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Tear Jerker / Justice League

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"Could you stay with me? I'm scared."
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    Justice League 
1x01/02/03 — Secret Origins
  • J'onn's explanation of the Imperium's origins, all with flashbacks of the Imperium invasion of his home planet Mars. Ending with all J'onn's fellow Martians being wiped out.

1x04/05 — In Blackest Night

1x06/07 — The Enemy Below

1x08/09 — Paradise Lost

  • Wonder Woman's banishment at the end. No one actually wants it to happen, yet she broke the law and Hippolyta's hand is forced.
    • Flash unknowingly makes it worse for both Diana and Hippolyta by calling them out on this. Incidentally, the exile happens just after the men are all rewarded and praised for stopping Felix Faust and Hades.

1x10/11 — War World

1x12/13 — The Brave and the Bold

1x14/15 — Fury

  • Aresia's backstory is bad enough with her family being murdered and the survivors displaced by despotic rulers, but then the ship they're fleeing on is destroyed with only the captain and Aresia left to try and swim to shore. He swims without rest for an unknown amount of time until he's able to safely deliver her to the shores of Themyscira where he dies from hunger, thirst, and exhaustion. He is the only man to ever be buried on the island and, at the time, it was thought that, despite his noble act, "he didn't matter." Aresia's descent and eventual death means his sacrifice was meaningless.
    • Moreover, Hippolyta never told Aresia this until it was too late, and she was so convinced that all men deserved to die at that point that it didn't matter to her. Aresia, bitchy as she was, was a Tyke Bomb because of not just negligent men that ruined her life, but also negligent Amazons who hate men so much that they banished Diana, one of their own, for bringing a few over just to save the world from Hades.
    • It wasn't necessarily hate towards men that Hippolyta had; she just thought the life of the girl was more important than the already-near-dead male. She did at the least do him the honor of burying him rather than leaving his body. As for banishing Diana, it was more so because it was the rule imposed by the gods (Hippolyta even said as a mother she was proud, but as a queen, her duty still needed be done). Regardless, it was still Hippolyta's fault for preaching that men aren't so great, especially when she and her Amazons have missed a few thousand years of progression.

1x16/17 — Legends

1x18/19 — Injustice For All

1x20/21 — A Knight of Shadows

  • Jason Blood's backstory is even more tragic in the DCAU than the DC Universe. First, he's tricked (most likely bewitched) by Morgan le Fay into betraying Camelot. Then Morgan stabs him in the back! Then, instead of letting him die for it, Merlin decides to get vindictive and bind him with the dark and brooding Etrigan.
  • J'onn's backstory, and in turn everything he goes through in this episode with Morgan pretty much mind-raping him with his memories of his family into working for her.

1x22/23 — Metamorphosis

1x24/25/26 — The Savage Time

  • There is a tearjerker that might be overlooked at first. When the League inform a time-altered Batman that history as he knows it has been changed he says, "Then my parents might still be alive." Superman just says, "I can't promise that." Right before they travel back to the WWII era to restore the timeline, J'onn warns Batman this version of him will not exist if they are successful. Batman says "Nothing would make me happier." The League change history back to how it was and Batman is still without his parents. Nothing changed for him except how and why they died. Sadly, nothing the League did made him any happier.
    • What's really sad is that in virtually all adaptations of Batman, all Elseworld stories, he really never is truly happy.

2x01/02 — Twilight

  • The somber Call-Back to "Paradise Lost" when J'onn remarks to Hawkgirl how so many of the Leaguers (himself, her, Wonder Woman, Superman) are "orphans and exiles". It's even more somber for the audience, knowing J'onn (who at this point doesn't know Batman's identity or history) is actually understating the case.

