"Heroes" is the sixth episode of Batman Beyond. It depicts the birth of a new team of heroes calling themselves "The Terrific Trio". After an accident grants them powers, three scientists become heroes to defend Gotham. For a time, it seems that Gotham will no longer need Batman. Unfortunately, the Trio is soon betrayed by their paranoid allies, and Batman eventually has to protect Gotham from those who once defended it.
Another crime-ridden night has befallen Gotham. A group of thieves wearing rocket packs have stolen an extremely valuable computer chip and are confronted by Batman. Batman manages to stop one of the thieves but is downed by another. As he recovers, a woman seemingly made of blue mist, wisps by and flies up to one of the thieves. She coats him in a layer of ice causing him to fall. Next, a large creature made of partially molten lava grabs up a large block of cement and knocks two of the thieves from the sky. They are then saved and captured by an extremely flat and stretchable man.
Later, a newscast introduces the trio as Magma, Freon, and the 2-D Man. They were once scientists, Dr. Mike Morgan, Mary Michaels, and Stewart Lowe respectively, but were bombarded with radiation during a particle fusion experiment. As a result, they transformed into super powered beings and became government-sponsored heroes calling themselves "The Terrific Trio". Terry wonders if he'll have more time for homework in the future, but Bruce is skeptical.
Yet another crime-ridden night befalls Gotham and this time, the police have to deal with a hostage situation involving a city councilman's wife and young daughter. The kidnappers refuse to negotiate and plan to take destructive measures unless their demands are met. Fortunately, the Trio appears and deals with the problem, but the little girl screams at the sight of Magma and continues to fear him even after he personally rescued her. Magma is deeply hurt and smashes a police car in anger.
Back in the Trio Tower, Magma complains about being a freak and being unable to even hold his fiancée, Freon, in his arms. A friend of theirs, Howard Hodges, arrives and assures them that they'll be helped in time. However, when he leaves he meets up with General Norman, who openly despises the Trio and expresses concern about their behavior.
At a mall, Terry and his brother Matt spot a variety of Terrific Trio merchandise. A store employee comments that it's good to have some wholesome heroes the kids can look up to. Matt, being a Batman fan, disagrees. With a small smile, Terry decides to treat him to ice cream.
The general's concerns are later explained as Dr. Hodges looks over a DNA scan and sees that it's unstable. Though Dr. Hodges doesn't want anyone to see the scans just yet, General Norman is informed and when the scans are checked again, Magma steals the cube containing the information. Batman notices the disturbance and goes in to investigate. He finds Magma, who violently forces him out of the way.
Realizing that there's something wrong, Batman sneaks onto Magma's vehicle back to Trio Tower. Freon and 2-D Man are shocked at what Magma did, but he insists that he had to find the truth and has them load the DNA scan. From the shadows Batman watches as the group views the scan, which at first seems to show that their conditions are irreversible. Magma looks closer and says its even worse, but before he can explain, General Norman's forces attack the tower seemingly for no reason at all. Confused, Terry is caught up in the assault but manages to survive. The Trio manages to make its escape by setting up their car as a decoy and Magma tunneled downward through the lower floors, covering their exit point with an empty crate. Only Batman figures out the truth.
General Norman informs an obviously-distraught Dr. Hodges of the trio's "death" in his laboratory. He reminds Hodges that he himself told Norman that their deteriorating condition would eventually have made them dangerously psychotic before hanging up. Just then, the trio appear and confront Hodges, with Freon freezing his weapon and Magma smashing his desk so he wouldn't call for help. Taking him to the particle fusion lab where they were transformed, telling him that they had been reviewing the data of the experiment and that his notes prove he knew about the dangers of the experiment beforehand. Hodges denies it, but when Freon freezes his legs and the Trio restarts the experiment, he confesses: when the radiation reaches critical mass it cannot be contained, and even more shockingly, he set up the whole thing to kill Mike. Jealous of Mike's intelligence and success, he figured if Morgan was out of the way he'd have a chance to have Mary for himself. He didn't mean for Mary to be affected as well, nor for them to end up in their current conditions. He then begs the Trio to stop because the radiation from the experiment will destroy the city, but the Trio have been pushed over the edge and refuse to stop, determined to destroy themselves and take Hodges, General Norman and all of Gotham along with them.Batman arrives to stop them. He activates a venting system that traps Freon and the 2-D Man inside it. This enrages Magma, who then spots Hodges using a stray Batarang to break himself free and attempts to crawl to safety. In response, Magma throws a large column at the doorway, blocking it. Batman tries to reason with Magma, trying to remind him that he's a hero, but he retorts that he's just an accident; that real heroes make that kind of choice while he never did. Batman is then forced to spray Magma with a fire hose, cooling him into a normal rock, and deactivates the experiment through the emergency abort system.
Batman acerbically asks Dr. Hodges if he is satisfied now that the Trio appears to be gone. Distraught, Dr. Hodges says he was their friend. A disgusted Batman simply leaves, and Hodges looks genuinely repentant for his past mistake and mourns for his friends' fate and downfall from grace.
- One of the main reasons why Bruce is skeptical about the Terrific Trio might be how he faced the Ultimen, whose actions got out of hand in the Justice League Unlimited episode "Ultimatum". Indeed, there are some similarities to the Ultimen and the Trio, as both groups have members who are genetically unstable, and want to exact revenge on those who kept secrets from them.
Home video releases
- Batman Beyond - Season One (DVD)
- Batman Beyond - The Complete Series (DVD)
- Batman Beyond – Tech Wars and Disappearing Inque (DVD)
- During the fight inside the Trio Tower, when a tube falls down it causes an explosion, which is reused footage from the scene of Superman: The Animated Series episode "World's Finest, Part III" in which one Wayne/Lex T-7 blows up another droid.
- When the military blow up the Terrific Trio's escape craft, the ensuing explosion is reused footage from the scene of the Superman: The Animated Series episode "My Girl", in which Mr. Eelan blows a vat of hot lead off its support.
- The design for the Terrific Trio's lab is later used for the generator for Gorilla City's cloaking field in the Justice League episode "The Brave and the Bold" and the Justice League Unlimited episode "Dead Reckoning".
- The Terrific Trio is obviously based on the Fantastic Four.
- The scene depicting Batman's defeat of Magma does not clarify Magma's ultimate fate. Freon and 2-D Man do not appear again in the series, hinting that they were trapped inside the ventilation system forever.
- The Terrific Trio was originally meant to return in the Batman Beyond #3 tie-in comic of the Batman Beyond comic book series. The planned story for the issue was to reveal that both Magma and 2-D Man survived their fates and that they would capture Batman in order to use him as energy source to reassemble the deceased Freon. However, Marvel Comics' objection due the group's similarity to the Fantastic Four, the ideas was rejected and the issue went unpublished and replaced with another one.
News Anchor: We warn viewers that the tape we're about to show might be too intense for children.
Freon: What's the matter, boys? Cold feet?
Dr. Hodges: Please, turn it off!