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- J'onn J'onzz has sealed the Imperium invaders in a vault beneath the surface of Mars.
You'd Expect: Knowing how extremely dangerous the Imperium is, J'onn J'onzz will take all the precautions and apply all manner of Martian advanced technology to entrap them so it will be impossible to release them. Also, knowing that humans might eventually evolve and arrive on Mars, or that other Aliens could find the vault, J'onn will place a huge warning, in every possible known languages, to never open the vault under any circumstances.
Instead: The vault is sealed with a simple lock that is easily broken with a Humans pickax. The invaders are now free to attack the Earth.
- Rather than a specific moment, it's a re-occurring theme for J'onn J'onzz. He'll see a missile/blast/laser or some other projectile heading towards him. He has no time to dodge; but enough time to gasp in surprise.
You'd Expect: He'll turn ethereal to avoid the attack. Or morph into something so the blast would miss him. He's been shown to do both in the blink of an eye.
Instead: He forgets about his own superpowers and gets shot in the face - again.
Of Course: Jonn has done the intangible trick before, so this is more a case of Worf Forgot About His Powers.
- In "Injustice For All", Batman puts a tracer on Luthor, which tells him the location of the headquarters of the Injustice Gang.
You'd expect: Him to tell the league so they can all raid the place. Trying to take on six superhumans by himself alone would be suicidal.
Instead: He leaves the Watchtower without saying anything to his teammates and tries to take on the Injustice Gang alone. Predictably, he gets caught, and the League has no idea where he is being held as he couldn't be arsed to say a word about it.
Even Worse: The Gang is able to use Batman's transmitter to infiltrate the Watchtower and plant a bomb there. In the end, if it hadn't been for a mole within the Gang's ranks warning the League about the bomb, they would all have gotten killed thanks to Batman's screwup.
- The Injustice Gang have captured Batman thanks to Joker's help. In doing so, they have knocked him out.
You'd Expect: The Injustice Gang would unmask Batman to learn his secret identity. It would have helped them a lot in taking out the Trope Namer of the Batman Gambit—not quite as much as they'd expect at first, but learning Batman to be Bruce Wayne would have Lex at least know who he is dealing with in case he escaped somehow.
Instead: They just restrain him. Inevitably, Batman escapes with help from a mole (Ultra-Humanite) while having torn apart the Injustice Gang from the inside. There is no subsequent sign of an attack on Bruce Wayne instead of Batman before the Batman Beyond timeline, and when the Joker does learn of Batman's identity, he ultimately gets himself killed when he tries to use it to his advantage.
But Even Worse: All that could have been avoided had Superman brought J'onn J'onzz to read Copperhead's mind and learn the location of Lex's secret lair.
- One more, this time shared with Batman. In the season two finale "Starcrossed", someone needs to crash a ship into a BFG, making sure that it does not burn up on entry into the atmosphere. In this series, J'onn J'onzz does not have his trademark fear of fire. His three most prominently used powers are telepathy, flight, and Intangibility/Phasing.
You'd Expect: Batman would evacuate himself and Flash and telepathically guide J'onn through the whole process just like they did in the series premiere. J'onn would then complete his task, phase out of the ship, and fly away from the ensuing explosion. Doing the job well would mean there'd be no fire to be afraid of anyway.
Instead: Batman pushes the Flash and Martian Manhunter into an escape capsule, tells them It Has Been an Honor, and prepares to go through with his suicide mission, NOT knowing that Superman would hear him and come to his rescue.
Why does he think he can get away with being such an idiot? Because He's the GODDAMN Batman! That's why!
Justice League Unlimited
- In the Justice League Unlimited episode "Grudge Match", Lex Luthor finds a way to mind control the members of the Justice League.
You'd Expect: He'd use it to make the JLU members help conquer Earth, defeat other superheroes, rob banks, etc.
Instead: He forces female JLU members to fight in underground cage matches.
- Another one from JLU - Downpour, a pastiche of Zan from the Wonder Twins, gets into a fight. With Aquaman.
You'd Expect: He'd run like freakin' hell never looking back because of his powers. Which loosely translate to "I lose against Aquaman."
Instead: He fills the room with water. Attempting to drown Aquaman. This works as well as it sounds: "King of the seas, remember?" Though he's kind of insane at this point.
