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Recap / Superman: The Animated Series S2 E16-18 "World's Finest"

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The home video release, titled The Batman/Superman Movie. No relation.
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This episode is the first crossover with Batman: The Animated Series, with Batman, The Joker and Harley Quinn appearing in Metropolis.

The Joker has recently robbed an antique jeweler in Gotham, and was last seen outside of Metropolis. Curiously, the only thing he stole was a jade dragon statue. Luckily, Bruce Wayne is currently visiting Lex Luthor as LexCorp and Wayne Enterprises are in a joint project, developing robot drones for space travel. Luthor is interested in military applications, which Wayne disagrees with. Bruce Wayne has met and started dating Lois Lane, which Clark Kent does not approve of. Lois has even begun thinking of transferring to the Gotham City branch, and plans to talk about it during their date at a fancy restaurant.

It turns out the Joker is in Metropolis. After his Dark Mistress Harley Quinn knocks out Luthor's Ninja Maid Mercy Graves, the Joker meets up with Luthor and offers him a simple deal: "Pay me one billion dollars and I'll kill Superman!" Turns out the "Jade" dragon is actually a hunk of kryptonite someone found long ago. Eventually Luthor hires him, and the Joker sets up a trap by kidnapping Lois during her date with Bruce.

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Meanwhile, Batman tracks down the remains of the gang Joker overtook and it leads him to a night club. Superman disapproves of his Jack Bauer Interrogation Technique, and Batman replies by throwing him across the room. Superman, in response, shoulder-checks him into a wall in the blink of an eye, and uses his X-Ray Vision to discover his secret identity. Batman responds with Kryptonite and warns Superman to expect the unexpected. By the time Superman gets home and talks to Lois about her boyfriend, he sees a tracer on his cape, and Batman watching him from across town. Secret Identities have been swapped.

Superman heads off to rescue Lois and moves right into a trap at a LexCorp warehouse. The Joker presents him with half of the kryptonite dragon, but Superman's Kryptonite-Proof Suit holds firm... until the Joker splashes his suit with acid from his flower and begins torturing him in front of Lois Lane, leaving him to die with a time bomb. Luckily, Batman had caught up, arrests the gang, and destroys the Kryptonite. Superman is able to get Lois and Batman out of there before the bomb blows.

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After Batman scares the crap out of Lex Luthor, and Luthor realizes the Joker left an obvious clue, he goes directly to directly punish the Joker. While Quinn and Graves have a Cat Fight, the Joker points out that he couldn't anticipate Batman arriving and spoiling his plans. Luthor doubles the price to kill them both, so the Joker hijacks one of Luthor's robot drones and sends it after Batman after distracting Superman.

Batman and the drone fight across Metropolis, finally arriving at the Daily Planet after hours, where Lois has been up finishing a report. Batman brings her and the drone into the printing press, and gets the drone and his cape stuck in a rolling press. This exposes his face to Lois, who isn't remotely pleased by this development. The drone recovers and is about to skewer Batman when Superman returns from saving a sinking ship and crushes the drone in a single blow.

Luthor has invited the Joker to the warehouse where he was building his drones and his Cool Plane, the LexWing 5000. Why? Because Luthor has decided the Joker is too much of a liability and plans to kill him, then make up a story about how he killed a mass murdering thief stealing his technology. Instead, the Joker captures Luthor, takes the LexWing 5000 and prepares to destroy all of Metropolis while Luthor has a frontrow seat. By now, Batman and Superman visit the same warehouse, and are greeted with a fleet of killer drones. Superman fights them off (including the King Mook with the other half of the Kryptonite statue and Mercy Graves as a Human Shield) while Batman flies after the LexWing.

Batman catches up to the plane, breaks into it, and defeats the Joker. Unfortunately, the explosive marbles the Joker carried around start to detonate, blocking off their escape. Superman breaks in and rescues Luthor while Batman bails with Harley. Joker's explosive marbles go off again, and the Joker goes down with the LexWing.

Wayne Enterprises has cancelled the joint project with LexCorp over ethical concerns and controversy, but Luthor is not directly tied to the events. Harley Quinn is extradited back to Gotham and Mercy Graves has the last laugh (in spite of her broken arm and the bruises she received). Lois realizes her relationship with Bruce would never work out, but she does consider him a friend. Bruce and Clark note that they work well together, but Bruce will return to Gotham to continue what he does best. Before he boards on a plane, he warns Clark not to upset Lois, because "I know where you live."


