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Western Animation / Justice League: Gods and Monsters

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Someone is trying to frame the Justice League.

Justice League: Gods and Monsters is a 2015 movie of the DC Universe Animated Original Movies line. It is not based on the comic of a similar name, but features an original story by Bruce Timm of DC Animated Universe fame. While his art style makes a return compared to other recent DC animation, the movie is essentially an Elseworlds tale.

In this Alternate Universe, the Justice League is just the trio of Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman and they're not the same people we know and love. Superman is General Zod's son, not Jor-El's, and he was adopted by an illegal immigrant couple instead of the Kents; Batman is the vampiric Kirk Langstrom, normally the villain Man-Bat, instead of Bruce Wayne; and Wonder Woman is Bekka of the New Gods, not Diana of the Amazons.

The plot of the film revolves around the Justice League being framed for the murders of prominent scientists. They investigate these murders while dealing with mounting pressure from the US government to shut them down. The film also explores their origin stories in some depth.

The voice cast features Benjamin Bratt (Law & Order) as Superman, Michael C. Hall (Dexter) as Batman, Tamara Taylor (Bones) as Wonder Woman, Paget Brewster (Criminal Minds) as Lois Lane, Jason Isaacs (Harry Potter) as Lex Luthor and C. Thomas Howell (Southland) as Dr. Will Magnus.

A prequel series of shorts (listed under the subtitle of Chronicles) was released online on YouTube shortly before the movie came out. The series proved successful enough that a second season was announced to premiere in 2016, set to incorporate new takes on Mary Marvel, Steel, and Green Lantern. However, director Sam Liu confirmed that this was cancelled due to other projects.

The movie also has a digital-first four-issue comic serving as preludes to the story. Like Chronicles, the first three comics each focus on Batman, Superman, and then Wonder Woman individually, with the final comic detailing the three forming the Justice League.

Here's a first and second trailer. The movie was released on July 21, 2015.

Not to be confused with the "Gods and Monsters" phase of DC's cinematic universe.

