In an alternate dimension, Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman storm the White House. Inside, Superman makes his way into the Oval Office, where he confronts President Lex Luthor and states that he's taking Luthor in for crimes committed in office. Half-mad, Luthor rants that he's not to blame: the people are, for not being able to see or accept his "grand design" for the world. Luthor prepares to press a button that will start a nuclear war, saying they will "burn" for their mistake. But then he calms himself, and waits to see what Superman will do: he points out that Superman can't stop him without deadly force. Superman hesitates, and Luthor mocks him, saying that the Kryptonian has been Luthor's greatest accomplice all along: he loves being a hero and all the glory that comes with it so much that he continues to merely thwart Luthor time and again, rather than having the guts to end it once and for all. Although Luthor may lose his presidency, he'll find a way out of prison eventually, and the whole thing will begin all over again. Alas, this proves to be Luthor's final error; clearly affected by his arch-enemy's accusations, Superman decides that if being a hero has led to this endless cycle, he's done with it. A moment later, Batman and Wonder Woman barge in to find that Superman had burned Luthor to death. Though shocked at this turn of events, Batman accepts that it had to be done and Wonder Woman asks Superman if he's alright. Turning around, Superman smiles and answers, "I'm great."
Two years later, Earth has become a very different world as the Justice League, who now call themselves the Justice Lords, become effective rulers of the planet. It is revealed that the root cause of their tyrannical ways is the Flash's death at the hands of Luthor. Monitoring events from their new, heavily-armed Watchtower, they have taken over governments and subverted freedom of speech, all in the name of the people's safety. Meanwhile, Batman summons the Lords over to the Batcave and shows them that he had discovered the main reality of the Justice League where The Flash is alive and the League is still playing a passive, law-enforcing role, and has constructed a trans-dimensional portal to travel to other dimensions. Deciding that the alternate world needs their brand of law and order as much as their own did, the Justice Lords decide to intervene.
In the primary dimension, the League captures Lex Luthor. Shortly thereafter, the Lords' J'onn J'onzz emerges from a dimensional portal, saying he has been sent from an alternate reality by an embattled League that needs the "primary" League's help. Although the League has some doubts (especially Batman), they decide to trust Lord J'onn. But once the League emerge in the Lords' universe, they are quickly lured into a trap and incapacitated. Only Hawkgirl manages to break out, only to be struck out by the Lords' Green Lantern and taken into medical attention. Soon, the Lords, except their Batman, travel to the League's reality.
As the Lords arrive, the rogue behemoth Doomsday is on the loose. The Lords each attack, but none is a match for the creature except Superman. When it becomes clear that they are outmatched in strength and endurance, Superman ends the fight by lobotomizing Doomsday with his heat vision. The primary dimension's Lois Lane is shocked by Superman's brutality, but others in the crowd cheer, saying "It's about time" the heroes took a more aggressive approach. Watching this from prison, Luthor alone realizes that these "heroes" aren't the true Justice League.
Meanwhile, the imprisoned League are held under watch by Lord Batman. Both the League Batman and Flash berate him for the extremes to which the Lords have gone, but Lord Batman retorts that such a thing could just as easily have happened to them if they were pushed far enough — for the Lords, he admits, the "push" came with Flash's death. Although Lord Batman ensures that his prison will keep the League from escaping, the Flash tricks him by speeding up his own heart rate to the point where it appears to flatline, prompting a deeply concerned Lord Batman to check on him and get knocked out. With the League freed, Batman stays at his counterpart's Batcave to activate the dimensional portal, while the rest of the League heads off to find Hawkgirl.
Just as the League leaves, Batman is confronted by his counterpart, who has anticipated all his moves. Concealed in the shadows, the two stalk each other through the cave, all the while debating the ethics of what the Lords have done. Batman says they have crossed the line by seizing power, but Lord Batman replies that, with that power, they've made a world where no other eight-year-old boy will lose his parents to violence, as they did. At that, Batman surrenders.
