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Volcano Lair

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The base no self-respecting supervillain can do without.

Mr. Incredible: I've been meaning to ask you. Of all places to settle down, why...?
Mirage: With a volcano? My employer is attracted to power. So am I. It's a... weakness we share.
Mr. Incredible: Seems a little unstable.
Mirage: I prefer to think of it as... misunderstood.

Some people want to live not at volcano's feet, but in a volcano. Whether it's active or extinct. After all, a crater inside some big mountain is a relatively defensible location, there's plenty of free geothermal power, it looks impressive, and Everything's Cooler With Lava. Usually Supervillain Lair, but not always. Naturally predisposed to become a Collapsing Lair.

Most feature labyrinthine cave complex, Lava Pits and use of free heat. These bases are often located in a Lava Pot Volcano, hanging over or surrounding a great lake of molten rock. Often done in a rather careless manner. May or may not be located on an island. In a video game, this may be a Lethal Lava Land.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • Great Mazinger: Marquis Janus, one of the villains of the Mazinger Z sequel had an Island Base with an artificial volcano built on the center. Its eruptions could be set off and stopped at will. Often it was used to blast Great Mazinger with a rain of hot-molten rocks, debris and volcanic cinders in order to slow down its advance or hinder The Hero Tetsuya as he battled.
  • Kotetsu Jeeg: Queen Himika's Home Base was inside a volcano.
  • Starscream's temporary base in Transformers: Cybertron is located on a volcanic island in the Pacific. Since he and his minions are giant alien robots, the heat is not an issue. Hell, Thunderblast enjoys bathing in the lava.
  • In Pokémon, Blaine set up his gym inside the volcano of Cinnabar Island. Not surprisingly, he specializes in Fire-type Pokemon. Many other Fire-type-specializing Gym Leaders also set up their gyms in volcanoes or similar.

    Comic Books 
  • Agent 327: Dr. Maybe has one in "Dossier Stemkwadrater". It proves to be his undoing when Agent 327 and his two allies try to escape the base using Dr. Maybe's own invention, the Stemkwadrater, but extensive use of the device causes the volcano to become active again..
  • Used interestingly in one Buck Danny story. While flying, Buck spots a smoking volcano island and flies over it, taking pictures to send to volcanologists. Which is how he discovers the volcano isn't active but used as a secret base by the bad guys, who use smoke emitters to disguise their operations.
  • Irredeemable. Plutonian built his secret superhero citadel inside a volcano not just because he's Nigh-Invulnerable and can survive swimming through lava that would incinerate any supervillain, but also in the futile hope of drowning out the voices constantly calling for his help. The series starts with his Face–Heel Turn, so it's become a Supervillain Lair. Fortunately one of his former superhero colleagues is a master of teleportation technology, enabling them to bypass the lava to get inside.
  • X-Men villain Magneto had a base hidden within a volcano near the Savage Land, which he could easily get in via his magnetic powers. He once held the All-New All-Different X-Men prisoner here, but in their escape and subsequent battle with Magneto, the base was destroyed after devices meant to keep the lava away were destroyed.
  • In Tragg and the Sky Gods, the Yargonian invaders set up their base inside the volcano known as Fire Mountain.

    Fan Works 
  • Dr. Brainstorm and Jack of Calvin & Hobbes: The Series reside underneath Old Faithful.
  • Plan 7 of 9 from Outer Space. Journalist Buster Kincaid is delighted to find that a Mad Scientist has an Elaborate Underground Base in Antarctica's Mount Terror. Turns out erupting volcanoes is part of his Evil Plan (and it's also a Chekhov's Volcano when the inevitable Collapsing Lair happens).
  • RainbowDoubleDash's Lunaverse: Between seasons 1 and 2, Corona takes up a lair in a volcano, using magic to help her slightly less volcano-proof underlings survive living in an active volcano.
  • Shadows over Meridian: The Stone Nest, the Mogriffs' sacred nesting grounds in the northern mountains of Meridian, turns out to be a volcano that's either extinct or sleeping. The caldera has vegetation and water coming from the snow and ice that's melting outside thanks to the warm air and the sunlight filtering from the open crater. It's here that the Mogriffs make their nests and adorn them with crystals found inside the volcano. The other races' greed for those crystals is part of the reason they've had to fight for their ancestral home over the centuries.