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    Tropes in the film 
  • Adaptational Intelligence: The Orion of this movie isn't a warrior like other incarnations, but is rather an artist and scientist.
  • Adaptational Heroism:
    • Kirk Langstrom/Man-Bat is usually depicted as a villain at worst or an Anti-Villain at best (similar to Marvel's Curt Connors/Lizard), but here he's an Anti-Hero as Batman.
    • Lex Luthor is an overall good guy, though nonetheless pragmatic and distrustful of those with absolute power. He ends up becoming Metron.
    • Amanda Waller is now president instead of a shady black-ops leader, and her projects to neutralize superhumans are a lot more reasonable when you consider the behavior of this League.
    • Friggin' Darkseid is, at the very least, more reasonable than Highfather.
    • Victor Fries, who's normally Mr. Freeze elsewhere, is just a regular scientist rather than an ice-themed super villain.
  • Adaptational Villainy:
    • Highfather arranges the wedding between Bekka and Orion, only to use the opportunity to kill Darkseid and wipe out Apokolips.
    • Will Magnus and his Metal Men are the main villains of the movie.
  • Age Lift: Oddly, in this universe, Lex Luthor is much older than he normally is. When Superman first lands on Earth as an infant, Lex is already at least a middle-aged man using a cane.
  • All There in the Manual: Superman's human name is not spoken in the movie; it's shown to be Hernan Guerra in the comics.
  • All Your Powers Combined: In the climax, the drone duplicates of the League merge into a single drone with their combined powers, giving it an edge over Superman.
  • Ambition Is Evil: Bekka seems to hold this opinion of Superman when he casually suggests the League take over the world for the greater good (see the Well-Intentioned Extremist entry below).
    Bekka: You just got less sexy.
  • Anti-Hero:
    • All three members of the Justice League operate like this. They don't hesitate to use lethal force, even against opponents who are no real threat to them. They work with the government because it's convenient, and don't consider themselves under the government's authority. However, they also avoid civilian casualties and fight for the common good, despite their methods being distasteful.
    • Just like in the main DCU, Amanda Waller is still perfectly willing to head secret Government Conspiracies for the greater good despite moral ambiguity, especially if it means keeping super-powered beings, like Superman, in check. The major difference between the main DCU and this one, however, is Amanda Waller is the United States President, and therefore is the face of the government as opposed to working anonymously from its shadows.
  • Anyone Can Die: Numerous characters die (and rather gruesomely, might we add), despite their major roles in the main universes. That includes Ray Palmer and Ryan Choi (the first and second Atom, respectively), Victor Stone (Cyborg) and his father Silas Stone, Victor Fries (Mr. Freeze), Kimiyo Hoshi (Doctor Light), Karen Beecher (Bumblebee), Pat Dugan (S.T.R.I.P.E.), Professor Emil Hamilton, Michael Holt (the second Mister Terrific), T.O. Morrow (Red Tornado's creator), John Henry Irons (Steel), Stephen Shin, Thaddeus Sivana (an archenemy of Captain Marvel), several named New Gods from Apokolips including Orion and Darkseid, and Will Magnus and the Metal Men. Also, Tina was killed between Kirk's flashbacks and the present.
  • Art Evolution: The female character designs are somewhat more diversified than in Justice League, where a large number of them had very identical features and body types.
  • Asshole Victim: As mentioned below in the "Bomb" short very few tears are shed when Doctor Sivana is mauled to death.
  • Assimilation Plot: Magnus plans to detonate a nanite bomb which will use boom tube tech to beam nanites into the brains of every human on Earth, linking them all and eliminating all conflict. Magnus explains it as universal empathy where everyone would understand each other, while Luthor says it's just mind control with Magnus at the reins.
  • Ascended Extra:
    • Bekka, Orion's Love Interest and a supporting character at best in the mainstream universe, is depicted here as this world's Wonder Woman.
    • Kirk Langstrom in the main DCU is also known as Man-Bat, a B-List member of Batman's rogues gallery. In this film, he actually is Batman.
  • The Atoner: Bekka is wracked with guilt over her involvement in Highfather's takeover of Apokolips that led to her husband's death. At the end of the movie, she decides to go back and try to right her wrongs along with Lex Luthor.
  • Badass Crew: The Justice League, as per usual. You have an alien capable of moving planets, a pseudo-vampire, and a space goddess.
  • Badass Long Coat: Superman rocks one as part of his outfit.
  • Barbie Doll Anatomy: Played with; while Platinum has vague nipples, her crotch is smooth.
  • Beard of Evil: General Zod, naturally. Superman inherits it, though he's not as bad.
  • Belligerent Sexual Tension: Lois Lane and Superman have a bit of this, while Steve Trevor and Bekka have a lot.
  • Berserk Button: Don't mention Bekka's wedding. It's a touchy issue.
  • Beware the Superman: The League is incredibly violent, and this is reflected in how the world reacts to them. While there's no doubt that they're trying to do the right thing, the general public is torn in their opinion of them, if not outright terrified of them. Hell, Lois Lane even goes so far as to call them "terrorists."
  • BFG: Steve Trevor and the US military have developed anti-Superman weapons and besides being really freaking big, they actually hurt Superman.
  • Big Bad: Will Magnus who helped create the Metal Men which frame the Justice League and plans to use Superman's ship to power the device necessary for his Assimilation Plot.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Lex Luthor saves Superman and Bekka at a critical point.
  • Big "SHUT UP!": Lightray screamed "Silence!" when Bekka talked to Highfather out of turn.
  • Bittersweet Ending: By the end of the movie, many of the World's most brilliant scientists are dead, Batman lost the only two people he ever loved (including one who turns out to have been dead for years), and Wonder Woman leaves the team for an indeterminate amount of time in order to deal with her past. On the plus side, however, the world has been saved, the public now genuinely respects the Justice League as real heroes, and Superman has decided to start going for a more traditionally heroic approach of things, including no longer killing people.
  • The Black Dude Dies First: Inverted. While it's not explicit what order the three murdered scientists were attacked in, Silas Stone, better known as Cyborg's father, was not only the last of the three to be shown hunted down, but also lasted the longest against his robot attacker and put up the best fight, nearly managing to win.
  • Broken Pedestal:
    • Superman initially believed that his father General Zod was a benevolent man and that, if people had listened to him from the start, Krypton could have been saved. This was changed after Luthor showed him proof that Zod was instead a tyrant whose drilling of Krypton's core lead to its destruction, and that the one warning of Krypton's destruction was the man who would have been his father if not for Zod hijacking the project.
