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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 
  • J'onn J'onzz explanation of the origins of the Imperium in "Secret Origins", all with flashbacks of the Imperium invasion of his home planet Mars. Ending with all J'onn's fellow Martians being wiped out.
  • "The Enemy Below" becomes a Tear Jerker when Aquaman is given the Sadistic Choice of either only saving himself from an underwater volcano he's chained to, or pulling an Heroic Sacrifice for his infant son who is also trapped there (and being a baby, the poor child is crying desperately as both him and Daddy are in the Death Trap - no, not the baby, NOT. THE. BABY...) by his own brother Orm. Made even more poignant when we see what he chooses in the end: cutting off his own hand to get free, so he can save both of them, which is followed by the scene in which Aquaman returns home, carrying his baby in his good arm and Mera runs joyfully towards both of them but then she gasps in shock when she realizes what happened.
  • The reactions of Flash and Superman to Dr. Destiny's Mind Rape in "Only A Dream".
    • Flash, normally the most cheerful member of the League runs from person to person in the time-stuck world in which Destiny trapped him, begging anyone to say something to show him that he won't be alone for the rest of his life. When this fails, he curls up into Troubled Fetal Position.
      Flash: I was afraid this would happen. I'm gonna live out my life in the time it takes you to tie your shoes. Please, someone, say something!
    • And Superman could give him a run for his money (no pun intended). When he sees Lois Lane die due to his out-of-control Eye Beams, he screams and thrashes—an expression of pain that 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 that 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 Martian Manhunter broke him out of the nightmare, he greeted Destiny with a super-punch to the face.
      Superman: I started with no power at all. Then I kept getting more. What if it never stops?
      Martian Manhunter: 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 couldn'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 her nightmare giving her a heart attack!
  • 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.
  • Wonder Woman's banishment at the end of "Paradise Lost". 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 happened just after the men were all rewarded and praised for stopping Felix Faust and Hades.
    • There's also the somber callback in "Twilight" 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 that J'onn (who at this point doesn't know Batman's identity or history) is actually understating the case.
  • Aresia's backstory in "Fury" was 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 that 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 moreso 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.
  • "Legends": The Justice Guild sacrificing themselves to do the right thing, even if it means ending their existence. SPOILERS 
    The Streak: We died once to save this Earth. And we can do it again.
  • Both times Solomon Grundy dies, because clearly the first death just wasn't enough.
    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.
    • And the second time, where Hawkgirl has to put him down herself.
      Hawkgirl: Close your eyes...
      • Grundy's resting place is a solitary grave on a hill in the countryside. The headstone simply says "Solomon Grundy: Born On A Monday".
  • The episode "A Better World" has Batman and his alternate universe duplicate arguing ethics and morality in the Batcave. Batman actually agrees with and surrenders to his Justice Lord counterpart when the latter declares "With that power, we've made a world where no eight year old boy will ever lose his parents because of some punk with a gun" (Conroy's emphasis just hammers it all the more in). It's easy to forget, but beneath all the training, the fighting, the costume and the gadgets, Batman is still a scared little boy crying in that alley.
    • Apparently, the writers had intended for League!Batman to win that debate, but when they came up with that line for Lord!Batman, they couldn't think of anything League!Batman could use to top it off, and they went with it.
    • Similarly, there was an episode in which a magic spell turns the League into children. At the end, after they're restored, 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.
    • Also in "A Better World", Justice Lord Batman can't quite spit out that their Flash is dead to the Justice League Flash, and is panicky (uncharacteristic of any Batman) when he thinks the League world Flash died while they held him prisoner.
  • Poor army officer Burns and General McCormick from "Eclipsed", the two men who played host to the Ophidians'. 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 that he was responsible for the attack on his squad says it all.
  • The entire first half of "Hereafter, Part 1" 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.
    • 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.
    • The 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.
    • Wonder Woman fully intends to kill Toyman for what he had done. Her Death Glare terrifies Toyman into brief lunacy. Also even with the rain you can see that Wonder Woman is sporting Berserker Tears.
      Toyman: (Legitimately terrified) W-what are you going to do to me?
      Flash: (gently restraining her hand) We don't do that to our enemies.
