"Hawk and Dove" is the fourth episode of the first season of Justice League Unlimited, and the fourth of the overall series. It originally aired on August 21, 2004.
In his workshop, Hephaestus is putting the finishing touches on a breastplate. Ares appears and demands his special order. Hephaestus finishes assembling his latest creation: the Annihilator, a gigantic suit of armor. To test it, Ares draws his sword, and the Annihilator springs to life, attacking him until he calls it off.
In a war-torn city in the northern region of Kaznia, Ares (appearing incognito as "Mr. Sera") demonstrates the Annihilator to Nardoc, the leader of the Northern faction. It easily tears through a squad of Nardoc's troops firing at it. Nardoc is interested, but mentions how poor his people are. Ares smiles and says they can pay him later. Nardoc eagerly takes control of the Annihilator.
In an unnamed city, a group of bank robbers are fleeing, when they unluckily run into Wonder Woman, who has been taking a day off. She easily stops their getaway, but is unappeased and about to inflict much greater damage on them, when J'onn calls with a mission: the civil war in Kaznia has flared up again, and Queen Audrey has asked for the League's assistance, because the fighting could easily ignite conflicts all over the region. Wonder Woman rants about how senseless and belligerent humans are, but J'onn warns her that she is becoming dangerously hostile herself.
In the Southern Kaznians' camp, a monk (Ares in disguise again) exhorts the Southern forces to attack the Northerners and take the land that is rightfully theirs. The Southerners launch an offensive.
On the ride to Kaznia, Hawk and Dove engage in one of many debates about the usefulness of negotiation versus action, peace v.s. war, etc. They arrive to see the Annihilator leading a counter-attack against the Southerners. Diana, Hawk, and Dove attempt to stem the violence, but the Annihilator is unstoppable, even by them. In one encounter with it, Diana gets close enough to see its breastplate, where she recognizes Hephaestus's mark. She orders Hawk and Dove to fall back. Dove proposes that they abduct the leaders of the two factions and bring them face-to-face to negotiate. Wonder Woman approves of the plan, and tells them to carry it out while she flies off "to see a man about a suit".
The Southern forces fall back, and the fighting dies down. Incredulous, Ares demands to know why Nardoc has not pushed ahead to capture the Southerners' camp, which has enough weapons to equip an even greater offensive. Nardoc says his people aren't interested in conquest, only in keeping their territory secure. Ares goes berserk and delivers a tirade in his immortal guise, shouting that humans' only purpose is to slaughter as many of each other as possible, and that Nardoc had better get with that program before the Southerners make their next move to destroy the North. Deciding that "Sera" is crazy, Nardoc orders him out, but Ares decides to replace Nardoc as the Northerners' leader.
Diana confronts Hephaestus at his workshop. He cheerfully admits to having made the Annihilator for Ares, and also confides that it is his habit to leave a weakness in all of his creations, just to prevent any one from becoming too powerful. However, he refuses to tell her what the Annihilator's is – "you wouldn't want me to go around telling people the weakness in your armor, would you?" She throws him against the wall and draws back her fist, and he smiles. "With that attitude, you'll never figure it out". She leaves.
Dove sneaks into the Northern camp to find Nardoc and propose peaceful negotiation. He is unaware that "Nardoc" is now Ares in disguise, and is captured. In the Southern camp, Hawk grabs their leader, but suddenly the camp is under attack by the Northerners. In the lead is the Annihilator, with Dove tied to its front. Hawk tries to subdue the Southerners to keep them from firing at it, but the fighting is soon out of control.
Diana arrives and tells the soldiers that they are being used. One soldier scorns her words and strikes her with his rifle. In rage, she snatches the rifle away and raises it over his head – then realizes what Hephaestus meant: the Annihilator is fueled by their aggression.
Hawk has freed Dove, who runs to the entrance to the Southern camp. As the Annihilator approaches, Dove tells the guards to lower their weapons. They don't believe him, but he says they can't defeat it anyway, so they may as well try his way. As the Annihilator bears down on Dove, Hawk rushes toward his brother, but Diana holds him back.
The guards lower their weapons. The Annihilator raises its fist to smash Dove... and then shuts down, deprived of its fuel. Ares, enraged, appears in his full divine regalia, telling both sides to keep fighting. Seeing that they have been used, both sides stand down. Ares vows that he will be back, finding a war to start wherever there is prejudice, misery, and inequality. He disappears as the Kaznians withdraw, and the League bids farewell to the country.
Home video releases
- Justice League Unlimited - Season One (DVD)
- Justice League - The Complete Series (DVD)
- Justice League Unlimited - The Complete Series (Blu-ray)
- Justice League Unlimited - Saving The World (DVD)
- Wonder Woman (2DVD, Blu-ray only)
- When the northern region of Kaznia is under attack, a tank of the southern faction fires a missile at a building and the ensuing explosion features reused footage from the chain of explosions leading up to Darkseid's palace in the teaser of the Justice League episode, "Twilight, Part I".
- Hawk and Dove are voiced by Fred Savage and Jason Hervey, respectively. Both actors appeared on the television series The Wonder Years. Their roles here are a reversal of their earlier ones: on the series, Hervey played the brutish older brother, while Savage played the more sensitive younger one. This decision was reputedly made by the actors themselves.
- Ares is voiced by Michael York, who previously voiced Kanto on Superman: The Animated Series. Like Ares in this episode, Kanto makes his first public appearance as a mysterious benefactor offering powerful weapons.
- Hawk screaming for his brother as he feared for his life closely resembles when Dove died in Crisis on Infinite Earths.
- During the workshop scene, Ares complains that "where it's going, things aren't supposed to be pretty!" Hephaestus quips, "present company excluded". In traditional Greek mythology, Ares is portrayed as one of the handsomest gods in the Greek pantheon, while Hephaestus is portrayed as ugly, sometimes even deformed (when he carries the breastplate of the Annihilator over to the finished suit, he walks with a noticeable limp). According to many myths, Hephaestus was married to Aphrodite, the goddess of love, but she preferred Ares and sometimes cheated on Hephaestus with him.
- Ares says it is a Tuesday when he visits Hephaestus's workshop. The Greeks named each of the days of the week after celestial bodies (the sun, the moon and the planets); "Ares" was the name given to the day of the week later named Tuesday. The Romans continued this practice, calling the day "Mars", and the name "Tuesday" was derived from the name Tiw/Tyr, a Norse deity representing single combat, justice and law, equated with Ares.
|Susan Eisenberg||Wonder Woman|
|Carl Lumbly||J'onn J'onzz|
|Patrick Bauchau||Kaznian Monk|
|Ed O'Ross||General Olanic|
|Lex Lang|| Nardoc|
|James Arnold Taylor|| Private|
Bank Robber (uncredited)
Nardoc: We won, Mr. Sera. The animals attacked, and we ran them out of town.
Ares: But I'll be back and sooner than you think. Wherever there's prejudice, ignorance, inequality, I'll be there.
Dove: You see, doesn't this prove exactly what I've been saying for years?