    • Likewise, Kirk's view of Magnus was destroyed after the latter revealed that he had intentionally turned Langstrom into a vampire, his jealousy of Kirk led to him murdering Tina, and that he was the one responsible for framing the scientists' murder on the Justice League.
    • Bekka realizes that, for all his preaching about doing the right thing, Highfather and New Genesis in general were really no better than Darkseid and the rest of Apokolips after they killed her husband, Darkseid's son Orion, after promising to spare him.
  • Cape Busters: The purpose of Project Fair Play.
  • Clear My Name: The Justice League has to clear their names of the murders of the scientists.
  • Cold Sniper: Superman counts as one, seeing as he is able to use his heat vision to snipe opponents from a distance, as mentioned above.
  • Convection, Schmonvection: Bekka in a flimsy nightgown flying with Orion over an active volcano without getting so much as singed.
  • Cool Sword: Bekka's sword can cut through almost anything and possesses a Boom Tube generator in the pommel that allows her to open dimensional portals between locations.
  • Comically Missing the Point: At the rally in front of Justice League headquarters, a man is trying to sell JL souvenirs — to protesters.
  • Composite Character:
    • All three of the Justice League are different characters in the regular DCU. Superman is basically Chris Kent with Lara as his mother, Batman is Kirk Langstrom, the villain usually known as Man-Bat, and Wonder Woman is Bekka, Orion's wife.
    • Lex Luthor is Lex Luthor in name only; he is far more similar to Metron. He even gets the chair in the end.
    • Tina is basically Francine, Kirk's wife, with a different name. Her name, however, is meaningful, as her replica is Platinum of the Metal Men who's also called Tina in other iterations.
    • Cheetah is someone wearing a outfit with a cheetah print like Priscilla Rich, but is an African-American male, ala Bronze Tiger.
  • "Could Have Avoided This!" Plot: After showing Superman the recording that reveals what his father is like, Luthor's reason for keeping it from him is because he was afraid how he'll react, that he might try to follow in his footsteps. Before leaving, Superman told Luthor if he shown it to him sooner things could have been different, because at that point the Justice League and the Government are about to come to blows (thanks to Magnus).
    Superman: In some ways, I'm as much your creation as my father's.
  • Darker and Edgier: Compared with Timm's previous work. As an example, Superman of this world is the son of General Zod and a lot more violent than his mainstream counterpart, not only because of his parentage but because he was raised by migrant farmers, resulting in him being much more jaded.
  • Dead All Along: Turns out that Tina died years ago, and the one we see talk to Batman is a robot designed by Will Magnus, who has been impersonating her ever since.
  • Dead Person Impersonation: To cover up the fact he accidentally killed his wife Tina, Will Magnus has one of his Metal Men, Platinum, impersonate her.
  • Death by Adaptation: Ray Palmer, Victor Fries, and Victor and Silas Stone (also known as The Atom, Mr. Freeze, and Cyborg along with his father in the main DCU) are among those killed in order to frame the Justice League.
  • Death by Origin Story: Coupled with Death By Adaptation, Darkseid (along with his inner circle) and Orion are killed in Bekka's backstory.
  • Death Equals Redemption: After his scheme and all of his Metal Men were stopped, Will Magnus begs for Kirk's/Batman's forgiveness before using his own Nanomachines to kill himself.
  • Decapitated Army: Invoked in regards to the U.S. Government's plans on dealing with the Justice League; they focus outright on finding a way of taking out Superman, figuring Batman and Wonder Woman are not as much of a threat without their big gun.
  • Designated Girl Fight: Bekka ends up squaring off against the Fembot Platinum in the finale.
  • Double Entendre:
    Superman: You still friendly with Trevor? He might be useful.
    Wonder Woman: He often was.
    Superman: Stay on top of him. (Beat) You know what I mean.
  • Elseworld: As noted above, this is not the Justice League we are used to. Superman is the son of General Zod, rocketed to Earth following the destruction of Krypton, only to be found and raised by a migrant couple; Batman is not Bruce Wayne, but Kirk Langstrom, who accidentally transformed himself into a vampire in his attempts to cure his lymphoma; and Wonder Woman is not Diana of Themyscira, but rather Bekka of the New Gods, who came to Earth from Apokolips following the murder of her husband Orion on their wedding day, as part of a coup masterminded by Himon and Highfather.
  • Establishing Series Moment: The three-part Chronicles series appears to be purposely illustrating what to expect from the movie; "Twisted" focuses on darkness and horror, "Bomb" on drama and tragedy, and "Big" on comedy and romance.
  • Fingore: As Jor-El is prepping the incubation ship, he says that all he needs to do it touch his finger to the core to add his DNA. Cue Zod shooting off his finger.
  • Fish out of Water: Similar to how Diana had to learn to adjust from living on Themyscira to being in the United States, Bekka is adjusting to her new life on Earth after previously being a New God on New Genesis.
  • Flight of Romance: Orion woos Bekka with a flight on his flying vehicle, giving her a tour of Apokolips.
  • Former Friends Photo: The film cuts to a photo of Kirk, Will and Tina just before the credits roll.
  • Frame-Up: The Justice League is framed for the murders of numerous scientists using drones which can mimic their abilities.
  • Freudian Excuse: Superman's notably different characterization here is hinted to stem from either (or both) of his being Zod's son instead of Jor-El's son or his being raised by Mexican migrants. The former implies his aggression and arrogance is something inherent to him, whilst the latter implies that the life he would have lived, due to being much less idealistic than a wholesome All-American couple in the midwest would have provided, made him much harsher.
  • Fusion Dance: The three League drones fuse into a single drone to combine their strength against Superman.
  • Gender Flip: A Cheetah Expy that was shown working with Blockbuster and Livewire. Instead of being a white woman, Cheetah is a black man.
  • Genius Cripple: Lex Luthor is astoundingly brilliant, but has a disease that, over the course of several years, leaves him confined to a chair.
  • Gratuitous Spanish: Reflecting his Mexican-American upbringing, Superman occasionally slips in a couple of Spanish terms.
  • Good Is Not Soft: Bekka may be the Token Good Teammate but she also exercises lethal force against people that clearly intend to harm others.
  • Half the Man He Used to Be: One of the League drones gruesomely tears one of the scientists on Project Fair Play in half.
  • He Is Not My Boyfriend: Bekka has to keep reminding Trevor of this, though half the time he's doing it to taunt her. Bekka also has to remind Superman of the same thing, on occasion.
  • A Hero Is Born: The opening credits intercut the journey of Superman's baby-ship with his conception and development inside the ship's incubation pod, so by the time it lands on Earth he's "born".
  • Hidden Depths: Superman in the tie-in media is shown as far more than the Jerk with a Heart of Gold he comes off as. He hated his powers growing up because he accidentally crippled his sister with them, made his way around the world without using his powers, and is shown as much more cautious than you would think a version of Superman like this would be when it comes to his powers.
