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Recap / Justice League Unlimited S 3 E 13 Destroyer

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The Justice League reluctantly teams up with the Secret Society to repel Darkseid's full-scale invasion of Earth. As the League and Secret Society members battle the Apokolips fleet across the planet, Superman, Batman, and Lex Luthor take on Darkseid.

This episode includes examples of:

  • Agony Beam: Darkseid's "agony matrix", which activates every pain sensor in the target's body at once...and then leaves them on.
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  • Alien Invasion: Darkseid's forces invade basically everywhere on Earth at once.
  • And the Adventure Continues: The Trope Namer, courtesy of Wonder Woman, as the episode (and the entire DCAU as a whole) ends with the League chasing after what remains of the Legion of Doom.
  • Back for the Finale: J'onn returns, revealing himself to the team fighting the invasion in China, kicking Parademons left and right.
  • Back-to-Back Badasses: Luthor and Batman.
  • Badass Boast:
    • Darkseid, natch.
    "I'm more powerful than I've ever been and the last time we met, you barely managed to hold your own."
    "Super or otherwise, you're merely a man. And I am a god!"
    • From Luthor:
    Metron: Only a twelfth-level intellect has the slightest hope of surviving what you are about to experience.
    Luthor: Then I'm over-qualified.
  • Betrayal Insurance: When divided into teams, a single Society member is placed outnumbered with a group of Leaguers to curb possibilities of double-cross.
    Wonder Woman: Trust, but verify.
  • Body Wipe: The final "cut to black" is provided by Batman running directly into the camera until his bat logo fills the screen.
  • Bookends:
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    • Batman was the first hero in the DCAU to appear onscreen, and he's the last one seen in this episode. Also, Kevin Conroy had the second line in the first Batman: TAS episode "On Leather Wings" (as an incidental character) and gets the second-to-last line here.
    • Like the first episode of Justice League, this episode sees the team needing to defeat an alien invasion. Both invasions also involve Hostile Terraforming.
    • Within the episode itself, both the beginning and closing shots take place on the Metro Tower.
  • Call-Forward: Superman's quip about Batman getting soft in his old age.
  • Car Fu: The Question runs down multiple Parademons with his car.
  • Curtain Call: The entire team running/flying down the steps of the Metro Tower. The groups are broken up into different teams from the comics before concluding with the show's Big Seven (and within that, the Big Three).
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  • Deader Than Dead: It's implied that, when Luthor returns with the Anti-Life Equation, showing it to Darkseid results in them both being fused to the Source Wall, rendered incapable of ever interacting with the multiverse again. Word of God asserts that this is exactly what happened, meaning Luthor and Darkseid have been effectively annihilated.
  • Determinator: Batman and Lex keep trying to fight Darkseid despite being woefully outclassed by him. Darkseid even asks why Batman would continue in such a hopeless situation to which Superman answers Batman will keep coming as he’s still even a little bit alive.
  • Doesn't Like Guns: Luthor offers Batman his spare pistol when he runs out of batarangs, but not even this desperate situation will get him to take it.
  • Enemy Mine: The villains argue that they should be allowed to help fight the invaders because they have just as much interest in stopping Darkseid as the heroes (because Earth is their world, too). Batman agrees that the heroes need all the help they can get. Superman wants nothing to do with anything involving Lex Luthor because he's—well—"Lex flippin' Luthor", but relents as Luthor's feeling towards him is mutual, leading to this exchange:
    Lex Luthor: Let's be clear about this: we're not here to help you save the world — you're here to help me get revenge on Darkseid. When this is over, it's "back to business as usual".
    Superman: ...Wouldn't have it any other way.
  • Evil vs. Oblivion: Luthor and his cohorts vs. Darkseid.
  • Exactly What I Aimed At: Flash and GL hurl one of Darkseid's doomsday devices into the sky. They say they're trying to throw it into the sun, but the trajectory is "slightly" off...it hits a warship instead.
  • Fanservice: During the scene where members are being teleported to the Watchtower, Ice and Fire are hanging in the pool in their swimsuits. Fire in particular is seen emerging from the pool while dramatically throwing her long hair in a backward arc before she's teleported away.
