Belle Reve

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Belle Reve
Belle Reve Suicide Squad vol5 16.png
Art by Tony Daniel and Sandu Florea
Type Penitentiary
First appearance Suicide Squad #1
(May 1987)
Publisher DC Comics

Belle Reve Penitentiary is a fictional prison and sanatorium appearing in American comic books published by DC Comics. The prison first appeared in Suicide Squad #1 (May 1987), written by John Ostrander and art by Luke McDonnell.[1]

Belle Reve is pseudo-French for "beautiful dream" and is an allusion to the name of Blanche and Stella's family estate in Tennessee Williams's play A Streetcar Named Desire.[citation needed]

Fictional background[edit]

Belle Reve Penitentiary in Suicide Squad #1 (May 1987). Art by Luke McDonnell and Karl Kesel.

Belle Reve Federal Penitentiary is a special prison for metahumans and other supervillains located in Terrebonne Parish, Louisiana.[2] Being the prison for many supervillains, it was chosen by Amanda Waller as the base of operations for the Suicide Squad. Criminals can have their prison sentences reduced if they take part in the deadly missions of the Suicide Squad. Some of the more untrustworthy ones are required to carry devices that will cause maiming or death if they try to escape.

Many, but not all of the staff, work both as prison employees and facilitate Suicide Squad operations. Some of the staff are friends with the more level-headed Squad members. Mechanics work on Squad vehicles. Prison doctors treat prisoners and Squad staff alike. The existence of the Squad brings the facility under attack many times.

The prison has been the focus of many governmental investigations, as it would be a scandal to learn that the United States is using murderous supervillains to further its own ends. Noted reporter Lois Lane did an investigation, only partly turned away by a fake warden installed to divert attention away from Suicide Squad activities. Amanda Waller herself served time in Belle Reve when she was convicted on charges stemming from her Suicide Squad operations.

A Belle Reve prison riot is calmed by Superman and the time traveling Kal Kent in DC One Million #1 (Nov. 1998).

Belle Reve was the site of a Mageddon-caused riot in JLA #34 (Oct. 1999), in which many guards and other prison staff members were killed, including the warden. It is not made clear if the warden who was killed was the same one featured in the pages of Suicide Squad. The villain Hector Hammond had been taken over by an emissary of Maggedon, which influenced much of the riot. Members of the Justice League, namely Aquaman, Green Lantern, Zauriel, and Plastic Man, managed to calm things down. Most of the riot was stopped by Plastic Man, who used his shape-changing abilities to fool the prisoners into thinking Batman was on the scene.

During the Day of Judgement storyline (1999), one of the many portals to Hell opened near the prison. Plastic Man and some of the prisoners worked together in containing the situation.

Volume five of Suicide Squad shows members of the team operating out of Belle Reve, including Harley Quinn, Captain Boomerang, Deadshot, Enchantress, Katana, and Killer Croc.[3]

Notable inmates[edit]

Alternative versions[edit]

Kingdom Come[edit]

In the DC Comics Elseworlds limited series and graphic novel Kingdom Come, Belle Reve is destroyed by Genosyde, killing all its occupants.

Flashpoint[edit]

Belle Reve appears in Flashpoint.[4] Heat Wave is imprisoned at the end of the Flashpoint mini-series, due to his defeat by Cyborg, and is later confronted by his former partner Eel O'Brian in his new cell.[4]

In other media[edit]

Television[edit]