    • He also hints at it in both the tie-in short and the film itself — in the former he tries to help Brainiac (essentially a little kid/cyborg in this incarnation) who is suffering severe Power Incontinence to control his powers and, when it's clear that that won't work, he kills him as a quickly and painlessly as possible. In the film, when he sees the Stones' skeletons curled up together, he softly exclaims "Dios mio". In both cases, he looks genuinely grieved, showing that he really does care.
  • Hope Spot:
    • For a moment it looks like Victor Stone is going to succeed in driving off one of the Metal Men. Then he runs out of ammo.
    • After his truck crashes into a ravine, it actually looks like Ray Palmer might have given the nano-drone pursuing him the slip as it starts walking off in the opposite direction...And then his cellphone rings.
  • Hurl It into the Sun: Bekka finishes off Platinum by using her Mother Box to open a portal to the sun, into which Platinum is then thrown.
  • In Name Only: Much like the Tangent Comics and Just Imagine continuities, the main premise of this film is that it takes place in a version of the DC Universe where familiar names are used, but the characters in question aren't quite the same as their namesakes. The most notable examples include Wonder Woman being Bekka of New Genesis instead of Diana of Themyscira and Batman being Kirk Langstrom with vampiric powers instead of Bruce Wayne as a Badass Normal vigilante.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: When Lois calls out Superman for his judge, jury, executioner stance on dealing with terrorists in the team tie-in comic, he asks her if the terrorists, who were slaughtering people gruesomely For the Evulz, deserved any better. She even thinks to herself that cops would have done the same thing but is put off by his ego so she calls him out.
    Superman: (seeing Lois leave) What a bitch.
    • Highfather as well. While undoubtedly ruthless in his actions, Darkseid is the local God of Evil bent on enslaving the universe, and Apokolips a literally hellish world. Though we'll never know if Darkseid truly wished for peace.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Perfectly describes all three members of the Justice League.
  • Kill It with Fire: Superman finally stops the combined Metal Men by submerging it in magma.
  • Kryptonite Factor: Actual kryptonite never shows up, but the military gets lasers which are tuned to mimic red sun radiation, making them effective against Superman.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall
    Will Magnus: It's funny how things can change so quickly. After a while, you don't even recognize yourself anymore.
  • The Lost Lenore: Orion for Bekka.
  • Love at First Sight: Bekka falls deeply for Orion despite meeting him for the first time the evening before their arranged marriage, and only sharing a single meaningful conversation with the man.
  • Love Makes You Evil: Ultimately, Magnus's whole plan came about because he couldn't stand that Tina loved Kirk more than him; at least, that's how he saw it.
  • Larynx Dissonance: Not quite to the extent as the times Edward Asner voiced her, but Granny Goodness here is still clearly voiced by a man.
  • Medical Rape and Impregnate: A variation. Hernan was not naturally conceived, rather the plan was for Jor-El and Lara to provide their genetic codes to an escape pod that would grow their child on the way to its destination. However, after Lara provided her genetic material, Zod attacked and decided to put his own material into the escape pod instead of Jor-El's. So while Zod didn't touch Lara, Hernan's conception was not remotely consensual on Lara's end.
  • Minimalist Cast: This universe's Justice League is only three people, four if you count Metron/Lex Luthor, explained by Word of God that a movie isn't long enough to introduce a lot of heroes with completely different backstories.
  • Mugging the Monster: In the flashback relating Batman's origin, two thugs are unlucky enough to try robbing Kirk in the street right after his formula vampirized him. Surprisingly, they don't end up dead: one is knocked unconscious, and the other gets away with a bite in the neck thanks to Kirk snapping out of his blood lust before he drains him dry.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • This marks Bruce Timm's return to DC animation, and also features the signature art style used in previous works involving him as well.
    • Additionally, being pitched as an Alternate Universe or Elseworlds story, it can be seen as either of such specifically to the DC Animated Universe. The cover art for example, seems to feature the DCAU incarnations of Superman, Wonder Woman and Batman from Justice League in the background, behind their Gods and Monsters counterparts.
    • Likewise, several plots and elements recall themes from the DC Animated Universe. The fusion between Luthor and Metron is reminiscent of their collaboration at the end of JLU, Luthor likewise offers Superman an orb with Kryptonian data similar to Superman and Brainiac's orb. The nanites and the robots are similar to the Dark Heart nanobots fought by the JLU. The countermeasures of the government against the Justice League recall the Cadmus Story and the Justice Lords. And an alternate universe where the Justice League took over (or considering taking over) the world.
    • Terrorists from Kasnia show up early in the movie, assisted by this universe's versions of a Static Stun Gun-using Livewire (a Superman villain), a male Cheetah (a Wonder Woman villain), and a version of Blockbuster (a Hulk-like villain that clashes with Batman).
    • Will Magnus jokingly urges Batman not to get married. In both the comics and DCAU, Kirk is Happily Married, and his wife Francine often serves as his Morality Pet.
    • During the flashback to Batman's time at Gotham University, a classmate by the name of "Crazy Ivy" (likely Pamela Isley/Poison Ivy) is mentioned.
    • Superman's method of bringing down the force field is similar to how he takes out Doomsday in the 2007 film.
    • This isn't the first time Luthor is shown to be older than Superman. Post-Crisis, initially, Luthor was old enough to be a childhood friend of Perry White.
    • Lois wearing glasses. She was previously shown wearing glasses in JLA: Another Nail and Superman Returns.
    • Tina turning out to be Platinum may be a nod to the 1993 miniseries (now in Canon Discontinuity) which retconned the Metal Men's origins to have been originally humans. Will Magnus has a crush on Sharon (who became Platinum), who's engaged to be married to Will's brother Mike (who becomes Gold).
    • When Luthor congratulates the young graduates, Magnus says "Wow, it's like getting a pep talk from Einstein." In the comics, Einstein is Luthor's idol.
    • "It's not often we get a strange visitor from another planet."
    • The way this Superman is born is similar to Kal-El in The Man of Steel.
    • Luthor says he never wanted power, only knowledge. In Lois & Clark, Luthor says "power is a means, not an end".
    • Wonder Woman sends the Tina drone to the sun via Boom Tube, just like how young Clark defeated Brainiac in the Superman: The Animated Series episode "New Kids in Town".
