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Recap / Justice League Unlimited S 1 E 10 Dark Heart

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A rock-climbing couple unfortunately discover a huge pulsating blob of nanomachines that dropped in from space, which begins to rapidly produce robotic monsters bent on consuming everything and replicating itself until there's nothing left. Practically all of the Justice League is called in to stop the threat, but the battle seemed hopeless. Only The Atom has any chance of stopping the nanomachine nightmare for good.


This episode includes examples of:

  • A.I. Is a Crapshoot: Subverted. The Dark Heart does exactly what it was programmed to do: replicate itself, and consume matter until it devours entire planets. It's only because the civilization were destroyed by their own creation, that it doesn't realise that the war that they were designed for is long over.
  • Abusive Precursors: The Dark Heart was part of a series of war machines created for a conflict, initially assumed to be interplanetary, but was more likely interstellar (at the very least), that would eventually eradicate planets of the opposing side, and move on to the next. The conflict occurred around 50,000 years ago and by then, it had likely destroyed the civilization that created them - one of the probes arrivals on Earth, was more coincidental than deliberate.
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  • Apocalypse How: Class X, at the very least. Perhaps even Class X-2 going by what the Atom sas about it.
  • BFG: This is the first time that the League break out the Binary Fusion Generator, described as packing enough force as a nuclear warhead, to slow down the advance of the nanomachine robots. The bad news: It uses the entire power of the Watchtower, which reboots its system in an hour after usage. Even worse news: It does very little to slow them down.
  • Godzilla Threshold: The Dark Heart pushes Martian Manhunter to declare a threat level of "Omega": Meaning sending every single superhero in the Justice League onsite to deal with it. They barely contain it, and given the amount of Badass Normals on the team, they are very lucky not to have received fatalities. To put it in perspective: only the threats of Amazo and Darkseid would prompt a similar response.
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  • Grey Goo: A particularly scary version of this trope, and one that isn't just limited to one planet in the scale of threat.
  • Hope Spot: Martian Manhunter uses the Watchtower's satellite cannon to dig a deep trench around the nanomachine blob in an attempt to at least slow it down. Unfortunately, it somehow manages to RESTORE the trench to solid ground again, like it was never there.
  • Hopeless War: No matter how many robots the League and the Army destroy, more instantly take their place.
  • Innocuously Important Episode: The episode ends up being crucial to the Cadmus arc. General Eiling is introduced and will later be shown as part of the leadership, while the Dark Heart technology will almost bring about the end of the world during the arc's climax.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: Eiling questioning the League for having a devastating, space-based BFG and how that will be cause for concern. Later episodes make it clear that even some League members opposed installing the weapon, due to its destructive capabilities.
  • The Juggernaut: The Dark Heart is practically unstoppable. Even the full might of the entire Justice League can barely slow it down. Only the Atom shutting down the central core, by giving it the equivalent of a heart attack, shuts it down.
  • Mook Maker: The namomachine blob releases hundreds of separate machine creatures/drones to consume everything in sight, even the surface. The more the drones are destroyed, the more they make, this time larger and stronger.
  • Most Common Super Power: Wonder Woman has some very buxom breasts. This is lampshaded when the Atom gets a ride to the fight in Wonder Woman's cleavage.
  • Nanomachines: What the Darkheart is made out of.
  • The Scapegoat: When faced with a defective nanobot that's larger than anticipated, the Atom blames his assistant, Katie.
    Atom: Because otherwise it would be my fault, and that can't be right. I'm a professor.
  • This Looks Like a Job for Aquaman: The Atom, who in an earlier episode was described as the League's weakest member by Luthor, is the right man for the task of stopping the Dark Heart; having expertise on nanotechnology and his ability to shrink into microscopic size, he finds the Dark Heart's weakness, damages its 'central power core', and shuts it down.
  • Too Dumb to Live: General Eiling takes most of the killer robots back for study once the battle is won, saying that it "may prove useful as it almost defeated the Justice League". Atom sums it up well.
    Atom: Show him something that destroyed its creators and everything around it, and he wants to play with it...
  • Victoria's Secret Compartment: Wonder Woman places a miniaturized Atom down her cleavage so she can use both her hands to fight the robots.
  • Wham Line: When Superman retrieves The Atom, and talks to Batman over the commlink, having bought time with their space BFG to create a trench around the nanomachines:
    Superman: We should be arriving soon. How's the trench holding up?
    Batman: What trench?
    (Complete with Wham Shot of nanomachine robots advancing having already reached ground level)

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