2x03/04 — Tabula Rasa

2x05/06 — Only a Dream

  • When Superman sees Lois Lane die due to his out-of-control Eye Beams, he screams and thrashes—an expression of pain neither Kryptonite nor Omega Beams could drag out of him. Then there's Jimmy Olsen's death. Overjoyed to find a friendly face, Superman scoops his young colleague off his feet and hugs him. Then he hears the boy scream and opens his eyes to find he's holding his pal's limp body. He realizes what happened, cradles Jimmy's body, and desperately apologizes. This becomes even worse when you realize that, for Superman, this might call back memories of the events of "Legacy". No wonder that when J'onn breaks him out of the nightmare, he greets Dr. Destiny with a super-punch to the face.
    • Also, remember young Clark's reaction when he first found out he wasn't human? "No, it's not true! I'm not a freak! I'm not! I'm not!"
    • Worse, when J'onn arrives, he quickly realizes it's all a dream, unlike the others, but doesn't care. This is a fear he lives with every second of every day,note  and this instance being false doesn't cure him of it, to the point where he's the only one who doesn't overcome their nightmare themselves: J'onn has to take it away. He spells it out when they talk: His powers already make it difficult to live a normal life, and he's afraid that his powers will keep growing so much that he'll eventually lose control over them.
      Superman: I started with no power at all. Then I kept getting more. What if it never stops?
      J'onn: You'll handle it. I know you.
      Superman: Words. Just words.
    • This is even better if you know how this develops in the main DC Comics universe; Superman's powers WILL keep growing, but so will his control, to the point where, in the far distant future, he becomes a being of pure solar energy after spending the past 10,000 years meditating in the center of Sol.
  • While it had nothing to do with her powers, Hawkgirl's nightmare could be even worse. She dreams of having her wings locked together before being Buried Alive in a small coffin. She is so intensely claustrophobic that J'onn can't even get into her nightmare to save her, due to the mental barriers erected by her fear. If Batman hadn't defeated Dr. Destiny, it's very likely she could've died from a nightmare-induced heart attack!

2x07/08 — Maid of Honor

2x09/10 — Hearts and Minds

2x11/12 — A Better World

2x13/14 — Eclipsed

  • Poor army officer Burns and General McCormick, the two men who played host to the Ophidians' gem. While both men were no doubt cleared of all charges after the military learned from the League of the Ophidians, the shocked look on Burns' face when told he was responsible for the attack on his squad says it all.

2x15/16 — The Terror Beyond

  • Solomon Grundy's death. And keep in mind that Hawkgirl's culture is vehemently atheist.
    Grundy: Do you think...Grundy's soul is waiting for him?
    Hawkgirl: Grundy, I don't bel— [stops herself] Yes. It's waiting for you.
    Grundy: [whispers] Then Grundy gets his reward.
    • Hawkgirl cries for him after he dies.
    • Grundy's resting place is a solitary grave on a hill in the countryside. The headstone simply says "Solomon Grundy: Born On a Monday".

2x17/18 — Secret Society

  • While he wasn't a good person and only got worse overtime, Clayface's apparent death is sobering, especially if you've followed his story all the way from BTAS. To see Matt go through such agony in a vain attempt to be human, only to die so unceremoniously, unnoticed even by Batman is just heartbreaking. And even if he didn't explicitly die, he deserved a better sendoff than that. Worse considering he has taken a level in kindness in terms of his attitude and personality compared to his prior egoistical and rude self, and initially considered to become a Retired Monster while still seeking to become to human again, making his send-off much more underserving in his apparent last appearance.

2x19/20 — Hereafter

  • The entire first half after Superman "dies". The aftermath of the battle, the mourning, and especially J'onn's eulogy are all very tastefully done. Then Lobo shows up, and the episode quickly skips into a series of what, depending on your point of view, might be either Crowning Moments of Awesome...or not.
  • Flash hugging the little girl he was in the midst of saving when Toyman "kills" Superman, as everyone starts to realize what had just happened.
  • Special mention has to go to Lois who ends up breaking down in the the arms of Lex Luthor, of all people. Speaking of which, it's the one moment where you can tell Lex is genuinely sad.
    Luthor: Believe it or not, I'm going to miss him, too.
  • J'onn's eulogy.
    J'onn: Though we gather here today, bound together in sorrow and loss, we share a precious gift. We are, all of us, privileged to live a life that has been touched by Superman. The Man of Steel possessed many extraordinary gifts, and he shared them with us freely. None of these gifts were more remarkable than his ability to discern what needed to be done, and his unfailing courage in doing it, whatever the personal cost. Let us all strive to accept his gift and pass it along as an ongoing tribute to Kal-El of Krypton, the immigrant from the stars who taught us all how to be heroes.
    • During this, the camera, at one point, cuts to Kara and Jonathan Kent comforting Martha.
  • Hawkgirl crying over Superman's death, completely alone, showing how she has already grown to care about her friends.
  • Batman has adamantly refused to believe Superman has died, even avoiding going to the funeral. He goes to Superman's memorial to find out what happened to the Man of Steel, but is stymied by another dead end (which actually forces him to consider that he may be wrong—he would never allow himself such despairing thoughts, so as not be hurt again). It's then Batman admits how much he respected and admired Superman, and how he showed him "justice doesn't have to come from the darkness." It's a wonderful piece of acting from Kevin Conroy whose voice subtly breaks during his confession, showing that the Dark Knight is truly affected by the loss of one of his teammates.
    Batman: I've got some things to say. I should've said them when you were here, but... Despite our differences, I have nothing but respect for you. I hope you knew... know that. You showed me that justice doesn't always have to come from the darkness. I'll miss... [something in the distance explodes] What did you always call it, Clark? The neverending battle?
    • A subtle moment, but as Batman repeatedly watches the footage of Superman disappearing, he rubs his thumb on the scrap of Superman's cape that he found, as if for comfort.
  • While it is a fitting punishment for Savage for destroying nearly all living things on Earth in the Bad Future, it's not hard to feel for him as he clearly learned to regret his actions, as he could have left any time but decided what he got was a deserving punishment. Just simply seeing his face when he welcomes Superman, his former enemy, with an uncharacteristic smile that even scared Superman, after being alone for thousands of years.
  • The ending: The alternate, eccentric but now good-natured Savage fading out of existence as the dystopian wasteland is replaced with a more optimistic future. Before disappearing, he simply smiles and says, "Thank you, my friend."
    • The shot of Savage immediately preceding the ending is heartbreaking: He's a lonely man sitting by himself in the middle of a ruined Metropolis doing...nothing. Because nothing is all there is to do.
      • Even more so, before the timeline catches up we can see Savage looks utterly and completely broken. He may have thought that Superman must have failed to change the timeline and all their efforts had been in vain. His utter relief when everything starts changing and he disapears is palpable.