    • Prominent and semi-prominent members of the expanded League in Justice League Unlimited are some of the scientists targeted by the drones. These include Ray Palmer (the Atom), Kimiyo Hoshi (Dr. Light), Pat Dugan (S.T.R.I.P.E.), Michael Holt (Mr. Terrific), and John Henry Irons (Steel). Additionally, they're also joined by Dr. Hamilton and Victor Fries (Mr. Freeze).
    • Michael Holt is a member of Luthor's Project Fair Play, the name of which recalls a slogan associated with his comic counterpart.
    • The Metal Men, having the powers of the League perform a Fusion Dance in the final battle, essentially becoming another well-known DC android, AMAZO.
  • Nature Versus Nurture:
    • One of the underlying themes of Superman in this story. While he was raised by a kindly migrant couple in this world, he still has General Zod's blood, and in some way has inherited his father's anger and megalomaniacal tendencies. While he has good intentions, he still metes out "justice" with a violence and aggression unseen by the mainstream Man of Steel, and off-handedly mentions to Bekka that he's considered conquering the world before.
    • Superman's mother, though, is the same person, which seems to imply her blood has a bigger influence on him than ever seen before, given that, for all his flaws, Superman at his heart is still a good well-meaning person.
    • On the 'Nature' side; in this universe Orion was never traded to Highfather for Scott Free, however, despite being raised by the likes of Granny Goodness and his father, Darkseid, Orion still comes across as a decent guy who genuinely cares about his people and wants peace between Apokolips and New Genesis. Though given that Highfather is significantly more evil in this story to the point that he successfully double-crosses and murders Darkseid, it's possible that Darkseid and Granny Goodness are significantly less evil than they are in the normal timeline.
  • Nanomachines: Will Magnus has nanomachines as his specialty, which were used as part of the serum which created Batman. He is responsible for the drones framing the League, and ultimately plans to use them in an Assimilation Plot.
  • Neck Snap: Batman does this to a mook.
  • Never My Fault:
    • General Zod drilled into Krypton's core to fuel his war machine, but, when it inevitably destabilized the core, he blames Jor-El for not providing adequate proof that this would happen.
    • After Will Magnus reveals he killed his wife several years earlier, he's quick to explain it was an "accident", and pass the blame onto Tina for constantly nagging at him to help Kirk cure his condition (which he deliberately caused). Then he goes on to claim if a brilliant mind like his was capable of doing something so terrible, that must mean the entire human race was doomed to failure.
  • No-Sell: Batman can punch through a person with ease, but to Blockbuster his attacks do nothing. He gets around this by draining his blood, instead.
  • Not Helping Your Case: Superman and Wonder Woman are forced to fight the military ordered by President Waller to arrest them, because they must find out the truth behind the scientists' deaths.
  • Not Worth Killing: Batman is so disgusted by what Magnus did that he flat-out refuses to drink his blood.
    Batman: Bet you taste like crap!
  • Noodle Incident: Tina is aware of Magnus' jealousy whenever she seems to pay more attention to Kirk than Magnus.
    Will Magnus: I wonder if you'll take such good care of me?
    Tina: (irritated) God, Will, don't start that again.
  • Oh, Crap!: Superman's reaction to Luthor's supposed death, which only confirmed the Justice League's guilt.
  • One-Steve Limit: Averted as there are two Victors in the film. Victor Fries who normally would be Mr. Freeze and Victor Stone who likewise would be Cyborg.
  • Our Vampires Are Different: In this reality, Batman is Kirk Langstrom, instead of billionaire playboy Bruce Wayne. Suffering from lymphoma, Kirk attempted to use his genius to develop a cure, but failed every time. That is, until he used "bat venom" (the toxic/anticoagulant saliva of most likely a Vampire Bat). However, in his attempts to cure himself, he instead created a monster, and became a pseudo-vampire. Like Michael Morbius before him, Kirk resolved to solely feed on criminals as a way to keep his bloodlust in check.
  • Perfectly Arranged Marriage: Bekka and Orion seemed perfect for each other. Sadly, when he finds out of Highfather's betrayal, he is slain like everyone else, despite Bekka wanting him to be spared.
  • Physical God: Both Superman and Wonder Woman/Bekka count as this, though Bekka fits the role more in terms of actual godhood, being one of the Fourth World and all.
  • Playing Possum: Tina, who is actually Platinum, fakes being killed by one of the other drones, so that she could later escape from the morgue and assist her creator, Will Magnus, with the Justice League none the wiser.
  • Power Trio: This version of the Justice League only includes this universe's Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman. Normally, by the time the group has called themselves the "Justice League" there have been at least five to seven members.
  • Pre-Mortem One-Liner: Bekka's last words to Platinum before opening a boom tube to the sun.
    Bekka: Fry, bitch!
  • Primal Scene: Granted, what Superman witnesses is a recording of General Zod giving a DNA sample (from his fingertip) to the chamber containing Lara's, but as Luthor puts it:
    Luthor: It's not everyone who gets to witness his own conception.
  • Properly Paranoid: Lex Luthor explains he kept the Kryptonian technology from Superman because he didn't want him to find out his father wasn't a benevolent scientist, but a tyrannical madman out of fear Superman may decide to follow in his footsteps...At the start of the film Superman muses how the world might actually be better if he and the rest of the Justice League just took over.
  • Race Lift: A Cheetah Expy that was shown working with Blockbuster and Livewire. Instead of being a white woman, Cheetah is a black man.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech:
    Lex Luthor: (to Superman) You were no hero. Not really. You're just a pitbull.
  • Red Herring: The first half of the film seems to suggests there's a conspiracy in framing the Justice League to "prove" they're a menace. But it turns out to be revenge of a jealous husband.
  • Robot Me: The nanotech drones/Metal Men were each designed to mimic a member of the Justice League. Superman's drone has Eye Beams and Super-Strength, plus his fingerprints. Batman's drone has fangs as well as the ability to drain blood. Finally, Wonder Woman's drone has her Super-Strength and Cool Sword, and has matching heels. All three also have access to Wonder Woman's Boom Tube technology. Also, Platinum has been mimicking Will Magnus's wife Tina for years, after her death.
  • Rule of Cool: One of Timm's main reasons for his changes to Wonder Woman and Batman in this universe. The latter is a more straight-forward example of this trope though, as he himself admitted in the Sneak Peek of the movie that he just really likes the idea of making Batman into a vampire (and he wouldn't be the first).
  • Self-Disposing Villain: Will Magnus kills himself using his nanomachines after the Justice League defeats him and the Metal Men.
  • Sequel Hook: The film ends with Wonder Woman heading off to confront her family, while Batman and Superman resolve to "shake things up" and try a more traditional approach to saving the world. Presumably, this sets the stage for Season 2 of the Gods and Monsters Chronicles series.
