Justice League: Tropes A to L
aka: Tropes A-L
Due to the number of tropes present, Justice League
has been split into two pages. Tropes M To Z can be found here
This series provides examples of:
open/close all folders
- Absence of Evidence: In "Hereafter", Superman is apparently killed by Toyman's latest machine, but Bruce refuses to believe it and presents his theory to Alfred by saying the lack of evidence is what tipped him off. Toyman's weapon left no debris, so it didn't blow him up. It left no scorch marks, so it didn't incinerate him. It didn't even leave radiation, hence it didn't disintegrate him. Bats deduces that since Toyman is merely an obnoxious Mad Scientist, not a god, the Law of Conservation is still in effect and therefore Superman couldn't have just been destroyed. His conclusion: it teleported him somewhere. He is right - Superman was shunted forward in time, but the show leaves it vague whether or not Batman is simply in denial.
- Absentee Actor: In Justice League, it would be common for one or two members of the Original Seven to sit out a mission.
- Absolute Cleavage: Vixen.
- Acrofatic/Stout Strength: Steven Mandragora.
- Action Dress Rip: Wonder Woman in "Maid of Honor".
- Action Girl: Too many examples to list individually.
- Actual Pacifist: Dove, even more so than in the comics where he was more of a Technical Pacifist.
- Actually, I Am Him: In "A Better World", after the League rescues Hawkgirl from the Justice Lord universe's Arkham Asylum, they are confronted by the military. Before anything can happen, the Justice Lord Batman arrives and orders the soldiers to stand down, whilst he takes them away. The League assumed that he was their Batman, who had disguised himself with the Lord Batman's costume in order to let them escape.
Superman: You fooled them. Even I thought you were him.
Justice Lord Batman: I am him.
- Adaptation Distillation: The JLU version of For the Man Who Has Everything cuts Robin and gives his awesome moments to Wonder Woman. It also makes Superman's dream happier and closer to what one might imagine his dreams would be. (The changed focus of the dream also makes sense in terms of the contrast between the Pre-Crisis Superman of the comic — heavily steeped in his Kryptonian heritage, who always considered Superman/Kal-El his "true self" and Clark Kent a mere mask — and the Post-Crisis Superman of the cartoon — raised as human who considers himself Clark Kent first.)
- Adaptation Explanation Extrication/Adaptation Induced Plothole: Obsidian is seen in the background in many episodes of Unlimited, but as the son of Alan Scott, the original Golden Age Green Lantern, his birth is something of a mystery since his father apparently never existed in this continuity.
- Adaptational Badass - The Ultimen, updated versions of original characters created for Super Friends.
- Adaptive Ability: A.M.A.Z.O. with his All Your Powers Combined.
- Adolf Hitler: Appears in cryonic storage several times in "The Savage Time," where he has been replaced as the leader of Nazi Germany by Vandal Savage. Referred to by Savage as "That Lunatic" and by High Command as "the old Fuhrer".
- Adult Fear: "The Enemy Below". Aquaman in a Death Trap is bad enough, but Aquaman and his baby in a Death Trap is a whole other can of worms.
- Adventurer Archaeologist: Hawkman's secret identity, Carter Hall, seems to spend all his time either breaking into ancient tombs riddled with Death Traps, or stalking Hawkgirl.
- Affably Evil: Vandal Savage, the Ultra-Humanite, and even Lex Luthor on occasion.
- Affectionate Parody: The "Legends" two-parter was a loving homage to the Golden Age of Comic Books, lampooning themed villains, kid sidekicks, assumed gender roles and social norms. It skewers what comics used to be like, but clearly shows how important they were.
- Affirmative Action Legacy: John Stewart was chosen over Hal Jordan precisely to avoid making every super-powered character on the show white. Hawkgirl was chosen over Hawkman (and Aquaman, whom she replaces as a founding Leaguer) in order to have another girl on the team besides Diana to avoid The Smurfette Principle.
- Agony Beam: Darkseid's Agony Matrix. According to him:
Direct neural stimulation of pain receptors. All of them. Imagine the worst pain you've ever felt in your life, times a thousand. Now imagine that pain continuing forever
. Oh, that's right: you don't have to imagine.
- A.I. Is a Crapshoot:
- Brainiac continues the characterization introduced in Superman: The Animated Series, where he has interpreted his programming to collect data as a directive to collect all information in the universe and then to destroy it.
- The Manhunter robots, which were originally created by the Guardians before they were replaced by the Green Lanterns.
- Alien Invasion: Numerous times.
- Alien Sky: The view from an alien moon is a plot point in "In Blackest Night".
- Aliens of London: Maria Canals Barrera was cast as Hawkgirl partially because her Cuban accent would help her stand out from the other League members. In "Starcrossed", other Hispanic actors were cast for the primary Thanagarian roles in order to match Hawkgirl and give the impression of a consistent accent that would come from speaking a common language.
- Aliens Speaking English: Green Lantern rings can translate languages, but even when no rings or telepathic Martians are around, English still seems to be the default language of the universe.
- All Germans Are Nazis: Averted. When Wonder Woman rescues a code-breaker from Nazi captivity in World War II she is surprised to discover that he is German himself, and he explains that not all Germans are like them.
- All of Them: In "Patriot Act", when Speedy asks Green Arrow how many League members General Eiling has managed to defeat, Green Arrow responds "that would be all of them".
- All There in the Manual: Boston Brand (Deadman) had never appeared in the DCAU prior to his appearance in season three of Unlimited, but both he and Batman make reference to previously working together. This occurred in the comic tie-in to Batman: The Animated Series, which was considered canon with the aired DCAU.
- Allohistorical Allusion: Towards the end of "The Savage Time," the members of the German High Command are beginning to resent Vandal Savage's actions and position. When speaking about the previous Fuhrer, they admit that he was crazy, but at least he listened to his generals. In real life, one of the key reasons often given for the collapse of the German military was Hitler's refusal to accept advice or corrections from his military staff.
- Alternate Company Equivalent: The roster of Dr. Fate's super-team seen in "Wake the Dead" is based on the original Defenders. Dr. Fate = Dr. Strange, A.M.A.Z.O. = Silver Surfer, Hawkgirl = Nighthawk, Solomon Grundy = Hulk and Aquaman = Namor.
- Alternate Universe: The show had several — the retro-styled world of the Justice Guild, the dark dystopia of the Justice Lords, the Vandal Savage-ruled world created through time travel, and others.
- Amulet of Concentrated Awesome: The Amulet of First Magic, which gives Mordred the power to get rid of his mother and completely rid the world of all adults.
- Ancient Astronauts: When two Thanagarian law officers accidentally crashed in north-east Africa eight thousand years ago, they used their advanced technology to bring water and food to the arid locale and created a peaceful society that covered much of the continent. It was such a nice place to live that neighboring countries would actually thank them for conquering their homes. Unfortunately, they had only educated their people to the level of tool users, not tool makers, so when they died their society collapsed in a generation.
- And Call Him George:
- In Cheetah's first appearance, it was implied that Solomon Grundy killed her this way - but then she was shown alive, in hand-cuffs. Earlier in the episode, when Batman exposed her to the members of her criminal team as the "traitor,", she was "given" to Grundy and was shown being dragged out of the room, screaming. However, despite the implied death, the end of the episode featured an ensemble picture of the villains being loaded into a police vehicle, including Cheetah. Word of God states this was an accident, the intention was for everybody to assume she had been "petted" to death, but it allowed her to make a few future appearances in various episodes.
- In the episode "Only a Dream", Superman is subjected to a nightmare where his strength is out of control. His attempt to hug Jimmy in joy snaps the kid like a twig.
- And I Must Scream:
- Doctor Destiny in "Only a Dream," Dr. Destiny stabs himself with a high-powered sedative while fighting Batman, sending him into a catatonic state with "Brother John" playing on loop in his head.
- He seems to have recovered later though, as he's seen in a crowd shot in "I Am Legion" (though, being a cameo, it's unclear whether that's really John Dee or a successor).
- Chronos in "The Once and Future Thing", trapped in a time loop of his wife screaming at him for all eternity.
- In "Legends", the people who populate the city and are used as props in Roy's fantasy. One points out that forty years driving an ice cream truck around just to be background for a godlike entity's childish dream is horrible enough for any Hell.
- At the end of "Kid Stuff", Mordred. After being tricked into giving up his eternal youth he rapidly ages to his proper chronological age and is now a drooling vegetable.
- And Show It to You: Thematically speaking. It is not literally a heart, but in "Chaos at the Earth's Core" Supergirl uses a dagger to carve out Metallo's Kryptonite power source.
- And the Adventure Continues: Trope Namer
- And Then What?: When Bizarro appears in "Ultimatum" he is assisting Giganta in her efforts to break Gorilla Grodd out of jail. When Wonder Woman asks him why, he explains that he has fallen in love with her. When Wonder Woman asks him what he thinks will happen after they have broken her boyfriend out of jail, he freezes in confusion.
- And This Is for...: In "War World", Draaga gives such a speech while pounding on Mongul, citing his people, his honor, and justice.
- Animated Armor: The Annihilator, built by Hephaestus for Ares, the God of War.
- Antagonist in Mourning: Lex Luthor in "Hereafter".
- Anti-Climactic Unmasking: When Lex Luthor unmasks the Flash, all he can do is stare at the red-headed kid and admit that he has no idea who the heck it is.
- Anti-Climax: Captain Cold is very disappointed with how the fight against the Flash ended, since he was looking forward to bloody revenge and all he got was the sight of the Flash falling into a mirror. Of course, the episode was not over yet...
- Anti-Magic: Hawkgirl's mace, and Thanagarian technology in general, is designed to nullify magic.
- Anti-Villain: The Ultra-Humanite fixed a toy for orphans on Christmas, then willingly went back to jail. The only outright villainous thing he does in the whole series is help Lex break out of jail and fight the League, but he gives that up when he gets a better offer: money for public broadcasting.
- Anvilicious: In universe, even Superman finds Wind Dragon's impassioned speech about environmentalism to be too much.
- Apathetic Citizens: Averted. Most citizens will get involved and help when they can. In "Starcrossed" a restaurant owner, who services Mediterranean clientele helps, hide Bruce and Diana disguised as civilians from the the Thanagarian soldiers by giving them a table in the back and saying they were there for hours when the soldiers came in.
- Arbitrary Skepticism: Frequently used by characters, but deconstructed each and every time.
- The Flash was the first to explicitly point out the ridiculous nature of skepticism in their line of work since, as he points out to John Stewart, "we've both got a martian's phone number on our speed dial; I think I deserve the benefit of the doubt here."
- In "Shadow of the Hawk", where Batman describes the academic humiliation of Carter Hall after he began to believe that aliens had visited Ancient Egypt, Shayera Hol mocks the idea that there is no such things as aliens, since she herself is from another planet and the conversation includes Green Lantern.
- When Deadman mocks the idea of Gorilla City in "Dead Reckoning" Wonder Woman asks why he, as a ghost from the Himalayas possessing Superman's body, has a problem with this. Deadman concedes that she has a point.
- The straightest example is when Batman seriously believes (and Alfred takes him seriously) that Superman can't be dead because of the implications of the laws of conservation of mass. Even though he routinely work against a supervillain and with several superheroes whose only power is to change their size whenever they want to.
- Arc Welding: The long-running storylines of Justice League Unlimited were all connected back to second season episodes of Justice League itself, and were then pushed back even further into Superman: The Animated Series. Ultimately, plot points were developed directly from episodes of Superman that had aired eight years (And two series) before the current show. References are also made to episodes as far back as the beginning of Batman: The Animated Series, including "On Leather Wings", which was the very first entry in the DCAU—as well as direct connections to Batman Beyond, which preceded Unlimited in broadcast order, but in-universe is chronologically the final entry.
- Armor-Piercing Question:
- Justice-Lord Batman drives home one of these to his regular universe counterpart, to the reason why he helped create a totalitarian state. This was such an armor-piercing question that the writers couldn't come up with a way to beat it. They had intended Batman to win the argument, but after that line they couldn't think of a response:
Batman: You grabbed power!
Lord Batman And with that power, we made a world where no eight-year-old boy will EVER lose his parents because of some punk with a gun.
Batman: *drops Batarang dejectedly* You win.
- Batman turns it back on him later though, after stopping by a cafe and seeing a guy getting taken away by masked police for complaining about the bill:
Batman: They'd love it here, don't you think?
Lord Batman: Who?
Batman: Mom and Dad. They'd be so proud of you.
Lord Batman: ... Just drive.
Little Old Lady:
Tell me, son: how many of us do you have to kill to keep us safe?
- Another observes that, despite his ranting about the threat of super-powered bad guys, he's the only one there with super powers.
- Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: After taking over Tartarus and perusing Hades' Library, Faust lists off texts that "make the Necronomicon look like a children's book": the Lost Scrolls of Herculaneum, Merlin's juvenilia, Pierre Menard's Don Quixote!note
- Art Evolution:
- Superman was originally designed to be slightly bulkier than his Superman: The Animated Series incarnation, along with some additional lines on his face and a change in coloration. Negative fan response to the design (the lines made him look older/recovering from Kryptonite-tainted clams) led to them tweaking the design slightly by altering the face, making it resemble to the Superman: The Animated Series design, though the design still retained the bulk of the Season 1 design. Here is one image◊ of the first design used in Justice League, and here is an image◊ of the redesign for Season 2 and Justice League Unlimited.
- Wonder Woman also had a tweak◊ for Season 2 and Unlimited, losing the cheekbones she had in Season 1◊.
- Artistic License – Biology:
- The show has a biological inaccuracy serve as the key plot-point to a season 1 episode. In "Fury", Arisia attempts to wipe out all men on Earth with a deadly "allergen". Allergens are not contagious; different people (and different species) have different allergic reactions to the same substance.
- Grodd's plan in "Dead Reckoning" is to create a "Devolution Ray" to turn every human being in the planet into an ape. Humans (Let alone Kryptonians) did not evolve from (modern-day) apes, so even if we grant the premise that Grodd can undo evolution, it would have turned a human being into whatever common ancestor on the evolutionary path the two species share.
