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Baxter Building

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Early History

The original Baxter Building was a 35-story building located at 42nd Street and Madison Avenue in Manhattan, just a few blocks from the United Nations building and. The building was originally constructed in 1949 by the Leland Baxter Paper Company. The building's steel frame construction utilized the first application of "K bracing" in the world and is one of the strongest structures of its kind. Originally designed to accommodate pulp recycling machinery to serve the mid-Manhattan area, each floor was given a ceiling height of 24 feet. [1]

It first became a headquarters to super-heroes in the late 1940s. In September of 1946, when the original headquarters of the All-Winners Squad was destroyed in a battle against Madame Death, their leader Captain America set his eyes on relocating the groups base of operations to the future site of the Baxter Building. [2] The group finally moved into the partially completed building in until April of 1948. [3] They remained tenants of the building until the group disbanded later in February of 1950. [4]

In the late 20th century, the super-villain known as Nocturne attempted to unleash a alchemtechno virus upon New York City, using the Baxter Building as ground zero for his attack. This attempt was thwarted by the hero group known as the First Line. Although they stopped the virus, the top seven floors of the Baxter Building were destroyed and needed to be rebuilt. [5]

Modern Age

In recent years the Baxter Building had become world famous as home to the super-heroes known as the Fantastic Four. When the Fantastic Four's military liaison suggested the building as their new headquarters, team leader Mister Fantastic agreed that it fit the needs of his group. [6]. Reed had purchased the building outright, [7] Reed tapped his former professor Noah Baxter, part owner of the buillding, to assist him in reconstructing the top five floors of the Baxter Building to suit their needs. Much of the equipment originally installed in the Fantastic Four's headquarters was a collaborative project between the two men. [8] The group moved in shortly after reconstruction began. [9]

Initially, Reed bought that section of the building outright, though the Fantastic Four continued to pay monthly service fees. When the they were in a tight financial situation a year later, Reed sold the Fantastic Four’s floors back to the Baxter Paper Company. [10] As tenants, the Fantastic Four had many problems with Walter Collins, the building manager. [11] Whereas Mr. Collins had originally been delighted that a real superhero team was moving into his building, he soon began to see the problems in such a situation. When Doctor Doom lifted the entire building into deep space, [12] relations cooled between the manager and his tenants. Other tenants worried that their offices might become battlegrounds and, as their leases ended, many of the building’s original tenants did not renew. Nor did new tenants appear to fill the vacancies. In desperation, Mr. Collins offered all tenants ironclad, 99-year leases with significant discounts in their rents. [13]

Still, problems continued. Occasionally either the Thing or a foe would be driven downward through the building, tearing a shaft through floor after floor. Battles occurred on the outer walls of the building. Explosions were a common occurrence. No insurance company would write a policy on any organization maintaining offices in the Baxter Building.

Collins also discovered that losing the Fantastic Four as tenants would not solve his problems. During a period when the Fantastic Four had split up and vacated their headquarters, [14] Collins discovered that no one would rent the their former headquarters. There was too great a fear that supervillains would attack those floors regardless of who now lived there. When the Fantastic Four later reunited. Collins was forced to accept the FF back as tenants, and grudgingly agreed to charging them a lower rent as well. [15]

Baxter Building from Marvel Factfiles Vol 1 1

Then one day Terrax the Tamer disintegrated everything above the 32nd floor. Collins was fed up. He stormed into the remains of the headquarters and announced he was evicting the Fantastic Four. Reed suddenly exercised a lease option and bought the entire building outright. That was the last that was seen of Collins. [7] As landlords, the Fantastic Four tried to be considerate of their tenants, but their sudden foray into land ownership proved to be a challenge. [16] They wished most of the tenants would voluntarily leave, but they realized they were required to honor Collins’ special leases. [17] The final act in the Baxter Building’s history came when Kristoff Vernard, Doctor Doom's adopted son, sent the entire building once again into orbit, this time blowing it up. [18]