  • Serial-Killer Killer: This is how Batman deals with having to drink blood in order to survive.
  • Sham Wedding: Bekka is set to marry Orion, son of Darkseid, as part of a peace brokerage between Apokolips and New Genesis. While she's initially disdainful of the idea, she realizes that Orion has potential to be more than the monster his father was. Unbeknownst to Bekka, the wedding was a ruse designed to gather Apokolips' leadership in one place for assassination. After Darkseid, Orion, and the rest of Apokolips' elites are dead, Bekka is so disgusted with Highfather that she uses her betrothal gift, a sword-shaped Mother Box, to flee to Earth, becoming Wonder Woman.
  • Shapeshifter Weapon: The drones (and the nanite copy of Tina) are able to alter their forms to create weapons, typically either a Blade Below the Shoulder or shooting out spikes from random places to impale attackers.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Highfather wipes out Darkseid and the entire Apokoliptan Council at a Wedding, just like Game of Thrones.
    • Will mentions that Batman is a fan of the Beastie Boys, and used to have posters of them in his college dorm.
    • The names of the failed lab mice for Kirk, Will, and Tina's cure for Kirk are Mickey, Minnie and Mighty. The successful mouse is called Jerry.
    • Orion arriving on Bekka's balcony and offering her a romantic tour on his flying vehicle is rather reminiscent of the "A Whole New World" sequence from Aladdin.
    • The truck the fused nanotech robot used to smash Superman looks like Optimus Prime.
    • This version of Lex Luthor is a genius scientist suffering from a wasting illness that has left him wheelchair-bound, not unlike Stephen Hawking.
    • Bekka looks strikingly similar to She-Ra. Since She-Ra's franchise was heavily inspired by Jack Kirby's Fourth World series, this is likely intentional.
  • Smug Super: Superman is perceived as this in tie-in media but some of his actions which would normally be motivated by this trope are actually because he finds using his powers to lord over others are based in efficiency rather than ego.
  • Stealth Pun: Superman in this reality was found and raised by undocumented migrant workers. He's an illegal alien.
  • Teleport Spam: The combined nanite drone liberally abuses its Boom Tube generators in its fight with Superman. Superman eventually vaporizes them with his heat vision.
  • Token Evil Teammate: Of the three, Batman of all people is the most willing to kill, and no one he attacks lives where Bekka and Superman at least leave some alive. When Supes decides to play more nice at the end and maybe not kill people, Batman acts like it would be a major hassle. Justified in that Batman's need for blood gives him more reason to kill opponents.
  • Token Good Teammate: Between Superman showing some Ambition Is Evil tendencies and Batman more or less using his targeting criminals for blood as an excuse, Bekka is the most traditionally heroic of the Justice League, behaving almost exactly like the canon Wonder Woman.
  • Took a Level in Badass: The U.S. government has not only developed weapons capable of hurting Superman, and damn near succeed in killing him, they also have the ability to disable a Mother Box. Unlike other universes that rely on Superman's moral code to stop him and the Justice League from taking over, this universe's government can take them out if need be.
  • Took a Level in Kindness: Superman at the start is a bit of a dick who has no problem murdering criminals and casually mentions taking over the world to ensure peace. After the truth of Krypton's destruction is revealed to him by Luthor he resolves to not be a tyrant like his father or Magnus and instead decides to become more heroic, even at the end of the movie telling Kirk that they should stop killing people.
  • Two Guys and a Girl: This was Kirk, Tina and Will's dynamic. Eventually, it turned tragic as Will's jealousy over Tina's affection for Kirk leads to him killing her in an accident and trying to frame Kirk for the scientist' murders.
  • Uterine Replicator: This version of Krypton uses "incubation pods" to conceive and develop children using DNA, akin to the planet's depiction in The Man of Steel and Man of Steel.
  • Unskilled, but Strong: During the climactic fight, Magnus displays none of Batman's fighting skills, instead relying entirely on his Super-Strength granted by the perfected version of the latter's serum.
  • Upgrade vs. Prototype Fight: In a sense, Batman vs Magnus is this, as the latter was injected with a perfected version of the serum which transformed Kirk.
  • Vampire Bites Suck: Well, they sure don't look like they tickle.
  • Vampire Detective Series: Kirk Langstrom as this universe's Batman is a detective and a science-made vampire.
  • Vegetarian Vampire: Played with; Kirk has no problem feeding off ciminals, but since he can't kill enough people every day to properly sustain himself he also makes synthetic plasma to feed off of, as shown during his phone call with Will Magnus and his wife, Tina.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: The League as a whole counts as this, but most notably Superman, who has considered taking over the world if it meant bringing about peace.
    Superman: (looking down from the Metro Tower) All those little dots down there connected to a single, productive purpose—a world brought together as one.
    Bekka: Under us?
    Superman: (smirks) Under us. (Takes a sip of his drink)
    • Almost everyone in the story could be considered this. Waller and Luthor's plans to neutralize the Justice League are rather reasonable in light of their general behavior, as was Luthor's decision not to give Superman the Kryptonian tech. Even the Big Bad, Magnus, ultimately believes his Assimilation Plot is necessary to save humanity.
    • Superman remarks on this in the climax: "Someone once asked if I wanted to save the world or rule it. Today it's going to be hard to tell the difference."
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: We are never told what happened to this universe's Bruce Wayne and Diana Prince. Bruce Timm says Bruce's parents never suffered Death by Origin Story in this universe so he never became Batman. He might still appear in future stories.
    • No, really. What happened to the mouse? Did Jerry, the sole surviving test mouse, change like Langstrom did? Could it have given clues that the change was going to happen or how (or if) it could be reversed?
  • Widowed at the Wedding: Bekka's fate upon her union with Orion. What was meant to be a marriage to symbolize a final peace between New Genesis and Apokolips turned into a blood bath when her father Himon's underground rebellion stormed the festivities and the gathered New Gods slaughtered Darkseid and his inner circle. Orion was killed by Highfather and Lightray.
  • Would Hurt a Child: When Silas Stone's son tries to protect him from the Metal Man, it incinerates them both.
  • Wounded Gazelle Gambit: Magnus pulls one by having one of his Metal Men use its Eye Beams on him and leave him in critical condition, knowing Batman would take him to the Hall of Justice for treatment, and putting him right near Superman's spaceship to use as the power source for his Assimilation Plot.
  • Your Head Asplode: How Highfather deals with Darkseid. Orion almost receives the same treatment before Bekka steps in.