The League tracks Hawkgirl to Arkham Asylum, the only hospital equipped to hold metahuman patients. But the asylum is a far different place than the one from their reality: The staff are all former criminals, particularly from Batman's rogues gallery, all of whom are placid, docile, and lobotomized. A very calm and polite Joker is acting as the superintendent. Pretending to be the Lords, the League asks to be taken to Hawkgirl. Joker requests a password, which J'onn gives by reading Joker's mind. Joker says they got it right, but he then triggers an alarm because Wonder Woman was supposed to say it. Robotic versions of Lord Superman attack the League, but are easily defeated, and the League breaks Hawkgirl out.
At the same time, Batman and his counterpart drive through Gotham City towards Arkham. When they stop at a red light, they see a restaurant, where a customer is arguing with the manager about the amount of his bill, and in short order is arrested by the police for disturbing the peace. Batman sarcastically remarks to his Lord counterpart that their parents would be proud. By the time they reach Arkham, the military has been alerted and the League is barricaded inside. By this time, Lord Batman has had a change of heart, and calls the military to back off.
As the League prepares to return to their reality to confront the Lords, Batman wonders openly what they will have to do: The Lords are their equals in powers and intelligence, and they are willing to kill whereas the League isn't. Superman isn't willing to cross that line, but Batman says that some kind of line will have to be crossed if they mean to succeed.
In the League's reality, the Justice Lords are arming the Watchtower just as they are alerted to a prison breakout committed by Luthor. The Lords arrive at the prison, but are led into a trap by the League. In the fight that follows, each League member fights his or her counterpart, and neither side is able to gain the upper hand. However, the League gains the upper hand when Superman brings in Luthor, who has rebuilt the weapon from his earlier fight with the League, which he fires at the Lords and drains out their powers. Powerless, the Lords are taken into custody while it's revealed that Superman made a deal with Luthor by granting him a presidential pardon in exchange for Luthor's help in defeating the Lords. Lord Superman berates his counterpart that everything Luthor does from now on will be on his counterpart's head. Superman agrees that it's a high price, but declares that it's one of the many hard choices he's had to make.
In the end, Luthor holds a press conference to answer questions about his new freedom. He says that the business world doesn't seem as challenging as it used to be, but he has been giving some thought to politics.
- Actually a Doombot: Joker sets off an alarm, and the League take a step back when Lord Superman seemingly arrives on the scene. His Robo Speak immediately tips off that it's a robot, and he wasn't alone.
- Actually, I Am Him: After the League rescues Hawkgirl from the Justice Lord universe's Arkham Asylum, they are confronted by the military. Before anything can happen, the 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 Lord Batman's costume in order to let them escape.Superman: You fooled them. Even I thought you were him.
Lord Batman: I am him.
- Alternate Universe/Mirror Universe
- Armor-Piercing Response:
- Lord Batman drives home one of these to his regular universe counterpart, to the reason why he helped create a totalitarian state:note 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 Carmine Falcone 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.
- When Batman got dosed with Scarecrow's fear toxin back in "Nothing to Fear", he was terrorized by an image of his father calling him a "disgrace". Presumably Lord Batman has the same weak point, especially given the fact that he has much more reason to believe that his parents would be ashamed of him.
- Lord Batman drives home one of these to his regular universe counterpart, to the reason why he helped create a totalitarian state:note
- Asshole Victim: President Luthor.
- 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.
- Bait-and-Switch: This episode featured the first time that viewers would actually think that the League had gone Jumping Off the Slippery Slope...it wasn't until nearly halfway through the first part that this was revealed as an Alternate Universe.
- Berserk Button: When the League first enters the Lords' universe, Hawkgirl goes comatose trying to escape an electric trap. When they rescue her later at Arkham, John is exhibiting Tranquil Fury.
