"Hunter's Moon" is the eight episode of the second season of Justice League Unlimited, and the 21st of the overall series. It first aired on June 18, 2005.
The Watchtower receives a distress signal from some alien miners whose spaceship and other equipment are being affected by radiation from some strange ore that they have been extracting on a moon in deep space. It is discovered to be unrefined and very dangerous Nth metal which is the same metal that forms the magical mace-like weapon used by Shayera Hol, the former Hawkgirl. Shayera volunteers to help out the miners but J'onn J'onzz insists that she be accompanied by Vixen — despite the objections of Green Lantern John Stewart, who has emotional connections to both women and fears a conflict between them.
Shayera and Vixen are joined by Vigilante and they set off for the moon in a Javelin spaceship. When they arrive on the moon, the trio cannot locate any mining ship, miners or Nth metal. They explore a nearby mine only to discover that it is a hologram. Fired upon by unseen enemies, their spaceship is destroyed and they are forced to take cover. They then find that they are being pursued by a group of Thanagarian warriors, lead by Paran Dul, who want revenge on Shayera for betraying them during the Thanagarian invasion of Earth. Shayera is also told of how the Thanagarian Empire was subsequently crushed by the Gordanians and how her former lover Hro Talak was killed during a suicide attack on the Gordanian battle fleet.
The Justice League members are able to evade the Thanagarians for a while with the help of Shayera's covert-ops training, but there is tension in the group. Guilt-ridden over the latest revelations, Shayera feels that she should surrender and be punished by her fellow Hawkmen, but Vixen and Vigilante object to this. Vixen even goads Shayera over the way Stewart has praised her more admirable and courageous qualities which she is failing to show much of at the moment. Vigilante, bitter from when he was beaten and humiliated by the Thanagarians during the invasion, doesn't hide his hostility for the "Hawks", even Shayera, but insists they have to work together.
A serious wound on Vigilante's leg slows them down and he and Shayera just manage to get away while Vixen is captured by the Thanagarians. Shayera decides to surrender in return for Vixen being released unharmed. After she has left, however, Vigilante uses a tree spring noose trap to capture a Thanagarian and force him to reveal the location of the group's spaceship.
High in the sky, Shayera meets Paran Dul and her other followers, agrees to surrender without resistance and is seized. But then the semi-deranged Kragger drops Vixen down to a certain death. Vigilante, barely being able to fly the Thanagarian spaceship, manages to catch her before she hits the ground and they pick up Shayera after she has managed to dispatch her opponents.
Back at the Watchtower, Vigilante is treated for his injuries. Shayera and Vixen meanwhile brush aside John Stewart and march off to settle their differences. Stewart fears the worse. However, the two women actually enjoy a friendly drink, laughing over his quirks and habits. Vixen knows that he still has some feelings for Shayera, who admits to having the same for him. They agree to a friendly contest for Stewart's affections.
- This is the first appearance of any Thanagarian except Shayera since the invasion in Justice League, "Starcrossed".
- Shayera is grief-stricken when she hears of Hro Talak's death, leading Vixen to remark that she still has feelings for him. Shayera answers that she has feelings for a lot of people she has let down, including Vixen's current boyfriend John Stewart who broke up with Shayera after she betrayed Earth during the invasion.
- Shayera makes it clear that she no longer wants to be referred to as "Hawkgirl", possibly because that identity is linked to her guilty past as a Thanagarian spy.
- Both Vigilante and Vixen state that they fought the Thanagarians during the invasion and Vigilante was imprisoned for his efforts.
- Kragger mentions J'onn's probing his mind in "Starcrossed, Part III", thus leaving him impaired.
- Vixen and Shayera share a laugh about John's favorite movie Old Yeller, as revealed in "Hearts and Minds" and later referenced in "Wake the Dead".
- John mentions the Chinese restaurant near his apartment, the same one he and Shayera planned to go to after their mission in "Starcrossed, Part I".
Home video releases
- Justice League Unlimited - Season One (DVD)
- Justice League - The Complete Series (DVD)
- Justice League Unlimited - The Complete Series (Blu-ray)
- This episode's working title was "Mystery in Space". The title was changed because the producers wanted to avoid confusion with the comic book title Mystery in Space, which might have mislead fans into thinking the episode was about the comic's protagonist Adam Strange. However, Netflix still lists the title of this episode as "Mystery in Space".
- On the commentary to the episode "Starcrossed", Bruce Timm said that one of their primary reasons for producing this episode was to bring back Elizabeth Peña as Paran Dul.
- En route to the planet, Shayera Hol has her seatbelt on but then she gets up and stands to speak to Vigilante.
- When Vigilante is about to shoot Paran Dul (serving as the "stalking horse"), his right holster is missing its straps.
- The Thanagarian with the red beard says that Shayera is better trained than the five of them put together, but there were seven Thanagarians in the previous group shot.
- Paran Dul describes the events leading up to and including the death of Hro Talak from a point of view of which she couldn't possibly have known about as she and the other surviving Thanagarians parted ways with him after he ordered them to flee on a scout ship.
- In this episode, Shayera wears a yellow tank top and pants, as opposed to the white outfit she has worn after being reinstated.
- The character credited as "Hawk #2" is voiced by David Barrera, Maria Canals's real-life husband.
- In this episode, Vigilante (voiced by Nathan Fillion) and Vixen (voiced by Gina Torres) fly around in a spaceship. This may be an intentional in-joke and nod to the TV show Firefly, in which their voice actors played characters who belonged to a spaceship crew. Moreover, Firefly is a Space Western, and Fillion plays a cowboy-like character on both shows.
- Nth metal is also known in the DC timeline as "transuranic iron" with atomic number 676. In real atomic chemistry; transuranics are elements whose atomic number exceeds uranium (92). The atomic number of iron is 26 and remains so indefinitely; less it cease to be iron. Presumably the writers meant the "Atomic mass" which can vary among elements.
|Phil LaMarr||John Stewart|
|Carl Lumbly||J'onn J'onzz|
|David Barrera||Hawk #2|
|Elizabeth Peña||Paran Dul|
|Nathan Fillion|| Vigilante|
Hawk #1 (uncredited)
John: Why did you do that?
Vixen: Men have fragile egos. To get what you want, you must know how to talk to them.
Shayera: Maybe I should let them take me.
Vigilante: Darn son ding-busted horse-thieving alien control panel which can't nobody work proper!
Vixen: Funny thing about me. Whenever I start a book or a movie, no matter how bad it is, I just can't stop until I get to the end. So even though John and I have only been together for a little while... well, I just like to see things through.