Recap / Justice League Unlimited S 2 E 7 Clash

The Justice League's newest member Captain Marvel unintentionally endorses Lex Luthor's Presidential candidacy, much to ire of the original founding members of the Justice League (especially Superman). Captain Marvel's naïve belief of Lex's reformation soon leads to a physical confrontation with the Man of Steel.

Tropes in this episode include:

  • Big Damn Heroes: A plane is crashing over the city and Superman swoops in to prevent a crash. Off-screen, Captain Marvel was this for Batman, Elongated Man, and Metamorpho against Parasite.
  • Broken Pedestal: Hoo boy. Captain Marvel suffers a major one, which is why he quits.
    Captain Marvel: My whole life, I've looked up to the League. You were my heroes. Every one of you. (to Superman) And you, you were more than a hero. I idolized you. I wanted to be you. Whenever I was out there, facing down the bad guys, I'd think, "What would Superman do?" Now I know. (to JLA) I believe in fair play. I believe in taking people at their word and giving them the benefit of the doubt. Back home, I've come up against my share of pretty nasty bad guys, but I never had to act the way they did to win a fight. I always found another way. I guess I'm saying I like being a hero. A symbol. And that's why... I'm quitting the Justice League. You don't act like heroes anymore.
  • Casual Danger Dialog: Superman and Batman are fighting a group of anonymous masked criminals while casually talking about Captain Marvel. About halfway through the scene, one of the heroes suddenly realizes something:
    Batman: What do these guys want, anyway?
    Superman: To take over the world... Or rob banks. I forget.(beat up bad guys) But, back to Captain Marvel...
  • Continuity Nod: Superman comments to Marvel that "we don't sell deodorants on television" when speaking about the League's role as symbols of justice. At this remark, the Flash looks away with some embarrassment; the speedster himself once learned a very similar lesson in "Eclipsed".
  • Hero with Bad Publicity: Superman's overreaction of Luthor's power source running Luxor City to be a threat and causing the destruction of the city. All part of Luthor's plan.
  • Let's You and Him Fight: The penultimate confrontation between Captain Marvel and Superman, and leaving the destruction of Luthor's city; in which Luthor was counting on all along to bolster his growing popularity and paint the Justice League in a bad light. The results causes a disenchanted Captain Marvel to leave the Justice League for good.
  • Mythology Gag: The fight between Superman and Captain Marvel is a Shout-Out to Kingdom Come. In both accounts, Captain Marvel uses his magic lightning to attack Superman, Superman manages to make one of the bolts strike Marvel and proceeds to gag Billy.
    • Luthor's actions in rebuilding Lexor City to garner favor and support for a possible presidential run are similar to his actions at the end of Batman: No Man's Land, where he offered to rebuild Gotham City and received much public support as a result.
    • One of the buildings destroyed during the Superman/Captain Marvel fight is the Lena Luthor hospital. In the comics, Lena is Lex's mother, or sister, or even daughter, depending on the version.
    • "Lexor City" is a small tribute to the planet Lexor from comic book stories of the 1970s and 1980s. Lex Luthor became a heroic figure to the people of a distant planet, so much so that the planet was re-named in his honor. Luthor would soon retire from crime to benevolently guide the worshipful populace of Lexor to prosperity. However, Lexor (much like Krypton) was destroyed; An event which Luthor would unfairly blame on Superman, re-igniting their ongoing rivalry.
    • Billy Batson goes to "C.C. Binder Elementary School", named for Captain Marvel creator C.C. Beck and longtime collaborator Otto Binder.
    • Billy/Captain Marvel lives in Fawcett City and even refers to himself as "a Fawcett boy at heart." These, of course, are nods to the company that originally published his comics.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: Phil O'Bannon and his show, The O'Bannon Agenda, are an obvious parody of the real-life political talk show The O'Reilly Factor and its host Bill O'Reilly.
  • The Resenter: It's implied that part of the reason Superman gets irritated by Captain Marvel is that he's become in Batman's words more of a boy scout than Superman and is easily loved by people, both in Metropolis and within the League (with Batman of all people remarking that Captain Marvel is "sunny") the way he used to be. Superman, still burdened with the memories of Darkseid brainwashing him, and Cadmus' research, takes it out on the Na´ve Newcomer.
  • Right for the Wrong Reasons: Superman is absolutely right about Lex, as Batman affirms at the end, but his reasons for that (paranoia, suspicion) are wrong, and the result is he alienates Captain Marvel and ruins his reputation and plays into the villains schemes. At the end, Batman sympathetically laments:
    Batman: They set you up, Clark.
  • Up to Eleven: Manipulating Superman with a Batman Gambit is pretty standard for Lex, but Captain Marvel's unexpected opposition to Superman makes it all the better — Superman's now not only painted as a reactionary, but as someone who alienated the highly moral Marvel. Lex only expected Superman to destroy the generator, then prove the generator was legitimate. Superman destroying Lexor City with a publicized fight against Captain Marvel in front of the entire press was more than Lex could have imagined. Lex made himself look even better by refusing reimbursement from the League, rebuilding Lexor City out of his own pocket.
  • Villain with Good Publicity: Luthor gains public sympathy following Luxor City's destruction no thanks to Superman. All of which is part of his plans.
  • Xanatos Gambit: Luthor sets up a situation where either Superman will humiliate himself and the League by destroying Luthor's prototype fusion generator...or he won't and Luthor will get great free P.R. himself as a philanthropist and inventor. In getting into such a destructive fight with Captain Marvel over the whole ordeal, Superman unwittingly gets Luthor the best of both worlds, as Luthor commits to paying for the damage himself.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Captain Marvel chews out the Original Seven before resigning from the Justice League for their paranoia and arrogance.