- Beware the Superman: The Lawful Evil Justice Lords, especially since the absolute nature of their control over Earth demonstrates how no-one would be able to stop them if they decided they were better off ruling Earth than saving it. This becomes a plot point in the Cadmus arc in Unlimited.
- Bruce Timm states in the commentary that the episode was originally supposed to be a straight up "Crime Syndicate" story, which involved characters that are almost-Evil Twins-but-not-exactly, but fell in love with the idea of using actual alternate versions of a fascist Justice League.
- That Crime Syndicate story actually got made later, albeit retooled into a non-DCAU canon movie.
- Brainwashing for the Greater Good: How the Justice Lords dealt with their Rogues Gallery.
- Amusingly, when we get to see the alternate Arkham Asylum and the various lobotomized supervillains, The Ventriloquist has no lobotomy scars, but Mr. Scarface does.
- Break Them by Talking: The Mirror Universe President Lex Luthor uses a breaking speech on his version of Superman. It partially succeeds. Superman does indeed break down as a result...just not in the way Luthor wanted.
- As noted in the Armor-Piercing Response entry, Batman and Lord Batman each do this to the other.
- The Cape: Given a few turns. Superman demonstrates he's not quite the boy scout everyone says he is, even making deals for the greater good and facing the same kind of temptations as his counterpart. Nonetheless, he adheres to his most important ideals.
- Chekhov's Gun: The League is seen early in the episode battling Luthor who has built some kind of sci-fi cannon to use on the League. Later, it's revealed to be a power disruptor that strips the Justice Lords of their powers.
- Continuity Nod: Batman and Lord Batman getting into an argument about freedom vs. safety while fighting in the Batcave is reminiscent of a similar confrontation between Batman and his robot doppelgänger in Batman: The Animated Series episode "His Silicon Soul".
- Counterpart Combat Coordination: Though the League and Lords fought their counterparts, only The Flash fought Lord Superman as the other Flash died causing the Lords to form. Batman and Lord Batman had a one-one one fight earlier on.
- The Dark Side Will Make You Forget: Played with. Lord Superman is about to kill our Flash. The latter notes that the entire reason Lord Superman became a despot was because of his death. Lord Superman shrugs and says he's done a lot of things he never thought he'd ever do, so why not?
- Democracy Is Bad: In the world ruled by the Justice Lords, they refuse to allow even the facade of a presidential election. At the end of the episode Superman uprights a flagstand with the American flag, showing his commitment to "the American way".
- Dissonant Serenity: When Luthor is killed in the Batman Cold Open, Batman is pretty accepting of it and Superman is genuinely pleased he finally baked Luthor. This is pretty much the cue to the audience that everything is not as it seems.
- Doppelgänger Gets Same Sentiment: Exploited; the Justice Lord version of Batman panics when Flash fakes flatlining by speeding up his heart rate, because the Justice Lord universe's version of Flash was killed by Lex Luthor.
- Empty Shell: Lord Batman's rogue gallery are barely above mindless zombies, placed in Arkham Asylum. It's truly disconcerting when the League meet the lobotomized Joker in an abnormally calm and docile state, but heartbreaking when the Flash happens to encounter the lobotomized version of Poison Ivy, who now has no signs of her former ambitions and no longer cares what happens to the world and its plants. Even though they were villains, the ruthless lengths the alternate Superman was willing to go through to maintain order places him squarely in Moral Event Horizon territory. Of course, the Joker states that just because he was lobotomized did not mean he was stupid.
- Enemy Mine: The League plots with Lex Luthor in order to take down the Justice Lords, in exchange for a pardon for Lex's crimes. League Superman mentions that it was a hard decision he had to make.
- Evil Costume Switch: In the teaser, the Justice Lords wear the same costumes as their Justice League counterparts. After Lord Superman burns Lex Luthor to death, though, the Justice Lords go through a costume switch that make them not so much evil, but rather fearsome totalitarian anti-heroes. Lord Superman's new costume is black and white rather than its traditional blue, red, and yellow to reflect his new black-and-white morality.