Fortunately, no one was in the building except for the Fantastic Four. [19] Still, when the Fantastic Four returned to the empty foundation, they found angry tenants demanding action. Reed announced that he would establish an insurance pool to cover the tenants’ losses and to help them find new offices. Then he set about designing a new headquarters to be erected on the same site. [20] Reed eventually constructed the Four Freedoms Plaza to replace the destroyed Baxter Building. [21] It served as the FF's headquarters until they were seemingly slain by the psychic entity known as Onslaught. [22]. The Four Freedoms was later co-opted by the Thunderbolts as their new headquarters. [23] It remained their headquarters until the building was dumped into the Negative Zone. [24] Meanwhile, the Fantastic Four turned up alive and well and were returned to Earth from a pocket dimension. [25] They took up residence in a new headquarters dubbed Pier Four, [26] until it was destroyed in an attack by their long time foe Diablo. [27] By that time, Reed and Noah Baxter had reunited to build a new Baxter Building, which was being secretly constructed in Earth orbit on Baxter's Alexandria space station. [28] When the building was completed, and activated by the Fantastic Four it was lowered into the empty lot where the original Baxter building, and Four Freedoms Plaza previously resided. [29]

The Baxter Building remained the Fantastic Four's headquarters for some time, until they hit more financial troubles. Forced to pay for the damages they caused to New York City over the years, Reed was forced to turn over the property to the City of New York, and the FF were promptly evicted from the premises. [30] Eventually, the Fantastic Four were able to obtain a windfall of money and reclaim their former headquarters.[31] Most recently the Baxter Building was shattered by an attack by creatures from a pocket dimension.[32] The building was later ordered closed down by S.H.I.E.L.D..[33] Although the Fantastic Four ultimately defeated the Quiet Man, who masterminded recent events to take them down, the Fantastic Four decided to disband for the time being.[34] Eight months after this, the Baxter Building came up for sale. Roxxon, Alchemax and other corporations attempted to claim it, but it was purchased by Parker Industries not only to be the New York headquarters of the company, but to keep it safe for when the Fantastic Four reunite at long last. At first, Johnny was angry at Peter for buying their home, but upon learning why and seeing the statue of the family in the lobby, Johnny gave his blessing to Peter.[35]


The Lobby
The ground floor contained Abe Shoenstein’s snack shop, an optometrist’s shop, a visitors’ center, the elevator bank, and the freight loading dock. The visitors’ center was as close as most people could get to the Fantastic Four; a multimedia show on the Fantastic Four’s history was shown hourly from 9 to 4. The floor directory listed building tenants such as Pierre Picolino (a famous abstract sculptor), the Ladies’ Canasta and Mah Jonng Society, and Fantastic Four Inc.
Three elevators serviced floors floors 1 through 30. The fourth elevator was marked by the Fantastic Four’s insignia. This was the express elevator to floors 31 through 35, the Fantastic Four’s headquarters. The elevator could only be summoned by a solenoid activator such as were imbedded in the Fantastic Four’s belt buckles. Normally this elevator stayed on these floors and only descended to street level when summoned. On the way up, hidden scanners identified the passengers and checked them for hidden weapons or devices. If questionable material was found, the elevator would stop in midshaft until the Fantastic Four was prepared to deal with the intruder. All elevators doubled as freight elevators.
30th Floor
If a visitor chose to take one of the regular elevators, he was taken to the 30th floor. The bulk of the floor was occupied by the building’s mechanical systems (plumbing, ventilation, and elevator winches). Acoustic insulation kept the noise from affecting the Fantastic Four’s reception area. This floor also acted as a buffer zone to absorb damage from battles in the upper floors. It also contained the magnetic repulsion system. This system was designed to lift the upper floors away from the rest of the Baxter Building; the theory being that this way the rest of the building could have been protected from a particularly damaging battle. The system was designed as a compromise to placate Collins, the building manager. It was controlled from the Computer Center on the 33rd floor.
Reception Area
All the typical visitor saw on the 30th floor was the Fantastic Four’s reception area. The visitor was greeted by Roberta, a usuform robot. Her visible half (above the waist) appeared to be an attractive blond in her 20s. Below the waist she was a pivoting arm attached directly to her desk. Roberta was tied directly to the Fantastic Four’s computer system and could monitor the entire building. The reception room was also filled with hidden scanners to probe visitors. If the visitor were hostile, the floor was rigged to deliver a stunning electrical shock. Once the visitor had been cleared, a panel opened to reveal a lift to the 31st floor.
Baxter Building 31st Floor

31st Floor

31st Floor
The 31st floor contained the Fantastic Four’s living quarters. There were suites for Reed and Sue, Ben, and Johnny; originally Sue and Johnny commuted, using their suites when convenient, while Reed and Ben were permanent residents. Several guest rooms for other Fantastic Four members and the extended family, and the dining and living areas.
Baxter Building 32nd Floor