  • Belle Reve appears in the Justice League Unlimited episode "Task Force X". In this version, the Suicide Squad is called Task Force X and their headquarters (like their comic book counterparts) are in Belle Reve Penitentiary. In "Panic in the Sky", the core Justice League members (except Batman) turn themselves over to the government and end up incarcerated at Belle Reve after the Watchtower's Binary Fusion Generator fired on the abandoned Project Cadmus headquarters until it is discovered that Lex Luthor hacked the Binary Fusion Generator controls.
  • On the television series Smallville, Belle Reve Sanitarium is an insane asylum. The meteor freak villains Clark fights are almost always held here for their insanity similar to how many of Batman's enemies end up in Arkham Asylum. In the episode "Freak", Chloe Sullivan laments that all meteor rock-infected Smallville citizens end up either dead or in Belle Reve indicating that insanity is a likely side effect of Kryptonite exposure in humans. Lex Luthor is also held there for a short time, while his father, Lionel, tries to erase memories Lex would use to incriminate him.
  • Belle Reve appears in the Young Justice episode "Terrors". This version is run by Amanda Waller with Hugo Strange as the prison psychiatrist. All prisoners are equipped with special collars that would negate their superpowers and would deliver a shock if any of them got out of line. Known inmates are Abra Kadabra, Blockbuster, Brick, Captain Cold, Devastation, Hook, both Icicles, Killer Frost, Mammoth, Mr. Freeze, Professor Ivo, Professor Ojo, Riddler, and Shimmer. Brick claims the Joker is also an inmate, but he is never seen. Batman sends Superboy and Miss Martian undercover disguised as the Terror Twins to Belle Reve when it comes to the Justice League figuring out why the ice-based villains were defeated easily. Superboy and Miss Martian discover that Icicle Sr. has assembled the ice-based villains at Belle Reve, in addition to Blockbuster and Mammoth, in a plot to bust every prisoner out of Belle Reve. The Ice villains begin their move as Amanda Waller activates the lockdown when Mr. Freeze is brought to her. Mr. Freeze manages to incapacitate Amanda Waller and shut down the master control for the collars enabling the villains to get over the controls and attack the guards. After tricking Icicle Jr., Superboy reactivates the collars on the prisoners. Mr. Freeze finds out that Icicle Jr. was behind this and leads Blockbuster and Mammoth into attacking Icicle Jr. and a disguised Superboy. After breaking through to the women's side, Superboy saves Miss Martian from her frozen trap as they shed their disguises. After the prison is reclaimed and the prisoners were rounded up except for Riddler, Hugo Strange becomes the new warden of Belle Reve. It turns out that Hugo Strange and Icicle Sr. are revealed to be in cahoots with the Light (Project Cadmus' Board of Directors). In "Humanity", the Team visits Professor Ivo in Belle Reve in order for him to tell them where T.O. Morrow is hiding out. In "Revelation" Injustice League members Poison Ivy, Black Adam, Atomic Skull, and Ultra-Humanite are imprisoned. In "Coldhearted", Count Vertigo is imprisoned after evidence surfaced of his attempts to have his niece Princess Perdita assassinated. When Batman and Flash visit Hugo Strange with the suspicion that the ice-based villains were behind the flying ice fortresses, Hugo Strange stated that the ice-based villains were in their jail cells the whole time. In "Insecurity" the real T.O. Morrow is revealed to incarcerated in Belle Reve.

Video Games[edit]

  • In Injustice 2, Belle Reve is mentioned by several characters such as Deadshot and Green Lantern John Stewart in certain pre-battle dialogue.

Film[edit]

Other Locations[edit]

  • An earlier Belle Reve in media was as the name of the fictional DuBois' Laurel, Mississippi family plantation in A Streetcar Named Desire. It was sold off a little at a time until the remaining family member at the plantation, Blanche, recognized the family was now without means precipitating her to move in with her sister and brother-in-law – Stanley and Stella Kowalski.
  • In the dystopian 1955 science fiction novel Gladiator-At-Law, "Belle Reve" is the original name of a shoddily built suburb that has become populated by people living on government assistance, is run by gangs and is known by all as "Belly Rave".

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Comic Book Database". 
  2. ^ Green Lantern Rebirth #2 (January 2005)
  3. ^ Suicide Squad vol. 5, #1-20. DC Comics
  4. ^ a b Flashpoint: Legion of Doom #3 (August 2011)