- Expy: The Justice Lords were heavily inspired by The Authority, which the producers had begun to read between seasons one and two, and inspired them to having to see what the world would be like if the League ever tried to emulate their tactics.
- The Extremist Was Right: The end result between the League and the Lords is the victory of the 'traditional' heroes when the Justice Lords attempt to clean up the League's Earth (out of what appears to be nothing more than the goodness of their hearts) and the message that 'sometimes Utopia Doesn't Justify The Means', but the writers professed the occasional trouble at giving the League the obvious moral high ground.
- Felony Misdemeanor: At one point, both League and Lord Batman witness a man getting arrested simply for complaining about restaurant prices.
- Glowing Eyes of Doom: The last thing the audience and Lex Luthor sees from Superman before a Gory Discretion Shot.Batman: Do you smell something?
- Godzilla Threshold: Invoked, as Batman tells Superman they're going to have to compromise their morals in some way to defeat the Justice Lords. Superman refuses to break his most sacred oath (Thou Shalt Not Kill) and instead has a different threshold — asking Lex Luthor for help.
- Hannibal Lecture: Despite his plans being foiled and Superman having caught him, President Lex Luthor gives such a defiant speech to Lord Superman at the beginning of Part 1 that you would think that he's won, not been captured.
- The Heart: The Flash is outright stated to be this for the Justice League as his death led the Justice Lords to turn Knight Templar.
- HeelFace Brainwashing: Lord Superman's favored technique is to lobotomize his enemies using his heat vision, which he utilizes to defeat Doomsday. Later when the Justice League visits the Justice Lords' Arkham Asylum, they discover that it is filled with Empty Shell versions of Batman's Rogues Gallery, all lobotomized into submission.
- HeelFace Turn: Lord Batman after realizing how turning his world into a Police State is wrong.
- Heel Realization: Lord!Batman after seeing a man arrested for just complaining about prices and League!Batman's sarcasm about his parents' thoughts on the world the Lords created.
- Here We Go Again!: The episode ends with Luthor mentioning an interest in politics. Kind of like how the Lords' Start of Darkness began, but it also has serious repercussions in the next season.
- Heroic BSoD: Lord!Superman has a brief one after Lex mocks him for being too egotistically virtuous to truly stop Lex. But once Superman recovers, it doesnt end well for Lex
- Heroic Heelization Speech: Lord!Superman responds to Luthors Hannibal Lecture first with a brief Heroic BSoD, then by agreeing with Luthors analysis, and finally by incinerating him.
- "How Did You Know?" "I Didn't.": Batman and Flash's exchange on how Flash knew how to make his heart look like it flatlined.
- Hypocritical Humor: The Superman robots remonstrate Superman for using violence and showing a bad attitude — while beating him up.
- I Gave My Word: Luthor gets a clear chance to backstab the League after the defeat of the Lords, but passes on it, saying "A deal's a deal."
- Ironic Echo: Justice Lord Batman tells a captured Flash, "You'll appreciate this someday." Flash ends up tricking him, escaping, and leaving Lord Batman in his own shackles.Flash: [witheringly] You're appreciate this someday.
- Irony: In the Justice Lords' universe, Lord Superman killed Luthor after he was given a Hannibal Lecture, partly because he killed their Flash, a series of events that leads to "the end of the world." In the main universe, Flash tries talking down Lord Superman by invoking Morality Pet, but when Lord Superman refuses to listen and decides to kill him, Luthor comes in just in time to save Flash and depower Lord Superman.
- Knight Templar: The Justice Lords.
- Large Ham: Unlike the mainstream Lex, President Luthor is madly muttering about how nobody recognizes his genius and now they'll all die.
- Lawful Stupid: The Justice Lords' Gotham City is so clean and orderly, people can be arrested just for complaining about being overcharged for food at a restaurant!
