"Alive!" is the twelfth episode of the second season of Justice League Unlimited. It originally aired on May 6, 2006. It acts as the first half of the series finale.
At the Legion of Doom's base, Lex Luthor is attempting to reactivate the sole piece of Brainiac, but it fails once again. Tala urges Luthor to simply give up, but he tells her that this is science, something she doesn't understand. Tala counters that transmutation is exactly what they need, so Luthor allows Tala to work her magic on the piece. It fails to revive Brainiac, but it does allow Luthor to see a vision of where Brainiac's asteroid was destroyed. Using this knowledge, he orders the Legion to begin modifying the base.
Once the modifications are complete, the Legion are assembled in the meeting room. Toyman asks to know what is going on, Luthor explains that they will help him recover some pieces of Brainiac from outer space. Goldface is quite hostile at the prospect of Luthor becoming more powerful than them, but Luthor says that they will be rewarded by being his lieutenants in the new order. He also causes Goldface pain with a device in his belt as a reminder that he is already more powerful than they are. When Atomic Skull asks what their plan is, Luthor reveals that they have modified the Legion headquarters into a spaceship, with the cloaking field being a hyperspace field.
In his cage, Grodd becomes aware of movement, as Tala enters. She wants to release Grodd and kill Luthor. Assembling other dissidents, Grodd demands that Luthor turn the base around and surrender. Soon, a massive fight breaks out among the members of the Legion. The Grodd loyalists are larger in number, but the Luthor loyalists are more powerful. Grodd finds out that Giganta escaped from prison and is very mad that he tried to fry her brain. Ultimately, the Luthor loyalists triumph.
Luthor himself engages Grodd in combat. Even with enhanced metal gloves, Luthor is no match for Grodd's brute strength, and is nearly beaten to death. But he taunts Grodd as a mindless brute, goading Grodd into unleashing his telepathic powers - which is what Luthor has been waiting for. With a touch of his belt, he turns Grodd's mind control powers back onto himself, making Grodd an unwilling puppet. With no choice but to obey Luthor's commands, Grodd kneels and calls Luthor his better, then loads himself into an airlock. Luthor bids Grodd farewell, then releases him into space.
Luthor prepares to execute the remaining mutineers. Killer Frost earns a reprieve by stepping away and doing it for him. The only other one left alive is Tala, who begs for her life, pleading insanity. Smiling, Luthor tells her not to worry, she still has an important part to play...
Arriving at the coordinates, Luthor sets up collectors to bring in the debris which houses Brainiac's essence. Luthor plans to use Tala as a mystical conduit to bring Brainiac back to life, a process which will kill her. Once they are ready, he orders Toyman to throw the switch. However, time is momentarily frozen and the entity Metron appears, urging Luthor not to go through with what he is attempting, saying that it will have consequences for the entire universe. Luthor dismisses him, saying that he's on the verge of godhood and nothing will stop him. Back in normal time, Toyman throws the switch, and Tala crackles with energy, shrieking in agony.
As a figure appears within the smoke of the containment device, a triumphant Luthor exults to the Legion, "meet your new lord and master!" The smoke clears, and there stands...Darkseid! He thanks the horrified Luthor and Legion for resurrecting him, saying that while Earth will suffer, they will be granted a small mercy—a quick death. With that, Darkseid destroys the Legion's base.
On Apokolips, the forces of Granny Goodness and Vermin Vunderbar are preparing for a last battle for control of Apokolips. As the Female Furies lead Granny's army, Vunderbar's army charges under Kanto and Mantis. Before they reach each other, a massive explosion occurs in front of both armies. As the light fades and the smoke clears, they see Darkseid, who teleported to Apokolips without the use of a boom tube. Shocked at the sight of their dead master (and fearful of his wrath), both factions quickly regain enough of their wits to bow down and repledge their loyalty. When Bernadeth asks for Darkseid's commands, he tells them that he is temporarily halting his search for the Anti-Life Equation to take revenge on Superman by destroying Earth. Kanto respectfully reminds Darkseid that to attack Earth would break his pact with Highfather, and invite retaliation from New Genesis. Darkseid, however, is not concerned with reprisals—once he is finished with Earth, New Genesis is next.