2x21/22 — Wild Cards

  • When one of The Joker’s bombs go off Green Lantern quickly uses his ring to save Hawkgirl from the explosion while sacrificing himself. Hawkgirl is found terrified and panics. Luckily she finds GL and is able to recover him. She abandons the mission against Batman’s orders to give John medical treatment.
  • The flashbacks of Ace's childhood—which show her being held in various laboratories, her psychologically broken parents (which she is implied to have accidentally mind-wiped as a toddler), the mental restraint helmet holding back her powers, and the rare occasion where she cries—are enough to make you choke.

2x23 — Comfort and Joy

  • It might be more expedient to list the moments from this episode that aren't going to hit one in the stomach like a sack of bricks, but here's an annotated version: The Justice League helps out a group of peaceful aliens by building a device for them. As it's close to Christmas time, they all decide to take some time off in their own ways.
    • Superman heads back home to Smallville, bringing J'onn with him for dinner at the Kents'. J'onn initially feels out of place, taking in an Earth holiday with Earth customs, but after sneaking out at night and wandering around Smallville on Christmas Eve, he sees (and mind-reads) so much joy and goodwill in the small-town folk that his longing to be with his own family doesn't seem so bad. Hearing the thoughts of a young girl convinced Santa is real despite her brother's assertions to the contrary, he flies up on the roof, comes down the chimney, and eats the Oreos and milk she left out for Santa. The next morning, the Kents are awoken by an eerie noise. They head downstairs to see J'onn sitting in the bay window, in his default Martian form, stroking the family cat, and singing a song in his native tongue.
      Clark: And he said he didn't bring a gift.
    • Next, we're treated to a shot of an orphanage, where the director tells the children that they'll be getting a visit from their favorite man in a red suit shortly. True to her word, in zooms Flash, offering to bring the children a gift of their desire. They all agree on a DJ Rubba Ducky, the hottest toy of the season which is, of course, completely unavailable. Flash runs to Japan in order to score one straight from the manufacturer, but this plan is accidentally foiled when, in trying to stop the Ultra-Humanite, Flash breaks the Rubba Ducky. Flash chastises the rogue for his part in destroying Christmas for orphans, at which point he is knocked unconscious by Ultra-Humanite. Flash awakens to see Ultra-Humanite working on repairing the toy in his workshop, having been swayed by Flash's point that one claiming to personify the best traits of humanity, such as Ultra-Humanite does, should have a little humanity himself. Ultra-Humanite believes the children are pure, not vulgar like most of the human race, and should therefore not be made to suffer as all the rest deserve. He and Flash return the repaired toy to the orphanage, and though the toy now recites a recording of Ultra-Humanite reading The Nutcracker (with accompanying music) instead of the hip-hop and fart sounds it did before (due to Ultra-Humanite wishing to give the orphans some culture), their Christmas is nonetheless a happy one, and Ultra-Humanite submits to Flash and is taken to jail. Once in his cell, Flash arrives with a token of thanks: An aluminum Christmas tree. He acknowledges that it's tacky, especially for one as cultured and refined as Ultra-Humanite, but his explanation is cut short: Ultra-Humanite intimates his family had one when he was a child, and trails off in mid-reminiscence before telling Flash that he may have the guard show him out of the cell. Flash looks on as Ultra-Humanite lights up the tree.

