By the mid-1970s, the federal and state governments realized their numerous attempts to find ways to restrain superhuman criminals had largely failed. Supervillains escaped jails and prisons with some regularity, making a mockery of the justice system. Amid a public outcry for action, the Justice Department announced Project Stronghold.

Stronghold was envisioned as an enormous maximum security prison designed specifically to hold only superhuman criminals. The brainchild of the brilliant but eccentric Dr Charles Wildman, Stronghold would incorporate the latest technology and ensure that a captured supervillain stayed captured. After contentious Congressional hearings, funding for Stronghold was approved. Construction was completed in 1978, and the “super-prison” has remained a vital part of the national strategy to combat supercrime to this day. Although it has suffered a few breakouts and other problems, it normally does exactly what it was intended to – keeps supervillains incarcerated for the duration of their sentences.

Stronghold is managed by the federal Bureau of Prisons. By special arrangement with the states, Stronghold takes superhuman prisoners accused or convicted solely of state crimes as well. The Bureau, with the assistance of PRIMUS, even provides a retrieval service to pick up villains for transport to Stronghold.

Built on (and into) a desolate ice and rock mesa in the furthest reaches of Northern Canada, Stronghold is completely isolated and self-sufficient. There are no towns for dozens of miles, and no water between them and the prison. The prison has its own power generation facility and hospital; food is teleported to the prison once a month, at a seemingly random time.

Every part of Stronghold is heavily secured, and the sensitive areas (control center, communications center, and so on) particularly so. The cells are built not only for durability, but to incorporate various modular systems that can stymie superpowers. Hot Sleep chambers are available for superhumans like Firewing and Dark Seraph who are so powerful that not even a standard Stronghold cell can hold them. As a result of this attention to detail, escapes from Stronghold are a rare (though by no means unknown) event.

As of 2002, the warden of Stronghold is Dr Arthur Wildman, son of the man who originally conceived of the project. A firm but fair man, Dr Wildman keeps a careful eye on his “charges” and ensures not only that they don’t escape, but that they aren’t abused. He does his best to rehabilitate them, though it’s usually a losing battle.


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