The Fully Absorbed Finale of Batman Beyond in Justice League, "Epilogue", was a strange mash-up of ideas. It integrated the Cadmus storyline of Justice League into the "Beyond" future by having Bruce Wayne being the biological father of Terry. Terry's assumed dad was secretly genetically reprogrammed by the principle project workers behind Cadmus. It was an obvious Retcon that had most message board posts going "WTF?!?!", and I was one of them, at least initially. The more I thought about it, the more I liked certain aspects of it, like Amanda Waller's lesson to Terry that he chose his own path. This review convinced me of how brilliant this episode truly is, that it is supposed to be almost unbelievable. It is a Deconstruction of the Super Hero Origin story. —KJ Mackley
One problem... it wasn't a retcon. Look at both boys' hair. Black. Look at young Bruce's hair. Black. Look at Warren's hair. Reddish orange.
I would have to agree. The episode works not only to demystify the Terry backstory, but also ties together several loose threads from the original series by cramming in so much audacious plotting that it really does take half a dozen viewings to catch all the references. At first, it appears to be a massive Retcon and very disrespectful to the legacy, but given time, it actually makes me think the whole thing was an attempt to make the DCAUmore epic and thought-provoking, and with this in mind, it made rewatching the entire run of Batman Beyond more enjoyable. It gives the older, heartless Wayne a much-needed dose of lingering humanity well-hidden behind his tough facade. Without too much hyperbole, I personally now regard this as a Crowning Moment Of Awesome that stacks up well to any others in the DCAU and one of my top five Batman Beyond episodes overall. —Mr Brownstone
I also agree about how important multiple viewings was to this episode. It took me quite a while to realize that every single one of the Deliberately Monochrome flashback scenes were not, in fact, flashbacks, but mental hypothetical scenarios that went through Terry's mind after the devastating revelation. Once I figured that out, the episode took about five levels inawesome. -Batfan
Something that occurred to me regarding "Epilogue" borders on fanon - I was wondering how Mary and Warren divorced if they had the "same psychological profiles" as the Waynes, who were happily married; then it occurred to me. What if Warren suspected he wasn't the boys' biological father? As a scientist, he could have even tested it. Suspecting an affair could have easily been the roots of the divorce.
I thought about it, and realized that the two couples still could've had the "same psychological profiles", and Thomas and Martha Wayne were on the path to divorce... but never got around to it, having been killed when Bruce was eight. –Cinna The Poet
It makes sense that an otherwise loving relationship might dissolve when the wife gives birth to a boy that doesn't appear to be the husband's son. Warren thought Mary cheated on him.
Might have, anyway. A suspicion that Matt's birth might have increased. It's possible he was skeptical from Terry's birth, and when Matt came out also having black hair, said doubts could well have been heightened. - Nakayama90
A sort of retroactive Brilliance regarding this episode: I watched the Science Channel story about Craig Venter's work with synthetic lifeforms, in which they synthesized DNA from chemicals using a sequence entered into a computer. They talked about how it might be possible to someday create custom biotech for things like medicine, fuel production, and the like. My first thought was how the technique could evolve into the ultimate conservation tool; being able to literally back up a species on a hard drive. Then I remembered this episode, and it clicked: it is now within the realm of possibility (at least by 40 years in the future) that something like Project Batman Beyond could be done. Instead of overwriting one bacterium with another, overwriting gametes with a desired set of DNA. Sci-fi becomes Sci-maybe yet again! -Gamer From Jump
Yet another from this ep: The "Justice Lords" incident, as well as the times Superman went rogue, probably impressed upon all concerned that the Justice League functions best when all of the Big 7 are around. Of them, only Batman was in danger of leaving a hole when he finally died for real. Superman, Wonder Woman, and Martian Manhunter are all nigh-immortal, The Flash has had various successors, the Green Lanterns regularly recruit new members, and Hawkgirl would produce Warhawk in at least one continuity. Only Batman was seriously in danger of leaving no heir. Thus, he's the only one for which a "Beyond" project is even necessary, but he's important enough for it to be imperative. -Gamer From Jump
To add to that, Cadmus was tight with Lex Luthor who hates Superman because he is an alien, but Batman is the only pure human hero out there, A.K.A the pinnacle of humanity, everything that Lex has stood for! -kango234
Not from this episode, but from the 2nd part of "The Call": at the end, when Terry says to the Justice League on him becoming a full member that he and Bruce (who was only a part-timer) were alike, Superman said behind his back, "More than you know." Hinting that he knew that Terry was biologically Bruce's son. Possibly foreshadowing the revelation in "Epilogue". -LL Smooth J
Perhaps it could have been a foreshadowing, perhaps not. But not to the episode you're thinking of. Epilogue according to Bruce Timm was actually the end result of a plan, but unmade Batman Beyond movie. After the controversy surrounding ROTJ, it was rejected as it was much darker in comparison. Long story short, Terry and Matt were simply clones of Bruce Wayne (as opposed to Warren having his reproductive code rewritten) and were created by Selina Kyle/Catwoman of all people.
