Friday, December 09, 2011

JLA HQ: Split-leveling the scene!

In the coming weeks, to celebrate the (re-)formation of the JLA in the New 52, we're going to be taking a look at how the JLA made the shift from the Secret Sanctuary to the Satellite, how that marked the end of the Silver Age, making fun of easy targets Green Arrow, Red Tornado, Martian Manhunter, and Denny O'Neil.

We'll kick this celebration off with a new JLA HQ Heroclix map (below) and culminate it with something many people have been asking for... my map of the JLA Satellite; don't miss it!

In a recent post, I shared a custom Heroclix map of the JLA's original HQ, "the Secret Sanctuary".

But now I have already designed another version of the Secret Sanctuary that would more accurately portray the claustrophobic feel of its original depictions. It will be based on the black and white cutaway diagram that was DC's first attempt to show the layout of the JLA HQ, which can be seen here at the DC Database.

There are several challenges in this attempt at a "claustrophic" version of the Secret Sanctuary. Like most of the famous "DC headquarters cutaways", the diagram has levels stacked on top of one another, something which doesn't convey easily to Heroclix maps. Plus, there are a few matters of scale that are, to be kind, wildly off-base. For example, while it is easy to believe that the JLA would have meetings in an area no bigger than a split-level suburban home, it is NOT easy to believe that they can park the Invisible Plane, the Arrowplane, and the Batplane in hanger exactly that same size. And that's to say nothing of squeezing a pool, a gym, a lab, and a trophy room into the basement.

But I found a way to get it in all on one map, believe it or not. So, while my other version of the Secret Sanctuary is like playing in a football stadium, the second version is more like trying to storm a castle.

Starting areas for heroes and villains are marked in slightly different colors. Villain teams have two starting areas: the entrance cave and hangar (they've managed to break in somehow). The heroes are caught unawares; they are spread out at various locations in the Sanctuary; note that no two of their starting squares are adjacent!

Some special types of "territory" are included, out of necessity, including ELEVATOR squares and the INVISIBLE PLANE squares (it's explained on the map). The white "walls" denote areas' being on different levels, so those cannot be "broken through".

I went for total authenticity here, which is why the meeting room and balcony are such god-awful colors: I actually color-sampled the original comic panels of those locations to make sure the colors were (hideous but) authentic. There are no bedrooms (they didn't seem to have private quarters in the Sanctuary); but I did add bathrooms, just for realism's sake.

Authenticity is also responsible for the somewhat goofy looking scanners in the entryway and the very odd service elevator to the generator room. Weird, perhaps, but it was there in the original diagram so I wanted to maneuver it in.

Special touches include Aquaman's water passage from the swimming pool to the water outside (which is de rigeur to be authentic!) and a hologram in the cave disguising the entry tunnel.

I'm happy to send the JPG file to anyone who'd be interested in printing it.


Marcos said...

Cool. So do figures on the edge of the balcony have line of sight down to the conference table?

Scipio said...

Yup (and vice versa, of course)! In that sense it's "regular" elevated terrain.

Phasing will be VERY useful on this map. Put a team of villains with phasing up against some stodgier original JLA members and watch the fun as they divide and (maybe) conquer.