirrel Girl’s popularity has shot through the roof. While she might not sport incredible power, unless you count summoning an army of squirrels at your side incredible, she does have a large fanbase. Ultimately, while she’s beaten the likes of Doctor Doom and Thanos, she’s a gag character, and her exploits are not to be taken seriously — you kind of have to just enjoy the ride that is Squirrel Girl.
That does not mean you have to enjoy her nausea-inducing helicopter. Dubbed the Squirrel-a-Gig, Squirrel Girl dons an equally horrendous outfit as she flies the completely rubbish contraption. Given to her by Big Bertha of the Great Lake Avengers, Squirrel Girl would occasionally use it as transportation when getting from Milwaukee to Thunderbolts Mountain in Colorado. Thankfully, the Squirrel-a-Gig has long been since forgotten.
1. THE THANOS-COPTER
If ever you’ve pondered on whether Thanos should have a helicopter, the answer is no; he does not require a helicopter. The Mad Titan did indeed suffer a bout of madness when he thought flying around in a tiny helicopter was a good idea. It had no technological doodads, but what it DID have was his name plastered on its side. You know, just in case Thanos needed a dour reminder as to whom it belonged to.
First appearing in Spidey Super-Stories #39, Spider-Man and the Cat (or Hellcat) battled Thanos over possession of the Cosmic Cube. While the Thanos-Copter did give the evil space tyrant a small lead over the Cat, but it ultimately didn’t matter as Thanos created a small earthquake that ended up defeating him. You know, if Thanos is coming in from space, why doesn’t he just use a spaceship like a normal interstellar warlord?
Are there any other ridiculous Marvel vehicles we left off our list? Let us know in the comments section!
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