- Art Shift: Grodd's story about Prince Jon in "To Another Shore" is drawn in a more typical, realistic comic book style reminiscent of classic Viking Prince artist Joe Kubert.
- Assimilation Backfire: During A.M.A.Z.O.'s first appearance, he copies the powers of all the League's members while fighting them. When he absorbs Superman's powers he also gets his vulnerability to Kryptonite, but quickly learns how to modify himself so it is no longer an issue.
- An Ass-Kicking Christmas: The Christmas special where Green Lantern and Hawkgirl spend their holiday in an alien bar, asskicking.
- Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever:
- Giganta is a recurring villain, created by Gorilla Grodd.
- Longshadow, a recreation of Apache Chief, appears in "Ultimatum" and the climax of the Cadmus arc.
- Atom-Smasher appears in numerous group shots of the expanded League, and has a personal fight scene in "Task Force X," but never gets any dialogue or backstory.
- Toyman and Luthor create giant robots at different points, Ray creates one in "Legends," the Chinese have one in the first episode of Unlimited... quite frankly, it's a show based on one of the most well-known superhero teams of all time, giant monsters and robots are par for the course.
- The Atoner: Hawkgirl spends much of the first two seasons of Unlimited trying to win back the trust of humanity in general and her friends in the League.
- Ax-Crazy: Killer Frost.
- Back for the Dead:
- General Hardcastle, who was a minor recurring character in Superman: The Animated Series, returns in "Fearful Symmetry" and is killed by Galatea.
- Dr. Milo, a minor villain from Batman The Animated Series, comes back to release from Cadmus custody, and be killed off by, Doomsday.
- Back for the Finale: J'onn J'onzz.
- Back from the Dead: Solomon Grundy (who Came Back Wrong— twice!) and Darkseid.
- Back-to-Back Badasses: In the final episode, Batman and Lex Luthor.
- Bad-Guy Bar: In "Flash and Substance", Central City is shown to have a bar frequented by the various Flash rogues. The Flash is well aware of where it is and who drinks there, occasionally popping by to arrest a villain when he feels it necessary.
- Bad Guys Do the Dirty Work: Lord!Superman. In the comics, Doomsday killed Superman after already defeating the entirety of the Justice League of America, but Lord!Superman lobotomized him five minutes into the fight once it became apparent that his strength approached Superman's own.
- Bad Guys Play Pool: The Bad-Guy Bar in "Flash and Substance" has a pool table constantly in use in the background. When the Flash convinces the Trickster to help him out, the pool table is destroyed.
- Badass: Pretty much everyone, but Aquaman is the most surprising iteration. In his first appearance in Superman: The Animated Series, Aquaman was portrayed as a mix of the angry-king version then current and the classic, optimistic character previously used in Super Friends, but by the time Justice League rolled around the depiction "matured" to the Peter David version of the character.
- Badass Boast: "No man escapes the Manhunters!" Well, up until now.
- Badass Grandpa: Several, such as the modern day Blackhawks and the leader of Skartaris. Wildcat, much like his comic counterpart, is still a trainer and compatriot of the new generation of heroes despite his advancing years.
- Badass in a Nice Suit: Lex Luthor, when he is not wearing his military style fatigues, Institutional Apparel or Powered Armor. Lampshaded with "I had to get my power suit."
- Badass Longcoat: The Question.
- Badass Normal:
- Batman, of course, but also a fair number of Unlimited League members. The latter are spotlighted in "Patriot Act", and The Question sometimes seems to be the real star of the series.
- Superman in "Hereafter", who proves he's more than capable in a post-apocalyptic wasteland full of dangerous predators without superpowers.
- Bait the Dog: Deadshot spends most of "Task Force X" flirting with Plastique but at the end of the episode detonates an explosive a few inches from her face.
- Bar Brawl: Hawkgirl seems to enjoy a good brawl, as she starts a fight (In anger) in "In Blackest Night" and starts another one (Just for fun) in "Comfort and Joy".
- Bare-Handed Blade Block: General Wade Eiling, after his transformation, catches Shining Knight's sword with one hand and throws him to the ground. It had previously been established that Shining Knight's sword was the one weapon present which could injure the General, after bullets, explosions and even Quantum Arrows did not even mark him.
- Bare Your Midriff: Supergirl, Shayera (in JLU), Fire, Huntress, Stargirl, Volcana, Kat's new outfit, the females at Skartaris.
- Barrier Warrior: The Green Lanterns, Sinestro, and Star Sapphire.
- Bash Brothers:
- Flash and Green Lantern were the most-often paired of the main team
- Vigilante and Shining Knight show up a surprising amount in Unlimited.
- Batman Cold Open: Numerous times, often as a way of sneaking in references and cameos of DCU heroes and villains that could not be fit into the regular episode.
- Batman Gambit:
- In addition to the obvious, the Question pulls one on Galatea, and a sort of a weird helpful one on Huntress. Flash has the rare honor of successfully pulling off a Batman Gambit against (Justice Lord) Batman himself.
- The Joker pulls one on the entire American public in "Wild Cards". Naturally, Batman is there to save the day.
- Batman Grabs a Gun: Superman attempts to lobotomize Doomsday in the "Doomsday Sanction," just as his Justice Lord counterpart did in "A Better World". It is pointed out by other characters that this is but one commonality between the two, and that Superman might not be as from his Lord counterpart as they would all like to think.
- It ends up happening to the Trope Namer in "Dead Reckoning", when Devil Ray is about to attack Wonder Woman from behind; Deadman quickly possesses Batman, picks up a spare gun and shoots Ray into some electrical machinery, killing him. Bats is visibly disgusted when he sees the gun in his hand after Deadman leaves his body, throwing it away like a curse.
- Battle Couple: Pretty much every Official Couple in the show.
- Battle in the Center of the Mind: "Only A Dream."
- Be Careful What You Wish For/Literal Genie: Hath-Set follows through on his loyalty to his Thanagarian pharaoh Katar-Hol with brutal efficiency. When Katar discovers his wife and best friend are in love with each other he offhand wishes they were dead while overcome with rage. Hath-Set, who was eavesdropping, makes it so... to Katar's intense dismay.
- Beam-O-War: In "Only a Dream," John Stewart and Volcana square off against one another. Volcana seemed to be on the verge of overpowering John, but she was knocked down by Batman and John was able to gain the upper hand.
- Beautiful All Along:
- There was never any implication that she was actually ugly, but Hawkgirl wore her mask for every single scene in the first two seasons, never revealing what she really looked like and leading some fans to think that her mask was her face. When she and John Stewart finally admit that they have feelings for each other she points out that they are too different, not even the same species, and John says that all he sees are a man and a woman as he slowly takes off her mask. Beneath the mask she is a beautiful woman with long red hair and piercing green eyes.
- When the Question and Huntress team-up in "Double Date," she theorizes that he must be the ugliest person in the world in order to hide his face like he does. There was a brief glance at his unmasked face earlier in the series in "Fearful Symmetry," but "Flashpoint" has his dramatic unmasking. At that point he has been beaten so badly his face is almost unrecognizable as the same man and he sourly comments that Huntress was right, he is "the ugliest guy in the world." Huntress disagrees.
- Belligerent Sexual Tension: Hawkgirl and Green Lantern bicker and argue so much throughout the first two seasons that Flash actually compares them to an old married couple. The two eventually realize their feelings in "Wild Cards", near the end of the second season, and are a couple in "Starcrossed", the season finale. Even The Joker noticed their relationship before they finally admitted it:
The Joker: Is it just me, or is there something going on between those two?
- Beneath Notice: When running from the Thanagarians in "Starcrossed", J'onn points out that the Thanagarians are looking for the Justice League, not six regular people. By taking off their costumes and walking down the street they are able to avoid notice. Unfortunately, the Thanagarians are aware that the League will take off their costumes, so they have soldiers stationed at train stations checking identification.
- Beneath the Mask: The Flash. See Obfuscating Stupidity.
- Benevolent Alien Invasion: The Thanagarians pretended to be a Benevolent Alien Invasion to cover their true purpose, but Batman exposed them in short order. Season three of Unlimited reveals that two Thanagarians had been benevolent rulers thousands of years ago when they were worshipped as gods, but their empire crumbled shortly after their death.
- Berserk Button: Aquaman is rather protective of his child.
- Betrayal Insurance: When A.M.A.Z.O. copies Superman's powers (and weaknesses), Batman uses a piece of kryptonite on it.
Do you always keep that in your belt? Batman:
Call it... insurance. (grapples away
And they call me scary.
- Discussed in one episode where Batman asks Superman what's to keep him from becoming a Justice Lord. Superman half-jokes that there's always the Kryptonite that Bruce carries around, but Bruce yells that it's no laughing matter.
- Between My Legs: The series loves this shot.
- Beware the Nice Ones:
- Flash, the goofy, light-hearted member of the League is the one to finally defeat Brainiac/Luthor after the entire rest of the League had failed.
- The series seems built on the principle that the nicer you are, the more epic your eventual rages are. Darkseid finds out the hard and painful way when Superman decides to finally stop holding back..
- Big Bad:
- Brainiac in the Cadmus Arc, though he ultimately fuses with Lex to acquire an imagination.
- The Legion of Doom Arc started out with Grodd, and then switched to Lex, but ultimately defaulted to Darkseid.
- Big Badass Battle Sequence: Six episodes involve the League, or their allies, taking part in what can only be described as a war given the number of enemies and scale of the fight.
- In "The Savage Time," the League is sent back to World War II and takes part in the struggle between the Allies and the Axis. They fight off fighter squadrons, armored battalions and even War Wheels.
- In "Maid of Honor," Wonder Woman and Batman stage what is, in essence, a full invasion of Kasnia. They wind up fighting the air force, infantry and tanks. All set to the marriage of Princess Audrey and Vandal Savage.
- "Hearts and Minds," opens with four Green Lanterns engaged against the entire military might of Despero, including dozens of his superpowered acolytes and an armada of battleships.
- "Starcrossed" climaxes with a fight between the League and thousands of fighters of the Thanagarian Expeditionary Force.
- In "Chaos at the Earth's Core", members of the League are present during the final battle between Demos and forces of free Skartaris. Hundreds of people and Lizard Folk clash using swords, bows-and-arrows, laser weapons and giant monsters.
- "Destroyer," the final episode, has the expanded League and the Legion of Doom teaming up against a full-scale invasion of Earth by Darkseid and the forces of Apokolips.
- Big Damn Heroes: The entire point of the genre, let alone the series.
- The Big Damn Kiss: John and Shayera at the end of "Wild Cards".
- Big Eater: Flash is one due to Required Secondary Powers (Which really does not nearly account for how much energy he uses, but hey, it is comic book physics, we are used to it).
- Big in Japan: Supergirl. Green Lantern describes her as such word for word when Stargirl is shocked to notice a Supergirl convention, complete with cosplayers.
- Bilingual Bonus: The song that Batman is muttering at the end of "Just a Dream" is an ad-jingle parody of the old French song Frere Jacques, which tells about an asleep man.
- Bittersweet Ending:
- The Justice League finale, "Starcrossed". It saw the rescue of the world and routing of the invading aliens, but Hawkgirl leaves the League and her relationship with Green Lantern ends.
"... I love you too."
- "Ultimatum". Longshadow symbolically joins the League, but it is implied he dies extremely soon after, and the rest of the Ultimen likewise.
- Black Blood: In "Twilight", Darkseid can be seen bleeding black blood when hit. This is especially noticeable near the end when Brainiac is about to explode and Batman forces Superman to get out.
- The Blank: The Question.
- Blood Knight: Draaga, Doomsday.
- Bloodless Carnage: Played straight for most episodes, with occasional aversions (John Stewart did look pretty beaten after his fight with Hro Talak, who himself had a nosebleed after the fight) or justifications (Captain Atom cannot bleed since he does not have blood).
- Boarding Pod: Seen in the season 2 finale. Each pod was loaded with cloned Ultimen, and had triple buzzsaws for cutting through the Watchtower's hull. But given that their goal was shooting down the Watchtower, the question has to be asked why they didn't just fire normal missiles.
- Body Horror: The ending of "Panic in the Sky."
- Body Surf: Eclipso.
- Body Wipe: The last episode ends with the League members running toward the camera in its final, trope naming "And the Adventure Continues" scene. It notably ends with Batman's logo, causing Batman to provide the Book Ends to the DCAU.
- Boisterous Bruiser: Hawkgirl, who loves fighting so much she uses a Bar Brawl as a holiday celebration. Maria Canals, her actress, explained that she personally felt stress-relieved when she was allowed to give Hawkgirl's war cry.
- Bond One-Liner:
"Keep the change."
- Book Ends:
- Justice League begins and ends with alien invasions. The first causes the formation of the League, while the second sees it lose a member.
- The ending of "Epilogue" has Terry McGinnis flying past a flying police car, confusing the pilots. This mirrors the opening scene of the very first episode of Batman: The Animated Series, "On Leather Wings" (right down to the line spoken by the policeman - played both times by Kevin Conroy, no less - who notices Batman). The original plan was for this episode to be the finale for the series, only for another season to appear.
- Batman does provide a book end in the actual final episode for the DCAU, as when all the heroes rush out the image fades to black by going into his logo.
- If Justice League and Justice League Unlimited are taken as one series, then it begins and ends with alien invaders setting up giant structures meant for Hostile Terraforming, and unexpected team-ups for fighting the threat.
- Bottomless Magazines: Averted. Both Green Arrow and Speedy run completely out of arrows in "Patriot Act", and resort to swinging their bows at the enemy.
- Both Sides Have a Point: The Cadmus Arc. J'onn, Question, Batman, and Green Arrow concede that Cadmus is right to be afraid of the Leauge if they ever went rogue and preparing for that possibility is reasonable. But Superman is also right in pointing that Cadmus is in essence a shadow cabinet that's basically decided to bring them down with no justification or provocation.
- Boxed Crook: Task Force X, which is an adaptation of the Suicide Squad.
- The Boxing Episode: "The Cat and the Canary" sees Wildcat get involved in an underground fighting circuit, while Black Canary and Green Arrow try to convince him to get out before he seriously hurts someone or vice-versa.