Superman might be able to literally see it in his DNA (given that we've seen the DCAU Superman use both X-Ray and microscopic vision) -Steve MB
Also from Batman Beyond, I was initially vexed by the fact that Bruce had a heart condition... not from anything he was predisposed to, not anything genetic or viral, not because he ate too many fatty foods in his youth... apparently his heart was failing because of plain and simple old age. How were we supposed to believe that a man who spent years training himself to the peak of athletic fitness, one of the "healthiest" men on the planet, just got a heart condition for no reason? Fitness helps reduce the effects of aging, making it easier on the body, not worsening it. Then it hit me... it's not about his age at all. It's about overtraining! He was always pushing himself not just to his limits, but past them. He was always flirting with the Heroic Red Rings of Death. In fact, that's exactly what it was, a slow, meta-example of Heroic RROD applied to a lifetime rather than a single fight. His heart condition was simply his lifestyle catching up to him, always going beyond what his body could take. And when I realized that, I realized it was exactly as it should have been, and could have gone no other way. —-Legendarylugi
Also, at the time when Bruce's heart was starting to strain. He was alone. Alfred is dead. Dick, Barbara, & Tim were driven away. And his other friends had been shoved away. Bruce had no one to tell him that he had to slow down or take care of himself. —- Lady Nomad
Note also that his figurative heart had broken specifically because all of these people abandoning or being pushed away by him. Hoist by His Own Petard? —- chilled0ut
We have scientific proof in the real world that stress overload, grief, and anger can actually lead to raised blood pressure and irregular heartbeats. Combine all three and Bruce's condition was inevitable. Also, we don't know about his family past one generation - it could be genetic, if you're not satisfied with other answers.
There is a condition known as Broken Heart Syndrome. Having all the people he ever loved either die or leave him would put Bruce in a bad place emotionally, even if he never showed it, and this in turn would affect his physical health.
Also, this is a man who spent probably twenty to thirty years getting the shit kicked out of him in about a million different ways by everyone from The Joker to Darkseid. That can't be good for your heart.
Actually, it was expressly stated in an episode that his heart condition was caused by an exoskeleton suit he was experimenting with. I always thought this was stupid of him until I was reading this and realized that over-training like this would have made him much weaker than he was earlier in life. At the same time he was getting weaker, most of the crooks in the city were now splicing, or doing venom, or just had random metahuman powers (like all the "normal" guys Terry fights who crack pavement with punches).
It was never expressly stated what caused his heart condition. Bruce said he gave up on making the first exoskeleton BECAUSE it was too much of a strain on his heart.