2x24/25/26 — Starcrossed

  • Batman pilots the Watchtower towards Earth with himself aboard, intending to perform a Heroic Sacrifice. Fortunately, Superman saves him before the collision.
    Batman: [to Flash and J'onn] Gentlemen, it's been an honor.
  • GL and Shayera's big farewell after the failed Thanagarian invasion of Earth. Hawkgirl is disgraced from both her native and adopted worlds. The beautiful music and voice-acting did not help matters.
    John: You never asked how we voted.
    Shayera: It doesn't matter.
    John: So, where are you you gonna go?
    Shayera: I don't know. Someplace where the fate of the world isn't in my hands. Someplace where there are no more secrets... No more lies...
    John: Was it all a lie?
    Shayera: I love you, John. I never lied about that. [flies off]
    John: [tearing up] ...I love you, too.

    Justice League Unlimited 
1x01 — Initiation

1x02 — For the Man Who Has Everything

  • The Black Mercy is a classic Lotus-Eater Machine; it grants its host their heart's deepest desire at the cost of rendering them completely catatonic. In order to break free of the parasite's grasp, the host must sacrifice that desire. Superman gets to live out a perfect fantasy life on Krypton with a wife, son, and his real parents. He's even given memories of all of it. Upon figuring out the illusion, he tearfully explains to his fake son that none of it is real, that he can't stay because he has responsibilities, and promises he'll never forget him. Then he has to endure seeing Krypton die—again. Supes is so understandably pissed he doesn't even stop to help Batman or Wonder Woman; he goes straight for Mongul, and he's not gentle with him. At all.
    Superman: Burn.
    • Batman, in a rare moment of vulnerability, regresses to the night his parents were killed. This time, Thomas Wayne overpowers Joe Chill and starts beating the crap out of him while Bruce cheers. You actually see his real-world self genuinely smile in happiness. As Wonder Woman rips the Black Mercy off of Batman, little Bruce watches in despair all over again as Chill regains control and fatally shoots his father. Little Bruce's face is heartbreaking and, a moment later, we fade out to see the same despair on Batman's face.
      Mongul: [sneering] It must have been like tearing off your own arm.
      • While Superman is able to dream of a better world despite never experiencing it, Batman cannot progress beyond that one moment in Crime Alley. He cannot even imagine having a nice childhood.
      • The real gut-puncher? Batman's fantasy rings true for a certain statement given by the Joker in Return of the Joker.
        Joker: Behind all the sturm and batarangs, you're just a little boy in a playsuit crying for Mommy and Daddy.
      • Diana, as she is pulling the Black Mercy off Batman, is screaming his name. You can hear the desperation and pain she is going through, knowing full well that by taking it off him, she is robbing him of some semblance of happiness. It must've been a painful decision for her, seeing him genuinely smile for what may have been the first time in their time as companions.

1x03 — Kid Stuff

  • At the end, after they're restored to adulthood, Wonder Woman and Batman have this exchange:
    Wonder Woman: Circumstances aside, it was kind of...enjoyable to be a kid again.
    Batman: [in a bitter, completely un-nostalgic tone] I haven't been a kid since I was eight years old.

1x04 — Hawk and Dove

1x05 — This Little Piggy

1x06 — Fearful Symmetry

1x07 — The Greatest Story Never Told

  • Booster Gold cracks from his repeated blunders just before the climax, confessing to Dr. Tracy Simmons that he only came back in time to get famous and isn't hero material. Thankfully, she gives him a quick pep talk to snap him out of his funk.

1x08 — The Return

1x09 — Ultimatum

  • Imagine being a teenage superhero and finding out that you're a genetically engineered experiment created by the government. All of your memories are fake, your family are actors, and your new powers are a sign of your body breaking down. Oh, and you have less than a month to live after which you will be replaced by another clone. No wonder all of the Ultimen except Long Shadow went off the deep end.
  • In a desperate attempt to give their lives meaning, the Ultimen decide to take on the Justice League. It doesn't go so well, and only paints them as villains. Even worse is Wind Dragon's Heroic BSoD at the end, after Long Shadow talks him out of killing Superman whom he had always admired.
    Wind Dragon: He was my hero. [tears up] And a hero is all I ever wanted to be.