At the Metro Tower, a staffer runs into the control room, telling Superman he needs to get out to the front door now. As Superman and other members of the Justice League head outside, they discover Lex Luthor and the remaining members of the Legion of Doom, as Luthor announces that they have a "little problem"...
- Giganta makes a reference to Grodd's short-circuiting her brain in "To Another Shore." She's holding a grudge against him, and because of that, she switched sides.
- Darkseid makes his first appearance since his death in Justice League, "Twilight."
- Apokolips is shown to be in the same state of civil war referenced in Justice League Unlimited, "The Ties That Bind."
- In the final scene, when the Justice League is called outside the Metro Tower, Orion is next to STRIPE and rushes outside along with the others. However, in the next scene, he is absent, and there's a gap between John Stewart and Batman. In the closing credits for the previous episode, and in the opening credits of this one, Orion is standing in the line-up right between John Stewart and Batman, filling in that gap. Presumably, Orion's inclusion was an oversight and his removal was a last minute creative call for plot convenience, seeing as he would have to play a major role in a fight against Darkseid.
- This episode originally aired on February 8, 2006 on Toonami UK.
- Bud Cort reprises his role as the Toyman from the Superman: The Animated Series episodes "Fun and Games" and "Obsession," and the Static Shock episode "Toys in the Hood," after being replaced by Corey Burton in Justice League, "Hereafter."
- This episode is different from others in that it focuses on the efforts of the villains. In fact, we do not see any members of the Justice League until the very end of the episode, and they have no speaking roles.
- On the DVD special feature, Dwayne McDuffie suggested that Tala deliberately manipulated her magic to resurrect Darkseid rather than Brainiac as her final "screw you" to Luthor.
- During his fight with Grodd, Luthor refers to him as a "half-baked Objectivist", a possible reference to the school of thought developed by Ayn Rand.
- Also on the special feature, Bruce Timm said that Grodd's death was sufficiently ambiguous that "we could bring him back if we wanted to."
- Last appearance (in any form) of Brainiac.
- Last appearance of several supervillains, who are presumably eliminated as follows:
|Bloodsport||Killed in the mutiny|
|Blockbuster||Frozen and blown up|
|Copperhead||Frozen and blown up|
|Fastball||Frozen and blown up|
|Goldface||Frozen and blown up|
|Hellgrammite||Frozen and blown up|
|The Key||Frozen and blown up|
|Lady Lunar||Killed in the mutiny|
|Major Disaster||Blown up|
|Monocle||Killed in the mutiny|
|Parasite||Frozen and blown up|
|Rampage||Frozen and blown up|
|Shade||Frozen and blown up|
|Silver Banshee||Killed in the mutiny|
|Weather Wizard||Frozen and blown up|
- Luthor's line, "We have a little problem..." appears to be a tribute to the identical line from the classic black comedy film Dr. Strangelove. In one of the film's many famous scenes, the line is spoken by the U.S. President, trying to find a tactful way to tell the Russian premier that a rogue Air Force general has ordered an unauthorized nuclear strike on Russia.
|Clancy Brown||Lex Luthor|
|Corey Burton|| Brainiac|
Weather Wizard (uncredited)
|Jennifer Hale|| Killer Frost|
|Lex Lang|| Atomic Skull|
|Daniel Dae Kim||Metron|
|Robin Atkins Downes||Watchtower Ops Tech|
Grodd: Why is my headquarters moving?
Killer Frost: One creepcicle coming up!
Grodd: I should have let you rot in jail!
Grodd: (his last words) You twisted little pink rat-hole of a hominid, I'm not done with you! I'll get out of this, and when I do...!
Metron: In my travels through the myriad paths of infinity, I have seen the first and the last. But what you do here today threatens all. Past. Present. And future.
Toyman: Twinkle twinkle, Brainiac. Tala's gonna bring you back.
Kanto: We had thought ourselves bereft forever.