The heart problem has a more obvious cause. Ever hear the joke "When does Batman sleep?" —- daveshan
I was rewatching "Out of the Past" in Batman Beyond and it occurred to me. Bruce decided to back out of the eternal youth offer because he knew that he would lose Terry. In the scene in which Bruce was exercising, he looked up to see himself and a reflection of Terry, who is much smaller since he's further away. It looked like he was getting away from Terry. He realized that if he were to stay young, he will eventually get Terry to give him back the suit and wreck his friendship with him. He had a realization that if he keeps on living in the past, he will lose what he has in the present, which is Terry. So, the title "Out of the Past" meant that it was Bruce finally deciding to live in the present. —Lady Nomad
Terry's title in the official canon is the 'Tomorrow Knight', which seems to be an out of continuity nod that he's a new Batman. But when you consider that the city he lives in is a Crapsack World in miniature, the opening credits spelling out apathy, corruption, greed, and then we get to Terry, 'hope'. If there was one thing that Bruce never stood for, it was hope; he was always the spirit of justice. Gotham's residents don't just need someone who stands for justice anymore, they need their hope back. Terry was the first guy in a long time to stand up for the city and say "This has gone on long enough." He's the Tomorrow Knight not because he's the future Batman, but because he's bringing Gotham into a new day from an eternal night of terror. —- Onmi
Really, Batman might have never stood for hope, but he most definitely caused it. - HG131
Remember "Growing Pains", the episode of the "new look" episodes of BTAS where Robin/Tim Drake falls for an amnesic girl named Annie, only to discover she's a piece of Clayface sent to scout around for him while he recovered from his "death"? I always kind of wondered why Clayface chose to send a little girl of all things, but then it hit me: Who was the last person Clayface saw before he died (Batman aside)? Clayface was probably dazed and pulling his mind back together so the only person he could think of sending was his girl friday Stella Bates, but since he didn't have enough of "himself" to send he sent as close an approximation as he could. Seriously — Annie's a dead-ringer for a pre-teen Stella. Intentional or not, it makes sense to me. —- johncage1000
Also Justice League, in the episode "Dead Reckoning", Grodd's big plan is to transform every human on the planet into an ape. It fails, of course, and at the end, Luthor tells Grodd off for it as he usurps Grodd's place as leader of the Legion of Doom in a very snarky Crowning Moment of Awesome. It was only a long while later, reflecting on the JLA "Tower of Babel" arc that I realized something about Grodd's plan. If he had succeeded, he would have not only created an intensive worldwide panic, which means a lot of rioting (rioting done by gorillas, no less), he would have made it impossible for humanity to use almost all of their technological creations. Cars, guns, factories, pencils... none of that stuff was intended to be used by gorillas. The economy, emergency services, educational system - every human-made internal structure would have collapsed under the panic, rioting, and incompatibility with gorillas. The Justice League would have been stretched to the breaking point containing the damage, leaving Grodd and his Legion free to do whatever they wanted—J the Drafter
Oh wow. I did not realize that until you said it, but that is bloody brilliant!—Freiberg
Something that always bothered me about the episode was that the heroes undid the change in about 5 seconds by hitting the machine really hard. But it makes perfect sense when you consider that the DCAU version of the Legion of Doom is not a world-conquering army, it's a racket that allows criminals to pull off crimes with backup. Grodd knew that the plan would never work, he just wanted a few minutes of mayhem to pull off as many heists and crimes as possible. He didn't bother to protect the device that turned everyone into gorillas because he didn't expect it to last, he just needed it to provide a few minutes of cover.
When I first saw the ending of the Justice League episode "Wake The Dead", where Superman explains why he voted to keep Hawkgirl in the League, I just wrote it off as the Big Blue Boy Scout doing his usual speech. But then I remembered the finale of Superman: The Animated Series and I realized - Superman voted the way he did because he's been where Hawkgirl is. He was made Brainwashed and Crazy by Darkseid, and as a result, lost the whole world's trust. Even with all that, he was given a second chance. And when you remember that, there's no other way he could have voted.—Spotts1701
On a related vote, since GL abstained from the vote, the remaining voting leaguers were Flash, Wonder Woman, Superman, Batman, and Martian Manhunter. Since it's quite obvious that Flash would've voted "for keeping her", just as it's obvious that Wonder Woman would've voted "against", and it was explicitly stated that Superman voted "for", the remaining votes were Batman and Martian Manhunter. Though we don't know which way they voted, we know that the two of them split. This, then, is the silent acknowledgment that the issue was so complex that a psychic (though he couldn't work as well on Thanagarians, he's still had experience) and The GoddamnBatman couldn't reach an agreement. - Wanderlust Warrior
Actually, not so much. It's much more likely Batman, being a part-time member and uninterested in politics, abstained from the vote. Because otherwise, John's vote wouldn't have been the tie breaker. Flash + Superman=2 votes for. Wonder Woman + Martian Manhunter=2 votes against. Adding Batman to that would've tipped the vote either for or against. If GL had voted then and voted "for", they would've just stalemated.