- Brainwashed: Despero was converting entire populations to his will using "The Flame of Pytar" in the season two episode "Hearts and Minds."
- Brainwashed and Crazy: The Flash in "The Brave and the Bold"
- Brainwashing for the Greater Good: How the Justice Lords dealt with their Rogues Gallery.
- Brandishment Bluff: In "Chaos at the Earth's Core", Supergirl's powers are reduced, with a comparable reduction in her vulnerability to Kryptonite. When she faces Metallo, who is unaware that the environment has impacted her powers, she claims that she is simply immune to Kryptonite and threatens him to surrender or be destroyed.
- Bratty Teenage Daughter: Stargirl. For extra points, her stepfather is her sidekick.
- Bread and Circuses: How Mongul controls his people in "War World".
- Breather Episode: Several lighthearted/more humorous episodes such as "Comfort and Joy", the Christmas Episode which almost plays out like a Warm And Fuzzy Fan Fic. With a Bar Brawl.
- Brick Joke:
- In "Wild Cards," the Joker finds an old woman who is still feeding a slot machine in Las Vegas, despite the rest of the city being abandoned after he seeded it with bombs. When he asks why she stayed behind, she explains that the machine has to pay out sooner or later. The final shot of the episode, after cutting away from Shayera and John kissing passionately, is that old woman hitting "Well, it's about time!"
- In "Dead Reckoning", Superman is talking about a fast food restaurant's milkshakes, which are very thick, when he gets possessed by Deadman. As soon as Deadman abandons him, Superman completes the punchline.
- Broken Pedestal: Billy Batson, aka Captain Marvel, always considered Superman to be the example to follow. But when the hero he admired actually attacks him, it hurts him much more deeply than the beating he received.
- Brought Down to Normal
- Green Lantern in "The Savage Time," where his ring runs out of energy, and "Hearts and Minds," where Despero affected his ability to use it.
- Superman in "Hereafter," where he loses all his abilities after being transported to a planet with a red sun. Not that it does anything to hinder his determination, or his awesomeness.
- Supergirl in "Chaos at the Earth's Core." She herself describes it as "half strength," but she lacks the ability to fly more than a few feet or lift a stone larger than herself, so her power is much closer to human-normal than "half" would imply.
- The Brute: Solomon Grundy, who is the dumb muscle for whichever supervillain has hired him this week.
- Bulletproof Human Shield: Superman purposefully stepped in front of a group of soldiers to shield them from a hail of bullets. Since he is Superman, it made more sense than many other human shields.
- Burial in Space: Given to the Viking Prince.
- Bus Full of Innocents: A bus full of nuns is about to collide with a truck full of dynamite in "Legends". Even the Flash realizes that it's a Contrived Coincidence.
- Buy Them Off: In an episode where Batman was kidnapped by Luthor and his fellow villains, he not only manipulates half of the villains there to either turn against each other or help him in some way, for his final masterstroke he gets Ultra-Humanite to backstab Luthor... By promising him double what Luthor was paying.
- Call Back: When Batman sings "Am I Blue" in "This Little Piggy". The song made an earlier DCAU appearance in the DTV film Batman & Mr. Freeze: Subzero.
- In "Twilight", Batman mentions an incident where Darkseid captured Superman and Brainwashed him into acting as his puppet. This is in reference to "Legacy", the two-part Grand Finale of Superman: The Animated Series.
- In the same episode, Superman is the only member of the League to recognize the sound of a Boom Tube. This is thanks to his encounters with the New Gods back in Superman: The Animated Series.
- Superman is shown to know Aquaman and Doctor Fate, both of whom he met back in his own series.
- Call Forward:
- Crime Boss Steven Mandragora's son, Edgar, appears at the end of "Double Date." Edgar would "later" appear in the Batman Beyond episode "Mind Games."
- Batman does not enjoy travelling via boom tube, referencing a line of Old!Bruce's in Batman Beyond.
- Amanda Waller mentions attempts to splice human and animal DNA. This "Splicing" would become popular with criminals in Batman Beyond.
- The Justice League trains with "Z8 Trainer" robots, early models of Zeta from The Zeta Project.
- At numerous points in the series Batman uses electric brass knuckles while fighting. They were later used by Mr. Fixx in the pilot to Batman Beyond.
- Came Back Wrong: Solomon Grundy. Twice. First as a zombie of a gangster, then as a mindless killing machine capable of going toe to toe with the likes of Superman and A.M.A.Z.O.
- The Cameo:
- Hal Jordan makes a brief appearance in "Once and Future Thing" when Chronos' messing with time causes him to get retconned into the JL in place of John Stewart.
- There is an appearance by a much older Andrea Beaumont, AKA The Phantasm in "Epilogue".
- Canon Foreigner: The Ultimen (who were incarnations of the Canon Foreigners from Super Friends), Tsukuri, and Galatea. Yet all of them look strangely familiar...
- The Caper: Four normal humans, managed by the Clock King and under orders from Amanda Waller, make a raid on the Justice League headquarters to steal a suit of Animated Armor. Not that it does them much good in the long run, when the suit is hijacked by Faust.
- Captain Ersatz:
- Captain Obvious: Flash after seeing the stuffed T-Rex in the Batcave:
Flash: "That's a giant dinosaur!"
Alfred: "And here I thought Batman was the detective."
- Captain Superhero: Captain Atom (Who actually held the rank of captain in the United States Air Force) and Captain Marvel.
- Card-Carrying Villain: The show lampshades it when an evil race of snake spirits want to possess the League.
General (under possession from the spirits): How would one contact this "Just-Us League?"
Sergeant: I don't know, sir. Wear a gaudy costume and threaten a bunch of people?
General: Thank you Sergeant, you've been quite a help.
*Walking out of the bathroom* What? Polaris:
You gonna wash your hands? "Luthor":
No...cause I'm EVIL
- Car Fu: Question in "Destroyer", Lobo in "Hereafter" (by throwing the car), etc.
- Cassandra Truth: In "The Balance"
Shayera: How'd you do that?
Wonder Woman: Magic lasso. Who knew?
Shayera: If you don't want to tell me, fine.
- Casual Danger Dialog:
- Between Batman and Superman in "Clash".
- Batman again in "Dark Heart," after ejecting from the Batplane and having his parachute destroyed.
Batman: Batman to all points. I could use some air support. Since I can't fly. At all.
[Beat, Batman continues to fall]
Batman: Now would be good.
- Cat Fight: Several Action Girls and Dark Action Girls are always willing to mix it up, with each other or their male counterparts. However the episode "Grudge Match" deserves special mention, as Roulette and Lex Luthor restart Metabrawl by pandering to public demand for this trope.
- Cat Girl:
- Catapult Nightmare: Supergirl throughout "Fearful Symmetry".
- Cavemen vs. Astronauts Debate: In "Patriot Act", Shining Knight and Vigilante talk about Dirty Harry. Vigilante likes the film, but Shining Knight feels that the Cowboy Cop tendencies of the character "besmirch" his role as a police office. Vigilante then warns Shining Knight that if he ever wants to watch any more movies on Vigilante's big-screen TV, he better watch what he says about Clint Eastwood.
- Celibate Hero: Batman gives Wonder Woman an entire laundry list of reasons why they will not be dating. The best is probably, "You're a princess from a society of immortal warriors; I'm a rich kid with issues. Lots of issues."
- Censor Steam: Fire's fire. They had to do several redesigns to make sure her naughty bits were covered. Batman: The Brave and the Bold later took a different approach.
- Chain of People: The Big Seven (less one) band together to help Flash escape the Speed Force.
- Chandler's Law: After Green Arrow, the Question and Supergirl were unable to get anything to genuinely prove that something was going on in Fearful Symmetry Cadmus conveniently sent teams of soldiers and robots to attack them which got them out of the rut they were stuck in.
- Character Development: Each of the main seven characters go through a little of this.
- Superman retains the same goals and desires from his own show, but his experiences with Cadmus teach him to go about his heroics in a manner that will not cause fear and distrust from those he wishes to help.
- Wonder Woman gains an appreciation for man's world and men in general, and gradually learns to integrate into other societies while retaining her cultural identity as an Amazon.
- Batman begins to cooperate with other people and learns to appreciate friendship and camaraderie in addition to working partnerships. (Unfortunately, he will inevitably become isolated and alone again in the future.)
- Green Lantern learned to accept himself as a Lantern without fearing the loss of his own personal identity, but then became despondent again following the end of his relationship with Hawkgirl. He eventually becomes determined to live his own life no matter what, but retains conflicted thoughts and feelings for Hawkgirl.
- The Flash is initially the inexperienced comic relief. A number of times early on, he appears more interested in showing off and impressing women. However, over the course of the series, he learns to use his brain in a fight and not just his speed. He also develops into The Heart and "the conscience" of the team, becoming a far more selfless hero.
- Hawkgirl has the most profound and fundamental character shift. Starting as an aggressive, self-confident warrior she grows depressed and self-critical while suffering an identity and personality crisis during the shift to Unlimited. Ultimately, she accepts her place in Earth society, but as a much calmer and internally settled character that no longer identifies as "Hawkgirl" at all.
- Martian Manhunter slowly realizes the implications of what it means to be the Last Martian, doomed to be eternally alone on Earth, and simultaneously grows detached and unfeeling towards humanity at large. He finally leaves the League in order to find some connection to humanity; when he reappears as a 'guest star' in the final episode, he has found a personal life and honest emotional companionship on Earth.
- Characterization Marches On: Zatanna goes from being an extraordinarily skilled but decidedly mortal, realistic magician in Batman: The Animated Series to being an actually magical and very powerful wizard in her appearances here. An issue of The Batman Adventures does show what seems to be an early instance of actual magic use, so her skills possibly grew from that.
- Charge-into-Combat Cut: This takes place in the episode "Flash and Substance", when Batman Dual Wielding batarangs is about to face Captain Boomerang dual wielding boomerangs.
- Charles Atlas Superpower: Several heroes who are ostensibly Badass Normals can punch dents into steel or craters into concrete.
- Chekhov's Gun: In "Hereafter", the assertion that Vandal Savage's Zero Generator is a "miniature sun". As soon as Superman gets near it, he regains his yellow sun-induced powers.
- The Chessmaster: Lex Luthor and Brainiac. Brainiac is mechanically better, balanced out by Lex's imagination and force of personality. They ultimately merge to combine the best (worst?) of both worlds.
- The Chosen Many: The Justice League itself, and the Green Lantern Corps.
- Christmas Episode: "Comfort and Joy," which has all the classic earmarks of a quality holiday episode: Visiting family, exchanging gifts, an actual aluminum Christmas tree, and... a Bar Brawl?!? Sure, why not. Also a case of Merry Christmas in Gotham.
- Civilian Villain: Lex Luthor, after being pardoned and while running for president.
- Civvie Spandex: Upon returning to the Justice League midway in the 3rd season, Hawkgirl ditched the helmet and traded her earlier outfit for something you might go jogging in.
- Claustrophobia: Hawkgirl, who almost has a heart attack when Dr. Destiny invades her dreams and traps her in a coffin.
- Cleavage Window: Galatea and Ice's outfits both have one.
- Clock King: The man himself.
- Coat, Hat, Mask: The Question and the Crimson Avenger.
- Collective Groan:
- In the "Doomsday Sanction", after Batman informs the League that he has the Question on the case. After the groan he admits that the Question is wound a little too tight.
- In "Panic In the Sky", when the power went back on in the Watchtower, a group of heroes cheered right before the power went out again, causing them to groan.
- Colony Drop: Batman uses this to save the world in "Starcrossed", piloting the Watchtower out of orbit and into the Thanagarian hyperspace array before it could activate and cause an Earth-Shattering Kaboom.
- Combat Breakdown: In "Patriot Act", the fight begins with the League members present all using their various gimmicks and abilities. As the episode progresses, they are each defeated one by one and the ones still standing run out of ammunition. Ultimately, it ends with the last men standing fighting with blunt instruments and their bare hands.
- Combat Pragmatist:
- In "Chaos at the Earth's Core", Supergirl loses her powers while in Skartaris. She compensates by grabbing whatever weapon she finds at at hand, including swords, laser guns, and even Stargirl's staff.
- Devil Ray, when confronted by a sword-bearing monk who explains that entrance to Nanda Parbat must be earned, shoots the monk and keeps walking. Later, when the Old Master is able to block his attacks, Devil Ray just collapses the roof on him instead of continuing the fight.
- Come with Me If You Want to Live: From Aquaman to Solomon Grundy in "The Terror Beyond."
- Comes Great Responsibility: John Stewart is a proponent of this:
"Think of the others like us. We all need to be held accountable, we have too much power not to be."
- Comically Missing the Point: When the Joker seeds bombs throughout Las Vegas, he finds one old woman who is still feeding a slot machine when everybody else in the city has fled. When he asks her why she remains, she points out that the slot machine has to pay out sooner or later.
- The Comically Serious: Batman, usually. Martian Manhunter too.
- Comic Book Movies Don't Use Codenames:
- J'onn J'onzz, the Martian Manhunter, is only called "J'onn" or "the Martian" here. He is referred to as "The Martian Manhunter" once in the entire series, during the briefing in "Task Force X".
- Wonder Woman is usually referred to either as "Diana" or "Princess" by the League members and people who know her personally. It is only the public at large and some enemies who refer to her as "Wonder Woman".
- A.M.A.Z.O. is universally referred to as "the Android" (and occasionally "Ivo's Android" to refer to which android they are talking about). The word "A.M.A.Z.O." is seen written once in his introductory episode, when Lex Luthor looks at his blueprints, and spoken aloud once when Luthor is later building a new model.
- In the episode "Metamorphosis," Metamorpho's name was not spoken aloud as such.
- Commuting on a Bus: Flash in the first season of Unlimited. Voice-actor Michael Rosenbaum was unavailable for the role, so the Flash only appears in background and group shots without any lines throughout the entire season.
- Complaining About People Not Liking Hawkgirl: Hawkman keeps getting banned from the "I Hate Hawkgirl" websites because he is constantly flaming their members for their dislike of Hawkgirl.