- Machiavelli Was Wrong: There's Playing with a Trope. In the Justice Lords' world, the people were in fear of the Lords. Even Hawkgirl brings up the fact that nobody seemed to like them anymore. However, while the world is not exactly paradise, the Justice Lords do have things under control much better than the Justice League. Then they are defeated partly because one of their own, Lord Batman, betrays them because they rule through fear and tyranny.
- Morality Chain: The Flash from the Justice Lords' universe. His death causes the Justice Lords to turn to the dark side.
- Morality Chain Beyond the Grave:
- Invoked after Batman and Lord Batman see someone arrested and hauled off for disputing a restaurant bill:
- Flash also tries to invoke this, but it goes poorly.Flash: You can't do it, can you? I'm the last piece of your conscience and this is the one thing you'd never do.
Lord Superman: ...I've done a lot of things I thought I'd never do these last two years. One more won't hurt.
- Morality Pet: Batman notices how his Justice Lord counterpart seems to have a soft spot for the Flash. Probably had something to do with what happened to their own Flash. Batman also confesses that what the Lords did after Flash's death would not have been far from what the League might do if one of their own was taken out.
- Mythology Gag:
- This episode nudges the fourth wall with the famous Superman/Doomsday fight ending with Lord Superman lobotomizing Doomsday with heat vision.
- Batman's passwords being the date of his first appearance in Detective Comics (91939).
- No Celebrities Were Harmed: The US president that appears in the Justice Lords' universe appears to be physically modeled after George W. Bush. However, he is never officially named and does not share Bush's voice or mannerisms.
- Noodle Incident: The worlds failure to accept Luthor's unspecified plan causes him to almost initiate global destruction.
- And prior to this, the Justice Lords' version of the Flash is Killed Offscreen.
- Not So Different: Superman admits that he has the same urges and temptations as his Justice Lord counterpart, which is why he knew Flash wouldn't be able to stop him from trying to kill him. The difference is that Big Blue doesn't allow himself to give in to them.
- Not So Similar: When the Justice Lords trap the Justice League, Hawkgirl breaks down one of the walls, only for Lord!Green Lantern to walk over and blast her unconscious without reluctance before she can try to escape. Later, when the League tries to trap the Lords with a similar trap, Lord!Hawkgirl is also the one to break out of the trap, but John hesitates to stop her, allowing the Lords to escape.
- Oh, Crap!: Flash when he sees that Lord Superman is perfectly willing to kill him.
- Only Sane Man: Surprisingly, Lex Luthor for the League universe after the Justice League are abducted. Everyone else seems to assume that Lord Superman and friends are just the League in darker costumes; Lex is the only one to realise that "It's not them" after Lord Superman lobotomises Doomsday.
- The Pardon: Lex Luthor receives it for helping the Justice League.
- Point of Divergence: Downplayed. The Lords' timeline is mainly defined by what if Luthor ran for president, had the Flash executed, and got put down by Superman before he could start a nuclear war, whereas none of this happened in the main timeline (or not yet?) but when Flash sums this up to Lord Batman, he states that "it wasn't that simple". The Lords also never called themselves the League ("They call themselves the Justice League." as opposed to "They still called themselves the Justice League."), so it would seem that there had been differences in the Lords' timeline ever since their version of the beginning of the show.
- Pragmatic Villainy:
- Luthor opts to keep his end of the bargain with League Superman: instead of using the power disruptor against the League, he surrenders it after defeating the Lords.
- Luthor's casual conversation with a prison guard about the gifts Luthor gave to his family sounds suspiciously like a bribe.
- President Evil: Lex Luthor in the Justice Lords' reality.
- Puppet King: After Lord!Superman killed President Luthor in the Oval Office, he appointed George W. Bush as his replacement. He's seen casually ignoring requests and protests for a free election, presumably having decided that after electing Luthor the people no longer know what's best for themselves.Superman: Elections aren't like football. There's a lot more to lose.