32nd Floor

32nd Floor
The 32nd floor contained more living areas, Alicia Masters’ studio (when she was a resident), the medical lab, the library, and reference room.
Baxter Building 33rd Floor

33rd Floor

33rd Floor
The 33rd floor contained Reed’s laboratory. The floor plan changed constantly as Reed added additional experiments and devices. In the Computer Center was a lever for activating the magnetic repellors on the 30th floor.
Baxter Building 34th Floor

34th Floor

34th Floor
The 34th floor could be considered the actual headquarters. The computer banks, monitor banks, communications center, and briefing room were all there, as well as the overflow from Reed’s laboratory below. The Astro-sciences section was tied in to SHIELD’s and Project: Starcore’s systems.
Baxter Building 35th Floor

35th Floor

35th Floor
The 35th floor contained the hangars for the Fantastic Four’s various vehicles, storage space, and a machine shop capable of building or repairing vehicles. A reinforced door in the corner led to the launching silo for the Fantastic Four’s rocketship. This passenger ICBM was launched and stored in a heavily muffled silo with vibration-asborbing walls and exhaust pipes leading all the way to the Hudson River. The other vehicles were on platforms that carried them around the floor and over to the launching hatch.
Baxter Building Roof Level

Roof Level

The Roof
The roof was flat and featureless. A large Fantastic Four insignia marked the retractable hatch for launching and landing vehicles. If a Fantastic Four vehicle approached, the hatch would open automatically. There were a series of observatory domes located at various spots on the roof. Originally a permanent dome was located on the corner opposite the rocket silo. The last dome was closer to the silo but retractable. The entire dome could be lowered through the floor to the 35th-floor hangar. This left the roof completely clear for action and eliminated the only hiding place for a trespasser. The observatory equipment included a computer-linked telescope and twin telescopic cameras.
Windows are 2-foot thick composites of various glasses and plastics which are mirrored on the outside. Solid, armored, exterior walls are also mirror-clad and are indistinguishable from transparent sections. The top five sections of the Baxter Building are completely airtight, all doors are airlocks. Complete environmental support, including atmosphere is provided by the area between elevators 2, 3, and 4 on all floors. The building's steel-alloy framework may be rigid enough to be stood on one corner and not deform (though Reed himself stated that this was due to the use of tactile telekinesis by Gladiator).
While the fire stairs extended the length of the building, they were blocked by a Fantastic Four insignia marked door on floor 34. The door opened automatically from the inside or could be externally opened by a solenoid activator. Since the door was never used except in emergencies, its opening triggered alarms in the master control and computer systems. This prevented intruders from entering the Fantastic Four’s headquarters by way of the stairwell.
Security Systems
The Fantastic Four’s master computer controlled all locks involving the upper floors. Such locks could be manually operated or overridden by either the master control or the computer system. The computer system maintained visual, audio, biophysical, and electronic surveillance on every section of the building. The building was equipped with devices that could disrupt the functioning of a single targeted device or stop the functioning of all electrical machinery within the Baxter Building. This system could be activated by the computer, by Roberta, by someone in the control room on the 33rd floor, or by anyone who might punch the panic buttons located in every room. If the button were pushed, the field would envelope the entire building.

Alternate Realities

Baxter Building (Earth-811)

Earth-811's Baxter Building

Days of Future Past (Earth-811)

In the reality of Earth-811, the Sentinels operated out of their main headquarters in the Baxter Building. The X-Men infiltrated the building to disable their operations across the entire continent, but the robots managed to kill Storm and Wolverine.[36]

Baxter Building (Earth-1610) 001

Ultimate Universe (Earth-1610)

The Baxter Building, located in Manhattan, was originally the central hub for the Mainland Technology Development consortium. It was designed by the US government to host a think tank, where exceptionally gifted children were offered government positions to use their intelligence to serve their country. The building was overseen by General "Thunderbolt" Ross. Security duties were overseen by Agent Lumpkin.

A 35-story office building, the five upper floors were formerly the headquarters of he Fantastic Four and former home of the United States Military Youth Think Tank that was once home to Reed Richards, Sue Storm, Victor Van Damme, and others. This is where Reed Richards first kissed a girl he was not related to.[37] Dr. Arthur Molekevic was a former employee of the Baxter Building. His service was terminated when his projects were deemed "unethical".[38]

Foremost among those contacted to be a part of the think tank was a young Reed Richards. On his own, Richards had shown great potential with his experiments in teleportation. The Baxter Building provided him with all of the resources at their disposal and they even developed an oscillating window that could peer into an otherworldly plane of reality known as the N-Zone after they had found the small toy cars that he had sent there. Professor Franklin Storm's two children, Susan and Johnny, also lived there, as well as the socially awkward Victor van Damme.[39]

After the accident that gave the Fantastic Four their powers occurred, the children of the Baxter Building who were not altered were moved to another facility in Oregon. The Baxter Building then became the Fantastic Four's headquarters.

