"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 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. 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.
- Devil Ray's quip about Grodd never sending them to "any place nice" is probably a reference to his mission in Scandinavia in "To Another Shore".
- We learn that Grodd released Tala from the mirror in which she was trapped in "The Balance".
- According to Devil Ray, Giganta was arrested after the events of "To Another Shore", and remains in custody.
- Eventually, Batman ended up using a gun to save someone's life in the Batman Beyond premiere "Rebirth", although in this occasion he was manipulated by Deadman while in the other case he used it only to scare off his enemy.
- Mr. Terrific alludes to the time J'onn J'onzz pulled some information out of Giganta's mind before it shut down in "To Another Shore".
- Batman states that this is Luthor's first sign of activity since he raided Blackhawk Island in "I Am Legion".
- Wonder Woman wonders whether Grodd is building together a new Secret Society as he did in the Justice League episode "Secret Society"
- Gorilla City is seen for the first (and last) time since "The Brave and the Bold".
- When looking at photos trying to identify the sorcerer he saw at the temple, Deadman is shown a picture of Circe, who appeared in "This Little Piggy".
- At the end of this episode, Luthor takes leadership of the Legion from Grodd. This will eventually lead to the supervillain battle in "Alive!", and ultimately, Grodd's implied death.
- None of the Legion outwardly objected to Luthor's coup at the time, but since so many villains sided with Grodd so quickly during the Luthor-Grodd civil war in "Alive!", it can be presumed that the Grodd loyalists simply kept their mouths shut and followed Luthor until it looked like Grodd had a chance to seize back the reigns.
- Deadman says that Batman previously helped him solve his own murder; although this is Deadman's first appearance in a DCAU series, he appeared in issues of the comic books Batman: Gotham Adventures and The Adventures of Batman and Robin, based on the animated continuity.
Home video releases
- Justice League Unlimited - Season Two (DVD)
- Justice League - The Complete Series (DVD)
- DC Comics Super-Villains: Justice League Masterminds of Crime (DVD)
- Justice League Unlimited - The Complete Series (Blu-ray)
- Grodd's device rewrites human DNA and transforms humanity into apes. Superman is Kryptonian, but the device manages to turn him into an ape as well. However, Grodd might have prepared for Kryptonian DNA also.
- 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, Bizarro's warped sense of understanding starts 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.
- When Luthor is turned into a gorilla, he is still hairless due to his baldness.
- Batman claims in this episode that the Master of Nanda Parbat was "one of" his martial arts teachers. This prevents any contradictions with the episodes "Night of the Ninja" and "Day of the Samurai" from Batman: The Animated Series, which revealed that Bruce Wayne was also trained by Yoru-Sensei in Japan.
|Kevin Conroy|| Batman|
Deadman (possessing Batman)
|Susan Eisenberg|| Wonder Woman|
Deadman (possessing Wonder Woman)
|George Newbern|| Superman|
Deadman (possessing Superman)
|Powers Boothe||Gorilla Grodd|
|Clancy Brown||Lex Luthor|
|Juliet Landau|| Tala|
Rama Kushna (uncredited)
|Michael Beach|| Devil Ray|
|David Ogden Stiers||Solovar|
|Sab Shimono||The Master|
Taj Ze: This humble one begs your forgiveness, but to enter this sacred place, the right must be earned.
Lex Luthor: Bizarro, you despise me right?
Batman: (from the Watchtower) Solovar, this is Batman.
Deadman: (possessing Superman) Gorilla City?
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 Wonder Woman) You killed my teacher, my friend!
Superman: Is everything okay?
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?