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Recap / Justice League Unlimited S 1 E 12 Weird Western Tales

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In Gotham City about a half-century into the future, scientist David Clinton argues with his wife Enid about the "junk" he collects in the garage. When she finds out that the objects are actual historical items David obtained via time travel, she gets even angrier, chewing him out for not using the device to make them rich. He tries to tell her that he had to be careful, taking only things that would not be missed and avoiding anything that would alter the course of history, but she won't listen. Finally, he can stand no more, and opens a time portal to get away from her.


On the Watchtower, Batman and Green Lantern talk over lunch. Batman asks GL about his feelings for Shayera; GL switches the subject to Batman's relationship with Diana (who walks up behind him in time to hear him insist that he simply regards her as a good friend and colleague). The awkward moment is cut short by an intruder alert. The three catch David trying to steal one of Batman's utility belts; when he opens a time portal to escape, they jump in after him.

The Leaguers find themselves in a desert, confronted by three bandits on horseback who demand "tribute". The bandits are easily defeated, but they then discover a bigger problem — a newspaper in one of the saddlebags dated June 12, 1879. The heroes dress in contemporary clothing and head to the nearby town of Elkhorn, Oklahoma, looking for leads to the time-traveling villain who holds their only way to get home.


The town is under the heel of Tobias Manning, who throws someone in jail for beating him at poker. The heroes break him out, and he introduces himself as Bartholomew Aloysius "Bat" Lash. David is also in jail, and explains that Manning stole his time-travel belt and used it to obtain future technology to cement his position as overlord.

Manning's goons attack as they leave the jail, but contemporary heroes Jonah Hex and El Diablo arrive along with former Elkhorn sheriff Ohiyesa Smith. The two teams join forces to assault Manning's stronghold. After a pitched battle, they defeat Manning's robotic forces and capture him. However, David regains his time travel belt and escapes. Once again, the Leaguers follow before the portal vanishes.

Batman, Wonder Woman, and Green Lantern find themselves in the future Gotham City confronted by a gang of Jokerz. The future Batman, Static, and Warhawk arrive, and the episode ends with Warhawk addressing Green Lantern... "Dad?"


This episode includes examples of:

  • Adaptation Distillation:
    • Tobias Manning's Terra-Man identity is not used, and his origin is changed from the dated Space Cowboy gimmick into his lucking into an encounter with a time traveler.
    • In a nod to more modern sensibilities, the show's version of Ohiyesa Smith generally avoids the "Pow Wow" nickname from his original comics appearances (which were otherwise a case of Fair for Its Day). The name is used once by Manning, who clearly intends it as an insult.
  • Agony of the Feet: Wonder Woman comments that the boots she took from one of the bandits are killing her feet. When Batman comments that she fights crime in high heels, she replies that her high-heeled boots fit.
  • Awesome, but Impractical: Discussed. After Green Lantern gets rid of all the future technology that shouldn't be in 1879, Bat Lash admits that he wanted one of the "fancy ray guns". Jonah Hex immediately tells him they aren't dependable because they jam easily.
  • Bait-and-Switch Boss: Manning appears to be the sole villain, with Clinton saying he regrets his actions and just wants to go home. Once he gets his hands on his time belt again however he shows his true colours, attempting to abandon the League in the past while seeking to change the future.
  • Doesn't Like Guns: Bruce, who sticks to using batarangs in the Wild West, refusing to carry a gun even while posing as a cowboy.
  • Dull Surprise: The reaction shot of the contemporary Western heroes watching David escape into a time portal and the League heroes pursuing him is capped off with an understated "Huh." from Bat Lash. Of course by that stage they've Seen It All, having battled androids and giant mechas with ray guns.
  • Easily Forgiven: Averted; Diana is shown cold-shouldering Shayera in the Watchtower messhall.
  • Everything's Better with Dinosaurs: Several of Manning's Mooks use robotic dinos as steeds.
  • Henpecked Husband: David Clinton is verbally abused by his wife, and can only deal with it by fleeing.
  • Killer Robot: Manning uses a few as Mecha-Mooks.
  • Mugged for Disguise: The heroes take the bandits' outfits to blend in (except for Green Lantern, who gets one whiff of the unwashed clothes and decides to disguise himself with a ring construct instead).
  • Mugging the Monster: Three gunslinging bandits try to rob Batman, Wonder Woman, and Green Lantern. It doesn't go well for them.
    Wonder Woman: (easily deflecting shots) Those are the biggest, slowest bullets I've ever seen.
  • Mythology Gag: Jonah Hex correctly guesses that the Leaguers are time travelers based on the experiences he's had in his "interesting life", apparently a reference to his time-traveling adventures in the comics.
  • Newspaper Dating: The bandits conveniently leave behind a newspaper, revealing the exact date.
  • One Steve Limit: Downplayed with Bat Lash and Batman, who pointedly introduces himself to Lash as just Bruce.
  • Right Behind Me: As Batman tells Green Lantern that there's nothing personal between him and Diana:
    Batman: I don't have time to pursue a relationship. My work is too important to allow any distractions. Diana's a remarkable woman, she's a valued friend, she's...standing right behind me, isn't she?
    Wonder Woman: Don't let that stop you. Keep digging.
  • Seen It All: Jonah Hex has had "an interesting life", and pegs the League for time travelers quickly.
  • Self-Imposed Challenge: When Ohiyesa is facing off with Tobias, Tobias pulls a gun with six extra barrels. The others each take out one with one shot each. While a Batarang and Wonder Woman's tiara are clearly seen, there is no green blast from Green Lantern's ring — which means he quick-drew his revolver and made the shot like that.
  • Ship Tease: Batman and Green Lantern have a conversation about the other's relationship with Diana and Shayera respectively. Both deny any romantic interest, which the other refuses to believe. The Wham Line shows that GL did get together with Shayera after all.
  • Superhero Packing Heat: Most of the old west heroes, of course, but as mentioned above, Green Lantern at one point uses his six-gun instead of his ring.
  • Tank Goodness: As the battle starts turning against him, Manning breaks out the tank he has hidden inside a building.
  • This Is Something He's Got to Do Himself: As Tobias Manning tries to escape, Ohiyesa Smith chases after him. Green Lantern is about to join the pursuit, but Jonah Hex dissuades him, saying "A man needs to balance his own accounts."
  • Time Is Dangerous: Chronos breaks into a storage locker on the Watchtower by rapidly aging a section of the door until it disintegrates.
  • Time Travel for Fun and Profit: Enid can't believe her husband doesn't use his time travel technology to make them rich. Manning is all too willing to do so, stealing weapons from the future to make himself more powerful.
  • Unusually Uninteresting Sight: Jona Hex is unsurprised when he deduced that Batman, Wonder Woman, and Green Lantern are time travelers, reason being was because "he's lead an interesting life".
  • Weird West: Three of the modern-day Justice League find themselves stuck in the Old West and join forces with some contemporary heroes to face off against a Western villain with access to future technology like robots and ray guns.
  • Wham Line: Warhawk revealing that John is his father.
  • Whole Plot Reference: Time-traveling heroes teaming up with the old West heroes to battle a tyrant using future technology to rule the 1800s is remarkably close to the plot of The Avengers #142-143. It also contains some elements of Justice League of America #159-160, wherein a variety of "historical" heroes travel forward in time to battle the League.


Video Example(s):


Wonder Woman teases Batman

When Green Lantern questions Batman's relationship with Wonder Woman, he rebukes it, only to be confronted by her herself.

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