"Kid Stuff" is the third episode of the first season of Justice League Unlimited, and the third of the overall series. It originally aired on August 14, 2004. Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman and Green Lantern are transformed into eight-year-olds in a desperate attempt to save the world from the magic of Mordred.
In a remote mountain temple, Morgaine Le Fay leads her son Mordred to an immensely powerful artifact: the Amulet of First Magic, which will finally give them enough power to conquer the world. Mordred snatches the Amulet for himself, saying he is tired of living in her shadow. When she tries to tell him he is not mature enough to use the Amulet's power, he shoots back that it doesn't matter, because now he's more powerful than she is. Immediately he casts a spell to banish all adults from the world.
Elsewhere, Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman and Green Lantern are fighting Cheetah, Copperhead, Blockbuster and KGBeast, who are trying to rob a gold vault. Just as the villains are subdued, Mordred's magical wave washes over all of them, sending both heroes and villains to a parallel dimension with the rest of the world's adults. Morgaine appears, raging against her son's treachery, then offering to help the Justice League members to defeat him and reverse the spell. She is not powerful enough to overcome the spell, but she can exploit a loophole in it.
Mordred decides to set up his kingdom in an amusement park, which he transforms to a more Gothic appearance, and announces himself to the confused children there as their king. He leads them into the park's castle. Outside, four young children appear — the Justice Leaguers, transformed by Morgaine to allow them back in, and still possessed of their powers. Batman's personality is the least changed of all of them, although he comes off a bit bratty and with less patience for teamwork than usual, and more obvious envy of his teammates' ability to fly; Wonder Woman's personality is now that of a bossy big sister (but with a crush on Batman), Superman is a naive farm boy, and Lantern, who appears to be the youngest in the group, has gotten back his boyish enthusiasm for toys and costumes along with a shortened attention span, unable to decide what to do with his powers. He also is short-sighted as a kid, so he unintentionally forms a pair of big glasses on his face, but turns them into a mask.
The Leaguers enter the castle, where Mordred is looking bored, using his magic to satisfy the modest needs of his subjects: toys, sweets, etc. Seeing them, Mordred bursts into laughter, but then attacks with his magic. Even with their superpowers, they are unable to overcome him, and he opens a trap door, dumping them into an underground pit. What looks like a savage monster appears from a dark hole, which turns out to be Etrigan, reduced to a fire-breathing baby. Etrigan attacks the other Leaguers, but Wonder Woman applies a firm hand, and the baby bursts into tears. Wonder Woman comforts him, then burps him to sleep. Upon realizing that the monster needs a diaper change, however, she immediately hands Etrigan off to Superman, and Wonder Woman, along with Batman and Green Lantern, rushes off.
The League make their way out of the dungeon, and after Wonder Woman lectures all the rampaging children in a big sister manner and clears them off to safety, the group attempt to do the job by stealth this time: Batman orders them to encircle Mordred's throne quietly and sneak up to him. The plan doesn't go quite smoothly and they soon are forced to retreat into Mordred's castle, while locking Mordred out of it. Inside, Green Lantern offers one of his many childish ideas, but is immediately shut down by Batman again, who begins to bark orders. Batman pauses, however, upon seeing the hurt and disappointed look on Lantern's face, and then suggests that Lantern go through with his plan and fight Mordred while the others take other approaches. In the end, they manage to get the Amulet away from Mordred, and Etrigan bites into it, destroying it.
However, Mordred has still absorbed enough of the Amulet's magic to wield it against the League, and he subdues all of them. As he holds them helpless, preparing to kill them, a little girl appears, wanting her mother. Flustered, Mordred tells her that she doesn't need one, and the League taunts him, saying that, for all his power, he is still just a boy with no idea of an adult's responsibilities and that he's afraid to grow up.
Furious, Mordred uses his remaining power to transform himself into a grown-up man, subjecting himself to his own spell, sending him into the other dimension. Morgaine appears, telling him that he's used up the last of the Amulet's power.
What he's done, she explains as she restores the League and the world to normal, is break the spell she cast giving him eternal youth. He only has eternal life now.
In a remote castle, Morgaine returns to look after her now impossibly old feeble son.
- Batman and Wonder Woman show more obvious signs of their growing feelings for each other as they have been seen in previous episodes. It's also revealed that Green Lantern is aware of the attraction between them and informs Superman who is revealed to be unaware of their feelings.
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)
- In the DVD commentary to "This Little Piggy", the producers commented that transforming adult characters into children is a common trope in television shows (another is exchanging brains, which was used in "The Great Brain Robbery").
- Along with "This Little Piggy", and "The Greatest Story Never Told", this episode is one of the three primarily comic episodes of the first season. In the above-mentioned commentary, Bruce Timm mentioned that they tried to disperse the episodes throughout the season, but ended up producing and airing them fairly close together.
- Final appearances of Morgaine Le Fay and Mordred in the DCAU.
- Green Lantern's altered mask is very similar to the one worn by Kyle Rayner shortly after he took over as Green Lantern in the comics.
- The design for the "shadow realm" the adults were banished to was used in the Teen Titans episode "Calling All Titans" for the alternate dimension the Herald was in when Raven contacted him, and is used as the design for the inside of the portals he opens in the subsequent episode, "Titans Together".
- Shane Haboucha, who voices the young Superman, went on to voice Billy Batson, the child alter ego of Captain Marvel, in "Clash".
- Somehow, the cow Mordred conjured up in response to a hungry child has five teats, instead of the normal bovine standard of four.
- This episode is very similar in some ways to the DC Comic series Justice League: A World without Grown-Ups which was the prelude to the creation of the series Young Justice staring Robin, Superboy and Impulse. In the story, a blonde-haired boy comes into possession of an artifact that contains in it purple energy similar to Mordred. The boy wishes for a world without grown-ups. However, unlike this episode, the Justice League did not get transformed into children, but instead their sidekicks defeated the genie and his master. This story also shares elements to another Young Justice storyline, Sins of the Youth in which the Justice League is transformed into children, while the younger heroes are transformed into adults.
- This was the first of three episodes in which a villain transformed Wonder Woman into another form. Circe would turn her into a pig in "This Little Piggy", then Gorilla Grodd would go on to turn her (along with everyone else on earth) into an ape in "Dead Reckoning".
- Morgaine Le Fay caring for her elderly son is quite similar to the way Ra's al Ghul took home his extremely old son Arkady Duvall, who had been exposed to the Lazarus Pit, in the Batman: The Animated Series episode "Showdown".
|Susan Eisenberg||Wonder Woman|
|Phil LaMarr||Green Lantern|
|Kyle Alcazar||Young Batman|
|Dakota Fanning||Young Wonder Woman|
|Shane Haboucha||Young Superman|
|Marc John Jefferies||Young Green Lantern|
|Dee Bradley Baker||Blockbuster|
Adult Mordred (uncredited)
Baby Etrigan (uncredited)
|Olivia D'Abo||Morgaine Le Fay|
|Sheryl Lee Ralph||Cheetah|
Copperhead: It was Judgment Day! And we got sent to the bad place! The BAD place!
Green Lantern: I'll make a laser cannon! No, a missile launcher! Oh oh! I know!
Superman: I'm the kid with laser beams coming out of his eyes.
May: You can't tell us what to do! You're not our mom!
Green Lantern: Your girlfriend sure is bossy.
Superman: What's with them?
Batman: Never mind what I just said. We'll take care of everything else. Lantern, you go crazy!
Wonder Woman: Circumstances aside, it was kind of... enjoyable to be a kid again.