1x10 — Dark Heart

1x11 — Wake the Dead

  • Grundy is brought back wrong and cannot help attacking everyone and everything in sight, powering through the heroes trying to stop him until Shayera hits him with her nth metal mace, which finally does some damage to him. His cry of pain, however, while a welcome relief to the heroes who finally have a means to stop him, sounds brutal.
    • And it's followed up by Shayera pleading with Grundy to stay down, and when he's unable to, she has to bring him down with a few well-placed strikes, smashing him hard enough into the ground to knock him into the sewers below, all while wearing a horrified expression.
  • After pointedly bringing up Old Yeller and all the implications therein, Shayera declines letting Green Lantern do the job for her and goes after Grundy, finding him in obvious pain. He seems to find just enough of himself (and their brief friendship) to stay calm and bow his head while she raises up her mace to give him a Mercy Kill.
    Shayera: Close your eyes...
    • A short while later, she emerges from the sewer alone. It's heartwrenching.
      Shayera: It's done.
  • Shayera is sure she was voted out of the Justice League but Green Lantern reassures her that no, actually, "Superman broke the tie." Then you remember he knows how she feels (that she'll never be trusted by anyone ever again) because he's been through the same thing.

1x12 — The Once and Future Thing, Part 1: Weird Western Tales

1x13 — The Once and Future Thing, Part 2: Time, Warped

  • Just before the final fight with Chronos, Warhawk gets nervous and a little scared. To see someone like Warhawk scared...
  • Terry's death. As the four Dee-Dees electrocute him, the scene cuts from Terry screaming in agony to Future-Bruce seated at his computer screaming Terry's name in horror and then repeating it, absolutely dejected at his successor's death. Becomes worse after "Epilogue" with The Reveal that Terry is actually Bruce's son.
  • Future-Static appears to die after being sucked into some kind of tear in space-time. He only gets a few seconds, but the poor guy looks terrified.

2x01 — The Cat and the Canary

2x02 — The Ties That Bind

2x03 — The Doomsday Sanction

  • When Superman visits Batman in the ER, Bruce was angry at the turn of events; Superman had just sent Doomsday to the Phantom Zone without any sort of oversight. Calling Superman a "true Justice Lord", Bruce asks what could the human race do if Superman eventually does decide to do to Luthor what the Lords Superman did and impose martial law. Superman jokes that Bruce always has a piece of Kryptonite, and Bruce loses it. Superman was the one person Bruce always trusted to do the right thing, and for the first time he's legitimately afraid that trust is gone.
    Bruce: You don't get to joke! Not today. I just took a bullet for you!

2x04 — Task Force X

2x05 — The Balance

2x06 — Double Date

2x07 — Clash

  • Anybody would feel tears well up for Captain Marvel. He spends almost the entire episode gushing about how much he loves being in the League, especially since it gives him a chance to hang around with his idol Superman who acts prickly and jealous toward him. His life as Billy Batson is shown to be complete crap, but he doesn't seem to mind now that's he's on the League. What happens? Superman, the man he aspires to be like, ends up attacking him.
    Captain Marvel: My whole life, I've looked up to the League. You were my heroes, every one of you. And you [Superman], you were more than a hero... I idolized you, I wanted to be you. Whenever I was out there facing down the bad guys, I'd think "What would Superman do?" Now I know. I believe in fair play. I believe in taking people at their word and giving them the benefit of the doubt. Back home, I've come up against my share of pretty nasty bad guys, but I never had to act the way they did to win a fight; I always found another way. I...I guess I'm saying I like being a hero, a symbol. And that's why...I'm quitting the Justice League. You don't act like heroes anymore.
    • To be fair, it wasn't jealousy; it was Superman being insanely paranoid of what looked like a bomb Luthor planted. It's really more power to Luthor being a Magnificent Bastard. But even so, Superman is not supposed to act like a total tool in public, and definitely not throw punches at other heroes completely unprovoked. Captain Marvel was the sensible one, requesting to call someone in to see what the device was. Superman is also horrified when he realizes he was fighting a child, and is unable to make it up to him.
      • Even worse when you think about Superman's position. His reputation was tarnished immensely after the events of "Legacy." "Hereafter" showed that he managed to rebuild his reputation. Now, due to his actions, he finds himself in the same situation once again, but this time it can't be excused as being brainwashed. He acted on his own accord. Superman has no one to blame but himself.
      • And this was part of Luthor's plan all along, to discredit the Justice League, which Batman figured out. And Captain Marvel's speech made them realize what they're becoming: Like the Justice Lords.
    • For what it's worth, Luthor probably didn't have to try that hard to be distraught by the fight. He was expecting Superman to mangle the reactor out of apparent spite for his past, but he didn't expect a full-blown fight between Captain Marvel and Superman. And he most certainly didn't expect one of the fight's first blows to be Superman decking Captain Marvel through the Lena Luthor Memorial Hospital. For the record, that's not just a virtually-free hospital meant to provide state-of-the-art healthcare to thirty thousand low-income families. It's all that and named in honor of Luthor's dead little sister.
    • The worst part about the incident? Captain Marvel is never seen again, so Superman is never seen reconciling with him. This was due out-of-universe to copyright issues, but it's still sad.
    • What makes the episode so sad is that, when you get right down to it, a little boy gets beaten up by the man he looks up to as a hero.

