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> Features
A MONUMENTAL MOVE
Justice League of America writer Brad Meltzer guides us through the team’s new Washington, D.C., headquarters!

By Matt Powell

Posted April 5, 2007  9:20 AM

Writer Brad Meltzer knows when it’s time to take a break. After putting his all-star team from Justice League of America through the wringer with Amazo and Solomon Grundy, he’s well aware that his team’s overdue for some R&R.; This week’s Justice League of America #7 debuted the team’s new HQ, deep in the heart of our nation’s capital, Washington, D.C.—affectionately dubbed the Hall, and splendidly designed by Jim Lee! Composed of an Earth-based Hall and an orbiting satellite, the JLA’s expanding its real estate to ensure the safety of the planet.

Swiping our JLA membership card, Wizard gained access to the Hall to chat with Meltzer about the HQ, satellite training rooms and public tours of the Hall!
 

 
WIZARD: I take it the name “The Hall” is a throwback to the old “Super Friends” cartoon, right?

MELTZER: Absolutely. For the Hall, we stole from the cartoon and asked Jim Lee to update it. For the satellite, we wanted to give a nod to the old JLA satellite as well as to the [JLU] satellite. We tried to get a satellite that combined both of those. To be clear, the satellite is best for tactical purposes—it puts you in a spot where no civilians are going to get hurt. The problem is it means you’re up above everyone. I really wanted that sense that the League was grounded—literally and emotionally. They knew where they came from, as opposed to the eye in the sky. The eye in the sky got them into too much trouble last time, and this was going to be [a step] to show the world they’re a little bit different.

What does this new HQ mean for the League in the DCU?

MELTZER: On some level it’s a return to history. [The Justice League’s headquarters is] on the same grounds of the original All-Star Squadron’s [past headquarters].

WIZARD: Why choose Washington, D.C., as opposed to New York, as the base’s focal point?

MELTZER: [The location] really comes from, “Where do you put [the League] if you put them in New York?” It’s fun to put them in New York when they’re on Earth, because it seems like everyone lives in New York. [The choice of Washington, D.C.] came from the idea of, “If you have the nation’s capital, wouldn’t that be where the world’s capital team was?” I will admit that I debated between the U.N., New York and Washington, but the idea [that] the JSA and the All-Star Squadron were both located [in Washington] just felt like a truer place to me. And even though it’s in D.C., it still felt more international—the home of the world’s embassies.

Were there any design attributes you took from the old JLA bases when envisioning the Hall?

MELTZER: I give full credit to Alex Toth, who I believe originally created it, and to Jim Lee, who re-created it. We really tried to let it be. It is one of the classic designs of the DCU, and there was no need to change everything. When something is done that well, just get out of the way of it. We tried to give the satellite a little bit of a wink and a nod to the fountain that’s in front of the Hall, and pick up that motif. While that sounds like film/art school nonsense [laughs], we really tried to [make them] two buildings that work together. I’ll say of all the changes we made in the Justice League, the most humbling one was choosing that headquarters. I never felt like we were doing anything bigger than when we did that. It’s just somehow buildings seem more permanent.

In Jim Lee’s designs, did he hit the nail on the head of your vision on the first try?

 
MELTZER: On the Hall? Absolutely! There wasn’t a change made, it was just amazing. On the satellite, he did six different designs; some that resembled the old League satellite, [or] resembled the JLU satellite. We kind of took a little from Column A and B. I saw in one of his other designs, he also had these drones and I loved those, and I said, “Can we put those on there as well? I really want to take that!”

I hear the satellite has a new training room that you’ve dubbed “The Kitchen.” Why that name?

MELTZER: If you can’t stand the heat…. [Laughs] [To get there] you step through one door in the Hall and you’re on the satellite. [The Hall and the satellite] work almost as one headquarters, although they’re two different places. So in one you can beat each other’s brains in and not hurt any [bystanders], and if you’re attacked [by an enemy] you can immediately retreat to a place that’s far safer.

Is that all the satellite’s going to be? Just an orbiting workout room?

MELTZER: No, we’re not that stupid. [Laughs] When you look at the picture [in issue #7] you’ll see that there are two drones that go around the satellite that, for the first time, we’re going to arm [the satellite]. So there’s defensive and offensive weaponry that’s built into it as well. So rather than letting anyone come up and blow up the satellite on a monthly basis, we get a chance to at least blow them up first. [Laughs]

There’s also a hint of a grand trophy room in the new HQ. What can you tell us about that?

MELTZER: The trophy room is actually going to be where the tours are. Now there are going to be tours that run through the Hall. Again, it’s all about the League feeling that they need to be a part of this planet and its people, as opposed to being above it. So it lets people really go out and see, experience and appreciate who’s there, as opposed to feeling like there are gods watching over us.

 
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