  • Fate Worse than Death:
    • The Agony Matrix is a Shock and Awe weapon that Darkseid uses on Superman before he attacks him again, coiling around the Man of Steel as he keels over in said agony. Just how bad is it?
    Darkseid: Imagine the worst pain you've ever felt in your life, times a thousand. Now imagine that pain continuing forever. Oh, that's right. You don't have to imagine.
    • One that's only revealed via Word of God, but Luthor and Darkseid wind up fused to the Source Wall in the end, trapping them immobile at the ever-expanding edge of the universe with no way of interacting with any reality ever again.
  • Foregone Conclusion: Darkseid may have seemingly taken whatever was left of Brainiac into the Source Wall, but we all know another part of him survived elsewhere in order for him to return by "New Kids In Town".
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus
    • A Parademon was part of the onlookers not even attacking anyone when Superman sent Darkseid flying through Metropolis.
    • During the Curtain Call, the Atom didn't bother running or flying like the rest of the League; he was instead perched on Zatanna's shoulder.
  • Godzilla Threshold:
    • The whole Enemy Mine scenario, as Batman claims the League is going to need all the help they can get. Superman is vehemently against it, but Luthor convinces him because they'll be fighting each other sometime after.
    • Darkseid has pressed one too many of Superman's buttons, so Supes finally decides to unleash his full strength.
    • Lex is convinced to retrieve the Anti-Life Equation and use it to sacrifice himself to stop Darkseid’s threat to the cosmos.
  • Gondor Calls for Aid: Various Leaguers are shown suiting up in preparation for the battle.
  • The Good, the Bad, and the Evil: The League (good) and the Society (bad) against Apokolips (evil).
  • Gosh Dang It to Heck!: Superman's history with Luthor gives him every right to use this, at least without going too far.
    Superman: (angrily) C'mon, it's Lex flippin' Luthor! Why should we trust him?!
  • Gory Discretion Shot: Commander Steel basically decapitates a Parademon with a thrown shield. We hear the shield slicing through the Parademom, see the body collapse, the shield get embedded in the magma tapper and possibly the severed head itself lying on the ground, though thankfully there’s no blood puddle or shot of said head below the chin to confirm it is indeed the same head.
  • Grand Finale: For the entire DCAU.
  • Heroes Gone Fishing: Fire and Ice are taking some time off for a leisurely Pool Scene when the invasion alarm sounds.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: According to Word of God, Lex performed one by trapping Darkseid with him in The Source dimension.
  • Hostile Terraforming: Darkseid's army drops magma towers in order to create fire pits ("Apokolips on Earth" as Steel puts it).
  • Hurl It into the Sun: Wally half-seriously suggests John do this to one of the drills. John promptly forms a giant catapult construct and has Wally carve a trench into the earth with his speed.
    John: Doesn't look like it quite made escape velocity.
    Wally: Nope. (drill hits one of the enemy ships) Good effort, though.
  • I Warned You: Metron tells Luthor that the Darkseid fiasco was the expected result of Luthor ignoring his previous warning.
  • It's All About Me: Luthor declares that he isn't there to help save the world; everybody else is there to help him get revenge on Darkseid.
  • Lawyer-Friendly Cameo: One of the effigies in the Source Wall looks suspiciously like Galactus of the Marvel Universe.
  • Least Is First: Played with. A random elderly bystander at the Great Wall proclaims his wish to help against the Parademons despite Diana telling him to stay back. Cue said "old man" punching out two Parademons with one hit each, then revealing himself to be none other than J'onn J'onzz.
  • Megaton Punch: Superman sends Darkseid flying across Metropolis.
  • Mercy Kill: In response to Superman surviving the effects of the Agony Matrix, Darkseid says this:
    Darkseid: Still alive. You impress me, Kryptonian. More...your valor has touched my heart. Oh yes, there is still some small part of me that knows mercy. I will end your pain with something special I've been saving for just this occasion. (takes out a Kryptonite knife) I'm going to carve out your heart and put it on a pike in my throne room.
  • Mercy Lead: When Atomic Skull protests that being arrested is poor repayment for the villains' help, Batman offers them a five-minute head start. When they see that's the best deal they're going to get, they take off (though Giganta takes a moment to give Flash a kiss).
  • Meteor Move: After a massive Megaton Punch, Superman Flash Steps into Darkseid's trajectory then spikes him back into the ground.