No. It was expressly stated that Superman's vote was the tie-breaker. If you have five people voting, the only way to have a tie breaker is if all members voted. John abstains and Wonder Woman, Flash, Martian Manhunter, and Batman vote, with Superman breaking the tie. Therefore, Batman had to have voted.
I was always under the impression that Wonder Woman and Batman voted against, while Flash and Martian Manhunter voted for. Flash and Martian Manhunter were the vocal advocates for keeping her, so logically they would have voted to stay. Batman has, in every instance, been staunchly against believing face value of what people say. (Not to mention his initial JLU hostility towards her)
While this troper thinks that Justice League Unlimited is one of the best cartoons out there, she has to admit that as a Batman fan, the Bat-Embargo (as its known) ticked her off a bit. It only occurred to her later that there's a perfectly reasonable in-universe explanation: this is when the events portrayed in the Return of the Joker actually happened. That is why Robin, Batgirl, or even Nightwing never joined the League; after that incident, there's no way that Batman would let them. —Mew24ever
Except by that point, Batman doesn't tell Nightwing to do anything anymore. Dick has already established himself as a solo act, and Bruce's relationship with Barbara seems to have been the final straw that forced him to cut the both of them off. He's nowhere in Batman: Mystery of the Batwoman or the flashback in Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker and that's because he's busy doing his own thing. He might have joined the League as a "part timer", the same as Bruce, which is why he can be seen keeping tabs on some members in "Grudge Match", but not actually getting involved. And in Return of the Joker, Barbara all but confirms that he's still operating under the identity of Nightwing.
It's also possible that the other Bat-villains found out what happened to the Joker and realized that THAT'S how a lifelong feud with Batman will end and decided it just wasn't worth it. —Tork
That entry just led to a moment of Fridge Brilliance for me too. We know that Barbara was flirting with Bruce in Mystery of the Batwoman, that they dated at some point in DCAU history, but that it'd ended badly long before Batman Beyond. Return of the Joker, taking place right before the start of Justice League, might actually be the reason why it ended. Barbara said that the Joker tainted them all with his final act of cruelty, and that nothing was ever the same. We saw firsthand how Tim had mistaken Bruce's guilt and concern for his well-being for rejection and disappointment, and Barbara probably felt the same way if Bruce also refused to let her continue being Batgirl (plus the tension between them if she thought Tim should still be Robin). The arguments over the way he was keeping them both out of the crime-fighting loop got bad enough that he and Barbara broke things off and stopped speaking to each other. The ending scene in Return of the Joker becomes even more poignant with the three of them in Tim's hospital room, having the open, honest conversation about what happened that he should've had with them the first time. —BritBllt
The only thing is that in Mystery of the Batwoman, Tim is older than he is in Return of the Joker, which is kind of weird (and was made three years later too, so it's not as if ROTJ is a retcon).
I like the idea of the ROTJ events happening shortly after "Wild Cards". Probably right about the time he got his pseudo-sanity back. Not only was it a particularly humiliating defeat for the Joker, "Wild Cards" happened right before the Justice League finale "Starcrossed," and thus not too long before JLU. My guess is that it all went down right around the time the new Watchtower was being built. Word of God is great, but I like this theory so much better. -Batfan
The fact that Return of the Joker takes place at the end of the series makes sense too, in a certain way. Personally, I believe that the Joker's "final joke" had been an act of desperation - with all the time that Batman spends with the Justice League, fighting off Darkseid and whatnot, the Joker had begun to fear that he was no longer Batman's greatest enemy. His "final joke" was a way of reminding Batman just who is the most dangerous man he has faced... and at the same time, it could be his equivalent of a "midlife crisis".
