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Recap / Justice League S 1 E 4 And 5 In Blackest Night

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Green Lantern surrenders himself to robotic Manhunters to stand trial for the destruction of a planet. While Flash acts as John's attorney, the rest of the League discovers that Kanjar Ro actually helped the Manhunters frame John.

Tropes:

  • Artistic License – Physics: In-Universe: The Manhunters overlooked a critical detail that results in their Frame-Up being exposed: Moons don't stay in orbit if the planet that they orbit around gets destroyed.
  • Badass Creed:
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    • "No man escapes the Manhunters."
    • And, of course, the Green Lantern oath. John recites it in full while absorbing the entire Power Battery into his ring.
  • Bar Brawl: Hawkgirl confronts the members of the Green Lantern Corp who are unwilling to help John, calling him a disgrace, at a bar. This infuriates Hawkgirl and causes her to single-handedly beat up four of the five Lanterns present. Kilowag sits the fight out, eventually breaking it up after deciding Hawkgirl has a point.
  • Big "NO!": The lead Manhunter screams this as John expel his essence from the Power Battery.
  • Composite Character: John Stewart replaces Hal Jordan as the Green Lantern who gets convicted for a crime that they did not commit.
  • Continuity Cameo: Originally, the witness was going to just be some random nobody. The creative team, though, thought it would be fun to use Kanjar Ro, who was a big-time villain during the team's early days in the comics.
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  • Courtroom Antic: Flash stalls time by offering to be John's lawyer.
  • Determinator: After the lead Manhunter claims the entire Power Battery:
    Guardian: All is lost...
    John: Not while I'm still standing.
  • Dumbass Has a Point: Flash interrupts the trial as only he can, but one of the judges admits he has a point and that they should put to rest any lingering doubts about the case.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Kanjar Ro invokes this by claiming that while he might be a thief, "it's nothing compared to what [John] did!" (which would be true if the whole thing wasn't a ruse).
  • Evil Lawyer Joke:
    Flash: Don't you have any lawyers here?
    Chief Judge: We solved our lawyer problem a long time ago.
    Third Judge: However, you could speak for him if you wish.
    Second Judge: But be aware: If you lose, you will share the same penalty as the accused.
    Flash: The same penalty? You mean... That's crazy!
    Chief Judge: No, that's how we solved our lawyer problem.
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  • Foreshadowing: Likely unintentional, but Flash asks Hawkgirl whether there is a "Hawkboy" (if she was seeing anyone on Thanagar). Hawkgirl just smiles coyly and flies off. It turns out Hawkgirl does have a boyfriend.
  • Frame-Up: John Stewart is framed for destroying a planet as part of the Manhunters' scheme to discredit and distract the Guardians and the Corps so they can make their move.
  • Friendship Moment: After being rightly upset at his fellow Lanterns for not having faith in his true character, John sincerely thanks the Leaguers for believing in him even though he himself didn't believe in his own innocence.
  • Genius Bonus: The Flash's attempt to delay the trial involves discussing habeas corpus, ipso facto, and Phi Beta Kappa. Anyone unaware of their meanings would assume this is nonsense Flash is throwing around (Hawkgirl seemed to think so), but Habeas corpus (Latin for "that you have the body") is a writ on illegal confinement, ipso facto is Latin for "by the fact itself", and Phi Beta Kappa is both a US honor society and a Greek phrase meaning, "Love of wisdom is the guide of life". A regular viewer wouldn't know any of that, but forensic scientist Wally West would.
  • Human Aliens: Hawkgirl forgets for a moment that Superman isn't human. He takes it as a compliment.
  • The Power of Friendship: The Leaguers do everything possible to prove John's innocence.
    John: You believed in me, even when I didn't believe in myself.
    Flash: Hey, what are friends for?
  • Pragmatic Adaptation: This episode is loosely adapted from a 1977 two-part story that ran in Justice League of America #140-141, titled "No Man Escapes the Manhunter" and "No World Escapes the Manhunters".
  • Properly Paranoid: Superman in particular questions the evidence and has a hunch that things aren't what they seem. He and J'onn end up proving the planet was never destroyed.
  • Reality Ensues: Superman and J'onn are on the barren, airless moon for an extended period. Naturally, they need to use spacesuits, but just for the lack of atmosphere.
  • Shout-Out: Flash's attempts to stall the trial involves making one to Johnnie Cochran during the OJ Simpson Trial.
    Flash: If the ring wasn't lit, you must acquit!
  • Sliding Scale of Robot Intelligence: The Manhunters were assumed to be barely Type 3. The heroes later find out that they're smart enough to at least betray the Guardians and frame Green Lantern John Stewart for genocide. One even attempts to be a Deus Est Machina.
  • Spotting the Thread: Superman and Martian Manhunter notice something very important while investigating- if John destroyed a planet, why is its moon still in orbit?
  • Stranger in a Familiar Land: John returns to his old neighborhood and encounters Mr. McGee, his old history teacher. Seeing the old man has a grandson now makes John realize he's been away for a long time.
  • Surprise Witness: The irony wasn't lost on Flash, who introduced Kilowag as a "surprise witness". When asked which sort of witness he was, Flash came with a joke about Kilowag's size. He winds up as a character witness.
  • Trial of the Mystical Jury: An alien court accuses Green Lantern of blowing up an entire planet. The Flash offers to be GL's lawyer.
  • True Companions: Green Lantern realizes that when the chips were down, when even he believed in his own guilt, it was the Justice League who backed him.
  • Turned Against Their Masters: The Manhunters were built by the Guadians of Oa as a precursor to the Green Lanterns. Their inability to discern morality led to the Guardians stripping them of their original role, relegating them to lesser duties. The Manhunters resented this demotion and the entire trial was a ruse for them to invade Oa and kill the Guardians.
  • Wham Line: "I did it. I'm guilty."
  • What the Hell, Hero?:
    • Hawkgirl condemns the other Lanterns for not even trying to give John the benefit of the doubt or trying to help him, leading to the brawl. Kilowag (who sat out the fight) admits she's absolutely right and tries to help John.
    • When the other Lanterns finally admit they were wrong and should've known better, John indignantly says, "Yeah, you should've," and walks off.
  • Written-In Absence: Heading down to Earth, J'onn notes Wonder Woman is busy with another case and that Batman would just say he's too busy to help right now. Subverted with Superman, who's said to be busy with an earthquake but shows up anyway because "It was just a 4.0."
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