- In the JLU episode "The Balance", the spirit of the sorcerer Felix Faust has taken over Tartarus with the Annihilator armor in addition to imprisoning Hades & torturing him with vultures in a cold, frozen part of Tartarus. While Faust is satisfying his thirst for knowledge in Hades' library, he is encountered by Wonder Woman and Hawkgirl, who have been sent by the gods to restore Hades to power.
You'd Expect: That Faust would fight them, or somehow use his magic to... GAH, just anything but what he actually does!
Instead: Faust teleports them away into the aforementioned cold, frozen part of Tartarus... you know, the exact same place where he has chained up Hades! Once they're there, there was absolutely nothing preventing them from setting Hades free, which they do. Hades proceeds to teleport them back to Faust and then helps them defeat him. What... an... idiot!
- In the JLU episode "Clash," Superman uses his x-ray vision and sees what appears to be a bomb beneath Lexor City. Lex Luthor says it's just a harmless generator that could potentially be dangerous to a Kryptonian, but Superman doesn't believe him. Captain Marvel arrives and suggests getting the Atom or Steel to inspect it just to be sure.
You'd Expect: Superman to consider it. Captain Marvel has the Wisdom of Solomon after all. Or that he would actually remember that Lex would never do anything so blatantly evil for no good reason.
Instead: Superman acts like an impatient child and fights off Captain Marvel when he tries to intervene. The two destroy Lexor City in a brawl and it turns out that the device actually was a generator. Superman loses credibility with the public (which was Luthor's goal in the first place). Captain Marvel, disgusted by the whole thing, resigns from the Justice League, costing them one of their more powerful members. What's more worse is that Superman never makes amends with him.
- In "The Great Brain Robbery," while Flash's and Lex Luthor's minds are switched into each other's bodies, Luthor-in-Flash's-body has a moment of security in a bathroom; he looks into a nearby mirror and gets the bright idea that, if nothing else, he can at least learn Flash's real identity. With this in mind, he pulls off the mask, and... "I have no idea who this is."
You'd expect: Luthor to find some clever workaround (like taking a picture of himself and uploading it somewhere where he can access it later) in order to capitalize on the information at a later date. If all else fails, he knows at least that the Flash's secret identity is that of a red-haired guy and there's no indication given that he's ever forgotten that point even after getting back into his own body at the end of the episode (in an earlier episode, Batman had indicated that Luthor's got a photographic memory). Plus, it's common knowledge that the Flash hails from Central City; all Luthor would have to do is single out every red-headed male of adult age in the city and then use his resources (and the skills of the Legion of Doom) to sift through the potential suspects until he gets the right one. From there, he could either just kill the Flash or blackmail him with his secret identity. And one would think he'd want to take revenge on the guy who single-handedly stopped his last Take Over the World bid, after all.
Instead: Luthor never capitalizes on this advantage. Granted, when he killed the Flash in an Alternate Universe, that universe's Superman reacted very badly, but still.
- In "Epilogue", Amanda Waller, despite her many reasons to dislike Batman, comes to respect his methods and compassion. She realizes, however, that he's getting old and needs someone to replace him. So Amanda uses Cadmus technology to conceive a child with Bruce's DNA and she has parents who match the psychological profile of the Waynes. Now she only needs to motivate the child to eventually fight crime.
You'd Expect: Waller to realize that Bruce wasn't just motivated by avenging his parents and creating a city that doesn't need him. He also wanted to use his privilege as a Gotham millionaire to reduce crime and perhaps someday to settle down and have a happy life. Not everyone would make the same choices as Bruce did on suffering a traumatic loss or have access to Batman's resources.
You'd Also Expect: She would do her homework on assassins and find one who has no connection to Batman or empathy about parents losing their children if she was going that route.
Instead: She hires Phantasm to murder Terry McGinnis's parents while the young boy is having fun at the movies with them. Phantasm was once Bruce's fiancee who also lost her parents to tragic circumstances. Instead of fighting crime, she committed murders to avenge her father.
The Result: Phantasm, while preparing to kill Terrys parents, refuses to commit senseless murder because she knows what it's like to lose a family and that it won't necessarily make you a hero. She tells off Amanda Waller for her scheme, which causes Waller to abandon the project altogether because she realizes the same conclusion. While Terry becomes Batman later, it's not just to avenge his father, but also to atone for being a juvenile delinquent. Same result, different motivation.