Tropes in Chronicles

    Episode 01 — Twisted 
Batman vs. Harley Quinn

  • Adaptational Villainy: Harley Quinn is often depicted as an Anti-Villain (and sometimes even an Anti-Hero) with sympathetic qualities that push her into invokedWoobie territory. This continuity's Harley is an outright serial killer who Would Hurt a Child. And the Joker is nowhere to be seen in this episode, so she is clearly doing this without his direct influence.
  • Anyone Can Die: While Bruce Timm mentions in an interview that part of his reason for killing Harley Quinn was a form of Take That! to what he saw as her being Flanderized, he also says that if he is willing to kill such a popular character and one important to him personally it shows the audience that no one is safe and nothing will be predictable.
  • Asshole Victim: Harley Quinn, of all people. Her death is quite terrifying, but after seeing how murderous this version of the character is, it's hard to say she didn't deserve to end like this.
  • Ax-Crazy: To call this version of Harley psychotic would be putting it lightly.
  • Bloodier and Gorier: It's more a Saw animated episode than a new Batman: The Animated Series episode. With a touch of Dracula at the very end.
  • Chainsaw Good: Harley goes after Batman with one. She ends up breaking it when he tricks her into hitting a steel support beam.
  • Composite Character: This Universe's version of Harley Quinn shares more with The Joker than her mainstream counterpart when it comes to her state of mind.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Harley lands exactly one hit on Batman during their fight, with him either employing Deadly Dodging or stopping her attacks so easily he's probably toying with her.
  • Deadly Dodging: Batman uses this for the majority of the fight with Harley, especially when she starts using the chainsaw where he exclusively avoids her attacks until it breaks and injures her.
  • Dead Guy on Display: An entire dead family on display, actually. It's implied that each of the corpses were actually unrelated strangers, since Harley had an empty spot on the couch with the sign "Sis goes here."
  • Death by Adaptation: Batman kills Harley Quinn and drinks her blood.
  • Drop the Hammer: Harley uses this as her first weapon, until Batman takes it from her.
  • Everyone Has Standards: Batman, despite being a vampiric Serial-Killer Killer, is visibly disturbed to find the remains of Harley's victims in her fridge.
  • Fan Disservice: Harley's "outfit" would be be quite the subject of Male Gaze...Except her Slasher Smile and homicidal tendencies are so frightening that it makes her even more disturbing.
  • Foreshadowing: While Batman seems like a Badass Normal in the vein of his mainstream counterpart, there are moments during his fight with Harley where he displays surprising amount of strength, speed and durability, such as dodging Harley's attack barely seconds after seeing it coming (while holding a civilian, no less) or getting back his feet right after getting hit by her giant hammer. These subtly hints to The Reveal that he is a vampire.
  • Half the Man He Used to Be: One of Harley's victims has been turned into a gruesome jack-in-the-box by cutting off his legs and sticking him to a giant spring.
  • Know When to Fold 'Em: Harley gives up when she breaks her chainsaw, which leaves a gash on her waist. Not that it saves her.
  • The Last of These Is Not Like the Others: Harley's fridge is filled with severed limbs and heads...And a grape soda.
  • Mummies at the Dinner Table: Some of Harley's insane rantings suggest that she regarded the preserved corpses as a real family.
    Harley: (after accidentally decapitating "Grandma") She was gonna bake me cookies!
  • Mythology Gag:
    • Harley's appearance here is largely based on her controversial New 52 redesign first appearing in the Suicide Squad books.
    • There's a tiny little The Joker hanging from the ceiling.
    • Harley is trying to build a family. In Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker, she and Joker tried to do that with Robin.
    • The grandma in Harley's "family" kind of resembles old Harley in Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker.
    • The taxidermized corpses in Harley's "family" all have unnerving grins, a nod to the Joker's habit of murdering his victims using a toxin that makes their corpses smile.
  • Psychopathic Manchild: Harley is shown to be very twisted and childlike, making a jack-in-the-box out of the remains of a victim she cut in half and ranting on how the surviving victim Batman helped get away is going back to a drab life when she could've ensured her life would be fun forever.
  • Psychotic Smirk: Batman, after keeping an emotionless face for most of the fight with Harley, has one of these right before feeding on her.
  • Shout-Out:
    • The smiley face on the wall with blood on it is a reference to Watchmen.
    • There's a Mickey Mouse-shaped mirror.
  • Slasher Smile: Harley grins malevolently when she's not scowling or horrified that her fate is sealed.
  • Stripperific: Harley is dressed in little more than panties and a corset.
  • Take That!: Harley Quinn's design in this film and her subsequent death via being fed on by Batman being based on her New 52 look has been described in such a way by Bruce Timm as "a kind of mean spirited take" on the Stripperific nature of the design and those derived from it.
  • The Stoic: The only signs of emotion Batman shows are mild shock when seeing the remains of Harley's victims in her fridge, and a Psychotic Smirk when he is about to feed on her. Aside from that, he is completely emotionless for most of the episode.
  • Wham Line:
    • From Batman:
    Batman: "Heh. Jail?"
    • On a meta level, the girl Harley has trapped in a box has one—with all the clown, toy and smiley face imagery here, you'd probably assume that the villain of this piece will be the Joker. But then the girl says "Oh thank God! I thought it was her!" and you realize who's really behind it...
  • Wham Shot:
    • Batman's is followed by Batman baring his vampiric fangs.
    • And another meta example, Harley emerging from the shadows and revealing herself to be the villain of this piece.
  • Would Hurt a Child: Among Harley's victims there are children; a little girl's severed head Harley stashed in her fridge, and a boy she taxidermied to be part of her "family".
  • Wrong Genre Savvy: Harley assumes she's going to jail. Maybe if you were in the mainstream DCAU, Harley. In this universe, you're Batman's dinner.