- Composite Character:
- An example that works as such even in-universe, Loana, Superman's wife in his dream state during "For The Man Who Has Everything". She is explicitly a combination of Lois Lane and Lana Lang. Appearance wise, she looks a lot like Lois (even having Dana Delany as her voice actress), but has red hair like Lana.
- Doomsday gets combined with the Kon-El version of Superboy, being a modified Superman clone created by Cadmus.
- Stephen Mandragora is basically a combination of Stefano Mandragora from the Huntress comics with Tobias Whale from Black Lightning.
- Conflict Killer:
- Implied in "Starcrossed, Part 2". The USA has apparently set up mutual communication and coordination of armed forces with both China and Russia under the threat of Gordanian invasion.
- In the climax of the Cadmus arc, when it looks like the Justice League and government might actually turn on each other and destroy the world, Brainiac shows up and puts all previous rivalries on the back burner.
- In the finale "Destroyer", the League and the Secret Society of Supervillains team up against Darkseid.
- Conqueror From The Future:
- Vandal Savage's gambit in "The Savage Time". He could not actually time-travel on his own, but he could only send technology and messages to himself in the past.
- From the episode "The Once and Future Thing", where a Wild West outlaw robs a time traveler and uses his access to time travel to get a few future guns and robots to take over a Western town. The time traveler himself becomes another straight example, using his time travel powers to take over the far-future.
- Booster Gold is an inversion of this idea. He is a physically fit, but otherwise normal citizen from the future who uses relatively common technology from his time to travel back in time and become a superhero so that he can become rich and famous.
- Conservation of Ninjutsu: "Twilight Of The Gods" demonstrates this trope in stages with the Brainiacs. When there was just one, it put up quite a fight against Superman, J'onn and Hawkgirl, requiring a vicious beatdown to destroy. Then there was several, and each put up considerably less of a fight. Then there were dozens, and the heroes were destroying at least one with each attack.
- Conspiracy Theorist: The Question.
- Contemporary Caveman: Vandal Savage of course.
- Continuity Nod:
- Conveniently Unverifiable Cover Story: Hawkgirl's cover story of being teleported to earth by Zeta beams.
- Cool Car: The Question's Pontiac GTO. And he's VERY good at using it to kick butt.
- Cool Versus Awesome: The first half of "The Once and Future Thing" is absolutely made of this. Cowboys and superheroes versus outlaws, dinosaurs, and ROBOTS!
- Corporate-Sponsored Superhero: The Flash does this for one episode, which gets him chewed out by Batman.
- Corrupt Corporate Executive: Lex Luthor, Simon Stagg, Morgan Edge, etc.
- Cosplay Otaku Girl: Supergirl, who is Big in Japan, is surrounded by an Instant Fan Club of young girls all dressed in one of her early costume designs after she helps defeat a rampaging monster near a Supergirl convention.
- Courtroom Episode: Flash defends Green Lantern when he is accused of murder. "If the ring wasn't lit, you must acquit!"
- Cowboy Episode: The "Weird Western Tales" part of "The Once and Future Thing"
- Cradling Your Kill: In "Only a Dream", Superman cradles Jimmy Olsen's body after inadvertently crushing him to death. Fortunately, it's All Just a Dream.
- Batman, after having Medusa brought up from Tartarus in order to provide information on the recently released Circe, gives Charon the required two pennies. In the DVD audio commentary, the producers feel it is only natural that Batman would happen to be carrying exactly two pennies in his utility belt, just in case he had to cross the River Styx.
- Green Arrow reflects on this nature during a quite amusing moment in "To Another Shore";
Green Arrow: And Black Canary said a buzz-saw arrow was self indulgent.
- Crazy Survivalist: The Question. Then again, he has been right before...
- Creative Sterility: Lex Luthor accuses Brainiac of this. Brainiac agrees and they decide to combine their respective strengths for their mutual benefit.
- Create Your Own Villain: The darkest inversion of this trope is presented in "Epilogue", where Well-Intentioned Extremist Amanda Waller reveals to Terry McGinnis that when she noticed Bruce Wayne was getting too old to be the Batman, she decided to create her own hero by taking Bruce's DNA and overwriting Warren McGinnis's gametes with said DNA, meaning his child by Mary was genetically Bruce Wayne's; when Terry was 7 years old, Waller then commissioned an aging Phantasm to assassinate Terry's parents in his presence. Thankfully, the Phantasm decided to abort the operation.
- Creepy Monotone: Brainiac
- Crimefighting with Cash: Batman and Green Arrow (who started out as a virtual carbon-copy Expy of Batman by, interestingly, the same company).
- Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: Flash has several of these throughout the series, mainly because he is frequently underestimated.
- Cuffs Off, Rub Wrists: The entire league in "Starcrossed".
- Curb-Stomp Battle:
- In "Ultimen", Shifter attempts to blast Aquaman with a geyser of water. Though the blast had enough power to knock down a concrete wall, so it is not as if Shifter expected him to drown, Aquaman was unmoved and unimpressed. He then knocked Shifter out with a single backhand blow.
Aquaman: King of the seas, remember?
- In "Panic in the Sky" three clones of Wind Dragon are blowing away members of the League using their wind-based powers when Red Tornado steps in and blocks their three wind blasts with one of his own. After a quick struggle, all three of the clones are blown away. Double points considering Red Tornado only used one hand to do it
- Curse Cut Short: Frequently.
Etrigan: The truth hurts, doesn't it, princess?
Wonder Woman: Why don't you go straight to h—
Flash: More bad news; the Javelin's gone.
- Curtain Call: "Destroyer" ends with the entire League running down the stairs of the Hall of Justice/Metro Tower in a sort of Curtain Call.
- Custom Uniform: The first two appearances of the Green Lantern Corps feature a conspicuous absence of this trope, unlike the Corps' depiction in the comics. A few notable members are later given custom uniforms in later appearances.
- Cute Bruiser: Supergirl. Hawkgirl too.
- Damsel in Distress:
- Booster Gold points out that the ones in distress are his favorite type of damsel.
- Hippolyta becomes this in "Fury".
- Dangerously Genre Savvy: In "Injustice for All", the Joker, of all people, is the one who insists that Luthor immediately kill Batman after he's been captured. Luthor doesn't do it, eventually proving the Joker right as Batman derails all of Luthor's schemes despite being locked in a basement with everything but his head being restrained. And even then he just escapes his bonds offscreen anyway.
- The Dark Side Will Make You Forget: Justice Lord Superman is ready to kill The Flash, whose counterpart's death was the reason for their Face-Heel Turn in the first place:
Justice Lord Superman: (grimly) I've done a lot of things I thought I'd never do in these last two years. One more won't hurt.
- A Day in the Limelight: As an ensemble show, each episode focuses on only two or three members of the cast, giving each character several episodes where they rise to prominence over the other characters.
- Day of the Jackboot: The Vandal Savage altered future in "The Savage Time".
- Daydream Surprise:
- "Only a Dream" opens with John Dee dreaming of being congratulated by supervillains like Luthor and Joker after defeating the League.
- In "The Doomsday Sanction", Professor Milo briefly fantasizes about taking out a gun and killing the Cadmus board that had just fired him.
- Dead Alternate Counterpart: In "A Better World", where the Justice Lords turned into an authoritarian group that controlled the world. When looking for leads about this world, the League finds out that their Flash had been killed, forcing the others to this style. Once he found this out, the Flash capitalized on this to break free from their control and get the others out as well.
- Deadly Doctor: Doctor Destiny
- Deadly Dodging: In the action finale of "Starcrossed".
- Deadpan Snarker: The Flash.
- Death By Man Scorned:
- That was the Start of Darkness for Doctor Destiny.
- Hro Talak could accept Hawkgirl's decision to save humanity, but not her decision to choose Green Lantern over himself.
- Death Seeker: The Viking Prince.
- Death Trap: It would not be a superhero show without them.
- Deconstruction: The Trickster in "Flash and Substance" deconstructs the idea of a supervillain being "insane." Rather than the usual cruel, amoral, giggling villain traditionally thrown into Arkham Asylum, the Trickster is a quiet, awkward villain who tends to Poke the Poodle and make jokes that nobody gets. It turns out that he is a diagnosed mental patient who reverts back to his "villainous" personality when he is off his medicine, and is unaware that he is even wearing his supervillain costume. The Flash talks him down gently and treats him respectfully, which is shown to be far more effective than the standard Jack Bauer Interrogation Technique favored by Batman when dealing with somebody who has genuine mental problems. The character is even portrayed by Mark Hamill, who usually plays "comic book insane" villains like The Joker.
- Defiant Stone Throw: Several children throw rocks at General Eiling to distract him in "Patriot Act".
- Defiant to the End: Hawkgirl to Ichthultu in "The Terror Beyond".
- Deliberate Values Dissonance: "Legends," where Hawkgirl, J'onn, Flash and Green Lantern are sent into a 60's-style alternate dimension which is actually an illusionary construct.
- Deliberately Monochrome: Mr. Miracle's flashbacks to his time in the X-Pit on Apokolips are all blue-tinted.
- Democracy Is Flawed: In the episode "A Better World", when League!Batman fights and argues with Lord!Batman, they briefly touch on the topic of democracy, which Lord!Batman quickly dismisses, because "it has other virtues, but it doesn't keep you very safe". He eventually defeats League!Batman by pointing out that in his totalitarian world, no eight year-old boy would lose his parents because of some punk with a gun. League!Batman has to admit that he has a point.
- Depleted Phlebotinum Shells: Hardcastle's kryptonite bullet, Cadmus's kryptonite tipped nuclear missile etc.
- Batman, logically, as seen on the quote page.
- Captain Atom, after being soundly beaten by Superman in a fight throughout the Cadmus headquarters, refused to give up even after Superman was clearly the victor. He had been beaten nearly senseless and lost the ability to even throw a punch, but he refused to stop.
You fought a good fight, stay down
. Captain Atom:
I can't do that Superman.
- Shining Knight. In "Patriot Act" he is the last Leaguer standing before the General, having already lost his sword and been severely beaten, and explicitly states that the General might as well give up because no matter what happens, Shining Knight will not.
The General: Why don't you give up?
Shining Knight: Why don't you?
- Supergirl. In "Chaos at the Earth's Core", already nearly powerless and being poisoned by kryptonite, responds to an immobilized Metallo's taunts with a teeth clenched "I won't quit!" and continues to struggle till Stargirl makes the save.
- Solomon Grundy, surprisingly, in "The Terror Beyond". Superman is trying to convince him to stand down, and he simply responds "Grundy won't quit!" before attacking again.
- Deus ex Machina: Darkseid's final defeat in "Destroyer" will probably seem like an especially egregious example of this to anyone who is not sufficiently familiar with Darkseid.
- Deus Exit Machina: In early episodes, you can make a Drinking Game out of it.
- Did You Just Flip Off Icthultu: Yes, Hawkgirl did.
Icthultu: "Speak to me, child of Thanagar."
Hawkgirl: "Nothing to say. I've got a gesture for you, but my hands are tied."
- Did You Just Punch Out Ichthultu: "The Terror Beyond" (Not quite the Trope Namer but close enough).
- Disappears into Light: Darkseid and Luthor.
- Discriminate and Switch: The superheroes Fire and Ice have been close friends and partners for the entirety of their tenure in comics. This has, over time, given rise to a lot of romantic/sexual subtext between them and corresponding theories in the fandom. When they were added to the expanded roster of Justice League Unlimited The Flash began to nurse a not-so-subtle crush on Fire and Hawkgirl tried to prod him into action as best she knew how.
Shayera Hol (Hawkgirl): "You'd be wasting your time, anyway, I hear she's... yknow... Brazilian."
- Disney Villain Death: Demos in "Chaos at the Earths Core".
- Does Not Know His Own Strength:
- Doesn't Like Guns:
- Does Not Like Men: Aresia wants to kill every man on Earth, which presumably would have led to an adaptation of another DC comic book...
- Does Not Like Shoes:
- Gypsy always goes around barefoot as to authenticate her gypsy attire. Aquagirl too from the Future Justice League Unlimited as seen in a flashback in "Epilogue".
- Villainous examples include Cheetah and Tala (extra points for going to the snowy regions of Nanda Parbat completely barefoot and barelegged). Another villainous example is the Ten from the second incarnation of the Royal Flush Gang (or third, Future Amanda Waller can't remember which). Like JLU Aquagirl, she just wears a one-piece swimsuit and nothing else. Unlike JLU Aquagirl, her powers have nothing to do with water.
- Domestic Abuse: The character of Hro Talak in "Starcrossed" gradually progressed to violence when the truth about Shayera's relationship with Green Lantern came out, something which was particularly difficult for Victor Rivers to voice since he is a leading crusader against domestic abuse.
- Don't Explain the Joke: The Joker, of all people, violates this trope in "Wild Cards".
- Don't Make Me Destroy You:
- When Captain Atom has his military commission reactivated by General Wade Eiling he ends up coming to blows with Superman who, after one of the most brutal fights in the series, emerges as the clear victor.
- When General Eiling has been transformed into a hulking monster and is rampaging through Metropolis he is left facing Shining Knight after he has already defeated several other heroes.
"Save yourself a hospital stay and stand down."
- Do Not Taunt Cthulhu: "Flash, stop heckling the supervillain!"
- Don't Touch It, You Idiot!: Batman to Flash in "Paradise Lost" and the third part of "Starcrossed," too.
- Dope Slap: Green Lantern to Flash in "The Brave and the Bold".
- Double Entendre: "Yeah, you'd probably be wasting your time anyway. I hear she's... you know... Brazilian." See also Discriminate and Switch.
- Dramatic Unmask:
- Hawkgirl had worn her mask for every scene in the first two seasons, never letting viewers know what she looked like, and some viewers were convinced that she did not wear a mask, that that was her natural appearance as a Thanagarian. In "Wild Cards", when she and Green Lantern finally admit their feelings, he slowly reaches forward and takes off her mask, revealing that the two of them are exactly what he said they were: A man and a woman in love.
- During the climax of the Cadmus story-arc, after he had taken a severe beating and was recuperating in the Watchtower medical bay, the Question has Huntress remove his mask for the first time.
