A chain of research laboratories in the DC Universe.
It seems there is a S.T.A.R. (Scientific and Technical Advanced Research) lab in just about every city in the DC universe. Rather than researching things that might lead to the betterment of society in some concrete way, they tend to specialise in comic book science (which is not really all that surprising, I guess).
Walk in to any S.T.A.R. lab and you are likely to find any or all of the following:
- Lots of big machines with flashing lights operated by complex control panels (although the one button or lever that will make everything go wrong is in a prominent position, where it can easily be accidentally leaned on).
- A dangerous experiment about to go wrong in unexpected ways, granting one or more of the subjects/operators/janitors super powers (if two people get powers, they will soon be fighting each other; if more than two people gain super powers they will form their own group).
- A superhero who doesn't have access to other expensive research facilities getting their malfunctioning powers fixed (this never works - malfunctioning powers can only be fixed by going on a quest/battling some particular supervillain/gaining some psychological insight).
- Some new technology about to be stolen to be used as a weapon (usually to rob banks, no matter how insanely powerful the technology is).
There are a few superhuman types more directly associated with S.T.A.R. Labs. The head of the S.T.A.R. lab in Metropolis is Dr Kitty Faulkner, whose violent, super powered alter ego is known as Rampage, and S.T.A.R. labs have their own group of superheroes (S.T.A.R. Corps) who got their powers when an experiment went wrong.