"Legends" is composed of the sixteenth and seventeenth episodes of Justice League. It originally aired on April 21 and 28, 2002.
Metropolis is in awe. Several Justice Leaguers are fighting a giant robot secretly controlled by Lex Luthor from a remote location. It is eventually destroyed when Superman tears it open and Batman destroys its reactor with a batarang. Following the explosion, the Flash creates a whirlwind so as to prevent the robot from falling over his teammates. However, he reaches such a high speed that he inadvertently transports John Stewart, J'onn, Hawkgirl and himself to an alternate Earth that resembles an idyllic 1950s town. J'onn tries to make contact with Batman and Superman telepathically, but is overwhelmed when he sees images of a nuclear explosion destroying a city.
After John prevents a villain from stealing a violin, the League members are mistaken for villains by the Justice Guild of America, the resident superhero team. The Green Guardsman, Black Siren, The Streak, Tom Turbine, and Cat Man fight the Leaguers, but they cease once the Flash saves their youthful sidekick, Ray Thompson, from being crushed.
The Justice Guild goes back to its headquarters and invite the Leaguers to come along. Tom Turbine explains to the Leaguers the theory of infinite number of alternate universe, each having its own vibrational pattern. He believes that Flash's speed is what caused them to come to their Earth. However John feels that something is wrong: he remembers the heroes from the comic books of his childhood, but never knew that they were real people. J'onn theorizes that the creators of the comics must have had a subconscious link to this Earth; what they thought was creativity was actually flashes of the Guild's real exploits. Tom Turbine unveils his interdimensional portal he designed but lacks a proper energy source to help them return home.
Elsewhere, Music Master talks to his own team, the Injustice Guild, about the new heroes that have arrived. They decide to start a crime wave each doing his own crime to see who could do the best crime.
The Guild gets a letter telling them of the crime spree which is based on the four elements: fire, air, water and earth. The Guild makes the four League members honorary members of their team and the two teams pair up to stop the Injustice Guild.
The Streak and Green Lantern go to stop Sir Swami from stealing the "Flame of Rasputin" ruby necklace but he manages to escape with ease. Music Master is pursued by Green Guardsman and Hawkgirl while trying to steal an antique airplane. Dr. Blizzard is confronted by Flash and Black Siren while he attacks a new fountain made in honor of the safety of the city. Cat Man and J'onn go after Sportsman while he steals a trophy for a tennis match.
While chasing after Music Master, Hawkgirl is knocked out by his accordion and lands in a graveyard. Flash has little trouble with Dr. Blizzard, but a TNT truck almost strikes a bus full of nuns and he and Black Siren are captured after he saves the nuns.
J'onn and Cat Man almost catch Sportsman but J'onn once again sees images of a city being destroyed in an explosion and is knocked out cold. Cat Man goes back to help him and Sportsman gets away.
Hawkgirl wakes up and discovers, to her surprise and horror, the graves of the Justice Guild.
Hawkgirl tells her teammates of the graves but Green Lantern refuses to believe the truth. He flies off and is followed by Hawkgirl.
Elsewhere, the Injustice Guild members show off their gains from their crimes and decide to rob the Seaboard City mint and escape by blimp. This provokes the Justice Guild into acting against them.
Back in the graveyard Green Lantern stares at the graves of his heroes and accepts the truth. He flies off and interrogates a man driving an ice cream truck. Green Lantern finds it strange that the man never stops to sell any ice cream but the man grows frightened of someone hearing their conversation and refuses to say much.
The Justice Guild finds the Injustice Guild's blimp and goes to fight them. At first it seems that the Injustice Guild will defeat their enemies as they manage to deflect all assaults. However, Cat Man manages to drive his motorcycle up a building and makes his own attack on the Injustice Guild. In spite working alone he manages to fight off the villains while Flash uses the "wings" on his mask to pop the blimp. The Justice Guild take their enemies to the authorities and return to base.
Meanwhile, Green Lantern and Hawkgirl go to the library and find it deserted. They also discover that the books are all blank. When they try to search the archives they find it walled off. They force their way in and find a destroyed subway station. John suspected an earthquake but Hawkgirl saw bullet holes and battle scars, meaning there was a battle there. A newspaper reveals that peace talks had failed and war was near. The newspaper is dated forty years in the past: the same time as the last Justice Guild Comic.
