"Initiation" is the season premiere of Justice League Unlimited, and the first episode of the overall series. It originally aired on July 31, 2004.
Green Arrow thwarts an armed robbery of a supermarket. Green Lantern arrives and teleports himself and Arrow up to the Justice League's new Watchtower. Arrow first sees the five other members of the League – Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, J'onn J'onzz, and Flash, then looks around and sees a much larger crowd of superheroes.
Superman addresses the assembled crowd, saying that the newly expanded League has a chance to do real good in the world, provided that they work together and in coordination – that is J'onn's responsibility.
While he speaks, Batman talks privately with Green Arrow, who politely declines membership. In his opinion, the League is too focused on "big" threats, like monsters and alien invasions, while Arrow is devoted to helping "the little guy".
J'onn hands out a mission: a nuclear energy signature is moving across Chong-Mai. Lantern, Captain Atom, and Supergirl are chosen to investigate. Arrow, reluctant to use the teleporter again, insists on hitching a ride home in their Javelin.
On the way, Lantern and Captain Atom explain that the country they are visiting is notoriously xenophobic, and it is a criminal act for United States citizens to go there.Arriving, the team is attacked by the country's military forces. Their commander, General Kwan, orders his men to stand down and apologizes, but firmly rejects their offer of help and tells them to leave.
J'onn tells them that they can't go against the government's wishes, but Arrow is unwilling to accept this, and strikes out on his own. He sees Kwan's forces evacuating peasants across a bridge. When a truck spins out of control, Arrow helps save the driver. Angrily, Kwan insists that everything is under control – then a gigantic nuclear-powered robot appears, spraying destruction everywhere.
The rest of the team arrives. Captain Atom attempts to absorb the robot's energy, but there is too much for him to handle. Likewise, the robot is too strong for Supergirl, and Lantern is seriously injured.
The team finds a group of the country's scientists, who admit that they built the robot “to protect us from the foreigners” but they lost control. They have carbon rods that will disable the robot's reactor, but they have to be inserted into a cavity in its chest.
Captain Atom takes the rods and says he has to try, even though the heat from the reactor may destroy him. On his attempt, the heat ruptures his containment suit, and he has to fly into the atmosphere, where there is an explosion of energy.
Enraged, Supergirl flies at the robot, but is unable to stop it. Green Arrow picks up the remaining three rods and tries to shoot them into the cavity with his bow, but misses twice. Breaking the last rod into pieces, he lashes a piece to the end of an arrow, and makes the shot. The robot shuts down, and Supergirl demolishes it.
At the Watchtower, League scientists managed to re-capture most of Captain Atom in space, and are in the process of replacing him in a new suit. Lantern tells Supergirl that she acted recklessly and if she ever puts herself or her teammates in danger again, threatens to have her kicked out of the League, but admits she still did a good job. Later, Batman congratulates Green Arrow for defeating the monster and asks how he feels now about joining the League. Arrow is still hesitant, but changes his mind when he catches sight of Black Canary suiting up in the locker room.
- When John Stewart is recuperating from injuries, he unconsciously calls out Shayera Hol's name. This suggests he hasn't recovered from their break-up after the events of the Justice League episode "Starcrossed".
- At the end of this episode, Green Arrow is told by Batman that the reason he was offered a place among the League was so that he could keep them earnest. This comes into play during the events of the season two episode "Flashpoint", wherein Arrow plays devil's advocate for the League's enemies at the time and talks Superman out of taking them out.
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)
- The expansion of the Justice League's membership was going to be depicted in the shelved feature film Justice League: Worlds Collide, however, Justice League: Crisis On Two Earths was produced instead which explained how several lacunas would have been explained had the former been produced.
- According to the TV Guide for the week of July 25–31, Kin Shriner showed up at the recording studio dressed as Green Arrow.
- During Superman's speech, the position of heroes shifts frequently; S.T.R.I.P.E. even shows up in two different spots in the initial pan. Starman appears in two different locations.
- In addition to that, the first shot after the title sequence shows at least eleven unidentified heroes who make no further appearance in the rest of the scene, episode or series.
- When the Justice League questions the hazmat soldiers in the destroyed village, there are hazmat men with Geiger counters, which means that the area contains radiation. It is unknown how Green Arrow and the other soldiers protected themselves from the radiation. Also, one of the hazmat men removes his hood, exposing himself to radiation.
- When Green Arrow pulls the third carbon rod from his back-quiver, after his first two failed shots, there is still at least one remaining rod in the quiver. However, when he shoots this third one from the mountaintop, there are none left.
- Wonder Woman and Flash appear but have no lines. Though he made several appearances in the first season of Justice League Unlimited, Flash's first speaking role was "The Ties That Bind".
- As of this episode, the opening credits features clips from the concurrent episode, much in the style of Mission: Impossible.
- When J'onn J'onzz and John Stewart are talking about the nuclear monster in Asia, images of the faces of Copperhead, Cheetah, Shade, and Star Sapphire can be seen on the tiny computer screens.
|George Eads|| Captain Atom|
Robber #2 (uncredited)
|Phil LaMarr||Green Lantern|
|Lex Lang|| Robber #1|
|Carl Lumbly||J'onn J'onzz|
|Kin Shriner||Green Arrow|
|James Sie|| General Kwan|
Superman: Each of you brings something different to the table. Strength. Speed. Stealth. Whatever. But we're all equal in at least one way: Each of us is willing to make the sacrifices a hero needs to make, even the ultimate one. Since there are so many of us, we have a chance to do more than just put out fires, both literal and figurative. We can be proactive. We can do some real good in the world. But we're going to have to be organized. J'onn'll be up here keeping an eye on everything. He'll be the one to decide who's going where and when. I know a lot of you are used to making those decisions for yourself, but from now on we have to be more coordinated than that. We can't be cowboys any more... or cowgirls.
Green Arrow: Come on, I don't belong up here, fighting monsters and aliens and super-villains. I just help the little guy and in a big club like this, you tend to forget all about him. So gee whiz, I'm flattered to be asked and all, but no thanks.
Captain Atom: I'm not flesh and blood any more, just living energy.
Supergirl: So, aren't you gonna give me the "you did good" speech?
Batman: Well, if it isn't the monster killer.