  • Monumental Battle: Battles take place near the vicinity of the Eiffel Tower, the Great Wall of China, Big Ben, and the Washington Monument.
  • "No More Holding Back" Speech: The former Trope Namer, where Superman, having held back his strength throughout the series in fear of hurting someone, decides that he doesn't need to hold back against Darkseid.
    Superman: That man won't quit as long as he can still draw a breath. None of my teammates will. Me? I've got a different problem. I feel like I live in a world made of cardboard, always taking constant care not to break something, to break someone. Never allowing myself to lose control even for a moment, or someone could die. But you can take it, can't you, big man? What we have here is a rare opportunity for me to cut loose and show you just how powerful I really am.
  • Opening Shout-Out: J'onn reveals himself by morphing into a Chinese dragon before returning to his usual form, much like his part in the Justice League opening.
  • Pet the Dog: Atomic Skull saves Hawkgirl from an exploding drilling machine. Lex offers Batman his extra pistol once Batman’s useful arsenal is out and later seemingly sacrifices himself to neutralize Darkseid as a threat.
  • Real After All: While Giganta is vocal in her disbelief, there's no question to the viewer that Brainiac was more than just an imaginary voice in Luthor's head - a voice that has disappeared completely upon the resurrection of Darkseid, who now has some fancy high-tech armor transmuted from Brainiac's remains.
  • Save the Villain:
    • Batman saves Lex after Darkseid blasts him off the top of the Daily Planet building.
    • Shining Knight catches Star Sapphire in midair after she gets knocked out.
    • Inverted by Atomic Skull, who shows he's taking the Enemy Mine thing seriously when he rescues an injured Shayera.
  • Shout-Out: Metron taking Lex to the edge of the universe to retrieve the one weapon capable of stopping Darkseid mirrors The Watcher doing the same for Human Torch to stop the threat of Galactus in the latter’s first story in Fantastic Four. The Jack Kirby parallels aren’t exactly subtle.
  • Sign of the Apocalypse: When the Flash overhears J'onn casually chatting on the phone with his wife before the League heads out to chase down the Legion, he says, "These are the end times".
  • Tempting Fate:
    • When Luthor bets that Darkseid won't notice Superman, Batman and himself battling atop the Daily Planet and right below Darkseid's mothership.
    • When Batman rebuffs Lex’s offer to take his extra laser pistol, he notes “Suit yourself, I’m planning to live through this.” Later, he intentionally merges himself and Darkseid to the Anti-Life Equation, leaving them both to an Uncertain Doom.
  • Throwing Your Shield Always Works: Commander Steel, much like another patriotic superhero.
  • Trash the Set: Darkseid takes the Daily Planet roof globe and throws it down through the building. You even see one shot of it going through Clark and Lois' office.
  • Uncertain Doom: The fate of Luthor and Darkseid.
    Batman: I doubt that either of them died.
    Superman: We saw it this time.
    Flash: You saw it last time, too.
  • Villainesses Want Heroes: Giganta plants a kiss on The Flash, indicating she's had a crush on him all this time.
  • Wham Shot: In China, an old Chinese man offers his assistance to Diana, who points out a battlefield is no place for an elderly bystander and he should leave while he still can. When a Parademon comes swooping towards the old man, he gives it an effective punch! Wonder Woman is especially surprised as the man lays waste to the Parademons, turns into a dragon...and to her pleasant surprise, turns into J'onn!
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Atomic Skull is quick to protest Batman's intention to arrest the Secret Society members after they just helped fight off an alien invasion force.
  • The Worf Barrage: After the "No More Holding Back" Speech and the pummeling Darkseid receives, he just gets up without any visible injuries, tells Superman that he hasn't got enough yet, and when the guy charges at him, he throws the Agony Matrix at him and would have killed him if not for Luthor.
  • Worthy Opponent: Darkseid is genuinely impressed when Batman dodges his Omega Beam, saying he's the first ever to avoid it. He also compliments Lex’s strategy (which is to just drop out of eyesight) and later notes that Superman’s valor in the Agony Matrix has "touched his heart". (though Superman’s "reward" is going to be his heart carved out with a Kryptonite dagger and placed on a pike in Darkseid’s throne room.)


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