- Dual Wielding: Several times in the series, including in "Secret Origins", Batman wields a pair of electrified knuckle duster weapons when fighting super powered foes. In "Dark Heart" he also duel wields a pair of what are either bat themed blade weapons or oversized batarangs in close combat with the alien spiders.
- Dudley Do-Right Stops to Help: By Wonder Woman in "Starcrossed".
- Dying Declaration of Love: It takes being in the center of a massive explosion and having his heart stopped to finally convince John Stewart that there is no reason to wait or hide, and he confesses his feelings for Shayera, getting her to take off her mask for the first time and kiss.
- Dynamic Entry: Solomon Grundy enters a battle by attacking Superman from behind. Through a door.
- Dysfunction Junction: The original team: two Last Of Their Kind, The Exile, an orphan, an alien stranded on the other side of the galaxy from her homeworld, a Casanova Wannabe, and a man with a Jerkass Façade.
- Earth All Along: Superman in "Hereafter" is transported to a post-apocalyptic planet orbiting a red sun that he learns is Earth is the very distant future.
- Earth-Shattering Kaboom: In one episode, Green Lantern inadvertently destroys a planet with a stray blast from his power ring, through the planet's destruction is later revealed to have been an illusion. In a different episode, Mongul threatens to destroy a world full of innocent civilians with some kind of superlaser, but is stopped by the Justice League.
- Easily Forgiven: Averted, as Hawkgirl is not forgiven by certain League members or the general public for being The Mole; when she returns to save the day after her recuperation with Dr. Fate she is heckled by an angry mob, and later episodes reveal that there are several hundred "I Hate Hawkgirl" websites. Even Superman is distrusted and feared by former friends and allies for the events of "Legacy", which occurred several years (and two TV series) prior to this series.
- Eldritch Abomination:
- Icthultu, who was a rather transparent Captain Ersatz of Cthulhu.
- The Dark Heart. It apparently warps the very nature of reality, as every close-up has the screen distorted and visibly pulsing while the surface of the creature itself does not appear to move at all.
- Emperor Scientist: Chronos becomes one via Time Travel.
- Enemy Civil War: On Apokolips after Darkseid's death, and also between the Grodd and Luthor factions of the Legion of Doom.
- Enemy Mine:
- In order to defeat the Justice Lords, the League cuts a deal with Lex Luthor.
- Kalibak quotes the actual "Enemy of my enemy is my friend" maxim when Mr. Miracle, Big Barda, and the Flash rescue him on Apokolips.
- The Legion of Doom go to the Justice League after accidentally reviving Darkseid.
- Engineered Public Confession: What sends Luthor to prison for the first time.
- Et Tu, Hawkgirl?: Happens in the episode, "Starcrossed", when it's revealed that she had been spying on the League for the Thanagarians.
- Luthor actually uses this classic line on Ultra Humanite, in "Injustice for All", after finding out he betrayed him.
- Evasive Fight Thread Episode: "Grudge Match", which revolves around numerous heroes being brainwashed to fight one another, closes with Huntress and Black Canary agreeing to one last fight in order to settle their contest. The episode ends before they make contact.
- Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Steven Mandragora, for being a world class sleaze and murdering sociopath, appears to be a truly loving and dedicated father.
- Even Evil Has Standards:
- Everyone Can See It: Before John and Shayera ever admit their feelings Flash is teasing them that they are acting like an old married couple and, when Hro Talak enters the scene in "Starcrossed", Batman and J'onn each spontaneously approach John to give him advice and consolation. The Joker himself actually comments on the tension between them, wondering if they have a history behind the scenes. Ironically, when they finally become a couple it was the Flash who had no idea they were involved, despite being the first one to comment on their tension.
- Everything's Better with Monkeys: Gorilla Grodd, Ultra-Humanite, and Gorilla City. And the brief but very fun shout-out to J. L. Apes in an otherwise rather sad episode centered on Deadman. Ape!Luthor is, of course, entirely devoid of fur.
- Evil Albino: Mandragora, the not-Wonder Twins after their Face-Heel Turn
- Evil Costume Switch: Happens when the heroes turn into the Justice Lords in an Alternate Universe.
- Evil Me Scares Me: The Justice Lords
- Evil Plan: Constantly. Parodied with Grodd's "master plan".
- Evil Sorcerer: Circe, Felix Faust, and Tala.
- Evil Sounds Deep: Darkseid, Despero, etc. Phil Lamarr even lampshades it in some DVD commentary.
- Evil Twin:
- Expecting Someone Taller: In "Starcrossed": Hro Talak, after hearing about John Stewart from Hawkgirl, is surprised he is not taller.
- Hro Talak is not quite Katar Hol, but his name is an anagram and he was also given a past relationship with Hawkgirl.
- Galatea is not exactly Power Girl, but she wears a similar costume, which one scene made identical with the addition of a red towel hanging over her shoulder in place of a cape. She shares the background of "not exactly Supergirl, but close."
- The show's version of Aquaman is a violent, isolationist warrior king who cares first and foremost about Atlantis, and is kind of a Jerk Ass. So basically, they made Aquaman into Namor.
- See also Doctor Fate's Alternate Company Equivalent version of the The Defenders (Doctor Fate for Doctor Strange, Solomon Grundy for The Incredible Hulk, Aquaman for Namor, and Hawkgirl for Nighthawk). In the same episode, the screaming minions that the heroes fight in Icthultu's world are clearly based on Marvel's Mindless Ones. And of course Icthultu is Cthulhu with the serial numbers filed off.
- The Justice Lords from "A Better World" were heavily inspired by The Authority, which the producers had begun to read between seasons one and two, and one idea they had was to see what the world would be like if the League ever tried to emulate their tactics.
- When Brainthor summons up robot versions of the Justice Lords to distract the League, he has to create a new one for Flash (since Flash of that universe died before they became the Lords). The costume he gives Flash is identical to the costume of famed Flash Villain Professor Zoom, The Reverse-Flash.
- The giant turtle that attacks Japan in "Chaos at the Earth's Core" is an expy of Gamera, as well as being a Mythology Gag to Jimmy Olsen's comic book.
- Doctor Destiny is a pretty striking one for Freddy Krueger. Even his backstory is very similar to Freddy's. His opening act implied to be torturing his ex-wife within her dreams, resulting in her real death.
- Face Death with Dignity:
Shining Knight: "I'll die as befits a knight, defending the weak."
- Face-Heel Turn - Professor Emil Hamilton
- Luthor in "Injustice for All".
- Flash in "Flash and Substance".
- Fake Memories: The Ultimen are implanted with this, to disguise the fact that they are clones only a few months old.
- Fake-Out Make-Out: Between Batman and Wonder Woman in "Starcrossed".
- Fake Static: When Amanda Waller tries to order Galatea to abort her attack on the Watchtower she claims that she cannot understand the transmission, then says that it was a wrong number.
- Fan Disservice: Black Canary's sonic scream ripping the clothes off Steven Mandragora.
- Fanservice: Whenever Black Canary has time to prep for a fight — sparring with Huntress or Green Arrow — she starts by removing her jacket, fighting only in a bustier and sheer hose (the fishnets were impossible to animate).
- Fantastic Fragility: The flaw in Hephaestus's armor.
- Farmer's Daughter: Galatea (and, by extension, Supergirl) is described as "blonde hair, blue eyes, real farmer's daughter type."
- Faster-Than-Light Travel:
- In "War World" it appears that Green Lantern's ring lets him do this.
- It seems to be quite a common feature of spaceships in the DCAU, to the point where even the League's Javelin can do it.
- Fearful Symmetry: Supergirl vs. Galatea in the episode "Fearful Symmetry".
- Fictional Counterpart: In "A Knight of Shadows" Flash and Wonder Woman visit the house of Harv Hickman, a Hugh Heffner expy who publishes a Playboy-style periodical.
- Fictional Country: The isolationist, highly militarized asian country in "Initiation" is an interesting example, since the Watchtower's map shows its location to be that of real-world North Korea. For added points, the crisis the league deals with there is a nuclear weapons program gone out of control.
- Fiery Redhead: Hawkgirl, and (quite literally) Volcana.
- Final Battle: In the Grand Finale.
- Finger Poke of Doom: Superman, because of just how strong he is, once defeated the villain with a literal flick of his finger. Provides the page image.
- Finger Twitching Revival: Subverted with Galatea. The very last shot does show her twitching, but she does not get back up and she never returns in any later episodes.
- Finish Dialogue in Unison: Happens in "Patriot Act" (Shining Knight: "Even thought that ogre was—" All: "Morgan Le Fey.") and "Far From Home" (Brainy and Supergirl: "A quantum tunneling RF transponder!")
- Finish Him! - In War World. Superman, of course, refuses.
- First Name Basis:
- Starting in Unlimited, most of the characters hardly addressed each other using their superhero identities, often opting to use their real names instead ("Diana", "Shayera", "John", "J'onn", "Wally"). Superman and Batman were the characters most often referred to by their superhero names, but they would occasionally address each other personally.
- The Question was the only person in the series to ever call Huntress "Helena", until Black Canary does so during their reconciliation in "Grudge Match".
- Five-Bad Band: Plenty
- The Royal Flush Gang from "Wild Cards".
- The Injustice Gang
- The Secret Society
- Task Force X
- Five-Man Band:
- Flame War: Carter Hall apparently gets involved in this over Hawkgirl proving his Stalker with a Crush status.
- Flash Step: Superman to Darkseid in "Destroyer".
- Flight of Romance: Inverted. In the reincarnation flashback in "Ancient History", Shayera and the captain of the guard share a romantic moment on horseback, which is apparently more interesting to the winged Shayera.
- Flipping the Bird:
"Speak to me, child of Thanagar." Hawkgirl:
"Nothing to say. I've got a gesture
for you, but my hands are tied."
- Fly-at-the-Camera Ending: The last episode ends with Batman running into the screen.
- For the Evulz: Famously played with when Flash ends up in Luthor's body.
Doctor Polaris: You gonna wash your hands?
Luthor!Flash: No... 'cause I'm evil.
- Forced Prize Fight: In "Grudge Match".
- Foreshadowing: Commentary on the DVD release of Justice League reveals that the producers intended to have Hawkgirl be a spy from the beginning of Season Two. As such, throughout the season there are plenty of hints that supported that plot point, including contradictory backstories, behavior and evidence that they had something to hide. As a lucky break, "The Brave and the Bold" (a season one episode) also had a scene that only helps with the foreshadow.
- Forging Scene: Superman, finding himself thousands of years in the future against giant mutant animals and without his powers, forges a blade using road flares, a sledge hammer, and a metal rod. It was pretty epic.
- Forgotten Phlebotinum:
- The disempowerment gun used in "A Better World" is never seen again for the rest of the show. While it is unclear whether it would work on other super powered individuals, what is clear is that it works on the original seven Leaguers (well, except Batman), so it is strange that Cadmus or Luthor do not even reference it.
- In "Wake the Dead", A.M.A.Z.O. is forced to flee after Solomon Grundy uses chaos magic to absorb his cosmic attack. Dr. Fate later tells Hawkgirl that only she can defeat Grundy because her mace is made of Nth metal. It is too bad the writers and Dr. Fate forgot that A.M.A.Z.O. can replicate her mace, and use it to better effect.
- The Fourth Wall Will Not Protect You: The second half of "Wild Cards" revolves around Ace, whose Mind Rape powers work even through the television and is attacking the viewing audience.
- "Freaky Friday" Flip: "The Great Brain Robbery".
- Free-Range Children: "Patriot Act" gives the trope a minor deconstruction when Vigilante asks a group of children where their parents are and the kids explain that they all ran off after the monster appeared, apparently leaving all their children behind to be killed. However, even at the end of the episode, after the monster is defeated and the police and rescue workers are cleaning up, the same kids are still running around without supervision.
- Freeze-Frame Bonus:
- In "Starcrossed, Part 3", during the climactic final fight there is a single "white frame" inserted into a shot of Shayera being shocked by an Nth-metal weapon.
- Nightwing, who could not appear as a character due to the "Bat Embargo," had a brief cameo skulking atop a building in Bludhaven, which in the comics is "his" city after he stopped being Robin.
- If you look at all of the lobotomized inmates at the Other Dimension Arkham, you will notice that Arnold Wesker isn't lobotomized, but the puppet Scarface is.
- In "Kid Stuff" there is also a couple of black-and-white reversal frames when Superboy fires his heat vision.
- Friendly Enemy:
- Flash and the Ultra-Humanite. They agree to a Christmas truce and, afterwards, the Ultra-Humanite helps Flash deliver a toy to orphans before peacefully allowing himself to be taken to jail. In jail, Flash gives him an aluminum Christmas tree, just like the one he had when he was a child.
- Flash and Trickster. Flash manages to convince the Trickster to go back on his medication, turn himself into the police, and tell the Flash where the other villains are. In return, Flash promises to visit him in the hospital and play darts (the soft kind).
- Friendship Moment: Numerous.
- From a Single Cell: Brainiac.
- From My Own Personal Garden: In the episode "Hereafter", after Superman realizes the futility of fighting Vandal Savage, the latter invites the former to lunch. Food's great because he has had 30,000 years to rediscover the principles of agriculture.
- From Nobody to Nightmare: Dr Destiny. Literally. He was originally a harmless mook who was arrested for guarding stolen property, but he gained telepathic powers after undergoing experiments in prison.
- Fully Absorbed Finale:
- Fun with Acronyms: The Binary Fusion Generator.
- Funbag Airbag: Nearly happens to Flash with Fire in "I Am Legion" when Fire tries to get his attention. Flash turns and his face was a mere few inches away from her breasts before slowly looking up. Followed by Distracted by the Sexy when Fire tries to chat with him.
- Funny Background Event: In "Chaos at the Earths Core", when Travis Morgan is explaining to Green Lantern the threat of Demos, Supergirl is visible in the background trying (and failing) to lift a boulder as she practices with her reduced Super Strength.
- Fur Bikini: Worn by some of the inhabitants of Skartaris.
- Fusion Dance: Brainthor/Luthoriac.