2x08 — Hunter's Moon

  • We see the results of Shayera's betrayal; the Thanagarians lose the war to the Gordanians, and Hro Talak sacrifices himself trying to evacuate his crew. Worse is that the remaining members are stranded on a planet at the end of the episode (or killed, in Kragger's case) and are unable to join the resistance back home.

2x09 — Question Authority

  • It's shown how far the Question is willing to go in order to protect the world and the Justice League, in spite of how both see him: He is willing to assassinate Luthor right at the height of his polling popularity, and go down in history as a crazed lunatic who murdered a popular presidential candidate. But he's fine with that, because at least the world will be saved from whatever fate Luthor has in store for it as America's president, and with a crackpot conspiracy theorist being the one to kill Luthor instead of Superman, Superman's legacy will live on, and the Justice League's reputation will be barely affected. The music, Question's resigned tone, and his humiliating failure at Luthor's hands really amplify the situation.
    Question: If i'm to save the world... your existence must come to an end, before you take office.
    Luthor: You're going to kill me so that Superman can't.
    Question: I'm a well-known crackpot. The Justice League's reputation will survive my actions... and Superman's legacy will remain intact.
  • How Huntress treats Question. She goes from being genuinely concerned about his (more than usual) erratic behaviour, when she normally mocks his Conspiracy Theorist ways. The moment when Huntress finds Question's communicator is a combination of Tear Jerker and Heartwarming Moment. She's horrified at the thought he might be dead, and her determination to rescue him when she realises he's being held by Cadmus makes it clear that for all their mutual snarky banter, she genuinely cares about the man.
  • Superman's confrontation with Professor Hamilton, upon learning the truth of Hamilton's betrayal. The good doctor tries (rather feebly) to justify his acts of human experimentation and murder by claiming Superman betrayed him first when he snapped at him after Darkseid's failed invasion. Then, in an act of pure spite, he compares Superman to Satan. What's worse is that Hamilton never shows any remorse or attempts any reconciliation like Waller would later do; in this continuity, one of Superman's closest confidants betrays him and Supergirl (by cloning both of them) and never gets any comeuppance.

2x10 — Flashpoint

  • After having to beat Captain Atom to unconsciousness, Superman refuses the help of the Cadmus lackies and then gently picks him up.
    Superman: Don't you touch him! He's Justice League.

  • After the Question is rescued from being tortured, he and Huntress share a moment.
    Question: You were right, I am the ugliest guy of all time.
    Huntress: Not in my eyes.

2x11 — Panic in the Sky

2x12 — Divided We Fall

  • The Speed Force scene. It's more the fact that Flash sounds so freaking serious about it all—and this is Wally West we're talking about.
    Flash: Shayera? It's so beautiful here. There's a force. A Speed Force. It's calling me home.
    • It's even worse if you look closely. He didn't take Hawkgirl's hand; she had to drag him out by his wrist.
    • Similarly, when he realizes he can't slow down and stumbles toward his friends with a dazed "I feel kind of... funny." It's anything but.

