DC Animated Universe

"Destroyer" is the 13th episode of the third season of Justice League Unlimited and the 39th of the overall series. It is the series finale and also of the entire DC Animated Universe. As Darkseid comes to claim vengeance on Superman by destroying Earth, the Justice League has no choice but to ally themselves with Lex Luthor and the Legion of Doom to battle the might of Apokolips.


Lex Luthor and the surviving members of the Legion of Doom arrive at the Metro Tower, warning the Justice League of Darkseid's impending invasion. A brief flashback (told from Luthor's "selective" point-of-view) explained that when Darkseid destroyed their headquarters, Sinestro and Star Sapphire managed to shield them with their power ring and gem, respectively. When Lightray from nearby New Genesis arrived to investigate the explosion and offer assistance, the Legion attacked him, Evil Star blasting him from behind, and stole his Mother Box, which they then used to return to Earth.

Destroyer invasion

The invasion of Earth begins.

Upon receiving the message, the League announce that they're locking up the Legion. As several prepare to fight back, an emergency message arrives: Around the world, boom tubes open, and the Apokoliptian fleet appears, releasing Parademons and ground troops on the helpless masses. The Legion insists that they be allowed to fight alongside the League; they may be criminals, but Earth is their home too. Batman agrees, saying that the League needs all the help they can get. Superman and Wonder Woman are more skeptical, but Luthor announces that he isn't saving Earth: as far as he's concerned, both the Justice League and the Legion of Doom are little more than tools to help him achieve revenge on Darkseid for taking Brainiac away. Once the invasion is dealt with, it will be "back to business as usual". Superman reluctantly goes along but Wonder Woman orders that the villains fight in mixed teams.

Mr. Terrific, handling central command from the Watchtower, sends out an "Omega-level alert" to the entire League: around the world, various Leaguers prepare for battle and are teleported away. Battle erupts everywhere, with the allied heroes and villains defeating legions of Darkseid's forces around the World.

Destroyer alliance

Superman, Batman, and Luthor engage Parademons.

Superman, Batman, and Luthor confront Darkseid at his command ship, which Batman deduces is the best-protected one, hovering over the Daily Planet building in Metropolis. Emerging from his ship in a beam of light, Darkseid tells Superman that he intends to make the Kryptonian suffer by watching his adopted world die before killing him. His speech ends with the same phrase Superman told him before their previous standoff: "Let's go".

As the battle progresses, the Apokoliptian forces set up huge drilling machines designed to dig holes straight through to the Earth's core, creating fire pits that will make Earth another Apokolips. Mr. Terrific orders them taken out at all costs, and the Leaguers destroy several, though Shayera is badly wounded from a Parademon spear.

Over the Great Wall of China, a middle-aged Asian man tells his wife to find cover, then reveals himself to be J'onn J'onzz, who joins Wonder Woman, Star Sapphire, Vigilante, and Shining Knight in battling Darkseid's Parademons, as they are having considerable difficulty.

Source Wall

Luthor is taken to the Source Wall.

In Metropolis, the clash between Superman and Darkseid has destroyed much of the Planet's structure, while Luthor and Batman hold off Parademons. Suddenly, Luthor spots Metron and accuses him of knowing that exactly this would happen. The time traveler states that this outcome was one of the many possibilities that could've resulted from Luthor's rash actions. Luthor demands that Metron help him defeat Darkseid, pointing out that if he knows so much about the Apokoliptian despot that there must be a way to beat him. Metron confesses that there is only one possible solution but warns that it's too risky. Luthor, raising his gun, does not care. Conceding to his wishes, Metron takes him to the Source Wall, beyond which contains the only thing that could stop Darkseid. Metron warns that only a "twelfth level intellect" could survive the journey through the wall, but Luthor only claims "then I'm overqualified". Luthor flies through an opening in the wall, sees a great light... and screams.

On Earth, Darkseid appears to be winning, but Batman repeatedly interrupts the tyrant's attempts to kill Superman. Darkseid is astonished that a mere mortal would dare to strike him-and even more so when Batman actually evades his deadly Omega Beams, causing them to strike a Parademon, Darkseid claims this is the first time someone has avoided his Omega Beams. He prepares to kill Batman the old-fashioned way, but Superman, who now has his second wind, knocks Darkseid through the wall.

Darkseid engaged

Superman unleashing his full power against Darkseid.