- Gaining The Will To Kill: An episode involves an Alternate Universe version of the League called the Justice Lords. At the beginning, we see a flashback showing Superman make this decision and killing Lex Luthor at Luthor's goading. After that the League has no problem killing (or lobotomising) criminals, justifying it as the greater good.
- Galactic Conqueror: Mongul and Darkseid, who each also set their sights on Earth.
- Gendercide: In "Fury", an Amazon, Aresia, with a serious bent against the male gender decides to release a disease into the atmosphere that nearly kills off all of the men on the planet. This includes the male members of the Justice League (even Superman and the Martian Manhunter are affected, despite not being human, and Solomon Grundy, who is The Undead. It's implied magic is involved). It's up to Wonder Woman and Hawkgirl to save the day.
- General Ripper: General Eiling, and earlier General Hardcastle.
- Generic Doomsday Villain:
- Doomsday shows in "A Better World" and rampages through Metropolis, forcing Justice Lord Superman to lobotomize him. He is given no backstory or context, and his only motivation is a vague reference to power. Later episodes of Unlimited would delve into his origin and reasoning.
- The show's version of Brimstone, a superweapon that went berserk for no identifiable reason. Even when the League speaks to scientists involved with its creation they never learn what actually caused the problem.
- Genius Ditz: The Flash. Despite his goofy behavior throughout the series, it is revealed in one episode that he works in police forensics, analyzing crime scene evidence.
- Getting Crap Past the Radar: Has its own page.
- Genre Savvy: Clayface, due to his history as an actor. He explicitly points out that the villains in his movies were always defeated because they made very stupid decisions like leaving the heroes alive, and if this team wants to succeed they need to act smarter. Except that's not Clayface talking in that particular case, but J'onn J'onnz posing as him...
- The Ghost: Plastic Man couldn't actually appear in the show due to rights issues, but he is referred in a few episodes. In "The Greatest Story Never Told", Elongated Man is relegated to crowd-control duty with Booster Gold, and is told this is because Plastic Man is already engaged in the main battle and "We don't need two stretchy guys."
- Gilded Cage: Lois in the Justice Lords universe. Cronos's wife in the second part of "The Once and Future Thing."
- Girls' Night Out Episode: "Fury," and later on "Grudge Match."
- Giving Radio to the Romans: "The Savage Time"
- Gladiator Games: In "War World".
- Gladiator Revolt: Also in "War World".
- Glamour Failure: In "Legends," after Roy is exposed as a psychic mutant who reconstructed a giant illusion of his dimension from before a nuclear war destroyed everything, all just so he could go on adventures with his favorite heroes, he reverts to his true form.
- Glory Hound:
- Booster Gold, one of the most iconic iterations of the trope, appears.
- Stargirl is a minor example. Altruism guides most of her actions, but she does want the recognition and adoration that she feels her heroics deserve.
- Go-Go Enslavement: Katma Tui is subjected to this by Despero.
- Good Old Fisticuffs: Due to the gradual defeat of all the League members with weapons and technology throughout the episode, "Patriot Act" ends with the last two combatants fighting bare-handed one-on-one.
- Go Through Me:
Shining Knight: "Do your worst, I'll not let you harm another."
- A God Am I:
- Vandal Savage, when faced with the looming specter of his own defeat, proclaims that gods do not grovel.
- Darkseid returns in season two of Justice League.
Super or not, you are merely a man. Whereas I am a god.
- Gonna Need More X: Batman in "Twilight".
- The Good Captain: Captain Marvel, Captain Atom,
Captain Boomerang, etc.
- Good Cop/Bad Cop:
- In "The Terror Beyond", Hawkgirl explains her aggressive questioning of Queen Mera by saying that she was playing Bad Cop in a standard interrogation technique. When Wonder Woman points out that she always plays Bad Cop, Hawkgirl says she should not play against type.
- Captain Atom and Supergirl in "Initiation"
Captain Atom: What are we up against?
Supergirl: He asked you a question!
Don't answer them! That's classified informa- *Supergirl does Neck Lift
I just about had it with you guys! You've got to the count of five. One... four
... *Eyes glow
Captain Atom: I'd speak up if I were you.
- In the case of Bruce Wayne of today and Bruce Wayne of the future; Bad Cop/Worse Cop.
Static: Wow. Batman playing "Good Cop".
Green Lantern: Everything's relative.
- Good Is Not Dumb: In "Flash and Substance," Orion asks why Central City would honor a buffoon like the Flash, "who makes bad jokes, who concerns himself with pitiful men like the Trickster." But the Flash is anything but dumb—he is able to handle the Trickster without throwing a single punch. In fact, he convinces the Trickster to happily turn himself in to the police.
- Good Is Old-Fashioned: General Wade Eiling accuses Shining Knight of being a relic after the Knight continues to rush at the General, even after already losing his weapon and being viciously beaten, to protect the locals and innocent bystanders.
- Good People Have Good Sex: Heavily implied in "The Great Brain Robbery". Hawkgirl also is apparently particularly good at causing men to not be... restful.
- Gory Discretion Shot:
- Goshdang It To Heck:
- "Hell" can only be uttered backwards apparently.
- Superman doesn't trust Lex "flippin'" Luthor.
- Grand Finale: Three separate mini-arcs were intended as the final finale of the series, but the show kept getting renewed so they had to do it all again the next season.
- The first was "Starcrossed (Parts 1, 2 and 3)", which were the final episodes of the original Justice League iteration.
- "Question Authority", "Flashpoint", "Panic in the Sky" and "Divided We Fall" was the planned final arc at the end of the second season of Unlimited. Technically "Epilogue" was the actual final episode of the season, but was concerned with Batman Beyond.
- "Alive" and "Destroyer" were the final Grand Finale in season three of Unlimited.
- Grand Romantic Gesture: Superman takes Lois for a picnic... atop a suspension bridge.
- Gratuitous Disco Sequence: Mirror Master's discotheque of doom in "Flash And Substance".
- Gravity Master: Vandal Savage, offscreen (and even then, only 'sort of') in "Hereafter". He kills the entire League with it, but also terminally destabilises the Solar System and wipes out humanity by accident.
- The Greatest Story Never Told: Trope Namer.
- Green-Eyed Monster: Stargirl, when she sees how popular Supergirl is.
- Green-Eyed Redhead:
- Shayera Hol is fiery and green all over.
- Poison Ivy, as seen in the only episode she appears: "A Better World".
- Green Eyes:
- A requisite part of the above-mentioned trope for Shayera Hol.
- John Stewart has inhuman bright green eyes, which the producers explained was because he had been a Green Lantern for so long that the energy had become a part of him. When the ring is depowered, his eyes return to normal.
- Green Lantern Ring: Obviously. Also somewhat shows up with Sinestro's power ring and Star Sapphire's head-jewel-thing.
- Green Thumb: In the two-parter "Twilight", one of the children of New Genesis was having trouble working in the garden, complaining that it was difficult. High Father explains the virtue of hard work by accelerating the growth of the plant she was tending.
- Gunboat Diplomacy: Batman to Amanda Waller
Mine are bigger than yours...
- Guns Akimbo:
- Vigilante wields a pair of revolvers as his standard weapons.
- Lex Luthor also wields a pair of handguns in "Destroyer", even going so far as to offer his spare to Batman when Batman has exhausted his supply of batarangs.
- Half-Human Hybrid: Rex Stewart aka Warhawk, son of Green Lantern and Hawkgirl.
- Halfway Plot Switch: The series has a habit of introducing a plot in the first scene of an episode, and then immediately transferring the story of the episode to a new plot.
- "Starcrossed" opens with the League patrolling Washington, D.C. because Batman has received a tip that terrorists are planning to attack a summit of world leaders. In the first scene they are instead attacked by a Gordanian spaceship and are rescued by the Thanagarians, who explain that Earth has now been dragged into their interstellar war.
- In "This Little Piggy", Batman and Wonder Woman are staking out a museum because J'onn received a tip that Intergang was going to try and steal the Rosetta Stone. Instead Circe arrives and transforms Wonder Woman into a pig, and the rest of the episode revolves around trying to undo this spell.
- Handsome Lech: Flash. When he stops hitting on everything that moves he ends up a bit of a Chick Magnet.
- Hannibal Lecture: The fake Justice Lords constructed by Braniac. Also President Lex Luthor makes one very effective with Justice Lord Superman at the beginning of "A Better World".
- Happily Married: Big Barda and Scott Free are a Battle Couple with absolutely no inter-personal strife. They might be invading the X Pit in the heart of Apokolips, but their relationship is solid as a rock.
- Happy Fun Ball: Toyman's specialty.
- He Who Fights Monsters:
- The Justice Lords became totalitarian overlords on their world in their attempts to preserve peace and security.
- General Eiling; lampshaded by himself when he admits that he has become what he hated.
- The Heart:
- The creators admitted that Flash was killed in the Alternate Universe of "A Better World" partially because they could not imagine him becoming evil "for the greater good," and it was made clear that because he was not around the original seven became Knight Templar.
- Green Arrow was recruited to the League partly because he would look at the expanded League with a critical eye, keeping them in check.
- Heel-Face Turn: Solomon Grundy and A.M.A.Z.O.
- Heel Realization:
- The Cadmus arc plays with the trope, as both sides believe that they are the righteous and that the other is in the wrong. Cadmus has the more traditional "Heel" aspects, with secret genetic experiments, torture, and generally morally questionable behavior, but when Batman confronts Amanda Waller with this she retorts with everything that the League does wrong. Her argument is so convincing that it leaves Batman shaken, and he visibly leaves through the door.
- Eiling has one in "Patriot Act," after his drive to protect humanity from the super powered heroes leads him to gaining super powers and thrashing several human heroes without powers. He even lampshades it:
Alright, I've become what I hate. I'll give you that.
- Hero Insurance: Superman is in frequent need of this.
- Hero with Bad Publicity: A theme throughout the entire show. As the series opens, Superman is still dealing with his poor image following "Legacy" in Superman: The Animated Series. The Flash gets flak in "Eclipsed" for taking corporate endorsements and making stupid comments on live television. The entire League and Shayera in particular take a further hit after the events of "Starcrossed", and things just escalate as Unlimited progresses.
- Heroes Unlimited: The entire later incarnation and Trope Namer.
- Heroic Albino: Downpour and Shifter prior to their Face-Heel Turn.
- Heroic Bystander:
- In "Starcrossed", when Wonder Woman and Batman are on the run in civilian clothing, a restaurant owner calls them inside to hide. His wife helps them disguise themselves and the rest of the patrons all support the 'there's nothing going on here' story.
- In "Wake the Dead" a car is thrown off a bridge and plummets to the water below. Shayera, making her return, swoops down and cleaves off the roof with her mace to rescue its occupants. The mother in the car, instead of waiting for Shayera to grab her daughter, picks her up and throws her to Hawkgirl before pushing herself out of the falling vehicle.
- In "Patriot Act," when the various B-list heroes are fighting General Eiling, a group of kids twice attempt to attack the general, first by pelting him with rocks and then by hitting him with a wrecking ball (How the heck do they know how to work a wrecking ball?). Later, when Shining Knight is the last man standing, a crowd of civilians gather around him and state their protection.
- Heroic RROD: Averted when Flash managed to survive after going into the Speed Force.
- Heroic Sacrifice:
- The unnamed ship captain in "Fury", who gave his all and perished to save a girl he barely knew. There is a reason he is the only man buried on Themyscira.
- Batman fully intended to perform one of these at the end of "Starcrossed" (by literally crash-landing the Watchtower onto the Thanagarian army's hyperspace bypass), but Superman came and saved him before it impacted.
- Heterosexual Life-Partners: Flash and Green Lantern, Vigilante and Shining Knight, Batman and Superman.
- "Hey, You!" Haymaker: Played straight when Superman taps Darkseid on the shoulder to get him to turn around and clobbers him when he does during the finale.
- Hijacked by Ganon: It is revealed that Lex Luthor was being manipulated by Brainiac to build him a new body. Luthor had been infected by a copy of Brainiac's programming after Brainiac had exploded the last time he and Luthor had met. The writing staff admitted on the DVD commentary that they had no idea how to make the plot of season two of Unlimited untangle on its own due to the Grey and Gray Morality situation that had arisen, so they went with an 'old reliable' and let a Black and White Morality villain take over so they could have a proper fight finale.
- Hijacked by Jesus: Hades and the Greek Pantheon in general. Hades in particular rules only over Tartarus (i.e. Hell), not the virtuous dead, and is portrayed as able to breathe fire and with devilish goat horns in his "true form". Hawkgirl manages to convince a few mooks in Tartarus that she is a Judeo-Christian angel and harming her would unwisely piss God off.
- Historical-Domain Character: In "The Savage Time", "Josef" is given the assignment of retrieving information from a captured J'onn J'onzz.
- Hit Flash:
- Used regularly throughout the show, but not universally. The hit flash is left out of certain fight scenes when the creators felt that they need to give more impact to the ...impacts.
- In "Starcrossed, Part 3", there is a single "white frame" inserted into the fight scene when Hawkgirl is shocked.
- Hitler's Time Travel Exemption Act: In "The Savage Time". Vandal Savage replaced Hitler as the Fuhrer of Nazi Germany, but ultimately he is defeated by the League and Hitler becomes the leader again.
- Hoist by His Own Petard:
- Dr. Destiny murdered his own wife via Mind Rape and attempted to do the same to the League. This fails miserably when he attempts the same treatment on Batman and ends up a slobbering vegetable.
- The Joker attempted to use Ace of the Royal Flush Gang to drive millions of TV viewers insane, but wound up a drooling, catatonic wreck himself when Ace learned that he was just using her.
- Hoist Hero Over Head: Darkseid does this to Superman in the last episode.
- The giant robot fought in the opening to "Legends" is inspired by the Humongous Mecha of Neon Genesis Evangelion.
- Ichthultu. Seeing the name, you know it's going to be a horror. Said name is anagrammatic for "It Cthulhu".