It also explains why Batman left the League. Presumably, Robin got snatched while Batman was away on League business. After it was over, Batman comes to the decision that he's been letting the League get in the way of his mission, and subsequently pushes Batgirl and Nightwing away to keep something similar from happening. He spends the next few years pushing himself harder and developing better technology to make up the difference, leading to the breakdown that sets Batman Beyond in motion.
One item about the ROTJ movie that always did seem a bit too much like a Hand Wave was how the Joker casually explains how he was able to graft his mind onto Tim Drake's by claiming he was "years ahead of [his] time" and just really, really technologically advanced. A review of a somewhat obscurer episode, "Make 'Em Laugh", from Batman: The Animated Series reveals, however, a far more convincing explanation. In that episode, the Joker is revealed to have stolen the Mad Hatter's mind control chips and used them to take control of several other comedians and send them on rather bizarre crime sprees. Although he ended up getting arrested again at the end, it's likely the Joker retained several of those chips—which were already rather small and easily concealed—and then duplicated and miniaturized them further with the advent of even-tinier microprocessors. While digitizing his own mind and attaching it to one of these chips certainly required some technological brilliance (and probably more thieving from other sources as well), it remains that the Joker was fibbing when he claimed to have developed all this advanced stuff himself; he probably just plagiarized the advances others had already made, cobbling their devices together to produce his new invention. The hijinks with the comedians might even have been something of a test run.
I thought the whole Cadmus thing was far more relevant, since Joker DID break into that facility for Ace.
Static Shock had the episode "Hard as Nails", where Batman makes an offhand comment about Robin joining the Teen Titans and how Static would meet them someday. In context, it comes off as an attempt to add the Titans into the DCAU, which never happened. Geoff Johns had also been trying to add Static to the main DC Comics titles without success. Then, years later, a combination of the animated Static and the comic Static was folded into the main DC Universe. It may have taken place in an entirely different universe, but watching that episode now just makes for brilliant foreshadowing. —TheRoguePenguin
Whoa... Teen Titans? Like, the animated show that came out six months later? With Robin? Even if it's not really part of the DCAU, and it was probably accidental, that is still brilliant foreshadowing. —Geort
The Titans exist in other DC universes, there's no reason the DCAU can't have them without them having to be the Teen Titans TV series.
What if it's not accidental. When Batman mentions the Titans, Static's response is "The who?" He's never heard of them before, and unless the people watching the show were comic book fans, they might not have either! Batman's comment that he'll meet them someday was just as much for the fans as it was for Static!
Well, it is accidental, as the show Teen Titans had not existed at this point yet... —Geort
The series was announced, however.
In the Batman: The Animated Series episode "Trial", where Batman is put on a trial by a Joker Jury (with archvillain the Joker serving as judge) by all of his villains, they claim that Batman was responsible for forcing them to become criminals. The lawyer defending Batman gives a great argument against all of this; explaining how they all brought this on themselves. The only one she doesn't mention is the Joker; which is a clever nod to how the Joker is the only criminal that Batman brought on himself, all that is known is that he chased some guy in a red hood off of a balcony into a vat of chemicals. —Geort
From the same episode: out of all of Batman's rogues gallery, the Joker is the happiest. All of the others were semi-normal people who wanted something very badly, and became supervillains to get it - and Batman stopped them. Riddler wanted revenge on his boss. Harley wants to run off with Mistah J, who's too busy with Batman. The Scarecrow wants to rule the world with fear toxins. But the Joker was a sociopath and criminal long before Batman appeared (as seen in Mask of the Phantasm). Batman didn't ruin the Joker's dreams of killing and stealing—he made them better, because now Joker's the most feared man in Gotham. So when the others take the stand to blame Batman for ruining them, Joker just sits there and grins.
