by Gary Pullman
The Evil Factory, where the extraterrestrial evil genius Darkseid turns out new villains to battle superheroes.
Why it's a good idea: The Evil Factory represents the application of a familiar and real process, industrialization, in an unexpected but figuratively appropriate manner, suggesting that evil can be designed and created as easily as any other mass-produced, assembly-line product.
The X-Men's Danger Room, a computerized, programmable, indoor obstacle course which includes mobile, mechanical threats.
Why it's a good idea: The Danger Room is extrapolated from a real training device, the military obstacle course, but it is also modernized, with a sophisticated technology replacing physical, largely stationary obstacles with actual, programmed threats to life and limb that are controlled by computers.
The Negative Zone, an alternate dimension accessible by means of a Reed Richards invention.
Why it's a good idea: The Negative Zone both expands plot possibilities and defamiliarizes the settings that are associated with mundane, everyday environments, thus glamorizing action.
The Inhumans, a race of super-antiheroes.
Why they're a good idea: As an unknown race of superhuman figures, The Inhumans have a mysterious and compelling character, with loads of opportunity for development (i. e., back story) and represent a fresh start to depicting new villains and new villainy.
The Watcher, a gigantic, enormously powerful extraterrestrial who is compelled merely to watch cosmic events without interfering in them.
Why he's a good idea: The Watcher is an ironic mirroring of human scientists who observe, but do not intervene in natural processes, including even predatory attacks upon prey and so represents a reversal of sorts, with humans substituted for animals and The Watcher standing in for scientists. (An added bonus: his toga lends him the dignity appropriate to his station in life, too!)
Galactus, a gigantic extraterrestrial who feeds upon the energies of entire planets, laying waste to worlds.
Why he's a good idea: Galactus is the personification of the concept of the parasite writ large—literally as well as figuratively. In addition, he has a cool costume.
The Silver Surfer, Galactus' herald, who identifies worlds suitable for Galactus' consumption.
Why he's a good idea: The Silver Surfer, himself exceedingly powerful, is but the pawn of a godlike character whose power dwarfs his own. He is also the reluctant servant of a pitiless master whose destruction of worlds is the price the Surfer must pay to protect his own planet from Galactus' insatiable appetite. As a surfer, the Surfer is also an iconic—and an ironic—embodiment of sixties' hipness.
Genetic mutation as the cause of superheroes' powers.
Why it's a good idea: The genetic cause of superheroes' power links the fantastic themes of comic books to a natural phenomenon, giving the medium a quasi-scientific basis that accords with the contemporary weltanschauung of the Western world.