    Films — Animation 
  • The Incredibles — Syndrome's base at Nomanisan Island. Mr. Incredible directly asks Syndrome's Sexy Secretary why he'd build his home at a volcano, and she respond it's because he's attracted to power, as well as the rich soil that lets them grow delicious food on the island.
  • The LEGO Ninjago Movie: Garmadon has one, and he even uses it to fire out generals that fail to live up to his expectations. It's apparently a fondness of his; his pajamas have a volcano print on them. When he takes over Ninjago City, he even makes a point to transport said base to the city.

    Films — Live-Action 

  • Dragonriders of Pern has all "classic" Weyrs made this way (one of the rare occurrences of this trope with extinct volcanoes,) but not early or later ones.
  • Dr. Franklin's Island appears to be a Deserted Island formed from long-ceased volcanic activity. Most of the land outside of the crater is wild jungle tumbling to the sea, with only so much beach at the edges, but the inside of the caldera is a sprawling compound.
  • Evil Harry Dread, the low-budget Evil Overlord in The Last Hero, complains that other Dark Lords somehow manage to get volcano lairs even when the local geology is completely wrong for them.
  • The eponymous Higher Institute of Villainous Education in the H.I.V.E. Series is one.
  • Redwall has Salamandastron, the Long Patrol/Badger Lord base, built in an extinct volcano on the coast.
  • In the 1951 novel Simon Black in Peril, the Australian Ace Pilot hero created by Ivan Southall battles Nazis who established a secret lair in a hollow volcano during the war, and are now planning to take over the entire Pacific.
  • In Starter Villain (2023), Charlie Fitzer inherits a nice one from his recently-deceased supervillain uncle. The book features numerous references to the iconic James Bond villain Ernst Stavro Blofeld, so it is presumably inspired by the You Only Live Twice example featured above. But this one comes with abundant geothermal power and a workforce of Uplifted Animal dolphins.
  • Whateley Universe: Played with in the Caribbean island kingdom of Karedonia, created by the supervillain Gizmatic (Joe Wilkins). The original island, Sao Monica, sat on a magma hotspot; self-proclaimed Emperor Joseph used Mad Science to draw magma up from the ground to extend the island until it quintupled in size. He then used it to create a tropical getaway and supervillain haven, complete with tourism, mining of rare minerals, offshore banking, and supervillain timeshare lairs. While the palace and most of other structures are on the slopes of Mt Wilkins rather than inside the volcano itself, there is an interior citadel which also houses the machinery which keeps the island stable.
    • Unreliable Narrator Mephisto the Mentalist claimed that the reason so many super-spy organizations in the 1960s and 1970s had a Volcano Lair was because they could contract it out to a super-villain called Volcanax, who was a Devisor as well as having lava-control powers. He would just go to some distant point in the ocean, draw up a large amount of magma, and then once it was cooled enough he would install equipment to keep it from collapsing back down without him constantly maintaining it personally. Of course, being the product of Mad Science, the equipment itself was unstable and pretty easy for any intruder to wreck, which is why the islands would always explode just as the hero is getting away...

    Live-Action TV 
  • Game of Thrones: Dragonstone — Stannis's foreboding seat of power — is one of these, in addition to being an Island Base. It was formed centuries ago by volcanic eruptions, utilized by the Targaryens as a staging ground for their conquest of Westeros, and for bonus points is a major source of obsidian. It's also where every Targaryen dragon, other than Balerion the Black Dread, was born and raised.
  • The villain Moltor of Power Rangers Operation Overdrive bases his operations inside one of these, in sharp contrast to his brother Flurious, who resides inside of an icy cave lair.
  • Airwolf's normal hangar is inside a long-extinct volcano. Justified because the tapering shape of the interior cavern is ideal for a concealed helipad; unless a satellite or search aircraft happened to overfly it right as Airwolf were taking off or landing it's almost totally invisible.
  • Stargate Atlantis: An Ancient outpost on the planet Taranis was built over a supervolcano in order to tap the geothermal energy, but keeping it running for too long unfortunately caused the volcano to erupt.