- "This Little Piggy" is one large homage to a variety of TV shows and movies stretching across approximately seven decades. Producer Bruce Timm had the original idea for the episode after watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel, two action/adventure Joss Whedon shows that were never afraid to shift the paradigm and abandon 'normal' action/adventure plots in favor of more creative, not to say bizarre, storylines. The story itself was an homage to the 1960's sitcom Bewitched, and during the scripting stage the writers even imagined the characters as reimaginings of characters from the original show: Wonder Woman was Samantha, Batman was Darrin, and Circe was Serena. Jack Carter, who voiced the magical supplier Sid, was a veteran actor of such classic sitcoms, and the episode ends on a musical cue that the producers actually referred to as a Bewitched musical cue. The character design of Medusa, whom Batman and Zatanna go to for information, was designed to look similar to a character from I Love Lucy, another classic sitcom, and the producers remarked that the voice actress even spoke in a manner reminiscent of the original model, even though they did not decide on that image until after the recordings had already been done. Medusa's dialogue, though tame by necessity, was inspired by prison slang and the HBO series Oz, since the writers felt that mythological characters would not necessarily speak exactly the same way they would have a thousand years ago, and since Medusa is in mythological prison she should speak like a convict. The rest of the episode is full of one-off gags that refer to other movies, including the admonition of "that'll do, pig" and Circe's feet rolling up beneath a piano as the Witch's had done in The Wizard of Oz.
- From the comics adaptation, the end of issue #34 of Justice League Unlimited includes several references to one of the last scenes in Whatever Happened To The Man Of Tomorrow, specifically Mxy's fate.
- Homemade Sweater From Hell: J'onn receives one from the Kents in the Christmas Episode, but is able to literally grow into it.
- Homoerotic Subtext: Kragger toward Hro Talak. He has a bad habit of interrupting moments between Talak and Hawkgirl, and his Mental World has huge statues of Talak and Kragger side-by-side, with a crushed statue of Hawkgirl at their feet. Word of God is that this was very deliberate.
Hawkgirl: You're in my way.
Kragger: Likewise, I'm sure.
- Honor Before Reason: The Amazons exile Wonder Woman from Themyscira for breaking the law and bringing men to Paradise Island, even though all the Amazons would have been slain and a mad god would have conquered the world if she had not done so.
- Horde of Alien Locusts: In "Dark Heart". The implication is that the locusts have been spreading across planets for ages.
- Hostage for MacGuffin: Felix Faust turns the residents of Themiscyra into stone, but promises to turn them back into normal in exchange for Wonder Woman retrieving some items that will release Hades.
- Hostile Terraforming: The Imperium attempted to do this in the series premier, and for Book Ends, the denizens of Apokolips attempted it in the series finale.
- Hot Gypsy Woman: Gypsy... sort of.
- Hot Scientist: Lampshaded in "The Greatest Story Never Told".
- Huge Guy, Tiny Girl: Stargirl and S.T.R.I.P.E. She is a teenager and he is her stepfather, even though he is also her sidekick.
- Human Aliens: In addition to Kryptonians, denizens of New Genesis and Apokolips also look almost identical to humans, except for individual outliers.
- Human Popsicle: Adolf Hitler makes a cameo in storage after Vandal Savage assumes command of Nazi Germany.
- Humanity's Wake: "Hereafter" features an Earth 30,000 years after the extension of mankind. True to humor, cockroaches now rule the planet.
- Humans Are the Real Monsters: This is a stance held by many of the non-human people of Earth, including the Gorillas of Gorilla City and the people of Atlantis. Both change their tune somewhat after the Justice League helps them fight internal enemies, but Aresia (An Amazon) goes to her death believing all men are bastards, despite the fact that she learns a man gave up his life so that she could live. J'onn had an emotional breakdown when he tried a massive psychic scan of a city, frustrated over human pettiness. This became a bit of a Character Development as he learns that the only friends he has are part of the league and if he was going to live among humanity, he has to learn to like at least some of them.
- Humiliation Conga: Wonder Woman being turned into a pig - and Batman having to keep it under wraps - in This Little Piggy certainly counts.
- Humongous Mecha:
- The first large mech fought was controlled by Lex Luthor, and explicitly modeled on Neon Genesis Evangelion, in the first season episode "Legends."
- Toyman had a heavily armed Transformer-bot in "Hereafter".
- There was a truly massive mech in "Initiation".
- Humorless Aliens: Martian Manhunter seems to respond to Flash's attempts at humor with either confusion or disdain.
- Hurl It into the Sun:
- When Grundy came back from the dead Hawkgirl comments on A.M.A.Z.O. "before Golden Boy teleports him into the sun..."
- Flash's suggestion for getting rid of a giant alien machine. It was inspired by a Usenet discussion of an earlier episode, in which the poster wondered why Green Lantern hadn't done just that. Writer Dwayne McDuffie responded that the animated GL's ring wasn't that powerful: "Although it does suggest a really interesting spin-off, where every week GL throws whoever is attacking into the sun."
- Hurricane of Puns: The Silver Age villains in "Legends" love doing this. Even the Flash gets in on it when fighting one of them.
- I Am Not Left-Handed: This is the subject of the famous "World of Cardboard" Speech, where Superman sees that he doesn't need to hold his power back against Darkseid.
- I Choose to Stay: Supergirl in "Far From Home"
- I Got You Covered: Frequently.
- "I Know You're in There Somewhere" Fight: Yes, Luthor is still in there, but he likes it in there.
- I Like Those Odds: In "Starcrossed, Part 3", Superman, Wonder Woman, and Green Lantern are heading straight for the Thanagarian mothership (and the dozens of smaller ships around it).
Wonder Woman: Pretty bad odds.
Superman: Yeah, they don't stand a chance.
- I Need to Go Iron My Dog:
Captain Atom: "I'm pretty sure there's something I have to do someplace."
- I Read It for the Articles: Flash explains that he purchases a Playboy-style periodical by commenting that he reads it for the articles.
- I See Dead People: After a fashion. After Brainiac is destroyed in the Unlimited season two finale Luthor can see his "ghost" and they have conversations, but to everyone else it looks like Luthor is talking to an imaginary friend. We never learn whether or not he truly can see Brainiac, especially since he lost him after Darkseid was free.
- I Take Offense to That Last One: "The Brave And The Bold".
Gorilla Grodd: Humans are slow, ugly, immoral, and have an unpleasant body odor!
Flash: Hey, who are you calling slow?
- I'm Cold... So Cold...: Flash after being Thrown Out the Airlock.
- I'm Standing Right Here:
Aquaman (to Hawkgirl): Such scintillating repartee. I get better conversation from the android.
Amazo: You are aware I'm in the room.
- Wonder Woman confirming that Batman had, indeed, tap-danced in the conversational minefield in the opening moments of "The Once And Future Thing":
Batman (to Green Lantern): I don't have time to pursue a relationship; my work is too important to allow any distractions. Diana's a remarkable woman, she's a valued friend, she's—*shot pans around to show his face, brow raised followed by a wince as it pulls back to show*—standing right behind me, isn't she?
- An Ice Person - Ice is a heroic example and Killer Frost a villainous one.
- An Ice Suit: Killer Frost.
- Idiot Ball: The episode "In Blackest Night" revolves around Green Lantern and an entire planet not noticing that another planet wasn't destroyed, simply because a holographic projection made it look like it was. No one bothered to investigate the planet at all.
- If I Wanted You Dead...: Said by the hero during the climax of the Justice League/Cadmus conflict in "Panic in the Sky." After the former Cadmus headquarters is destroyed by the Justice League Watchtower Batman points out that the League has been monitoring Cadmus for months and knew they had already moved their headquarters. When Waller then suggests that it was a warning shot Batman tells her "Don't be dense." If the League had wanted to attack Cadmus they would have attacked Cadmus, not what is now an abandoned and empty warehouse.
- If You're So Evil, Eat This Kitten: In "Starcrossed, Part 2" Kragger asks Hawkgirl if it would not be better for her to kill the captive Justice League, rather than risk them escaping. He is clearly testing her, and she clearly does not want to comply, so she advances a practical reason not to.
- Impending Clash Shot: In the episode, "Grudge Match". Villainess Roulette makes two female heroes fight each other, and they decide to do it for fun. And they did it a la Rocky III to boot.
- Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: In "Chaos at the Earth's Core" Supergirl stabs Metallo in his chest cavity with a dagger. The dagger itself is not big enough to qualify for the trope, but Supergirl then pries out Metallo's Kryptonite power source with the knife.
- Implausible Deniability: After Galatea claims she cannot hear Amanda Waller's orders she turns to Supergirl and says that the call (in space, directed to her earpiece that she just crushed between her fingertips) was a wrong number.
- Important Haircut: John Stewart during Unlimited. Previously, Justice Lord GL.
- Impossible Hourglass Figure: Pretty much the entire female cast, except the younger ones like Supergirl. It is a standard part of Bruce Timm's drawing style.
- In-Series Nickname: The Leaguers abbreviate each others' codenames a lot. Huntress calls Question "Q," Green Arrow calls Vigilante "Vig," Batman is "Bats," Superman is "Supes," Mr. Terrific is "T," Green Lantern and Green Arrow are "GL" and "GA..."
- In Spite of a Nail: In the alternate reality of "The Savage Time," the Allies lost World War II and the world is dominated by Vandal Savage, but Bruce Wayne's parents were still killed when he was eight years old. Afterwards, the world returned exactly to its previous "real" nature after the League traveled back in time to thwart Vandal Savage, despite the repulsion of the Allied landing at Normandy.
- In Their Own Image: Lord Chronos' desperate endgame in "The Once and Future Thing"
- Incorruptible Pure Pureness:
- The Flash. DVD commentary reveals that they had him die in the alternate reality of "A Better World" because they simply could not conceive of anything that would cause him to become a Knight Templar.
- Superman is not an example; it is directly discussed in "A Better World," where Lord!Superman is unable to be talked down from his Knight Templar ways. League!Superman explains that he has felt the same urges and compulsions himself, and he knows just how hard they are to resist. If he was ever put into that same position, he knows himself well enough to admit that he would break, too.
- Captain Marvel. Some of it is childhood naiveté, but part of his pureness is his ability to retain such naiveté, even when everybody around him has become jaded and cynical.
- Incredible Shrinking Man: The Atom
- Indulgent Fantasy Segue: Milo in "The Doomsday Sanction".
- Ineffectual Sympathetic Villain: Copperhead gradually becomes more and more ineffectual after his first appearance. He never loses his malice, but does lose his competence. The Flash's Rogues' Gallery are also noteworthy for this in "Flash And Substance," although they're not entirely harmless.
- Informed Attractiveness:
- When Batman and Wonder Woman travel to New Genesis Wonder Woman is awe-struck by its splendor and magnificence, never having seen anything like it before. The floating city itself is... okay. It is not bad, it is a technological marvel unequaled in real life, but it is also a rather generic "future city" that has been seen in fiction countless times before and is overshadowed by many of the fantastic locations seen elsewhere in Justice League.
- To a degree, Atlantis suffers from this as well- parts of it look like some of the more out-there architecture of Metropolis (which New Genesis also looks like).
- Ink-Suit Actor:
- Innocent Bigots: The Justice Guild in "Legends" — telling Green Lantern he's "a credit to his people", asking Hawkgirl to bake cookies...
- Innocuously Important Episode:
- "A Better World" turns out to be one of the main motivation for the formation of Project Cadmus, the main villains for the first two seasons of Unlimited. It also begins to sow seeds of distrust within the League itself, who fear that the League might go in the same direction and wonder how they might change events.
- "Dark Heart" is just your standard Monster of the Week episode, right? Wrong. The weapon the JLA uses to slow the monster's advance becomes Luthor's means of framing them in "Flashpoint" and the monster itself returns to give Brainithor a massive powerup in "Divided We Fall."
- Instant Fan Club: Supergirl has one of these in Japan, with one Cosplay Otaku Girl even attacking a jealous Stargirl who was badmouthing her.
- Instant Flight, Just Add Spinning: The Flash used his arms as a helicopter. He lost control and crashed in short order.
- Institutional Apparel: Lex Luthor wears prison grays in "Injustice For All" but changes to orange fatigues in "I am Legion".
- Intellectual Animal: Gorilla Grodd and the other denizens of Gorilla City.
- Interspecies Romance:
- Between John Stewart and Hawkgirl and, it is implied, also between John Stewart and Katma Tui.
- The relationship between Superman and Lois Lane appears in a few small-but-important scenes.
- Grodd and Tala had a sexual relationship, which even people within the show find unsettling.
- Grodd and Giganta is an unusual example, as Giganta was once an ape, but now looks human. She also has super powers, so it is not entirely clear what, exactly, she is.
- Bizzaro was in love with Giganta, but she was just using him to break Grodd out of prison.
- J'onn and his unnamed human companion, who he refers to as his wife, in the finale.
- Supergirl (Kryptonian) and Brainiac 5 (Coluan).
- Carter Hall and Shayera Hol, but that is another rather confusing example. Is Carter an insane human or reincarnated Thanagarian?
- Inverse Law of Sharpness and Accuracy: Vigilante and Shining Knight, armed with pistols and a sword respectively, are up against people they could actually hurt with them in "Task Force X," and thus never manage to make contact with their weapons. They do, however, do quite well when it comes to their fists and lassos.
- Invisible President:
- He gets a small cameo towards the end of season two of Unlimited as the crisis approaches its climax, but the president's face is never seen and he is never named, only referred to as "Mr. President."
- The Justice Lords president does get some face time, and is pretty obviously an expy of George W. Bush, kowtowing to Superman by saying "elections are traditional, kind of like Thanksgiving".
- Invulnerable Knuckles:
- Averted in "For the Man Who Has Everything" and "Double Date". Wonder Woman and Black Canary injure their hands punching Mongul and Steve Mandragora, respectively.
- Supergirl normally has them, but when she loses her powers in Skartaris her first attempt to punch one of the attacking dino-troopers causes her pain. Her hand has visible bruises/scratches afterwards.
- Ironic Echo: in "Twilight," Superman opens his fight against Darkseid with a Badass Boast ending in "let's go." Three seasons later, in "Destroyer," Darkseid echoes the line (and one-ups the Badass Boast) before attacking Supes.
