DC Animated Universe

"Dead Reckoning" is the sixth episode of the third season of Justice League Unlimited, and the 32nd of the overall series.


Deadman asks the Master of a Temple for advice, as he has not passed on despite catching the man who killed him. The Master says the destiny of Deadman is to avenge his death. On Grodd's orders, a team from the Legion of Doom attacks the temple of Nanda Parbat, to steal its Heart, containing the psychic remains of thousands of former monks. Deadman tries to stop them, but is helpless to prevent Devil Ray from killing the Master and is exorcised by Tala from Rampage. Tala takes the Heart of Nanda Parbat and transports the villains away.

Deadman goes to the Watchtower and possesses Superman's body to tell them about the disaster. Batman vouches for Deadman, having met him before while helping to solve his murder; Batman is also one of the Master's former pupils.

While puzzling over what Grodd is planning to do, Deadman/Superman says he can feel the psychic presence of the Heart, but can't narrow it down further than Africa. Realizing that Grodd has returned to Gorilla City, Batman radios Solovar, who tells them that he was just going to call them and that the city is under attack at that moment.

Batman, Wonder Woman and the possessed Superman arrive outside the city. Deadman leaves Superman's body to slip through the protective shield and find someone to possess in order to shut it down. The Leaguers fight their way into the city. Deadman possesses Wonder Woman in order to attack Devil Ray but decides not to kill him.

Inside, Grodd and Luthor places the Heart, which Grodd describes as an exotic power source, into the force field generator, creating a device powerful enough to send out a planet-wide energy field. Luthor assumes that Grodd plans to extend a mind-control signal over the Earth, but instead Grodd reveals that his master plan is to "re-write" human DNA and transform every person on Earth into apes.

The signal reaches out and transforms the Justice Leaguers, but Superman manages to destroy the generator and the Heart, turning themselves back into humans.

Devil Ray sneaks in and aims his weapon at Wonder Woman. Deadman takes over Batman's body, grabs a Luthor's gun, and shoots Devil Ray, knocking him backward into an open panel and electrocuting him to death. When Batman regains control of his body, he is disgusted at having any part in killing someone with a gun because of his parents's murder and Superman explains to Batman, that Deadman did it. Deadman is then "recalled" by Rama Kushna, who says that he has upset the balance of life in the universe by killing Devil Ray. Deadman says Devil Ray committed a greater crime by slaughtering the monks at Nanda Parbat, but Rama Kushna takes him there, showing him how destroying the Soul has released the life energies stored within it and restored all the monks to life, including The Master. But The Master tells Deadman that he will be trapped on Earth until he atones for his sin.

At the Legion of Doom's headquarters, Grodd insists that "their" master plan has suffered a temporary setback, no more; then Luthor stands and aims a gun at him, announcing that he's decided to take over leadership of the Legion a little earlier than he planned, since he's disgusted that Grodd's "master plan" (a) didn't work, and (b) was just plain ridiculous. Luthor incapacitates Grodd during a council meeting by shooting him with a non-lethal weapon and declares himself the new leader. The Legion are equally disgusted with Grodd, so no one objects. Tala, especially, is quick to transfer her affectionate attention to Luthor.


Background information[]

Home video releases[]


  • According to story editor Matt Wayne, Powers Boothe (the voice actor for Gorilla Grodd), thought the character was dead at the end of this episode and was surprised when he was asked to come back for more.
  • Deadman says that Batman previously helped him solve his own murder; although this is Deadman's first appearance in the DCAU, he appeared in issues of tie-in comics Batman: Gotham Adventures and The Adventures of Batman and Robin, based on the animated continuity.
  • Deadman's quip, "when they beam down on that TV show, they never miss", is a clear reference to Star Trek, mainly the original series, in which the crew of USS Enterprise commonly uses transporters to visit other planets, the process being known to fans as "beaming down" (when the crew is sent to alien soil) or "up" (to send the crew back into the ship).
  • In this episode, a scar is visible on Bizarro's forehead, which was part of Grodd's plan to upgrade the villains during the Legion of Doom. Lex Luthor performed a little brain surgery on Bizarro to make him more controllable, which starts his warped sense of understanding to actually be backwards as it is in the comics. However, it is not fully backwards as evidenced that he wishes to kill his "friend" Superman.[1]


Actor Role
Kevin Conroy Batman
Deadman (possessing Batman)
Susan Eisenberg Wonder Woman
Rampage (uncredited)
Deadman (possessing Wonder Woman)
Monk (uncredited)
George Newbern Superman
Deadman (possessing Superman)
Raphael Sbarge Deadman
Atomic Skull (uncredited)
Powers Boothe Gorilla Grodd
Clancy Brown Lex Luthor
Juliet Landau Tala
Rama Kushna (uncredited)
Michael Beach Devil Ray
Mr. Terrific
David Ogden Stiers Solovar
Sab Shimono The Master

Uncredited appearances[]


The Master: I know you are here, Boston Brand.
Deadman: (appears) What's the point of being a flippin' ghost if you can't even sneak up on people?

(in the Himalayas)
Devil Ray: Grodd never sends us to any place nice...

Taj Ze: This humble one begs your forgiveness, but to enter this sacred place, the right must be earned.
Devil Ray: (shoots him) Keep the change.

Lex Luthor: Bizarro, you despise me right?
Bizarro: Uh-huh. Bizarro hate Luthor. Me do anything for he.
Lex Luthor: Good—I mean, bad. Anyway, take care of those monks.
Bizarro: Okay.

Superman: Come on, Bruce. I know a burger place in Metropolis that has the best fries on the East Coast. And the milkshakes are so thick...
(Deadman possesses him)
I need your help!
Wonder Woman: That's pretty thick!

Batman: (from the Watchtower) Solovar, this is Batman.
Solovar: What a coincidence. I was just about to call you.
Batman: We wanted to give you a heads-up. We got reason to believe...
(Solovar is shown crouching behind rubble, holding a gun; sounds of battle)
Batman: ...Grodd's coming your way.
Solovar: You don't say! That would explain the armies of supervillains attacking the city!

Deadman: (possessing Superman) Gorilla City?
Wonder Woman: A hidden city of talking, hyper-intelligent gorillas, with technology far beyond anything humans have developed.
Deadman: No, really!
Wonder Woman: You're a ghost from the Himalayas, having trouble believing this?
Deadman: Point.

Deadman: (possessing Superman) You know, when they beam down on that TV show, they never miss...

Batman: You're wasting time! Go in as a ghost. Find the central control and shut down the shield generator. We'll follow as soon as we can.
Deadman: (possessing Superman) Yeah, okay!
(Deadman leaves Superman's body)
Superman: ...you have to eat them with a spoon. What am I doing in Africa?

Deadman: (possessing Wonder Woman) You killed my teacher, my friend!
Devil Ray: You'll have to be more specific, lady. I've killed a lot of people.
Deadman: (possessing Wonder Woman) The old monk!
Devil Ray: What are you waiting for? You want revenge? Take it!
Deadman: (possessing Wonder Woman) No, that's not what he would have wanted!
(Deadman leaves Wonder Woman's body)
Wonder Woman: Next time, ask permission!

Superman: Is everything okay?
Wonder Woman: Well, I'm sorta missing Flash's obligatory joke about how Grodd made a monkey out of us...
Superman: Just couldn't let it go unsaid.
Wonder Woman: Obligatory!

Lex Luthor: I wasn't going to do this for another few weeks, but seriously... (rises from table) Turning all of humanity into apes? (aims a weapon at Grodd) THAT was your master plan? (shoots Grodd) Listen up! From now on, I'm in charge of this operation. Anybody got a problem with that?