  • Bleak Expectations: During series 4, Big Bad Mister Benevolent finds a volcano on a dessert (as it, it's actually made of dessert) island. For reasons he can't properly explain, he felt the need to add a self-destruct option that anyone could touch. And naturally, it gets set off.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Dungeons & Dragons
    • Dragonlance — The biggest Minoi settlement around is Mount Nevermind. A combination of their smokepowder storage facility and one angry red dragon led to reactivation of the volcano and subsequent discovery of useable geothermal energy.
    • Forgotten Realms — Firenewts live in volcanic mountains. Because they need lava pit-grade heat.
    • Red dragons, being immune to fire, prefer hot lairs and especially like volcanoes for combining high temperatures with commanding views of the landscape.
    • Fire giants like to make their homes within volcanoes or volcanic caverns — active ones, by preference, and ones who live in less tectonically active real estate can go through quite a lot of wood and coal to make their lairs feel more homey.

    Video Games 

    Web Comics 

    Web Original 
  • Villain Source — volcano Island Base
  • How to Hero: The guide's author expresses confusion at this phenomenon but warns superheroes about it anyway.
    • "A lot of volcanoes end up being used as supervillain lairs at some point. Which seems weird to me. Because why would you want to live in a volcano. I feel like it would get hot. But who am I to judge. What do I know about supervillain lairs."
  • Because Science explains why this is a terrible idea.
  • One of the alternate-universe baseball teams in the SCP Foundation's SCP-2206 is the Montreal Volcanoes, counterpart to the Washington Nationals (formerly the Montreal Expos). Their stadium is built in the active crater of their version of Mount Royal, which has been known to occasionally erupt during games. To players and spectators alike, it's just another of Maximum League Baseball's many occupational hazards.

    Western Animation 
  • Inside Job: In "Ghost Protocol" the supervillain "Dr. Skullfinger" has a volcano base, which J.R. buys after he gets arrested. He pays for it by raiding Cognito's employee pension plan and intends to use it as an AirBnB, something that disturbs the evil real estate agent and the janitor mopping up blood.
  • In the My Little Pony TV show and movie, witches lived in the Volcano of Gloom.
  • The titular Superjail! is inside a volcano that's inside another volcano.
  • In Defenders of the Earth, the Defenders' base, Monitor, was built inside a dormant volcano.
  • The Forge from Steven Universe is a volcano lair used by Bismuth to forge the Crystal Gems' non-summon weapons and upgrade existing weapons, having made Rose's sword, upgrades to Garnet, Amethyst and Pearl's weapons and the Breaking-Point, a hand-held super-weapon created with the express purpose of shattering gems. The entrance can only be opened by Bismuth, and because Bismuth is a gem created specifically for construction and smithing, her body can withstand high temperatures and is able to touch molten-hot materials undeterred.
  • In The Lion Guard Season 2, the spirits of evil lions of the past can be summoned by the Roar if it used for unjust purposes, such as mindless rage, while in a volcano. Janja and his hyenas trick Kion into doing that, which allows them to summon Scar from the lava.
  • One episode of Phineas and Ferb has Doofenshmirtz set up shop and enact his latest evil scheme inside an extinct volcano, one inexplicably located on the same island that the Flynn-Fletcher family got stranded in.
  • The Transformers: The Autobots built a headquarters out of the volcano their ship crashed into. It's mostly dormant, but has erupted at a few key moments, most importantly the eruption that reactivated all the Transformers and reignited their war.

    Real Life 
  • Rabaul, the major base for Japanese forces in the South Pacific in World War II, is located inside the Rabaul caldera. The Japanese army dug many kilometres of tunnels as shelter from Allied air attacks. It was devastated by eruptions in 1937 and 1994.
  • During the Battle of Iwo Jima late in World War II, the Japanese garrison based on the island had built a network of caves and tunnels throughout the island, including the volcano, known as Mt. Suribachi. at the southern point of the island. The volcano itself was used as a headquarters and rallying point early in the battle, until it was taken by the US Marines storming the island 5 days into said battle.
  • While not a volcano the Cheyenne Mountain Complex fits the general idea of a base within a hollowed out mountain.
  • The Arecibo Radio Telescope occupies the crater of an extinct volcano in Puerto Rico.
  • Daesh actually briefly controlled one during the Syrian Civil War. It is a dead volcano and isn't much to look at, but the hostile terrain and abundance of cave networks significantly bolstered their ability to defend the region against an enemy that both outgunned and outnumbered them.


Video Example(s):


"The Cold Heart of Hate"

Clockwerk's Lair is a massive, high-tech fortress located in the Krakarov Volcano in Russia.

How well does it match the trope?

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Example of:

Main / LethalLavaLand

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