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Recap / Justice League Unlimited S 3 E 1 I Am Legion

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Lex Luthor is saved from a failed jailbreak by none other than Gorilla Grodd, who has started an organization of super-villains to combat the effectiveness of the Justice League. While Lex wants nothing to do with this so-called "Legion", Grodd makes a tantalizing offer- if Luthor can retrieve a certain artifact, he'll receive a tiny piece of Brainiac's hardware. Enticed by the idea of reconstituting Brainiac and regaining the power he had when they merged, Luthor goes to Black Hawk Island, where the Black Hawk Squadron of World War II hide many dangerous objects.

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Tropes

  • The Artifact: The Key's presence was meant to hint at a larger role in the season: he was going to be revealed to have been built by Brainiac and used for his return. When the writers decided to bring back Darkseid for the finale instead, this plot was dropped, and the Key became just a background villain.
  • The Bad Guy Wins: Luthor gets the Spear of Destiny. Subverted somewhat in that Luthor’s reason for going on the mission— getting the last piece of Brainiac on Earth— remains out of his grasp thanks to Grodd’s loose interpretation of their deal.
  • Bus Crash: The surviving Blackhawk notes that his teammates have died. Of course, it has been roughly 60 years since their service, so even the youngest of them would be pushing 80 by the time of the episode.
  • Call-Back:
    • Luthor doesn't want in on Grodd's "Society", probably because of what happened last time he was working with a villain collective. It so happens that the guy who betrayed Luthor back then has something in common with Grodd.
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    • A Blackhawk requesting an SOS to the League, specifically Hawkgirl, harkens back to her brief teamup with the group back in "The Savage Time".
  • Comic-Book Movies Don't Use Codenames: Grodd's group is obviously an updated Legion of Doom, but they're never referred to as that in this or any other episode. The show's writers were perfectly okay with using the name, but DC reportedly told them not to.
  • Emerging from the Shadows: How Grodd first appears to Luthor.
  • Foreshadowing: Luthor promises to kill Grodd one day.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar: "I hear she's... Brazillian."
  • Indy Ploy: Flash makes Fire drop him so she can help Shayera fight in the air better. As he's plummeting, he voices his hopes to think of something to save himself. He does.
  • Legion of Doom: Well, obviously. The group is described as a protection racket. Grodd says all members are free to do commit whatever crimes they want, but they can get back-up if attacked by various Leaguers.
    Luthor: Right, he does it out of the goodness of his heart.
    Grodd: Plus 25% of the gross.
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  • Male Gaze: In the Javelin, Fire comes over to Flash. When he turns around, he was first greeted with a view of her impressive rack before slowly looking upward towards her face.
  • Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: It's unclear if Lex Luthor really is talking to Brainiac's ghost; as far as everyone is else is concerned, he's talking to himself.
  • Mythology Gag: Unsurprisingly, Grodd's team includes most of the line-up from Challenge of the Superfriends: Sinestro, Bizarro, Cheetah, Giganta, and Toyman.
  • Priceless Paperweight: The thing Grodd wanted Luthor to get? He thought it'd look nice on his mantle.
  • Remember the New Guy?: The featured Blackhawk is not one of the people the League met during World War II.
  • Secret Test of Character: The whole thing was a test to see how Luthor would handle himself in the field.
  • Shout-Out:
  • The Slow Path: Discussed. The surviving Blackhawk notes how it's been longer since his group saw the League than the other way around.
  • Two-Fisted Tales: The episode comes across as a loving homage to 30’s-40’s pulp fiction.
  • Wham Shot:
    • Grodd unveiling his new base and team.
    • Luthor talking to Brainiac.
  • Worth It: Fire says that Superman is not going to be pleased about how they let Luthor get away, but Flash mentions that it's probably for the best seeing Hawkgirl preserve her friendship with the last living Blackhawk.
  • Villain Protagonist: The episode is the first of many this season that portrays Lex Luthor as the POV character as he goes about attempting to find Brainiac again. The actual mission itself— acquiring the Spear of Destiny— means little to anyone other than as a Secret Test of Character for Lex who needs to succeed to get closer towards his goal.
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