In addition to all of the other technology in the Baxter Building, Johnny Storm and Ben Grimm also constructed a still on the premises.[40]

When Reed Richards became evil following the events of Ultimatum, he used a creature of the N-Zone to destroy the upper floors of the Baxter Building.[41] The destroyed sections of the Building were later rebuilt.[42]


Reed's Additions

World's Greatest Heroes (Earth-135263)

In this reality, the Baxter building is a Art Deco inspired 20-30 story main building with a monolithic minimalistic tower that rises from the existing roof. The four reside on the top floor of the original building; an elevator connects to the tower.


Original Building

The white tower serves as Reed Richards laboratory, workshop, vehicle bay and training area and headquarters for the FF and has an array of robotics, holographic emitters and computers as well as the A.I. program HERBIE. The buildings primary outside feature are four circular windows and an antenna array that broadcasts a holographic number four. Like it's Earth-616 equivalent the building has been shot into space and submerged underground. The vacancy rate is substantially high but the lack of tenants doesn't appear to affect the financial status of the Fantastic Four.

The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes (Earth-8096)

Following the war for Asgard, Iron Man and the Wasp from the Avengers visited Mr. Fantastic and the Invisible Woman in the Baxter Building while the Human Torch and The Thing went to the Avengers Mansion to play poker with the rest of the other team.[43]

During the Secret Invasion, a section of the Baxter Building was transported to the Negative Zone by Skrulls in order to prevent the Fantastic Four from interfering in their plans. However, the team managed to fight back and return the building to its location.[44]

President Thor's World (Earth-20604)

Ultimate Fantastic Four Vol 1 28 Page 9 Franklin Storm (Earth-20604)

Dr. Storm at the Baxter Building

The Baxter Building also exists in this reality. Franklin Storm was seen repelling an invasion from Victor Von Doom's Doombots from the building.[45] Dr. Storm and all of this world's population (except for one Benjamin Grimm) were later killed in a sinister Skrull plot.[46]


Recommended Reading


  • No trivia.

See Also

Links and References

  1. Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe #4
  2. All Winners Comics 70th Anniversary Special #1
  3. Captain America: Patriot #2
  4. Captain America: Patriot #4
  5. Marvel: The Lost Generation #11
  6. Fantastic Four: First Family #3
  7. 7.0 7.1 Fantastic Four #244
  8. Fantastic Four Vol 3 #38
  9. Fantastic Four: First Family #4
  10. Fantastic Four #9. The ownership of the Baxter Building was clarified by Reed in Fantastic Four #244
  11. Often behind the scenes until his first appearance in Fantastic Four #111
  12. Fantastic Four #6
  13. First explained by Reed Richards in Fantastic Four #274.
  14. Fantastic Four #191
  15. Fantastic Four #201
  16. Fantastic Four #251
  17. Fantastic Four #274
  18. Fantastic Four #278
  19. Fantastic Four #279
  20. Fantastic Four #280
  21. Fantastic Four #289
  22. Onslaught Marvel Universe #1
  23. Thunderbolts #3
  24. Thunderbolts #10
  25. Heroes Reborn: The Return #4
  26. Fantastic Four Vol 3 #1
  27. Fantastic Four Vol 3 #36
  28. Fantastic Four Vol 3 #38
  29. Fantastic Four Vol 3 #39
  30. Marvel Knights 4 #1
  31. 4 #30
  32. Fantastic Four Vol 5 #1
  33. Fantastic Four Vol 5 #9
  34. Fantastic Four #645
  35. Amazing Spider-Man Vol 4 #3
  36. Uncanny X-Men #142
  37. Ultimate Comics Doom #3
  38. Ultimate Fantastic Four #2
  39. Ultimate Fantastic Four #1
  40. Ultimate Secret #2
  41. Ultimate Comics Enemy #1
  42. Ultimate Comics Ultimates #10
  43. Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes (Animated Series) Season 2 1
  44. Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes (Animated Series) Season 2 12
  45. Ultimate Fantastic Four #28
  46. Ultimate Fantastic Four #29


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