Tropes:

  • Actually Pretty Funny: Invoked by Mercy.
    Harley: (on TV, being shoved into a padded wagon) I want a lawyer! I want a doctor! I want a cheese sandwich!
    Mercy: (recovering from injuries in bed) Now that's funny! Ha ha ha... ow!
  • Big Damn Heroes:
    • Batman arrived at the warehouse and was able to destroy the Kryptonite sample to free Superman from his trap.
    • When Batman couldn't destroy a robot drone, Superman arrived and crushed it in a single blow.
  • Bond One-Liner: As Batman and Harley parachute out of the LexWing 5000, they realize the Joker is still aboard.
    Harley: Puddin'!
    Batman: At this point, he probably is.
  • Break the Haughty: Superman seems in complete control as he bypasses the Joker's trap. Actually, the Joker's real trap is soon sprung, and he laughs in sadistic glee as he tortures Superman right in front of Lois Lane.
  • Butt-Monkey: Mercy Graves, Luthor's assistant gets hit with this hard. Harley Quinn punches her across the parking lot using her boxing glove gun and she receives an Offhand Backhand from Batman when he interrogates Luthor. She gives as good as she gets when fighting Harley, knocking her out but breaking her arm. Finally, the Joker knocks her out using a Killer Yo Yo. She gets thrown a bone at the end when she gets the satisfaction of seeing Harley locked up and laughs herself sick about it, though she still has serious arm injuries.
  • Cat Fight: Mercy and Harley against each other. It's Mercy who ultimately emerges victorious in the end.
  • Cool Plane: The LexWing 5000, a flying wing loosely based on the Northrop YB-49. It's very durable and heavily armed.
  • Crazy-Prepared: Played both ways when Superman and Joker first confront each other. Sups comes in his lead suit to save Lois, knowing Joker would have kryptonite on him. It seems Joker's plan is foiled ....until he sprays him with acid to dissolve the suit.
  • Crossover: With Batman: The Animated Series, the first of three.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: After the Joker muscles into Caesar's gang, one of the mooks leaves and refuses to go back. He's a criminal, but he doesn't want anything to do with Joker.
  • Explosive Decompression: Weaponised; Superman rips a hatch off Air Force One to enter. The terrorists are blown towards the door by the escaping air (while the hostages have been strapped to their seats) and right into Superman's fist. It's not revealed how he sealed the hole afterwards, but he is Superman.
  • Face Death with Dignity: When Joker sees the explosive marbles heading his way as the LexWing goes down, he naturally laughs himself silly before the plane explodes. Course Joker being Joker, it naturally won't hold for long.
  • Fire-Forged Friends: Superman and Batman starts off not on good terms and mistrusting each other, but by the end they recognize their effectiveness as a team and their relationship becomes one of respect and trust (well, trust on Superman's side, anyway).
  • Foreshadowing: A probably unintentional one, but it's mentioned that previous owners of the Jade Dragon all met early demises due to the fact it was made of kryptonite and the radiation coming from it. Years later in Justice League we find out Luthor held a small piece of kryptonite for years to keep Superman at bay and caught a terminal illness from it. (Then again, the latter was a plotline that had already played out in the comics...)
  • Funny Background Event: Luthor and Joker meet each other face to face and sic their henchgirls against each other (Mercy and Harley of course). They eventually get to calmly talking while the girls brawl in the background.
  • Genre Blindness: Joker is genuinely surprised that Batman would follow him all the way to Metropolis.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar:
    • When Batman shows up in a jetpack, The Joker asks if he has "propulsion envy."
    • Batman is tracking the Joker through an informant who was obviously staying... in a strip bar. Complete with girls serving alcohol drinks and girls dancing in cages. How did that get past the censors?!
    • Not to mention when Batman asks where Joker is, the informant suggests that he's "making ha-ha with Harley Quinn."
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: The Joker's explosive marbles make a handy distraction when Batman and Superman escape his warehouse trap and corner him, but they spill out of his bag when he's trying to flee the LexWing 5000. The explosions prevent him fleeing the ship, and he's trapped as the ship sinks into the ocean.
  • Hollywood Acid:
    • Averted; Batman notes the hydrochloric acid would take weeks to melt down the wall of the room he and Superman are trapped in. Played straight when Superman suggests Batman melt the kryptonite instead, and it works almost immediately.
    • The Joker's acid flower immediately burns through Superman's suit. (To be fair, it doesn't melt the green K so much as denature it.)
  • Human Shield: The Joker leaves Mercy bound to the side of one of the robots, which turns to interpose her between itself and Superman so he can't just punch it.
  • If You Ever Do Anything to Hurt Her...: When Batman leaves for Gotham again, he tells Superman that "[Lois] is all yours, if you can handle her. But you better be good to her, 'cause I know where you live."
  • Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy: Bruce Wayne gets surrounded by a gang, at point-blank range, with no cover. Somehow, they all managed to miss, and Bruce falls off the high-floor restaurant he was in. When Bruce does land, he is immobilized and the gang still can't hit him.
  • Invisible President: The President is never shown or heard; the closest we get is Superman talking to him through the window of his limo.
  • Laugh Themselves Sick: Mercy laughs hard at a news report of Harley being sent back to Arkham (hysterically ranting and raving as she is), then winces as the motion aggravates her injuries.