    Episode 02 — Bomb 
Superman vs. Brainiac
  • Adaptational Heroism:
  • Bittersweet Ending: Superman manages to resolve the problem with no massive loss of life. However, he was forced to give a Mercy Kill to the young Brainiac when it was obvious he didn't know how to control his power. Superman is clearly shaken up by the decision.
  • Bus Full of Innocents: Superman passes by one on his way to stop Brainiac, complete with a closeup of the people inside calling for help.
  • Censored Child Death: Superman's Mercy Kill of Brainiac occurs off-screen.
  • Couldn't Find a Pen: Superman scratches the message "GIVE ME FIVE MINUTES" on the canopy of the jet that is about to launch a nuke at Brainiac, buying enough time to resolve the situation without massive loss of life though, regrettably, he can't save Brainiac.
  • Deadline News: A news crew reporting on Brainiac's rampage meet their end by a out-of-control helicopter smashing right into the camera.
  • Dissonant Serenity: While Dr Sivana is advising they launch a nuclear strike on a heavily populated city in order to stop Brainiac, he's smiling. Then, while President Waller is making the call to the Pentagon, he's calmly musing over the irony that they need Superman to stop Brainiac, whom they created with the intention of stopping Superman (again, while smiling).
  • Downer Ending: Superman has no choice but to give poor Brainiac a Mercy Kill. Once the deed is done, he takes a moment to grieve.
  • Hidden Heart of Gold: Superman; the dialogue at the beginning suggests he is every bit the arrogant Jerkass the trailer made him appear as, but when he finds out Brainiac actually is a scared child suffering Power Incontinence, he immediately tries to help him, and encourages him to try and control his powers. Only when this fails does he go for the Mercy Kill, and even then it takes Brainiac asking him to do it.
  • I Cannot Self-Terminate: When Superman informs Brainiac that he can help end his destruction, Brainiac simply responds with "Do it", clearly understanding that the only way to end his destruction is if Superman killed him.
  • I Did What I Had to Do: Superman's actions after killing Brainiac are a regretful sigh and bowing his head in solemn silence. It's very clearly non-verbally communicated to the viewer that he wished there had been another alternative to the one he carried out.
  • Irony: Brainiac was created to stop Superman. Instead, he breaks out and they need Superman to stop him. This is even lampshaded by Dr. Sivana.
  • Laser-Guided Tyke-Bomb: This universe's Brainiac turns out to be this, having been created by the US government specifically to take down Superman.
  • Mercy Kill: Superman is forced to kill Brainiac after he loses control of his powers.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • The premise of the short is very similar to the Ace scene from the JLU episode "Epilogue", considering it entails a member of the Justice League opting to end the threat posed by a dying, super-powered child on his own terms rather than let Amanda Waller handle it her way.
    • Superman is forced to kill a city-wide threat and mourns over it, just like in Man of Steel.
  • Nuke 'em: The government's initial plan to destroy Brainiac; luckily, Superman was able to stop it first.
  • Our Presidents Are Different: It's unclear which kind she is, but Amanda Waller is the President of the United States.
  • Power Incontinence: Brainiac's powers are running dangerously wild, creating massive destruction. Superman tries urging him to gain control, and when that fails is forced to kill him.
  • Pragmatic Hero: Superman proves be one. He ignores a bus full of civilians to focus on Brainiac, as he had told the pilot about to nuke the city to give him five minutes. Saving them would waste valuable time, and they aren't in any immediate danger.
  • Shoot the Dog: Superman is forced to do this by giving Brainiac a Mercy Kill. He clearly doesn't take any pleasure in the action.
  • Wham Shot: Superman goes inside the large forcefield that Brainiac resides in, and finds a scared, crying child.
  • Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: Kid Brainiac; literally. He can't control his highly destructive powers and in the end is so distraught by his ordeal that he permits Superman to kill him.

    Episode 03 — Big 
Wonder Woman vs. Giganta

  • Battle Couple: Wondy and Steve Trevor fight together and end up making love after the threat is dealt with.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Wonder Woman shows up to save Trevor right when the Kobra leader is about to shoot him.
  • Bloodless Carnage: Despite the fact Bekka is hacking into Kobra with her sword and Steve is shooting them, there's not a splash of blood or entry wound to be seen. This is a bit odd, since the episode Twisted had a good amount of blood and gore.
  • Breather Episode: In comparison to Batman and Superman's respective shorts, this one comes across as much lighter in tone with nothing particularly horrific or tragic occuring.
  • Call-Back: The case that is holding Giganta is the exact same design as the bomb from Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths.
  • Casual Danger Dialogue: Wonder Woman and Steve do this while fighting Kobra.
  • Fembot: For some reason, Kobra decided to design their Humongous Mecha as a woman, complete with breasts and feminine curves.
  • Glad-to-Be-Alive Sex: Wondy and Steve get it on after defeating Giganta.
  • Guns Akimbo: Trevor does this against Giganta.
  • Humongous Mecha: This universe's Giganta is a giant robot.
  • Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: Wonder Woman does away with the leader of Kobra by impaling him on her sword.
  • Last Breath Bullet: After being stabbed through the abdomen by Bekka's sword, the leader of Kobra uses his final breath to activate their superweapon, Giganta, in order to destroy Wonder Woman and Steve Trevor.
  • Lighter and Softer: Compared to the two previous episodes. There is no particularly dark twist at the end, the fight utilizes Bloodless Carnage, and the tone is more humorous.
  • Mooks: Wondy and Steve have no trouble with the Kobra soldiers, seem to be playing a game about it.
  • Mythology Gag: Steve and Bekka are into bondage, just like Wonder Woman's original creator.
  • Safe Word: Steve asks if he needs a safeword when Bekka decides to have a little After-Battle-Nookie
  • Shout-Out: Robot Giganta somewhat resembles Jocasta from Marvel.
  • Teleportation Spam: Bekka makes liberal use of Boom Tubes.
  • Unwanted Assistance: Steve Trevor does not want Wonder Woman's help, even though he obviously could use it. At first Bekka continues to help regardless of Steve's complaints...Until Giganta appears, at which point she's more than happy to let Steve work alone, at least until she can get him to admit he needs her help.

Alternative Title(s): Justice League Gods And Monsters Chronicles