For the first time since their acquaintance, Darkseid is uncertain, maybe even a little afraid, as Superman approaches he explains to the New God that he's always careful about the use of his powers in case he hurts someone by accident, Darkseid however is strong enough to take it all without killing him, so for once, Superman can unleash his full power, which he does by delivering a single, earth-shattering punch that sends Darkseid flying into the air and through several skyscrapers. With his speed, Superman is waiting for him at the other end, and knocks him to the ground with a two-handed blow, creating a crater.

Deciding that he's wasted enough time in hand-to-hand combat, Darkseid traps Superman in a powerful torture field called the Agony Matrix, which activates every pain receptor in the body. While Superman lies helpless, Darkseid claims he will show mercy, and draws a knife with a Kryptonite blade, intending to cut out Superman's heart. Then Luthor appears, having returned from the dimension Metron transported him to, and holding the only thing in the universe Darkseid wants: the Anti-Life Equation. Entranced, Darkseid takes hold of it, and Superman is freed from the Agony Matrix. With Batman, Superman leaves the crater, while Darkseid and Luthor disappear in a blaze of light.

Darkseid demise

Darkseid and Luthor are swept up in the equation's cosmic power.

With Darkseid apparently gone, the invading forces from Apokolips retreat from Earth. The Justice League speculate over what happened, and if Darkseid and Luthor had died (most believe they did not). J'onn J'onzz reminds that if they do come back, the League will be ready for them.

With the threat gone, Wonder Woman announces that it is time for the villains to go back to jail. Atomic Skull objects, saying they helped the League save the world. Batman agrees... and gives them a five-minute head start. When the League makes it clear that concession is all they are offering, the Legion turns and runs (although Giganta takes a moment to kiss the Flash). J'onn calls his wife to tell her he will be back in time for dinner and Flash sadly remarks "These are the end times."

Destroyer adventure continues

The adventure continues...

Superman playfully chides Batman that the five-minute head start shows he is getting soft. With a smile, Batman counters "Don't you have a tall building to go leap?" Wonder Woman, who is walking with both Superman and Batman muses "and the adventure continues..."

Descending the steps of the Metro Tower, the entire expanded League sets off after the villains.


  • Darkseid's invasion of Earth in this episode marks the fourth world-wide alien invasion of the Earth in the DC Animated Universe. The prior instances consisted of Darkseid's initial invasion in "Legacy;" the Imperium Invasion depicted in "Secret Origins;" and the Thanagarian invasion depicted in "Starcrossed".
  • This episode makes the second time Darkseid tried to create Apokolips on Earth. The first time was "Apokolips... Now!"
  • Both Darkseid and Superman recollect the last time they met in Justice League episode, "Twilight, Part II" (from their different perspectives). Prior to their battle, Darkseid says "Let's go" as Superman told him before in their last encounter.
  • According to Dwayne McDuffie, Darkseid and Luthor became part of the Source Wall, like everyone else who solved the Anti-Life Equation.[1]
  • Back in "To Another Shore", J'onn J'onzz left the Watchtower to live among earthlings in hopes of finding some way to connect with humanity. This episode revealed J'onn accomplished his mission on a level that even shocked his teammates. Not only did J'onn find a new mate on earth, but his speech patterns also became noticeably much more "human," even while battling in his Martian Manhunter form.

Background information[]

Home video releases[]

Production notes[]

  • The name of this episode "Destroyer" and the previous, "Alive!" are also the names of two bestselling albums by the rock band KISS.

Production inconsistencies[]

  • As she leaves the Metro Tower, instead of holding her Cosmic Staff, Stargirl is seen clearly holding one of the spears of the Parademons. In fact, she is not seen holding her Staff at all this episode, and fights only unarmed.
  • Three inconsistencies occur in the battle involving Shayera, Atomic Skull and Commander Steel:
    • During the opening shot, it is night but when, the three super-beings appear, it is day.
    • This battle takes place in Washington D.C. and yet from the Watchtower, the monitor displays New York.
    • Even if it were nighttime in D.C. then all East Coast US cities would be at night too. Metropolis is portrayed as an Eastern Seaboard town, as is Gotham.