Upon returning to their headquarters the Guild finds Hawkgirl and Green Lantern waiting for them. Green Lantern shows them a newspaper that reveals that the Guild died. At this time, a robot attacks the town. Green Lantern prevents the Guild from leaving however, and reveals that the whole thing is an illusion including the JGA. The Guild asks who's creating the illusion and J'onn says that he knows. He goes to Ray and uses his powers on him and reveals his true form, that of a hideous mutant.
The Leaguers battle Ray, but are outmatched by his powers. The Guild sees what's going on but hesitates, realizing that defeating Ray will end their existence — then they decide it doesn't matter, and join the League. Together, they manage to strain Ray to his limits, knocking him out. Without his concentration, the city disappears and so does the Guild, and the ruins of a destroyed civilization appear.
J'onn explains that in this universe, years ago, Seaboard City was destroyed during a missile crisis. Ray Thompson, after being exposed to the fallout, developed powerful psionic powers. Ray decided to create a "new" city based on his childhood, complete with his favorite heroes — in reality, they died during the catastrophe, thus the end of the Justice Guild brought the end of the comic.
The survivors emerge, happy to be free having been stuck in the fantasy world for forty years, vowing to rebuild their city. The Leaguers use a device built by Tom Turbine and powered by Lantern's ring to return home.
Back in their own world, Lantern mourns the "deaths" of his heroes. He says it doesn't make sense, when they weren't real to begin with. Hawkgirl says they still sacrificed themselves to help the League, which is reason enough to mourn them.
Home video releases
- Justice League - Season One (DVD)
- Justice League - The Complete Series (DVD)
- Justice League - Season One (Blu-ray)
- The "Previously on Justice League" montage of Part I events features a shot of the Streak that is actually from Part II. It's the shot of when the Streak suddenly stops after sighting the blimp.
- Dr. Blizzard shouldn't have been able to capture Flash in the way he did, since vibrating himself out of a block of solid ice was one of the first things Flash did in his initial appearance in "Speed Demons".
- The Justice Guild tombstones seen at the end of Part I are marked with the heroes' insignia (Green Guardsman's shield, Tom Turbine's "T", Cat Man's cowl) along with their names. In Part II, the tombstones bear only the names.
- Wonder Woman does not appear. Batman appears in the beginning of Part I and in the end of Part II but has no lines (apart from a grunt when hurling a batarang at the robot in Part I). Superman has a small speaking role in the beginning of Part I and a cameo in the end of Part II, when Flash describes to them their adventures in Seaboard City.
- Several of the producers identified this as their favorite episode from Season One.
- The Justice Guild's HQ resembles the mansion used by the Joker in The New Batman Adventures "Joker's Millions".
- J'onn's line "It seems we are not in Metropolis anymore" is a reference to the line "we're not in Kansas anymore" in the The Wizard of Oz movie.
- Hawkgirl's line "Curiouser and curiouser" is uttered by Alice in Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland. Both characters say this after finding themselves in a strange world.
- William Katt, who voices the Green Guardsman, also played a superhero in The Greatest American Hero.
- On the DVD commentary for Part II, Bruce Timm explained that the name "Ray Thompson" is an homage to two different writers: Roy Thomas, a DC writer who worked on 1940s and 1950s-style DC Comics such as All-Star Squadron and Secret Origins (and a tremendous fan of the Justice Society of America) and Ray Bradbury, a famous science-fiction writer who often dealt with the theme of nostalgia.
- The name Green Guardsman was used in Iron Lantern #1, an Amalgam comic that depicted merged DC and Marvel Comics assets (in this case, a mixture of characters from the Green Lantern and Iron Man comics). Kyle O'Brien, the Green Guardsman, was a combination of Kyle Rayner and the Guardsman (Michael O'Brien).
- The Justice Guild of America is a pastiche of the Golden Age superhero team the Justice Society of America. The creative team wanted to use the JSA but DC Comics declined.