It took listening to Christmas carols last December for me to realize that the title of the Batman episode "Harley and Ivy" was a pun on the song "The Holly and The Ivy". — Rothul
I was watching Batman and it dawned on me. Batman is emotionally stunted. When his parents died in front of him, he emotionally stopped growing up. He runs around, wearing a costume and scaring criminals. He has a hard time having romantic relationships. Alfred still cooks and cleans for him. When Morgaine Le Fay turned him and other Justice Leaguers into kids, he was the only one still acting like himself. —-Lady Nomad
Except that's because he stopped being a kid when he was 8 years old (when his parents were murdered), it's not that he's emotionally stunted, it's that he's had to grow up so much faster than everyone else, he already has the mindset and maturity of an adult by the time he's nine years old. He dresses as a bat to strike terror into criminals not to fulfill some childish fantasy. In Mask of the Phantasm he at first fights crimes without the gadgets and costume, but later adapts both because he realizes it makes him more effective and that's all he cares about. The reason he has problems with relationships is because he's dedicated his life to crime fighting and has a hard time devoting time to anything else. Also he's perfectly capable of cooking his own food and the like, which he does do for himself after Alfred leaves. What would be the point of employing Alfred and paying him if he didn't do all the menial labor and the like? That's what butlers are for! It's hard to find the time to do your laundry when you're risking your life for the safety of others essentially 24/7. Batman is anything but emotionally stunted.
That still doesn't cover why he goes around in a costume that clearly says "comic book superhero" instead of donating his crime-fighting equipment to the police. Alfred even lampshades this in The Dark Knight Rises. The point is, maturity and thinking with kid logic aren't always the same thing (just look at Flash). It might be a little of both above points.
Suffice to say, mileage varies a lot on this issue. For me, it's significant that when he's under the Black Mercy, Bruce doesn't imagine a whole new life (maybe because it wasn't that long, and definitely because that ground was already covered in "Perchance to Dream"); his fantasy is just that one moment in the alley made right. Some might argue that he's never left that alley. As the Prophets told the Sisko, "You exist here." — St Clair
One book on Batman says that in many ways, Bruce also died in the alley that night.
I was wondering for years why in the Justice League episode "Hereafter", as Wonder Woman goes after Toyman for the apparent death of Superman, she was crying, something that struck me as somewhat out of character. But then after a recent rewatching of the episode, I saw that the blast that hit Superman would have hit Wonder Woman and Batman if he hadn't taken the blast. She's going through survivor's guilt! —-Brainiac0982
Watching one of your friends apparently die will bring you to tears regardless of survivor's guilt.
In the end of the Superman: The Animated Series episode "Speed Demons", the energy of Weather Wizard's weather machine disperses into the atmosphere... but with relatively little pyrotechnics or other side effects (especially considering what he used the machine to do earlier). This seemed odd... until I noticed that the very next episode in production order is "Live Wire", where the titular villainess gains her powers... during a freak thunderstorm. -Metaphysician
Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker yet again: when Terry is figuring out what's going on, he hits a few buttons on the computer and the stolen components miraculously become a specific piece of tech. I've seen several fan sites whining about how that was too simple, and then one day it hit me - the show established that the computer accepted voice commands, and while Terry was hitting those buttons, he was also describing Tim's field of expertise and wondering how he might combine those particular items. Between his typing and his verbal commands, he gave the computer exactly what it needed to assemble the correct item. - Katfairy
When Batman met up with Clayface in Justice League, he was even more of a dick to the tragic supervillain than usual. Why? I just realized that one of Clayface's last appearances in BTAS has him commit a murder by absorbing the little girl Annie, who split off from him and in front of Batman and Robin, who was falling for her, to boot.What Measure Is a Non-Human? aside, would you have sympathy for a person who killed the closest thing he had to a daughter and laughed it off? Hell no!- koolkame
In a similar example, Bruce's refusal to believe Mr. Freeze has changed in the Batman Beyond episode "Meltdown" seems a bit OOC for him, considering how many times he'd offered to help Freeze and his wife in B:TAS, until you remember Freeze's last appearence in the previous series, where he forced Bruce to make a Sadistic Choice between Alfred and Tim Drake.
