One could easily argue that comic books and thrill rides go hand-in-hand. They're both exhilarating outlets of entertainment that leave you on the edge of your seat and keep you wanting more. Combining the two just seems like common sense. With summer just around the corner, it's just about time to start slathering on the sunscreen and hitting the theme parks. Here are just a few of the many comic-themed coasters that you can ride.
Note: This list is in no particular order.
1. Joker's Jinx - Six Flags America (Upper Marlboro, MD)
If there's any roller coaster that can live up to the Joker's twisted, insane nature, then look no further than Six Flags America's Joker's Jinx. Starting things off with a 60mph launch, this ride puts you into a mangled masterpiece of twists, turns and loops.
In a compact "spaghetti bowl" track layout, passengers get a good look inside the literally twisted mind of the Joker. This menacing whirlwind of purple and green steel will flip and toss you around so much that you just might go crazy by the end of it. You may even be stuck with a permanent smile for the rest of your natural born life.
2. Superman: Ultimate Flight - Six Flags Great Adventure (Jackson, NJ) Six Flags over Georgia (Austell, GA), Six Flags Great America (Gurnee, IL)
Have you ever dreamed of flying through the air just like Superman? Have you always wanted to stretch your arms out and soar above the ground without those pesky laws of physics to stop you? Well, you can't. But you can come close with Superman: Ultimate Flight.
Once you're strapped into this ride, your seat will tilt up to face the ground. This will allow you to fly just like the Man of Steel: face down and head-first. Of course, this coaster takes full advantage of its concept; it features two massive inversions and plenty of turns and dives to thrill riders. It's also notable for being the first roller coaster to contain a "pretzel loop," an inversion that (of course) looks like a pretzel.
After initially opening at Six Flags Over Georgia in 2002, the ride was clearly popular enough to be added to Six Flags Great Adventure and Six Flags Great America in 2003. So if you've ever dreamed about being more than a bird or a plane, you've got three different parks to do just that. Sure, other flying coasters exist like Sea World's Manta and Magic Mountain's Tatsu, but none of them have the comic book flair that makes this ride really stand out.
3. Superman: The Ride - Six Flags New England (Agawam, MA)
While this ride doesn't have the inversions or flying sensation of Ultimate Flight, its stomach-sinking drops and incredible airtime more than make up for what it lacks.
Ever since it opened in 2000 as Superman: Ride of Steel, this ride has been re-themed twice. In 2009 it was painted purple and renamed after Superman's evil twin Bizarro. This year, however, it has been re-re-themed as a Superman ride.
No matter what the theme is though, this ride constantly ranks as one of the best roller coasters of all time. Its perfect blend of high-velocity action, gut-busting drops and epic levels of airtime has earned it 5 Golden Ticket Awards for Best Steel Roller Coaster.
You may be sitting down, but the sheer joy of this ride will coax you into stretching out your arms and giving your best Superman pose for the on-ride camera.
This year, Six Flags will be adding virtual reality to the ride. Whether or not you decide to use this feature is your decision, but either way, you're in for one of the best rides of all time with the Man of Steel.
4. Bizarro - Six Flags Great Adventure (Jackson, NJ)
Superman's evil doppleganger has his own thrill ride, and it's just as epic as he is. Initially opened as Medusa in 1999, this coaster made history as the first ever floor-less roller coaster. This type of coaster has passengers sitting down with their feet dangling freely above the track, providing a unique ride experience.
In 2009, it was re-themed and renamed as Bizarro, complete with a fresh coat of purple paint and some new scenery to mix things up. Medusa was out and Bizarro was in, and he's ready to take park guests on one hell of a ride.
After the ride's first massive drop, guests go through one of the world's tallest loops and six more head-spinning inversions. Along the way, they'll encounter the drops, turns and engaging scenery necessary for a memorable roller coaster.
On top of that, the seats have built-in speakers that let guests hear the booming sounds of Bizarro fighting and talking during the course of the ride. There's even some awesome fog effects and pyrotechnics that look even better at night. Do yourself a favor and check this one out the next time you go to New Jersey.
