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Recap / Batman Beyond S3 E10-11 "The Call"

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A well-known two-part episode of Batman Beyond that features the return of Superman and a futuristic incarnation of the Justice League.

Terry becomes starstruck when Superman arrives in Gotham one day and offers for him to join the Justice League Unlimited. He reluctantly accepts a trial membership role, despite suspicions from Bruce and the cold welcome he receives from the other League members. Superman then reveals the real reason he brought him in: he suspects that there is a traitor within the League trying to kill off the other members and needs Terry's help to investigate the matter. Terry begins to spy on the other League members but reaches a dilemma when he discovers that the traitor is none other than Superman himself...

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Tropes:

  • Adaptational Heroism: While still a villain, Starro is far more evil in the comics, where he and his spawn have a malevolent intelligence, and are intent on galactic conquest.
  • Adaptational Wimp: While incredibly dangerous here, Starro was much more so in the comics, where he's the core of a Hive Mind of parasitic creatures who can brainwash entire planets. He's much bigger too, only his offspring being the size of the starfish aliens in this version.
  • Anti-Villain: Starro, given that he did not come to Earth by choice and had only been acting in his own self-interest after being held prisoner for years, possibly centuries. Superman points this out at the end and has Starro and his clones sent back to their home world instead of destroying them.
  • Badass Bystander: Terry engages long-time enemy Inque in yet another battle near the beginning of the episode. In an attempt to hold Terry off, Inque grabs what she thinks is an Innocent Bystander to hold hostage. The bystander turns out to be Superman in disguise. This does not end well for Inque.
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  • Beware the Superman: Bruce, being Crazy-Prepared, had always been concerned about the possibility that Superman would make a Face–Heel Turn and reveals to Terry that he had stored a piece of Kryptonite in the Batcave just in case of such an emergency.
  • Black Dude Dies First: Micron is the first, and the only successfully, incapacitated Justice League member, who spends the rest of the two-parter in a stasis tank except for one brief moment.
  • Brainwashed and Crazy: Superman turns out to have been attacked by a Starfish Alien named Starro and had been acting under his mind control for some time. Starro had been plotting for Superman to help him breed millions of clones of himself to take over Earth. His clones later also gain control of the other JLU members save for Batman.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • This episode contains many to Justice League, with nearly all of the contemporary Justice League members being legacy descendants of the original JLU (see below).
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    • A bit of a funny inversion since Batman Beyond was produced and aired before Justice League in real life despite chronologically taking place in the future.
    • There is also Starro, who first appeared as one of the many captured rare alien species from the Superman: The Animated Series episode "The Main Man".
    • Bruce mentions that this isn't the first time that Superman has "turned rogue," likely referring to the events of "Legacy".
  • Disney Death: Warhawk.
  • Exposed to the Elements: Aquagirl can walk around in the arctic barefoot and in a swimsuit, while Barda in her bikini like outfit is similarly unaffected. Superman spends the climax in the arctic shirtless.
  • Fighting from the Inside: Word of God has confirmed that this is why Superman had gone to Bruce in the first place. (In the episode itself, this can be inferred by how surprised he is when the rest of the League turns on him.)
  • Futureshadowing: Bruce tells Terry that he "never trusted" the boom tubes used by natives of Apokolips. An explanation comes later in the Justice League episode "Twilight", where the young Batman is seen using a boom tube for the first time with Wonder Woman, he seems to get motion sick from doing so.
  • Foreshadowing: This final exchange between Terry and Superman:
    Superman: Yeah, [Bruce] wasn't what you'd call a joiner.
    Batman: Maybe we've got more in common than you thought.
    Superman: (to himself) More than you think, son. More than you think.
  • Godzilla Threshold: Bruce, the patron saint of Thou Shall Not Kill, implies pretty strongly that, if Terry needs to kill Superman to stop him, then Terry needs to do it.
  • Hair-Trigger Temper: Both Big Barda and Warhawk.
  • Hero of Another Story: Every member of the current League counts as this, Superman included.
  • I Surrender, Suckers / Trojan Prisoner: How Terry and Superman fool the Starro-brainwashed JLU members and catch them off-guard.
  • I Work Alone: Although Terry gains the respect and acceptance of the JLU after helping them defeat Starro, he ends up deciding to follow in Bruce's footsteps and turns down an offer to become a permanent League member.
  • Legacy Character / Affirmative Action Legacy: Most of the new League members:
    • The female Aquagirl, daughter of Aquaman.
    • The biracial Warhawk, son of Hawkgirl and John Stewart.
    • The Tibetan Kai-Ro, the new Green Lantern.
    • The African-American Micron, successor to The Atom.
  • Leitmotif: Superman's theme from his animated series is played several times during his appearances. A distorted Dark Reprise version also appears in the scene when a Brainwashed and Crazy Superman is chasing down the Batmobile.
  • The Mole: An odd variation of the theme occurred. After a member of the Justice League was injured in a suspicious accident, Superman recruited Terry in an effort to find out if there was, indeed, a traitor among their members. Due to the growing tense between the League and Batman, Big Barda and Warhawk automatically assume Batman was the traitor. As it turned out, Superman himself was the traitor, but not intentionally; he was under the Mind Control of one of the aliens he had kept at the Fortress of Solitude for so many years. His reason in recruiting Batman is likely to keep suspicions off of him.
  • Mugging the Monster: Really bad choice of hostages there, Inque.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • While Batman is being chased in the Batmobile by Superman:
      Terry: What's the top speed on this thing?
      Bruce: Mach 3.
      Terry: Is that faster than a speeding bullet?
    • The older Superman in this episode was voiced by Christopher McDonald, who voiced Jor-El in the Superman animated series.
  • New Meat: Batman to the other JLU members, at least initially. Warhawk and Big Barda, in particular, clearly express their disapproval of his new membership. Mostly because Superman recruited him without even telling the team first, which Big Barda took personally.
  • Older Than They Look: Due to his Kryptonian DNA, Superman appears to have aged very little in the time since Justice League, acquiring only a few wrinkles and gray hair.
  • Poorly Disguised Pilot: Although this was not the original intention of the creators, the popularity of this episode soon led to the creation of the Justice League series.
  • Pretender Diss: Warhawk says Terry is not Batman, just a punk. He changes his tune by the end.
  • Superman Stays Out of Gotham: Inverted, literally, but for the opposite reason.
  • Suspiciously Similar Substitute: Word of God states that Wonder Woman had originally been intended to appear in the episode but due to legal issues preventing such, Big Barda was used in her place.
  • Starfish Alien: Starro, literally.
  • The Worf Effect: Inque, who is one of Terry's strongest enemies, is brought in for the beginning of Part 1 solely for the purpose of demonstrating just how easily Superman can defeat her.

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