  • Made-for-TV Movie: This episode is 3-parts long and was originally premiered as one of these. It's been repackaged as a single movie, filled with obvious pauses for commercial breaks. You can get it on DVD however without the breaks.
  • Macross Missile Massacre: How the Lexwing takes down the Batwing.
  • Make Sure He's Dead: After Bruce falls from the high-floor restaurant, the Joker, knowing that "in this town some flying fool could've caught him", orders the men to make sure he's actually dead.
  • Megamanning: Joker accuses Batman of this flying like Superman, calling him a "Copy-bat!"
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain!: Superman struggles against the big robot, due to the kryptonite, but then it picks up the factory's door.
    Superman: Lead-lined door. I'll have to thank Luthor.
  • No One Could Survive That!: After the big crash, the Coast Guard reports they can't find the Joker's remains, but they openly doubt he could've survived.
  • Not So Stoic: Even Lex lets out a look of total horror (see Oh, Crap! below) when he realizes that Joker plans to blow up half of Metropolis using his own weapons.
  • Not the Fall That Kills You: After falling out of a high rise restaurant, Bruce falls several stories before catching himself on a windowsill several stories down. That kind of sudden stopping force should have destroyed the windowsill or his shoulders.
  • Oh, Crap!: One of the most memorable Oh, Crap! moments in the entire Animated Universe.
    Mercy: Joker took [Luthor] in the Lexwing! He said he'd make him lose everything he ever built!
    Superman: ...Luthor's built half of Metropolis.
    • An earlier one happens in Part One, when terrorists hijacking Air Force One learn that Lois Lane is on board.
  • "Oh, Crap!" Fakeout: When Superman shows up in a lead suit to counter the Kryptonite the Joker brought, the latter goes into a melodramatic "Woe is me" rant before snapping his fingers and chuckling, "Oh, silly me! I forgot the acid!" and melts his suit.
  • Power Creep, Power Seep: Batman takes some hits in this series that should have pulverized him in his series proper.
  • Saved by the Platform Below: The Joker and his thugs cause Bruce Wayne to topple from the terrace of a penthouse nightclub. "See that he's street pizza. In this town someone could have caught him!" the Joker orders, whereupon the mooks find Wayne alive and intact on a window washers' gantry several stories below the roof. Intersects with Deus ex Machina that such a gantry would be deployed there, at night, with no workers in sight.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: After Batman and Superman save Mercy from one of the reprogrammed robots, they are immediately attacked by an even bigger, tougher robot. While the two decide what to do next, Mercy can be seen slowly inching away - and she bolts for her life once they break into action.
  • Secret Keeper: Lois, of all people, learns Bruce is Batman. Their relationship falters because Lois realizes Bruce is Married to the Job. She's spent enough time with a superhero to know that Bruce isn't retiring anytime soon.
  • Shout-Out: A reference to an advertising mascot combined with a joke about Luthor's baldness:
    Luthor: You know I can't be connected to this in any way.
    Joker: Oh, you'll be Mr. Clean!
  • Show Some Leg: Gender Flipped when The Joker pulls this on Harley (who is kidnapping Lex, sorta).
    Harley: Whoa, mama! Check out the cute hitchhiker!
    Joker: Yoo-hoo!
  • The Stoic:
    • Bats, for the most part. When Supes uses X-Ray vision to see Batman's identity:
    Superman: Bruce Wayne?!
    Batman: You peeked.
    • The Joker, to a degree. His reaction to Lex Luthor machine gunning his hideout when he failed to kill Superman is a mild "how did I know Batman would show up?"
  • Theme Tune Cameo: The Jack in the Box Harley uses in the opening plays the Joker theme.
  • Touché: Clark mutters this when he finds a tracker on him and uses his supervision to see that Batman is spying on him and now knows his identity in retaliation for finding out his during the fight at the club.
  • Underestimating Badassery:
    • Batman and the Joker are both seen as mere mortals against virtual gods like Superman and Lex Luthor. When Luthor laughs at him for thinking he can kill Superman despite being unable to defeat "a mere mortal in a Halloween costume" like Batman, the Joker gets deadly serious and grabs Luthor by the collar:
      The Joker: There's nothing mere about that mortal.
    • Superman finds this out when he tries to interrupt Batman's interrogation, only to get judo-thrown across the room (and has to take a moment to get over the surprise). And then Bruce brings out the tiny shard of kryptonite...
    • Batman winds up scaring Luthor by breaking into his penthouse in the middle of the night and interrogating him. Luthor immediately contacts the Joker and agrees to pay what he's asking.
    • Naturally, The Joker soon proves he's much, much more dangerous than you'd ever think a clown to be. Superman thinks he's got him beat by showing up in a lead suit, but Joker has other tricks up his sleeve... and on his lapel. And Luthor is horrified to find out Joker's just as much a threat to him and every single person in Metropolis as he is to the heroes.
      Batman: Expect the unexpected.
  • What Does This Button Do?: The Joker asks Lex Luthor how to operate the weapons on the LexWing, but Luthor is uncooperative. Joker responds by hitting as many buttons as possible.
  • Would Hit a Girl: Bats KO's Mercy when she pulls a gun on him.
  • You Didn't Ask: Lois accuses Bruce of lying for not telling her he was Batman. Bruce responds cheekily, "Now, I never told you I wasn't Batman." Lois responds by Dope Slapping him on the back, directly on the iodine-soaked wound.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: After two failures, Lex has had enough of The Joker.

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