In Batman: The Animated Series, Bruce would don a more aggressive voice when wearing the cowl, and have a more relaxed voice when he was simply Bruce. Kevin Conroy doesn't switch up the voices in Justice League. That's because whenever Bruce appears out of costume, he was with his teammates, meaning there was no reason to revert back to his playboy persona. Lionheart0
Actually, the Bruce voice does appear in a single episode: Maid of Honor. However, Diana didn't realize he was Batman... when she does learn the truth, the Bruce voice never appears again.
Similarly, Bruce Wayne in Batman Beyond looks like a stereotypical grumpy old man to everyone in-universe — in reality, he just acts exactly like Batman. He doesn't need to pretend any more.
This was intentional, and taken directly from Kingdom Come where his Secret Identity was blown, villains destroyed Wayne Manor and he lives full time in the cave and only answers to "Batman".
I've always heard the argument that Superman is the hero whose costume is Clark Kent and whose actual identity is Superman, but I've always argued that this applies to Batman too. Bruce Wayne is always Batman. It clearly takes effort for him to pretend to NOT be Batman. If he could, he would abandon the Bruce Wayne persona entirely and just be Batman. He always seems vaguely uncomfortable at parties and business functions. But Batman is ALWAYS comfortable.
Makes sense, given that Batman "plays" Bruce Wayne as a dumb and cowardly playboy - pretty much the exact opposite of what we know Batman's true character to be like.
the order in which the team dragged Flash back from the speed force makes a lot of sense if you think about it. Hawkgirl was holding him first, as the big sister he never had, and probably the closest to him emotionally. Then Green Lantern, as his friend for life. Martian Manhunter had a decent relationship as coworkers and rumble robot buddies. Superman was Flash's friend and safety net. Wonder Woman was the object of Flash's earlier flirting but still close. And on the end of the line, despite annoying Batman at times, still deeply cared for, and worth saving. - Eric W
In the Justice League episode "Patriot Act", general Eilington's last words before leaving the battlefield is that humans need a meta-human to protect them for other meta-humans who pose a threat towards them. While he was referring to himself and the enemy as the Justice League, he also inadvertently defends the existence of the Justice League. The real dangerous meta-humans were the supervillains (e.g. the Injustice Gang) and the real protectors were the superheroes (e.g. the Justice League). It's a subtle case of Wrong Genre Savvy.
One of the things that bothered me the most about the character re-designs in the final season of Batman: The Animated Series apart from the Joker, was the switching of Catwoman's hair color from blonde to black-haired. Then it hit me: As a result of the events of "Catwalk", Selena had violated the terms of her parole, leaving both her identities on the run from the law. What's the first thing a fugitive normally does to disguise themselves from authorities?
In "Secret Society", when Grodd is about to free Clayface from his biohazard barrels, Parasite objects and says that stuff is dangerous. When Giganta opens them he takes a step back and looks almost scared. Rudy Jones becomes a monster because some chemicals spilled onto him.
Look at the heroes that gathered in the 2-part Justice League premiere:Superman and Batman (who both previously had their own shows), Wonder Woman and Martian Manhunter (who's origins took place during the episodes), Flash and Green Lantern (both Flash and the GL Corps had appeared in Superman's show). Who's the only one we're seeing completely out of context? Hawkgirl. And what is she? An alien spy.
Ace was trained by the government as part of a group meant to protect the world from the JL if they went rogue, though the Joker recruits them. Shortly before she dies, she and Batman manage to become friends. leading to a minor tearjerker when she does go. Cut to Batman Beyond, a dog raised to fight saves Bruce from one of the Jokerz. What does he name the dog? Ace.