5. The Dark Knight Coaster - Six Flags Great Adventure (Jackson, NJ), Six Flags Great America (Gurnee, IL), Six Flags Mexico (Mexico City, Mexico)
For those of you looking for a roller coaster based on a Christopher Nolan film, The Dark Knight Coaster is for you.
This indoor attraction plunges riders into the darkness of Gotham city as Batman himself tries to foil the Joker's plans. Of course, seeing how this ride is based on 2008's The Dark Knight, Heath Ledger's Joker fills the ride with chilling cackles that echo in the darkness.
This ride fits the definition of a "wild mouse" roller coaster. In most scenarios, wild mouse coasters are seen as fluffy carnival rides. They aren't usually that intense, and are often decorated in bright colors.
On the other hand, The Dark Knight Coaster takes place in near-total darkness, so the drops feel much bigger than they actually are. Add on some flashy special effects and archived audio of Heath Ledger's legendary performance and you've got yourself a thrilling, dark ride.
It may not be the tallest, fastest or most unique ride, but its scenery and indoor excitement alone make it worthy of being named after the movie.
6. Superman: Escape from Krypton - Six Flags Magic Mountain (Valencia, CA)
At this point in this list, it's pretty much a given to say that there are a LOT of Superman roller coasters. However, most of them have a unique ride experience that sets each one apart from the others. This super-sized tower of thrills is no different.
Superman: Escape from Krypton first opened in 1997 at Six Flags Magic Mountain and broke several records for the time. At a staggering 415 feet, it was the tallest roller coaster in the world and the first one to surpass 400 feet. At 100 mph, it was also the fasted ride on earth as well, tying the record with an Australian coaster called Tower of Terror II. While these records have since been broken by other coasters, this ride still stands today as an impressive monument for Magic Mountain.
The ride starts off by launching guests backwards at 100 mph into a massive vertical tower. As riders fly up into the air, they watch the ground beneath them continue to shrink until their fellow parkgoers look like ants. The anticipation then truly starts to set in when the vehicle reaches the top of the hill.Gravity eventually takes its course, leaving guests' stomachs in their throats as they rocket back to earth.
If you ever decide to visit the Thrill Capital of the World, you should give this ride a shot. You certainly can't miss it; it's a giant 400 ft. tall tower of red and blue steel.
7. Batman: The Ride - Various Six Flags Parks
This ride is quite common at Six Flags parks, but with a ride so slick and entertaining, why shouldn't it be?
First opened in 1992 at Six Flags Great America, Batman: The Ride is an inverted coaster that has expanded to several Six Flags parks. It's packed to the brim with five inversions and offers guests a smooth, satisfying ride to enjoy them with.
Other inverted coasters are rough and constantly bang your head on the over-the-shoulder restraints. With Batman however, you can buckle in for an un-bumpy ride and have fun.
The best part is that this ride can be found at more than a few of Six Flags' many theme parks. You can find this ride in: Six Flags Magic Mountain (Valencia, CA), Six Flags Great Adventure (Jackson, NJ), Six Flags Great America (Gurnee, IL), Six Flags St. Louis (St. Louis, MO), Six Flags Over Georgia (Austell, GA), and Six Flags Over Texas (Arlington, TX).
There's pretty much one in every region, so be on the lookout for one at your local Six Flags.
8. Superman Escape - Warner Bros. Movie World (Queensland, Australia)
Sometimes the rescue is more exciting than the peril. Located all the way down in Australia, this ride gives guests the high-speed experience of being rescued by the Man of Steel.
What really sets this coaster apart from the other Superman rides on this list is its unique theming. Instead of just building a Superman-themed ride, this ride actually has a bit of a plot to it.
The ride experience starts in a Metropolis subway station. Everything seems like an ordinary morning commute until an earthquake threatens the safety of everyone on board. In a series of special effects, gas mains break, the tracks are flooded, and the subway walls start to collapse.