2x13 — Epilogue

  • Pictured above: The massively heartwrenching scene between Batman and Ace. Ace creates a new Royal Flush Gang with her powers which have evolved into full-bore reality warping. Once they're taken care of by the JLU, Amanda Waller shows up with another job for the League: Take out Ace before she suffers a massive aneurysm that will unleash a psychic backlash that would kill everyone in range ("That's a distance measured in miles"). Batman takes the weapon designed to kill Ace and rushes into her hiding spot.
    Ace: They weren't really games, you know. They were training me, turning me into a weapon, "for justice," they said. They got their weapon; I got cheated out of my childhood.
    Batman: I know what that's like.
    Ace: You do, don't you? You don't have to answer; I've read your mind. That's how I knew you weren't going to use Mrs. Waller's weapon on me.
    Batman: [draws weapon] No. I wasn't. [tosses it away]
    Ace: You were going to try and talk me into fixing what I've changed... before I die.
    Batman: Yes.
    Ace: I'm dying very soon.
    Batman: [quietly] Yes. I'm sorry.
    Ace: ...Could you stay with me? I'm scared.
    [Batman sits next to Ace on the swing, silently offering to hold her hand]
    [Back with Shayera and the others, the warped reality gradually returns back to normal; the Royal Flush Gang reverts to normal human beings; the massive castle and swirling storm above dissipate into nothing. Batman is then seen approaching, cradling Ace's body in his arms.]
    Waller: [narrating] He sat with her until her time came.
    • Ace's reasons for making a new Royal Flush Gang are pretty depressing: She just wants friends to play with. People are so terrified of her that she has to give superpowers to criminals just to have any company at all, and they STILL try to keep as far away from her as they can. That poor girl REALLY needs a hug.
    • And while Ace the Bat-Hound has been around in the comics since the 50s, within the context of the DCAU, it is entirely plausible that Bruce named his dog after Ace.
    • Ace is probably the least villainous of the foes that Batman has faced. She's been manipulated and turned into a weapon, but as her brain is set to implode, she doesn't actually want to hurt anyone. Some aneurysms can be operated on, so the one she has must be really bad if Waller doesn't consider offering her surgery. No one would blame her for Put Them All Out of My Misery but Batman easily convinces her to fix everything and calms her down. All she wanted as a friend, and Batman offered himself as one.
  • The scene with Bruce and Terry. While Terry argues with him, Bruce's heart condition acts up and the man who was Batman is seen struggling to so much as open his medication bottle throughout the rest of the scene. This man saved Gotham countless times thanks to training his mind and body to their physical peak, and this scene is most likely exactly how he will die. Not in some blaze of glory fighting to save those around him. He will die when he someday finds his body no longer has the strength to open that bottle at all. And the Dark Knight will die alone, killed by time.
    • Not to mention it's implied he's like this now because he burnt himself out fighting, training, and getting the living hell pounded out of him in his youth. He's literally sacrificed everything, including his health. Just the way the original Batman looks at this point, ravaged by time and close to being permanently bed-ridden, is nothing short of heartbreaking.
    • The knife plunges in when you see the elderly Bruce collapse out of his chair in pain, trying to pick up his medication. He's so pitiable at this point. A man who gave Gotham everything he had, but he's only one man, and it's never enough. The knife twists when you see a look of betrayal on his face, as Terry walks out on him, leaving him old, helpless, and alone.
      • Good thing that the monochrome (gray) parts were just Terry's imagination and didn't happen, according to Word of God. It makes it much more meaningful when Terry in the real world helps him open the bottle and promises to eat the soup Bruce made when he returns.
  • Why Waller gave up her scheme to create another Batman using Terry McGinnis: The killer she hired to gun Terry's parents down couldn't pull the trigger. Waller hired Phantasm aka Andrea Beaumont, who had crossed the Moral Event Horizon avenging her father's death and her ruined engagement to Bruce. Andrea still has lines she won't cross, however; she couldn't hurt Bruce's biological son any more than she could rob a child of his parents, the way she and Bruce were robbed. She also told off Waller for her scheme, and Waller argued but realized Andrea was right. While Bruce eventually learned Terry was his son, it remains unknown if he ever learned of Andrea's What You Are in the Dark moment.

3x01 — I Am Legion

3x02 — Shadow of the Hawk

3x03 — Chaos at the Earth's Core

3x04 — To Another Shore

3x05 — Flash and Substance

  • Trickster. Think of what must be wrong with him to cause him to not be fully aware of what's going on or even what he's wearing.

3x06 — Dead Reckoning

  • Deadman possesses Batman and shoots Devil Ray, accidentally killing him. When Batman realizes what happened, he hurls the gun away in horror and storms out without a word.
    • Think of it from Deadman's point of view: He never even meant to kill the guy. You can see the look of shame on his face as he's pleading with Batman to understand.

3x07 — Patriot Act

3x08 — The Great Brain Robbery

3x09 — Grudge Match

3x10 — Far From Home

3x11 — Ancient History

  • Carter Hall/Katar Hol believes he is a reincarnation of a Thanagarian warrior who came to Earth with his wife. But then said wife cheated on him with his best friend, and the two ended up getting poisoned because of a misunderstood order. Katar then poisoned himself to be with his wife forever. Makes the ending of "Shadow of the Hawk" a lot sadder.
    • The reason his wife cheated on him is because he's so focused on being a good ruler that he neglects her. And when he saw his wife and his best friend together, all he could say was "I wish they were dead". It was after they died did he realize his mistake, that he didn't know what he had until it was gone.
  • John Stewart finally reveals to Shayera the existence of Warhawk, their future child. Shayera is clearly overjoyed at this, both at having a child and that it means they'll eventually be together. But then John tells her that while she deserves to know about their son, he doesn't want to get together with her because fate said so and will remain with Vixen until otherwise. While Shayera understands, she obviously does not take it well. She eventually goes to Batman and asked him about Warhawk.

3x12 — Alive!

