Justice League Watchtower

The Watchtower is the name of various bases used by the Justice League of America in DC Comics and various media. It has been portrayed in DC Comics as a building nestled into a crater on Earth's moon.[1] In the DCAU, it is depicted as a spacestation in orbit.

The Watchtower debuted in JLA #4 (April 1997) during Grant Morrison's run on the title. It is constructed of promethium and uses highly advanced Martian, Thanagarian, Kryptonian, and Earth technologies.[1] The arrival of Orion and Big Barda led to the addition of New Genesis and Apokolips technologies.

Justice League Watchtower JLA 4
The Justice League Watchtower in JLA #4 (April 1997). Art by Howard Porter.
Notable charactersJustice League of America
First appearanceJLA #4
(April 1997)
PublisherDC Comics

Areas within the Watchtower

Areas of the Watchtower were shown in JLA # 16 when super-villain Prometheus made his debut and downloaded the Watchtower blueprints. Among them:

  • "The Hall of Justice" - housed atop the Watchtowers' peak is the conference hall where the League meets and plots strategy, assigns duties and engages in open discussion. At its center is a round table, a nod to Camelot's Knights of the Round Table. There are 12 seats, 7 or 8 of which are reserved for the core members with their respective insignia. The JLA symbol itself is prominently placed in the center of the table.
  • Promenade - a large area devoted for ceremonies (as seen when Aztek was inaugurated as a member) as well as a place to assemble a large contingent of superheroes in cases of extreme necessity.
  • Monitor Womb - the heart of the Watchtower, stretching the entire center of the complex. It houses the Leagues' vast computer/communications/sensor network.[1] All crisis points are detected through this circular chamber with multiple holographic displays. Although monitor duty is assigned in a revolving system, Martian Manhunter often volunteers for this as his great telepathic powers are uniquely attuned to the Martian technology. Batman has also been seen using this room to plan and strategize in private on several occasions.
  • Trophy room - various memorabilia from the League's past cases as well as sculptures/tributes to fallen heroes. Some notable memorabilia include Green Arrow's trick arrows, Booster Gold's armor, Kanjar Ro's Gamma Gong, various alien weapons/gadgets, a container of Kirby Dots (a reference to Jack Kirby), and galleries of past League rosters.
  • Armory/Hangar - adjacent to one another, this area houses a variety of specialized equipment the League or its allies may need depending on the mission as well as space-worthy ships capable of intergalactic travel.
  • Hydroponics - this area houses a variety of alien flora which has greatly efficient photosynthesis compared to terran plants, serving as the Watchtower's source of oxygen.
  • Aquarium - serves as Aquaman's private quarters as well as housing marine life from other worlds.
  • Private quarters - each core member has a specific private quarters for extended stays. Individual quarters are personalized for the members' tastes and lifestyle (such as Wonder Woman's Greek-themed quarters or Martian Manhunter's meditation chamber). Additional guest quarters are available as well.
  • Other areas: Power Core, recreation area, holographic training room, laboratories, medical lab, technology/engineering workshops, containment cells.

Getting to the Watchtower and around the various areas is facilitated by teleportation tubes placed for easy access in the event of an emergency.

The Watchtower was destroyed by Superboy-Prime in JLA #120, and superseded by The Hall, based on Earth, and Satellite Watchtower in space.

Second Watchtower

JLsatellite2
The Satellite Watchtower presented in Justice League of America (vol. 2) # 7. Art by Ed Benes.

Following the gathering of the new team as seen in Justice League of America (vol.2) # 7 (April 2007), a new satellite is presented as headquarters.

The new satellite is an orbiting Watchtower working together with The Hall, a building located in Washington D.C. funded by Bruce Wayne and designed by Wonder Woman and John Stewart. Inside the Hall is an archway-type teleportation system, dubbed 'Slideways' in which a person merely need to walk through the archway to be transported to the League's new orbiting satellite headquarter 22,300 miles above Earth.

Jim Lee was called to design the new headquarters. Writer Brad Meltzer: "On the satellite, he did six different designs; some that resembled the old League satellite, [or] resembled the JLU [Justice League Unlimited] 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!'"

The satellite has a Danger Room-like training room nicknamed The Kitchen because, extracting from the American idiom, "If you can't stand the heat, stay out of the kitchen". Meltzer also explains that, for the first time, the satellite has defensive and offensive weaponry. Despite the defense systems, the Watchtower was damaged by the Sinestro Corps. In addition to this, the satellite's teleportation system was hacked by Hardware after he infiltrated the Hall of Justice disguised as a tourist.

In other media

Smallville

Watchtower3
The Watchtower building as it appears on Smallville, with a Metropolis view in the background, notably the Daily Planet.

In the season 6 episode 11, "Justice", of the television series, Smallville; Impulse, Green Arrow, Cyborg, Aquaman, and Clark Kent work to destroy a secret metahuman research facility owned by Lex Luthor. Chloe Sullivan provides directions and schematics from Oliver Queen's loft, and is given the codename "Watchtower".

In the online multimedia Smallville parallel story, Justice and Doom, John Jones/The Martian Manhunter uses a Swann Communications orbital satellite as a base. (Dr. Virgil Swann, the founder of Swann Communications, had been played by Christopher Reeve.)

In the season 8 episode 17, entitled "Hex", Chloe Sullivan is at the Isis Foundation (which treats victims of kryptonite mutation) and Oliver Queen arrives. He asks her if she's ready to give up her life as a reporter, and she confidently answers yes. She hands him a headset and takes one for herself. The Justice League members, Black Canary, Aquaman, Cyborg, and Impulse, come online one by one on the monitors surrounding Chloe in the control room. Oliver announces "Arrow online", and the shot comes to Chloe as she says "Watchtower is officially online".