- Right Makes Might:
- Downright inverted where a battle between Batman and Lord Batman is interlaced with a debate between the virtues of the Justice Lords' fascist utopia and the free — but chaotic — world of the Justice League. Lord Batman wins through argument, just when Batman has gotten the upper hand. Then Batman wins round two — completely nonviolently this time.
- It's inverted again when Batman points out to Superman that having the moral high ground of pacifism would backfire on them when they are fighting evenly matched opponents who won't have the same restraints and that unless they choose to kill to defend themselves or make some other kind of compromise, the League would lose to the Lords in a straight fight. This leads to Recruiting the Criminal.
- Recruiting the Criminal: To help stop the Justice Lords, the League turns to Lex Luthor.
- Self-Deprecation: According to the commentary for the episode, Lord Superman's robot replicas, at least twice, used unpopular quotes from season one.
- Shout-Out: The scene where a newsstand called "Bernie's" is destroyed during Doomsday's rampage is a brief one toWatchmen, an especially famous example of superhero deconstruction that inadvertently inspired The Dark Age of Comic Books.
- Sick Captive Scam: When the League is kidnapped by an evil mirror universe League, the Flash manages to trick Earth-2 Batman into freeing him by speeding his heartbeat so much that the prison's sensors can't detect it, causing Earth-2 Batman to think Flash is going into cardiac arrest and unchaining him.
- The Strategist: Batman is supposed to be this for the League, and he acts like one in this episode. When discussing how the League will tackle the Lords, Batman tells Superman that in a straight fight between the League and the Lords, both being evenly matched, the side that is prepared to kill will win. The Lords have the lack of restraint as an advantage and the League's innate sense of mercy will compromise them in a fight.
- Take That!: Contains one at George W. Bush, who appears as a minor character in the episode. The Real Life Bush was frequently accused of winning his election through dubiously-legal means and of consolidating more power than necessary, so here he's the Justice Lords' pathetic Puppet King who outright begs them to restore free elections (they do not listen). It's especially apparent that this was a commentary on Bush given this is the only time the show didn't adhere to the Invisible President trope.
- Talking Your Way Out: President Lex Luthor attempts to convince Lord Superman at the beginning that he would never kill anyone, regardless of what they've done, to save his own life. Lord Superman replies with a Heroic Heelization Speech instead.
- Tempting Fate: Lexs Hannibal Lecture to Superman proves to be this.
- Thou Shalt Not Kill: The main boundary separating the League from the Lords. The League will have to be prepared to kill their Evil Counterpart and risk becoming them, otherwise Batman thinks that they can't be defeated, not in a straight fight. Superman straight up refuses to consider it, while Batman laments that they will need to make some compromise. The one they settle for is freeing Lex Luthor and offering him a full pardon, knowing fully well he'll come back and be a thorn in their side in the future.
- Try Everything: After breaking out, the Flash attempts to free Batman from his cell by inputting every possible password combination at superspeed. Luckily, Batman gives him some help by telling him his own password, deducing that Lord Batman's password likely would be the same.
- Unbuilt Trope:
- This episode was a major inspiration for a lot of "Dictator!Superman" stories and especially for Injustice: Gods Among Us but unlike the episodes that came afterwards, this one has number of changes. Namely where later AU!Superman have him dress as an Evil Overlord with a darker aesthetic, Lord Superman and the rest of the League wear brighter colors (even Lord Batman, whose costume is a sleek light gray) befitting their more public persona and role, the world they build in is likewise lusher, greener and more verdant with an Arkham Asylum that actually looks like an environment interested in healing its denizens rather than the Mordor it is in the comics. And likewise, Lord Batman, far from being beholden to Thou Shalt Not Kill is the first one to condone Luthor's killing and is a willing fascist until Prime!Batman gets to him.
- Compared to Injustice!Bats who insists on Thou Shalt Not Kill to ridiculous extremes, DCAU!Prime!Batman points out that a Mirror Match where one side is willing to kill and the other isn't is not favorable to any real victory or survival for the Technical Pacifist and that there has to be some real outside solution than a straight fight. As such this Batman comes across as a much better general than later versions.