3x13 — Destroyer

  • Lex Luthor, of all people, is the one to save the universe by handing the Anti-Life Equation to Darkseid and merging with the Source Wall with Darkseid in tow. When everyone goes to the Metro Tower, Superman sounds a bit somber over what transpired. He and Luthor were the very definition of bitter enemies since the very beginning, but he saw firsthand what Luthor did. When J'onn justifiably calls Luthor the worst thing mankind has to offer, Superman somewhat defends Luthor for sacrificing himself to save the world; that's how much appreciation and respect he probably gains for his archenemy.
    J'onn: In many ways, Lex represents the worst mankind has to offer.
    Superman: But he died saving us all.
    • His final moments are rather heartbreaking as well, as he seems to Face Death with Dignity and show that despite wanting to rule the world, he also truly loves it.
      Darkseid: [about the Anti-Life Equation] It's beautiful... isn't it?
      Luthor: [quietly] Yes. [turns his head to look to Metropolis] Yes, it is.

    Comics 
  • If one treats the Justice League Beyond comics as canon, then there's not really that much good left for the main heroes that were not already addressed in Batman Beyond.
    • Warhawk's backstory begins all the way back to the death of Mari/Vixen by Shadow Thief, in a dinner date when John would've proposed to her. She gets rushed to the Watchtower but is unable to be saved. John reveals his proposal, and with her dying breath, she says "yes." Adam Strange arrives after her funeral and reveals that Shadow Thief has caused a civil war between his people and the now-refugee Thanagarians, due to following Carter Hall (who also dies a Senseless Sacrifice in an attempt to bring peace) to that planet. Accompanied by Shayera, they travel there and John kills Shadow Thief. In doing this, he violates of the Green Lantern oath, so he gets his ring revoked. Shayera and John end up retiring from the Justice League and provide a proper burial for Mari in her home village as well as moving there to honor her memory and marrying.
    • It gets implied that Wally became one with the Speed Force at some point, along with Jay Garrick and Barry Allen. They can all still speak to the new Flash via telepathy, though, and towards the end of her debut arc, this leads to a Heartwarming Moment where she tells Superman that Wally said "Hi" and wants him and his successor to race, just like the good ol' days.
    • The circumstances of how they lost Diana. The Justice Lords come back due to Luthor's weapon being temporary. Right after they seemingly lost their powers, they gave up and were sent back to their world without any sort of chains, and their world recovered from their rule. And then it leads to a power struggle between Lords Superman and Wonder Woman against Batman, with the rest of the founding members getting sick and tired of the fighting and decide to leave Earth (though we never know if they stayed together or went their separate ways). Lord-Batman contacts the Justice League for help, and so they do. By the time the situation begins to come to an end (and not a good one), their way back to their own world also begins to close, and Diana, unwilling to leave this Earth in shambles, stays behind to continue to fight, even if it is for another world that is not her own and that she will be alone.
    • It gets worse. Diana falls in love with Lord-Batman, but a disguised Lord Wonder Woman snaps his neck. Diana goes berserk and strangles her to death with the Golden Lasso which promptly disintegrates due to being used to kill. To end the fighting, Lord-Superman and Diana have a solely political and loveless marriage (and have a test tube son named Zod), and Diana loses her idealism we've always seen throughout the show, having become convinced over the years that Lord-Superman's choice of rule is the best choice, since after all, crime and villainy has decreased substantially. By the time she returns to the main universe, it is now the era of Batman Beyond, meaning that all her friends are gone or old. Especially noted when she reunites with Bruce and laments how it's been so long since she's seen him in more than one way.
    • While not a founding member, Aquaman has one too, although it's more about Aquagirl than him. When Mareena was only an infant, she got kidnapped. And remember the son he sacrificed his hand for back in Justice League? He banishes him for not fighting hard enough to prevent her capture. She gets saved, but now Atlantis only has one heir. Tired of her Overprotective Dad, Mareena sneaks off to the surface world (which Aquaman had also severed connections with) and meets Warhawk, which helps support her belief of reconnecting surface-underwater relations. Aquaman gets mad about both of these things and gives her a choice: Stay in Atlantis and never go back to the surface, or join the surface but be exiled from Atlantis. She chooses the latter. Aquaman is left alone with Mera, with no heir to the throne.
      • However, because Brainiac tries to make a comeback, Mareena returns to Atlantis to get her family's help. Arthur's response? He hugs her and says he's just happy she's back, then deploys his forces to help fight off Brainiac. Unfortunately, he ends up in a permanent coma at the end.
  • Bizarro getting lobotomized by Luthor so the Secret Society can use him as Dumb Muscle. It's really sad and horrifying that someone as childlike and more-or-less good-natured as the DCAU Bizarro was made into a mindless tool by the villains, especially after the happy ending he got in Superman: The Animated Series. It's especially sad since this means Bizarro ultimately became what Luthor wanted: A Superman under his control.

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