    • 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 that Superman has died, even avoiding going to the funeral. He shows up at Superman's memorial on his investigation 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 that Batman admits how much he respected and admired Superman, and how he showed him that "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.
      • 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 Savage as he clearly learn 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.
    • Speaking of "Hereafter", there's also its ending: The alternate, eccentric but now good-natured Vandal Savage fading out of existence as the dystopian wasteland is replaced with a more optimistic future...and before disappearing, he simply smiles and says, "Thank you, my friend."
      • The shot of Vandal immediately preceding the ending is heartbreaking: He's a lonely old man sitting by himself in the middle of a ruined Metropolis doing...nothing. Because nothing is all there is to do.
    • Both J'onn and Batman's eulogies:
      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.

      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 never ending battle?
    • During J'onn's eulogy, the camera, at one point, cuts to Kara and Jonathan Kent comforting Martha.
  • It might be more expedient to list the moments from "Comfort and Joy" 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, meanwhile, 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 pet cat, and singing a song in his native tongue.
      Superman: 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, being the 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 villainous 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 with the butt of the Ultra-Humanite's weapon. Flash awakens to see the Ultra-Humanite working on repairing the toy in his workshop, having been swayed by the 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 the Humanite reading The Nutcracker (with accompanying music) instead of the hip-hop and fart sounds it did before (due to Humanite wishing to give the orphans some culture), their Christmas is nonetheless a happy one, and the 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 the Humanite, but his explanation is cut short: the Humanite intimates that his family had one when he was a child, and trails off in mid-reminiscence before telling the Flash that he may have the guard show him out of the cell. Flash looks on as the Humanite lights up the tree.
  • In "Starcrossed, Part 3", GL and Shayera Hol's big farewell after the failed Thanagar invasion of Earth, Hawkgirl is disgraced from both her native and adopted homeworlds. 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.
    • Also, the scene where Batman pilots the Watchtower towards Earth with himself aboard, and his farewell to Flash and J'onn.
      Batman: Gentlemen, it's been an honor.
    • When Wonder Woman was inside the ship, she finds Shayera in her cell. All Diana does is give her the coldest stare and says she should just leave her to burn. She does end up freeing her, but that would be the last good will she gives to Shayera until Unlimited season 2. Wonder Woman, the person who stood up for Shayera when the Thanagarians arrived, would never see Shayera is that good of a friend again.
  • The correlating moment with this one in the following season. When Shayera returns and is sure that she was voted out of the Justice League, and 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.
  • In "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 tmeline, J'onn warns Batman that this version of him will not exist if they are successful. Batman says "Nothing would make me happier." The Justice 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.
  • While he wasn't a good person and only got worse overtime, Clayface's apparent death in "Secret Society" 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 explictly die,he deserved a better sendoff than that.

    Justice League Unlimited 
  • The episode "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 comatose. 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'd 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, Dr. 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 play suit 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.
  • Pictured above: the massively heartwrenching scene in "Epilogue". Ace's introductory episode — which shows flashback images of her being held in various laboratories, her psychologically-broken parents (which she is implied to have accidentally mindwiped as a toddler), the mental-restraint helmet holding back her powers, and the rare occasion where she cries — are enough to make you choke. In "Epilogue", Ace has created 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 and her powers deal out damage in the form of a psychic backlash that would kill everyone in range—"that's a distance measured in miles". Batman takes a 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.
    • Her 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.
    • 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.
  • Also from "Epilogue": 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 a bottle of his medication all 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 that his body no longer has the strength to open that bottle at all. And the Batman will die alone, killed by time.
    • Not to mention that it's implied that 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 Wayne 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 its 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.
  • Also why Amanda Waller gave up her scheme to create another Batman, using Terry McGinnis: the killer she hired to gun them 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 with 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, who argued but realized Andrea was right. While Bruce eventually learned that Terry was his son, he never learned of Andrea's What You Are in the Dark moment.
  • What, no mention of Grundy during Wake the Dead? He's being 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.
    • The following scene is worse. After pointedly bringing up Ol' 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. A short while later, she emerges from the sewer alone. It's heartwrenching.
    Shayera: It's done.