Just when all hope seems to be lost, Superman comes out of nowhere to whisk the riders to safety. He states:
"Don't worry folks, there is only one way out of this mess, head back, I'll get you out of here. Fast. Superman fast."
With that, riders are launched from the subway tunnel, going from 0 to 62 mph in just two seconds. After a few sizable dips and some heart-pounding airtime, John Williams' iconic Superman theme plays as guests are lowered to safety. A fine way to end such a magnificent attraction.
9. Riddler's Revenge - Six Flags Magic Mountain (Valencia California)
Remain seated at all times? Not with Riddler's Revenge. On this specially-designed stand-up coaster, riders stay planted on their feet as they dive into 6 terrifying inversions. Much like the Riddler's sinister tricks, this ride is meant to mess with your mind.
When it first opened in 1998, Riddler's Revenge shattered several stand-up coaster records. Out of the many stand-up coasters that existed at the time, it held the record for the tallest, fastest and longest one in the world. It even held the record for the tallest vertical loop for any roller coaster until Superman: Krypton Coaster broke the record in 2000.
Still though, this massive beast of a ride is a sight to behold, and you can only see it by going to the self-described "Thrill Capital of the World" in good ole' California.
10. Mr. Freeze Reverse Blast - Six Flags Over Texas (Arlington, TX) / Six Flags St. Louis (St. Louis, MO)
The weather in the southern U.S. can be pretty damn hot, but this ride offers an absolutely chilling experience to riders brave enough to board it. It's also pretty much the only good thing to come out of 1997's Batman and Robin, as it was initially built to coincide with the movie's release.
After entering a suspicious-looking ice cream factory, riders enter into the secret lair of Mr. Freeze himself. According to the official Six Flags website, the villainous Mr. Freeze has some "terribly fun plans" for the guests that stumble upon his hideout.
As the name suggests, passengers are blasted backwards out of the station, going from 0 to 70 mph in under 4 seconds. Riders proceed through what is known as a "top hat" inversion and a banked hill before doing the whole thing all over again forwards on the way back to the station
Mr. Freeze Reverse Blast kicks all kinds of ice, and you'll certainly need it in the southern sun.
11. Green Lantern Coaster - Warner Bros. Movie World (Queensland, Australia)
Out of the three Green Lantern roller coasters in the world this one is certainly the most unique. Using a coaster model known as "El Loco", this ride has one of the steepest drops in the world, dropping riders down at a 120 degree angle. Yep, just when you thought a 90 degree angle was as intense as it got, try adding 30 more degrees to it. The sheer suspense of approaching that drop is thrilling enough on its own.
Of course, this drop is far from the end of the ride, as it has several more flips and turns to get through. "El Loco" certainly is an excellent phrase to describe the whole experience. If you ever find yourself in Australia, get yourself down to Warner Bros. Movie World. You can ride this and Superman Escape in the same day!
12. The Incredible Hulk - Islands of Adventure (Orlando, FL)
As of right now, this is the only roller coaster in the world based to be on a Marvel Comics character. However, this ride is so unbelievably awesome, that it more than makes up for the lack of Marvel coasters out there.
Located at Universal Studios' Islands of Adventure, The Incredible Hulk puts riders in the shoes of Bruce Banner as he transforms into the not-so-jolly green giant.
According to the ride's story, Banner has built a gamma-ray accelerator to stop him from becoming the Hulk. As the train goes up the accelerator, Banner is convinced that his device is going to work. Of course, seeing how this ride is named after the Hulk, the formula fails miserably.
To represent his grueling transformation, riders are launched out of the tunnel at 67 mph and immediately enter a zero-g roll. What follows is a series of loops, drops and sudden turns that perfectly represent the Hulk going on one of his trademark rampages. The whole experience adds up to two minutes of mean, green, high-speed action that only be represented by the Hulk.
The ride is currently closed for refurbishment to put in smoother tracks, but it is scheduled to reopen this summer.