- Is This Thing Still On?: Happens to Linda Park in "Flash and Substance". Hilariously.
- It Gets Easier: In "A Better World", The Flash states that killing him, a close friend whose parallel universe death was the motivation for his Face-Heel Turn in the first place, would be a line Lord!Superman would never cross. Lord!Superman shrugs and says that he has done many things he once thought were over a line; one more will not hurt.
- It Has Been an Honor: Batman in "Starcrossed".
- It Only Works Once: In his first appearance, the Shadow Thief can be disabled with bright lights. In his second appearance, he advises against trying this tactic, since it hasn't worked "in months".
- It's a Long Story - Superman after returning from the Bad Future in "Hereafter".
- It's Not You, It's My Enemies:
- It's What I Do: Darkseid in "Twilight".
- It Was Here, I Swear: The Cadmus facility which grew and managed the Ultimen was disassembled and moved after they discovered the truth, and when they returned to destroy it they only found empty offices.
- Jabba Table Manners: Displayed by Villainous Glutton Steven Mandagora.
- Jaw Drop: You would, too, if you watched an entire planet get obliterated before your eyes in a matter of nanoseconds. And you would do it again when you have been shown it was still there all along and you have been royally had.
- Jerk Ass:
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Batman
Amanda Waller: For all that fierce exterior I've never met anyone who cared as deeply about his fellow man as Bruce Wayne.
- Jumping Off the Slippery Slope:
- The Justice Lords of "A Better World" all did it following their Flash's death, an event that eventually led to every member shrugging off Thou Shalt Not Kill and taking over the planet by force, but Superman was the one who really went full-tilt.
- After a history of friendship and cooperation with Superman and Supergirl, Emil Hamilton begins to question the trustworthiness and good intentions of superheroes after Superman is brainwashed and forced to attack Earth. He begins to clone, kidnap, torture and kill them as part of a government conspiracy.
- Just Following Orders:
- Hawkgirl explains the years-long subterfuge as being a soldier under orders, and expects John Stewart to understand given his history as a Marine.
- In "Ultimatum", Maxwell Lord begins to tell the Ultimen that he was only following orders, but they interrupt him and scoff at the idea before he can even finish the sentence.
- Captain Atom explains his working for Cadmus because he has official orders from General Eiling as an officer in the US Air Force.
- Just Friends: Batman's description of his and Diana's relationship. Zatanna does not buy it for a second.
- Just Ignore It: In "Hawk and Dove", it turns out that Just Ignore It is the key to victory.
- Just in Time:
- Just Plane Wrong: The Green Guardsman tries to pop the villains' blimp with an arrow created by his power ring. Later Flash brings down the blimp by puncturing it. See this trope's page for why it shouldn't work, though since it's all a mentally-generated image, it makes sense that things in that world would react the way the average person would expect them to, not the way they would in real life.
- Kick the Dog: In "For The Man Who Has Everything", Mongul specifically uses the Black Mercy because he wants Superman to have to sacrifice his greatest desire in order to escape.
- Kid from the Future/Luke, You Are My Father: Rex Stewart aka Warhawk, previously introduced in Batman Beyond.
- Killed Off for Real: Heroes in the show invariably turn out to be Not Quite Dead, as one would expect on a superhero cartoon, but villains die surprisingly frequently. Bystanders and sympathetic bit characters are ambiguously or explicitly killed off from time to time, to keep the villains appropriately threatening.
- Killer Yo-Yo: Used by Toyman to defeat Killer Frost in "Alive".
- Kill Me Now or Forever Stay Your Hand: In "Fearful Symmetry", the Question tells Galatea to kill him, but he believes she will not go through with it because she is beginning to feel guilt over her actions. She does hesitate, but whether she would have gone through with it or not is ultimately unknown, as Supergirl attacks her when her back is turned.
- King Arthur: Arthurian legend is mentioned and featured in three episodes, two of which involve his foe Morgaine le Fae and her role in the fall of Camelot, and the third features a retelling of his relationship with Sir Justin (Shining Knight), one of his vassals.
- King Incognito: Villainous example. When Grodd's secret society broke in the headquarters of Crime Lord Morgan Edge, Edge tried to escape by disguising himself as a servant, but was detected because he forgot to put on shoes that weren't too fancy for a servant.
- Kirk Summation: Supergirl to Galatea
- Kiss-Kiss-Slap: Big Barda is constantly at odds with her husband, Mister Miracle, over his increasingly dangerous Houdini-esque escape tricks
Barda (elated): Scott! I thought you were dead!
Barda (angry): You insufferable showboat! (lifts off feet) I thought you were dead!
- Klingon Promotion:
- Luthor takes over the Legion of Doom by shooting Grodd and placing himself at the head of the table. It makes a lot of sense, since Luthor is more or less as smart as Grodd, and the plan Grodd had been working towards for months proved both stupid and somewhat harmful to the rest of the Legion.
- Polaris tries to do the same after Luthor swaps bodies with Flash and back. Luthor quickly reminds everyone why he's the one in charge.
- Kneel Before Zod: Luthor to Grodd in "Alive".
- Knight in Shining Armor: Shining Knight.
- Knight Templar: The Justice Lords in "A Better World" and several Cadmus residents, particularly Wade Eiling.
- Kryptonite Factor: Kryptonite itself has a lasting impact throughout the series.
- Kryptonite Ring: Batman carries around a piece of Kryptonite in the event that Superman ever goes rogue, and Superman is aware and glad that he does so.
- Lady Land: Themiscyra.
- Lame Comeback: Flash has a number of these.
Flash (to a hologram of Mirror Master): "Oh yeah well... you're not really all there!"
- Lame Pun Reaction: In "Wild Cards," when the Flash briefly defeats King by wrapping him up in fake mummy bandages, he comments that it "wraps [him] up." Though the wrappings mean that King's subsequent comment is muffled and unintelligible, the Flash still apologizes, saying it was the only quip he could think of.
- Lampshade Hanging: All the time, but one of the most direct ones was in the episode "Hereafter", when Wonder Woman stopped a lightning attack with her metal wrist bracers.
Flash: "There are so many reasons why that shouldn't have worked."
- La Résistance: The alternate Batman runs one in "The Savage Time."
- Large Ham:
- Despero, Despero, Despero.
Despero: "GOOOOO! THE CONQUEST BEGINS NNNOOOOWWW! EMBLAZON MY WORD AND WILL ACROSS THE COSMOS!"
- Most of the really big villains tend to have this quality, to a greater or lesser degree, which makes the ultimate Big Bad, Darkseid, much more imposing because he doesn't act this way.
- Laser-Guided Tykebomb: This version of Doomsday, a mutated clone of Superman whose creators conditioned him to hate the original. Interestingly, the original Doomsday was created on the Planet Krypton in its distant past (in the Comics,) so in both of these continuities, he is Kryptonian.
- Last-Second Word Swap: In the episode "Far From Home", when Supergirl was about to leave to attempt to stop the Legion of Superheroes, Brainiac 5 nearly said that he loves her, but swapped "love" for "lied to" at the last moment.
- Leaning on the Fourth Wall: In "Wild Cards", Joker's 22:51 time limit is an obvious reference to the runtime of a half-hour television program, although the episode itself is double-length.
- Leave Him to Me: At the climax of "Starcrossed", Green Lantern fights his way into the Thanagarian command ship. Hro Talak countermands the order to send soldiers to stop him, and goes himself to fight one-on-one.
- Left Hanging: There are a number of plot threads left dangling. Including Green Lantern, Vixen, and Hawkgirl's Love Triangle, the result of General Eiling's vendetta against Superman, and whatever happened to A.M.A.Z.O. after Grundy was taken care of.
- Legion of Doom: The Injustice Gang and both Secret Societies. The name "Legion of Doom" was not allowed to be spoken within the show, but the producers have revealed that they consider the organization in season three of Unlimited to be the actual Legion.
- Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, the Flash, Green Lantern, and Green Arrow all have their own musical motifs (Batman and Superman retain their melody motifs from their respective solo shows). Green Arrow even hums his own theme while swinging forth into battle at one point.
- The Blackhawks have their own theme in "The Savage Time," and it is their real song. One of the classic comic teams from Golden Age, the Blackhawks had plenty of supplemental material released including, at one point, a song book. Though the music from this episode was composed by Lolita Ritmanis, she composed it to match the lyrics from the original Blackhawk Theme. An Easter Egg on the DVD plays the song as a music video, featuring it in its entirety over the aerial dogfight of the episode (It is quite epic).
- A.M.A.Z.O. got one in his introduction episode that played whenever he assimilates any of the heroes' powers.
- Leotard of Power: All over the place, though most often seen, of course, on Wonder Woman.
- Let Me at Him!: Green Arrow lunges against the government agents interviewing Steven Mandragora when Mandragora continuously insults Black Canary, who is there with Arrow as special security. Arrow ends up pleading with them to leave him alone with Mandragora for just five minutes. Ultimately, Canary ends up smacking him one... and nearly breaks her hand in the process!
- Let's Get Dangerous: It is probably good to remember that Flash, as carefree and goofy as he is, can make you explode just by touching you.
- Let's You and Him Fight: Occasionally, including the Metamorpho episode and also in "The Terror Beyond". Deconstructed in "Clash".
- Life or Limb Decision: For Aquaman.
- Lighter and Softer: "Flash and Substance" shows that Central City is a 'lighter and softer' corner of the DCAU. Even the Flash's enemies tend to be pretty mundane guys when they're not in Card-Carrying Villain mode.
- Lighthearted Rematch: In "Grudge Match".
- Lightning Bruiser: Steven Mandragora. The guy is HUGE, but he moves just as fast as Black Canary when she attacks him. Foreshadowed earlier in the episode when, after she punches him, states that there is no fat, only muscle.
- Like an Old Married Couple: The Flash points out that Green Lantern and Hawkgirl are bickering like an old married couple
- Like Brother and Sister: Flash and Hawkgirl.
- Limited Wardrobe: The Flash and Hawkgirl wear their same costumes in literally every single scene until the end of Justice League. Hawkgirl does not remove her mask until the final scene of "Wild Cards" (Second-to-last episode), and the Flash does not take off his costume until Part 2 of "Starcrossed" (Last episode). The other League members are rarely out of costume, but it does happen on occasion when in disguise or "off duty".
- Literal Metaphor
- When Green Lantern is fighting Star Sapphire he yells duck. Star Sapphire doesnt move and is hit by a statue of a duck. He says that he tried to warn her.
- Brainiac 5 and Green Arrow try to sneak up on the Fatal Five only to find the Five-Bad Band waiting for them. Brainiac 5 utters "shoot". Green Arrow thinks he was upset at the circumstances but Braniac 5 really wanted him to open fire.
- Living Prop: Many superheroes introduced during Unlimited (who, in the comics, belonged to teams ranging from the JSA to JL Detroit) never progressed beyond this.
- Living Shadow: Shadow Thief.
- Loads and Loads of Characters: From the third season on, the Justice League has over three dozen members.
- Logic Bomb: Bizarro is assisting Giganta because he has fallen in love with her, and in "Ultimatum" he is helping her break Gorilla Grodd out of jail. When Wonder Woman asks him what will happen to his relationship with Giganta after they have rescued her boyfriend, Bizarro freezes in confusion.
- Lost World: Skartaris and Themiscyra.
- Lotus-Eater Machine: The Black Mercy in "For The Man Who has Everything".
- Loud of War: The Question once successfully tortured a man with the use of crappy, overproduced pop music. For added fun, he is later heard singing the same song softly as he is breaking into a secure facility!
- Lovable Alpha Bitch: Stargirl. She is vain and fame seeking, has a large sense of entitlement, and mocks and belittles those around her to ease her own feelings, but means well beneath it all. She is aware of how her actions look and recognizes with frustration that her words make her "petty."
- Love Cannot Overcome: No matter how hard she tries, Wonder Woman cannot get grumpy, antisocial Batman to give a relationship a chance.
- Love Triangle: Green Lantern and Hawkgirl get romantically involved right before it comes out that Hawkgirl is a Thanagarian spy and engaged to another man. Although he does not quite lose his feelings for her, he does take up with Vixen before going into the future and learning that he has a son by Hawkgirl. Meanwhile, Hawkgirl picks up a stalker in Hawkman who believes (with more than a little justification) that he and Hawkgirl are reincarnations of Thanagarian lovers from ancient Egypt. Later in the series, it comes out that Green Lantern is (supposedly) also a reincarnation of one of the Egyptian Thanagarians' human friends who was having an affair with Hawkgirl's preincarnation which ended in the tragic death of all three of them. The series ends with Green Lantern and Vixen together, but with unresolved feelings between John and Shayera and the knowledge that they will somehow rekindle their relationship sometime before Batman Beyond.
- Loving a Shadow:
Hawkman: "We are the reincarnations of Katar and Chayera Hol, and I love you."
Hawkgirl: "You can't love me, Carter. You don't even know me."
- Lower Deck Episode: The Unlimited portion of the series focuses heavily on lesser-known members DC Comics, with many minor and supporting heroes receiving their own episodes throughout its three seasons. The episode "Patriot Act" starred seven of these characters, who had weapon- or gadget-based super powers: Green Arrow and Speedy, Stargirl and S.T.R.I.P.E., the Crimson Avenger, Vigilante, and the Shining Knight. Counts as a Mythology Gag because they note starred in the comic Seven Soldiers.
- Lowest Cosmic Denominator: God makes no appearances in the show and gets no explicit references, but when Hawkgirl is in Tartarus the demons mistake her for an angel and flee when she makes reference to "the boss." Greek deities, however, are fair game.
- Luke, I Am Your Father: For Batman Beyond via "Epilogue." Hades also pulls this on Wonder Woman, only to have her shut him down by basically saying "Who cares?".
- Luxury Prison Suite: Enjoyed by the Ultra-Humanite and Lex Luthor (although it might be a bit much to say Luthor enjoyed it). In the parallel world of "A Better World", Lois Lane is living in a lavishly furnished apartment, dating Superman and eating gazpacho... and she cannot leave the premises, have visitors, make phone calls or even write a letter. A gilded cage, indeed.