In the season 8 season finale, Jimmy Olsen reveals what was to have been his wedding gift to Chloe. It is a large clock tower building located in the heart of Metropolis, very similar to the Clocktower used in the comics by Oracle. After Jimmy's death, Chloe returns to the tower and tells Clark that she plans to use the building as a base – or "as a watchtower" – for the Justice League.

In the season 9 premiere, the tower is equipped with advanced computer systems, funded by Oliver Queen. The Watchtower is used as a base for the Justice League and other heroes for the rest of the season. In season 10, Tess Mercer takes over as Watchtower in Chloe's absence.

In the season 11 comic book series, a subplot have the team trying to set up Watchtower hubs, in all cities inhabited by the members of the team and constructing a base on the moon. In the final mini series Smallville Season 11: Continuity, the Watchtower building is destroyed and replaced with the outpost on the moon.

Batman Beyond

In the animated series Batman Beyond, the headquarters of the Justice League of the future is called the Watchtower, and is located in Metropolis. It has a training room, plus a tank for Aquagirl. It first appeared in the season three episode "The Call: Part One."It is unknown if the orbital space station Watchtower is still active. The JLU have another Earth based headquarters called the Metro Tower also located in Metropolis.

Justice League

Two different versions of the Watchtower appear in the cartoons Justice League and Justice League Unlimited. Both are space stations, similar to the Justice League Satellite. Both were built and financed by Batman's alter ego, Bruce Wayne.

The original Watchtower was introduced in the first episode of the Justice League series, "Secret Origins." It had a meeting room, hangar, kitchen and medical facilities, as well as living quarters. Access to the Watchtower was primarily via the "Javelin-7", a form of personal spaceplane.

This station made its last appearance in the season two finale, "Starcrossed." When the Thanagarians attempted to build a hyperspace bypass on Earth (activating the generator would have destroyed the planet and everything on it), Batman knocked the Watchtower out of orbit, and dropped it on the hyperspace generator. Both the generator and the Watchtower were destroyed (Batman was rescued at the last second by Superman).

When the series resumed under its new title, Justice League Unlimited, a new, much larger Watchtower was unveiled.[2] Designed to accommodate a large number of support staff and the expanded roster of League, the new Watchtower was depicted as a paramilitary base in orbit, surrounded by a network of subsidiary space stations. The Watchtower now has a large kitchen, meeting, and medical facilities, and it is strongly implied that some members of the League live on the station full-time.

Live action Watchtower under attack
The underwater Watchtower is attacked by a heat-ray.

Access to the station is primarily via a Star Trek-style teleporter, which is used by Watchtower employees who, it is implied, work there as regular day jobs. In the episode "Task Force X" a group of employees are shown going to a remote farmer's field in order to be transported up to the station.

The second Watchtower was fitted with extensive weaponry to defend Earth against extraterrestrial invasions, most notably a "binary fusion generator", a directed-energy cannon pointing down at the Earth. This cannon would later lead to conflict between the League and the American government.[3] This weapon is dismantled after Lex Luthor hijacks it and uses it to fire upon an unsuspecting city.[4]

Justice League of America

The Watchtower (not named as such) also appears in the 1997 Justice League of America live action film. It seems to be J'onn J'onzz's spaceship docked underwater and it is reached via an elevator from under a bridge in New Metro City.

The Batman

On the two part episode of The Batman animated series entitled "The Joining," the Watchtower is seen at the end, resembling the Hall of Justice on an asteroid.

Young Justice

In the premiere episode of the series Young Justice animated series "Independence Day," Speedy, in a moment of frustration, mentions the Watchtower as the 'real headquarters' for the Justice League. It was first seen in the episode Agendas and it appears to be built on an asteroid in Earth orbit.

Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe

A Watchtower-like space station appears in the game Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe. It is called the "U.N. Orbital Space Station".

DC Universe Online

The Watchtower is one of the three main locations of the MMORPG DC Universe Online, divided into four main areas - three dedicated to Metahumans (such as Black Canary), Technology users (Batman, Blue Beetle, etc.) and Magic-based heroes (Wonder Woman, Doctor Fate etc.) respectively, and the central hub.

Lego Batman video games

A Lego version of the Watchtower appears in Lego Batman 2: DC Super Heroes. The Martian Manhunter operates the Watchtower, and uses the Watchtower's weapons to help the Justice League defeat Lex Luthor's robot in the final battle. The station then appears in Lego Batman 3: Beyond Gotham both as a story location, and a hub. The station is attacked by the Legion of Doom and severely damaged, but then is regained. Once unlocked as a hub, the Watchtower is then used to access the level selector, character creator, trophy room and side-missions.

Injustice: Gods Among Us

The Watchtower appears as one of the arenas in Injustice: Gods Among Us. During the game's story, it acts as a headquarters for the Justice League, and later for Superman's new regime on a parallel Earth. It was destroyed by Deathstroke after he overloaded the main reactor. This act was a major step in crippling Superman's regime.

Justice League: Throne of Atlantis

At the end of Justice League: Throne of Atlantis, Cyborg talks about setting up a Watchtower for the team.

Justice League Action

The watchtower in this series is depicted being a mountain top base with a large globe like exterior.

References

  1. ^ a b c Jimenez, Phil (2008), "JLA Watchtower", in Dougall, Alastair (ed.), The DC Comics Encyclopedia, New York: Dorling Kindersley, p. 132, ISBN 0-7566-4119-5, OCLC 213309017
  2. ^ JLU episode "Initiation"
  3. ^ JLU episode "Dark Heart"
  4. ^ JLU episode "Flashpoint"
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