- Green Guardsman ― Golden Age Green Lantern, Alan Scott;
- Alan Scott's power ring wouldn't work on wood, just like the Green Guardsman's wouldn't work on aluminum.
- Green Guardsman getting attacked by a TV antenna may also be an intended in-joke to Alan Scott who, in the 70s revival of the Justice Society, was a TV executive.
- Tom Turbine ― Golden Age The Atom; Golden Age Superman
- Streak ― Golden Age Flash. Jay Garrick;
- Black Siren ― Black Canary;
- Cat Man ― Wildcat and Golden Age Batman.
- Green Guardsman ― Golden Age Green Lantern, Alan Scott;
- The real names of the JGA members, as seen in their tombstones, are nods to their DC Comics counterparts' real identities:
- Green Guardsman's real name is "Scott Mason" ― the Golden Age Green Lantern is Alan Scott;
- Black Siren's real name is "Donna Nance" ― Black Canary is Dinah Lance;
- Cat Man's name was "T. Blake". The name of a Batman rogue was Thomas Blake (more commonly known as Catman) and Wildcat's first name is Ted, so the "T" may be for either one.
- Likewise, the Injustice Guild is a lampoon of the Injustice Society, the rivals of the Justice Society in the comics.
- Luthor's robot bears a striking resemblance to Eva Unit-01 from Neon Genesis Evangelion. In fact, during the DVD commentary for Part II, one of the showrunners actually refers to it as the "Evangelion Robot", and another as the "Anime Robot". It also resembles Ultron, a villainous robot from Marvel Comics.
- On a similar note, the robot summoned by Ray Thompson is almost identical to Rog, a giant robot that once fought the Doom Patrol.
- Most of Ray's exclamations ("Holy hijacking, Cat Man!", "Holy hostages!", etc.) are nods to Robin's famous lines in the 1960s Batman live action series. Another nod to the same show is The Justice Guild's red phone that the police can use in case of emergencies.
- This episode is dedicated to the memory of Gardner F. Fox, a DC Comics writer who worked on the original Justice League comic. Fox scripted the first JLA/JSA team-up in Justice League comics and he is also credited with the creation of the DC "Multiverse".
- The line of dialogue from The Streak to John Stewart "You're a credit to your people, son" (to which Stewart replied awkwardly "Uh, thanks.") is a subtle racial comment referencing the racial issues of the 50s and 60s, which is the era that the Justice Guild's idealism is based. The line, however, was not intended to portray any kind of negativity.
- Black Siren as the de facto cook in the house is a subtle nod to the 50s, 60s ideal role of the housewife in the family. This was also reflected in the Justice Society at first, where Wonder Woman fulfilled secretarial duties.
|Phil LaMarr||Green Lantern|
|Carl Lumbly||J'onn J'onzz|
|Michael Rosenbaum||The Flash|
|Corey Burton|| Dr. Blizzard|
Ice Cream Truck driver (uncredited)
|Jennifer Hale|| Black Siren|
Swell sweetheart (uncredited)
|Neil Patrick Harris||Ray Thompson|
|Jeffrey Jones||Sir Swami|
|William Katt||Green Guardsman|
|Udo Kier||Music Master|
|Ted McGinley||Tom Turbine|
|Michael McKean|| Sportsman|
Sergeant O'Shaughnessey (uncredited)
|David Naughton||The Streak|
|Stephen Root||Cat Man|
Hawkgirl: (To Black Siren. Sarcastically.) So, you fight crime and bake cookies. How do you do it?
Ray Thompson: Can I come? Can I? Can I?
The Streak: Obviously the clue "fire" can mean only one thing. The plan to steal the fabled Flame of Rasputin. A precious ruby necklace on loan to the Seaboard City Museum!
Music Master: This calls for a little travelling music.
Dr. Blizzard: If you'll excuse me, Mr. Mayor, but I'll be taking off with my "chill" gotten gains.
The Streak: (Upon seeing the JGA's death on the newspaper,) "Justice Guild killed in battle"?
Flash: That's it. I officially want to go home.
Ray Thompson: (in his mutated form) This is MY world! I decide who wins and who loses!
Hawkgirl: Are you okay?