  • Lex Luthor's line "we found ourselves dependent on the kindness of strangers" echoes a famous quote from Tennessee Williams's play A Streetcar Named Desire.
  • Darkseid's speech about what will happen before he finally ends Superman's life mirrors Superman's speech on "Twilight" about not stopping until Darkseid's a greasy smear on his fist. Both speeches end with "Let's go."
  • When J'onn J'onzz reveals himself to Wonder Woman, his spiraling transformation from a Dragon into the Martian Manhunter echoes the opening credits of the original Justice League series.
  • Order of Battle:
  • Commander Steel saves Shayera by picking up a Parademon's shield and throwing it spinning through the air, in a nod to Marvel Comics' Captain America, whom he resembles. Both heroes have American flag themed costumes. Both obtained their abilities by scientific means during wartime. However, Steel's publication origins predate Captain America by 2 years (1939).
  • Shayera's wing is impaled by a Parademon's spear, resembling how Angel (another Marvel hero) had his wings originally crippled.
  • During the "call to arms" sequence where Leaguers across the globe suited up for transport, Ice briefly "hibernated," encasing herself in a block of ice, then breaking free to reveal herself in costume, powered-up and ready for action. Movement-for-movement, this was the exact same method of transformation Bobby Drake used to turn into Iceman on the 80s superhero show Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends.
  • Each major invasion of Earth that has taken place throughout the series has a similar goal of building a weapon that can destroy the planet. For example, Darkseid's goal of creating "Apocalypse on Earth" using drills refers back to the very first episode, "Secret Origins", where the Imperium's goal is creating darkness on Earth using drills of their own. Another reference is when the Thanagarians try to destroy the Earth by using a hyperspace bypass. Every attempt, of course, failed thanks to the Justice League.
  • Batman evades Darkseid's Omega Beams until they hit a Parademon, prompting him to state that no one had ever avoided the Omega Beams; in the Final Crisis story arc of the comics, Batman is seemingly killed by Darkseid's very Omega Beams. Also, minutes after, the Flashes (Barry Allen and Wally West) manage to outrun both the Omega Beams and the Black Racer by vibrating through Dan Turpin's body, thus making the beams hit him and expel Darkseid's essence from the body.
  • The second to last line of the episode, and therefore, the DC Animated Universe, is said by Batman. This mirrors the blimp pilot (who, like Batman, is voiced by Kevin Conroy) from the Batman: The Animated Series (and DCAU) premiere episode, "On Leather Wings", voicing the second line of the episode.
  • Batman's line "Don't you have a tall building to go leap?" to Superman is a reference to the opening narration of the Fleischer cartoons of the 1940s.
  • In the final scene, the Justice Leaguers run down the stairs of the Metro Tower or fly off in groups, which are nods to the DC Comics:
Group Reference
B'wana Beast, Metamorpho Created by writer Bob Haney
Steel Created by writer Louise Simonson
The Question, Captain Atom, The Creeper, Hawk and Dove Created by writer/artist Steve Ditko
Stargirl, S.T.R.I.P.E., Crimson Avenger, Vigilante, Shining Knight The Seven Soldiers of Victory
Hourman, Doctor Mid-Nite, Wildcat, Doctor Fate The Justice Society of America
Vibe, Vixen, Commander Steel, Gypsy The "Justice League Detroit"
Booster Gold, Elongated Man, Fire, Ice The "Justice League International"
Zatanna, The Atom, Red Tornado, Black Canary, Green Arrow The "Justice League Satellite" era
J'onn J'onzz, John Stewart, Hawkgirl, Flash, Wonder Woman, Superman, Batman The seven founding members, with the "Trinity" of Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman being the final heroes


Actor Role
Maria Canals Shayera Hol
Kevin Conroy Batman
Susan Eisenberg Wonder Woman
Phil LaMarr Green Lantern
Steel (uncredited)
Carl Lumbly J'onn J'onzz
George Newbern Superman
Bizarro (uncredited)
Michael Rosenbaum Flash
Michael Beach Mr. Terrific
Clancy Brown Lex Luthor
Jennifer Hale Giganta
Sroya Bashir (uncredited)
Chinese Woman (uncredited)
Michael Ironside Darkseid
Daniel Dae Kim Metron
Chinese Man (uncredited)
Lex Lang Atomic Skull
Blue Devil (uncredited)

Uncredited appearances[]


Shayera: Send us first — give the others the chance to get their pants on.

Giganta: If you think you're locking us up while the whole world is under attack, you got two fights on your hands.
(The Leaguers and Legionnaires stare each other down, ready to fight)
Batman: She's got a point. We'll need all the bodies we can throw at this.
Superman: Oh, come on, it's Lex-flipping-Luthor! Why should we trust him?!
Atomic Skull: Hey, it's our world, too!
Lex Luthor: Let's be clear about this: we're not here to help you save the world — you're here to help me get revenge on Darkseid. When this is over, it's back at business as usual.
(Superman glares at Lex for a long moment, and says...)
Superman: Wouldn't have it any other way.

Batman: Search through the telemetry on the attack groups; find the best-protected mother ship. That's where Darkseid will be.
Superman: And that's where I want to go.
Mr. Terrific: I imagine so—it's in Metropolis, hovering over the Daily Planet. Stand by.