- Utopia Justifies the Means:
- Most of the ends seem well worth the means, especially violating Lex Luthor's Joker Immunity and lobotomizing Omnicidal Maniacs, but the Lords quickly leaped off the slippery slope by getting rid of the right to vote or speak freely while arresting individuals for threatening to not pay for (badly made) food. On the other hand, their world has no rape, murder, arson, or even litter. Unusually, this is one of the more even-handed examples, with both "Utopia" and "the means to it" being shown in fair measure. Fans of the show were left to wonder if, in a world where every prison's a Cardboard Prison, the Justice Lords might have had a point, and the Batmen even debate on it in the middle of the episode.
- An example of this is Gotham. Justice League Batman's version looks like it came out of a pulp noir story, and Arkham is a run-down creepy Bedlam House. Lord Batman's version looks identical to Metropolis, and Arkham looks like a perfectly normal psychiatric institution (if you excuse the fact that parts of it are staffed by lobotomized supervillains), and people are arrested for making a scene at a restaurant.
- The very same episode also featured another version of this at the very beginning. Lex Luthor, as President, apparently did something that he justified with this belief. The episode never tells us what he specifically did, but whatever it was, apparently it backfired horribly and was about to start World War III before Superman kills President Luthor. When Superman walks into the Oval Office, he exposits: "Even this wasn't enough for you, Lex. You had to have it all. Now we're on the brink of a war that could destroy the whole planet." Lex — who appears to still be in a state of shock about his mysterious plans backfiring — ignores Superman and babbles to himself "Could have been so perfect! Paradise!" Then the conversation spirals out of control, and the scenario described in the trope page's two paragraphs comes into fruition.
- Victory Is Boring: The Justice Lords are rather bored, sitting in the Watchtower, since they have conquered the world, and the best crime they have to fight is the occasional college protest. You can even see how eager Martian Manhunter was when he heard of a storm and questioned if they needed assistance in evacuating, only to quickly become depressed when it was stated the area was already evacuated. It is because of this that the Justice Lords decided to invade the Justice League's universe to help "fix" it.
- Villainous Breakdown: President Luthor is completely unhinged, boasting that the American people are now going to "buuuurn" for failing to recognize his genius.
- Villain Has a Point: President Luthor gives Lord Superman a "The Reason You Suck" Speech about how his refusal to kill or cripple him makes him complicit in whatever Luthor does afterwards, up to and including his presidency, and he doesn't have to listen to the law or the will of the people unless he chooses to. Lord Superman crosses the Despair Event Horizon after realising he's right, and immediately decides to correct it.
- Well-Intentioned Extremist: The Justice Lords.
- We Used to Be Friends: Lord Superman is shown trying to pursue a relationship with his Lois Lane, but she isn't buying it because he's not the man she loved.
- Wham Episode: The events of this episode is what will lead to the creation of Cadmus along with other major events in Unlimited.
- Wham Line: "...but their Flash is still alive." Mentioned only in passing, but the events of this episode, as well as later in the series, would make it vitally important.
- What Happened to the Mouse?: After Lord Batman invokes HeelFace Turn and helps the League return home, he disappears from the story — not even showing up for the Final Battle against the rest of the Justice Lords.
- What the Hell, Hero?:
- Lois seems to be the only reporter present that expresses shock when Superman, who they don't know is actually his AU double, lobotomizes Doomsday.
- Her counterpart in the Justice Lords universe doesn't sugar-coat what she thinks of Lord Superman's new tyranny.
- Defeated, Lord Superman chastises his League counterpart for pardoning Luthor, pointing out that everything he will do in the future will be their fault.
- Lois seems to be the only reporter present that expresses shock when Superman, who they don't know is actually his AU double, lobotomizes Doomsday.
- The Worf Effect: Who better to fight the Lords to show that they mean business than Doomsday?