  • The Speed Force scene in "Divided We Fall." It's more the fact that Flash sounds so freaking serious about it all—and this is Wally West we're talking about.
    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.
  • In "Flashpoint," after they've rescued The Question 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.
    • And previously in "Question Authority", we see 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.
    • And in the same episode, 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.
    • Superman's confrontation with Professor Emil 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 that Superman betrayed him first when he snapped at him after Darkseid's failed invasion. Then in an act of pure spite, 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 has any comeuppance.
  • In "Question Authority", it's shown how far 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 crackpot conspiracy-theorist The Question 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.
    Lex Luthor: You're going to kill me so that Superman can't?
    Question: I'm a well-known crackpot...the Justice League will survive my actions...and Superman's legacy will remain intact.
  • Anybody would feel tears well up for Captain Marvel during "Clash". 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 the kid). 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, his idol, 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 then 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 Lex 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 that he was fighting a child, and is unable to make it up to him.
      • And this was part of Lex'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, Lex 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 Luthor's past, but he didn't expect a full-blown fight between Marvel and Superman. And he most certainly didn't expect one of the fight's first blows to be Superman decking 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 Lex 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.
  • In The Greatest Story Never Told, Booster 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.
    • Then there's this line during the aftermath when he half-heartedly says goodbye to her...
    Booster: [Dejectedly]...Kissing girls is for heroes, Skeets...
  • Terry's death in "The Once and Future Thing". As the four Dee-Dees electrocute him, the scene cuts from Terry screaming in agony to 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.
    • From the same episode, older 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 looked terrified.
      • That episode happens in an alternate continuity, luckily, and things do get sorted out at the end.
    • Just before their final fight with Chronos, Warhawk gets nervous and a little scared. To see someone like Warhawk scared...
  • In "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.
  • In "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.
  • "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, giving you less than a month to live after which you will be replaced by another clone. No wonder all of them 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, who he had always admired.
      Wind Dragon: He was my hero. (tears up) And a hero is all I ever wanted to be.
  • "Ancient History" is one, especialy in the flashback. Carter Hall/Katar Hol believes he is a reincarnation of this 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, huh?
    • The reason his wife cheated on him is because he's focused too much on being a good ruler, neglecting her. And when he saw them 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.
  • Trickster in "Flash and Substance". 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.
  • 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 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. Also accompanied by Shayera, they travel there and John kills Shadow Thief, a violation of the Green Lantern oath, and so he gets his ring revoked. Shayera and John end up retiring from the Justice League, 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 he said hi and wants him and his successor to race, just like the good ol' days.
    • The circumstances of how they lost Diana. 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 mainverse 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 began to close, and Diana, unwilling to leave this Earth in shambles, stays behind to continue to fight, even if it was for another world that was not her own and that she would be alone.
    • It gets worse. Diana falls in love with Lord Batman, but a disguised Lord Wonder Woman kills him by snapping his neck. Diana goes berserk and strangles her to death by using 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 having 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, where she laments over 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 Arthur had also severed connections with) and meets the hero Warhawk, which helps support her belief of reconnecting surface-underwater relations. Arthur gets mad about both of these things and gives her a choice: either stay in Atlantis and never go back to the surface, or join the surface but be exiled from Atlantis. She chooses the latter. Arthur 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 that he's just happy she's back, then deploys his forces to help fight off Brainiac. Unfortunately, he ends up in the permanent coma at the end.
  • Bizarro getting lobotomized by Lex Luthor so the Secret Society could 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.
  • In Destroyer, Lex Luthor, of all people, is the one to save the universe by handing the antilife equation to Darkseid, merging with the Source Wall in toe, effectively killing him too. When everyone goes to the Justice League HQ, Superman sounds a bit somber of what transpired. He and Lex were the very definition of bitter enemies since the very beginning, but he saw first hand what Luthor did. When J'onn, justifiably, calls Lex the worst thing mankind has to offer, Superman somewhat defends Lex for sacrificing himself to save them, that's how much he appreciated and respect he probably gained for him.
    J'onn J'onzz: 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?
    Lex: (quietly) Yes. (turns his head to look to Metropolis) Yes it is.

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