Darkseid: I hope you appreciate, Kal-El, that everything that happens from this point is on your hand. The skies will rain fire, the oceans will boil, the streets will run red with the blood of billions. Only then, after your last pitiful hope is extinguished, will I end your life. Let's go.

Darkseid: I'm more powerful than I've ever been, and the last time we met, you barely managed to hold your own.
Superman: Funny — that's not how I remember it.

Lex Luthor: You destroyed Brainiac! I'm going to make you pay!
Darkseid: Unlikely. (blows Luthor away)

Wonder Woman: Get away from here! It's not safe!
Asian Man: Don't worry! I'm here to help! (punches Parademon)
Wonder Woman: I appreciate your inten-
(She and the others watch the man fight the Parademons with incredible strength.)
Wonder Woman: Hera...!
(The man shapeshifts into a Chinese Dragon, and takes to the skies, taking down more Parademons. He then shapeshifts again into J'onn J'onzz.)
Wonder Woman: J'onn! (hugs him)
J'onn J'onzz: Good to see you, Diana. I've got a lot to tell you about.
Wonder Woman: We'll catch up later.
J'onn J'onzz: Wouldn't miss it. First things first...
(The team flies off towards one of Darkseid's magma towers.)

Lex Luthor: Problem?
Batman: I'm out.
Lex Luthor: (offering Batman a gun) Take my extra.
Batman: Not my style.
Lex Luthor: Suit yourself — I'm planning to live through this.

Darkseid: Flee.
[Darkseid fires his Omega Beams, but Batman avoids them long enough for them to hit a parademon]
Darkseid: Impressive. No one has ever avoided my Omega Beams. I wonder if the other one is as agile.
[Darkseid powers up his Omega Beams, but Luthor runs before he fires]
Darkseid: Excellent strategy.

Darkseid: Super or otherwise, you're merely a man, and I am a god!

Darkseid: You still try to fight. Can't you see that it's hopeless?
(Superman pins him to the wall)
Superman: That man won't quit as long as he can still draw a breath. None of my teammates will. Me? I've got a different problem. (Superman smashes Darkseid through the wall)
I feel like I live in a world made of cardboard - always taking constant care not to break something, to break someone. Never allowing myself to lose control, even for a moment, or someone could die.
(Darkseid tries to attack, but Superman knocks him back)
Superman: But you can take it, can't you, big man? What we have here is a rare opportunity for me to cut loose, and show you just how powerful I really am.

Darkseid: It's called the Agony Matrix — direct neural stimulation of pain receptors. All of them. Imagine the worst pain you've ever felt in your life, times a thousand. Now imagine that pain continuing forever. Oh, that's right — you don't have to imagine.

Metron: I warn you one final time — only a twelfth level intellect has the slightest hope of surviving what you are about to experience.
Lex Luthor: Then I'm overqualified.

Darkseid: Still alive. You impress me, Kryptonian. More... your valor has touched my heart. Oh yes, there is still some small part of me that knows mercy. I will end your pain with something special I've been saving for just this occasion (takes out a Kryptonite knife). I'm going to carve out your heart and put it on a pike in my throne room.
Lex Luthor: As much as I'd enjoy seeing that, first you have some business with me.

Darkseid: It's beautiful, isn't it?
Lex Luthor: Yes... yes, it is.

J'onn J'onzz: In many ways, Lex Luthor represents the worse mankind has to offer.
Superman: But he died saving us all.
Batman: I doubt that either of them died.
Superman: We saw it this time.
The Flash: You saw it last time, too.
Green Lantern: What's the old saying? Believe half of what you see...
Shayera: ...and none of what you hear. They'll be back.
J'onn J'onzz: And we'll be ready for them.

Wonder Woman: Meanwhile, it's past time that Luthor's partners in crime were locked up.
Atomic Skull: Wait a minute! We help you guys save the world and we don't even get any consideration?
(Batman looks at Superman, who shrugs)
Batman: You're right — five minute head start.
Atomic Skull: Five minutes? Are you kidding?!
Wonder Woman: Four minutes, fifty seconds.

J'onn J'onzz: (on the cell phone to his wife) I should be back in time to dinner. I love you, too.
Flash: These are the end times...

Superman: A head start? You're getting soft in your old age...
Batman: Don't you have a tall building to go leap?

(final line)
Wonder Woman: And the adventure continues...


  1. DwayneMcDuffie.com
  2. [1]
  3. King's Chronicles - Final role call (Saturday, May 13th, 2006)