DC Animated Universe

"The Call" is a two-parter of Batman Beyond, composed of the forty-sixth and forty-seventh episodes. Part I originally aired on November 11, 2000 and Part II on November 18, 2000. Terry McGinnis is initially starstruck when Superman appears and offers him membership in the Justice League Unlimited. However, Terry is troubled by the hostility he receives from the other Leaguers, and further troubled when Superman confides that he suspects one of them is a traitor.


Part I[]

In Metropolis, a commuter monorail loses control and starts speeding down the wrong track, on a collision course with another. Micron boards the train and manages to uncouple the passenger cars and evacuate the engineer to safety. However, as soon as Micron tries to exit the train, a force field pops over the door, making it impossible for him to escape. In the ensuing crash, Micron is badly wounded.

Inque spinning

Inque messes with the wrong guy.

In Gotham City, Batman is chasing down Inque, who catches sight of a nearby civilian, and wraps herself around him to hold him hostage. However, the 'civilian' spins at superhuman speed, splattering Inque in all directions, and revealing himself to be Superman — a bit older, a bit grayer, but still as strong and active as ever. Terry is awestruck.

The two return to the Batcave, where Superman pauses to look at Bruce's more-familiar Batsuit in the display case before greeting his old friend since their last adventure. Bruce requests that they cut through the small talk and asks Superman the reason he's visiting Gotham. Superman responds that he wants to offer Terry membership in the JLU. Bruce ponders, due to Micron's injuries, if Terry is supposed to be a replacement, but Superman says that Terry has earned a spot. He asks Bruce to approve of it as Terry's mentor, but Bruce feels that it's not up to him, and the two legendary heroes silently await Terry's decision. Terry is taken aback, but accepts Superman's invitation to visit the Watchtower.


Justice League Unlimited displays their discontent with a new Batman's recruitment.

Terry's arrival is immediately greeted with hostility from a surprised Big Barda and Warhawk, as Superman decided to invite him without first consulting his teammates. Terry receives a more civil but no less suspicious reception from Kai-Ro and Aquagirl. Superman insists that his decision is final, and his teammates walk out, leaving Terry to think this was a bad idea. In private, however, Superman confides to Terry that he suspects one of the League members of trying to sabotage and kill the others. Superman reveals Micron's current state, as he is recuperating in a stasis tank. Superman explains to Terry that Micron was taken down by a method that only an insider would know how to use.

Terry is reluctant to suspect Earth's greatest heroes but begins reviewing the files of each League member. Mareena (Aquagirl) appears and apologizes for her initial coolness and invites Batman to join her on her training swim. He politely declines, as he has a lot of JLU homework to catch up on.

Once Mareena leaves, Terry watches her entering the tank through security cameras, along with the rest of the League in other parts of the tower: Big Barda and Warhawk are practicing in a training room, while Kai-Ro meditates in a quiet garden sanctuary. Terry contacts Bruce, revealing he can't imagine how any of them could be traitors. However, having been betrayed before himself, Bruce tells Terry to continue to work as the answers are there somewhere. Having looked away during the conversation, Batman turns back and sees that the camera focused on Mareena has gone blank, rushes down, and sees her in trouble. Terry discovers the tank to be malfunctioning as it's beginning to overheat, and the door refuses to respond to the controls.

Batman rescues Aquagirl

Batman rescues Aquagirl.

Terry's initial attempts to break open the door fail, he rushes to the training room, seizes Barda's mega-rod from her hand, then runs back and blasts the door open, flooding the antechamber with water and rescuing Mareena. While alive, Mareena has been injured, and Barda demands Batman to explain "what he did", but Marneea defends him revealing the tank malfunctioned. Warhawk asks why didn't he call them through the intercoms; Terry can only admit that he didn't think of it while Barda cuts him off. She takes Mareena from him and berates Batman for acting without the others and leaves with Warkhawk. Superman and Terry investigate the tank's control panel, finding it has been sabotaged. Superman confirms his suspicions: there is a traitor among the group.

Later, Terry does a flyby patrol of Metropolis while at the same time confiding his feelings to Bruce, revealing how everyone in the League except for Aquagirl doesn't want him to join. Just then, a distress call comes, saying that a large portion of the city is threatened by a series of explosions. The League, including Batman, helps save civilians and minimize the damage. Batman is accompanying Warhawk, who apparently receives another distress call on the JLU frequency. Batman, confused, says he is not receiving anything. Warhawk dismisses this and tells Batman to stay behind, while he flies up to meet the threat — an incoming ballistic missile. Batman ignores him and follows along in the Batmobile. Warhawk seals his armor and clamps onto the missile, pushing it off course.

Warhawk lost

Warhawk lost?

Batman congratulates him when suddenly the missile explodes, taking Warhawk with it and embedding his helmet in the windshield of the Batmobile. The explosion from the missile causes the Batmobile to crash down to the city, where Batman retrieves Warhawk's helmet. The rest of the team arrives and are devastated over Warhawk's death. Barda demands to know happened and Batman begins to explain, revealing how they were following a distress call, but the rest of the team reveal they never got a signal either. Batman further reveals that only Warhawk got the message, but Barda doesn't believe him. Superman arrives and tells Barda to back off on her accusation, telling everyone that once they find out who set the bombs then they'll be closer to finding Warkhawk's killer.

In the Batcave, Bruce reviews the footage from the Batmobile's recorder. Terry speculates that the missile must have been on some kind of timer and Warhawk was unlucky, but Bruce doesn't buy it. Bruce applies a spectral analysis, which shows the missile being hit by a beam of some kind just before it exploded. Bruce tracks the beam back to its source: Superman's heat vision. As unbelievable as it seems, the traitor is Superman himself.

Terry Kryptonite

Bruce gives Batman the Kryptonite.

Terry prepares to go back to Metro Tower determined to warn the others, but Bruce states he needs to do more. Bruce reveals a hidden vault behind the Bat costume display case, and unlocks an ultra-high-tech, high security system, giving Terry his only recourse: inside a lead container lies a large sliver of Kryptonite about the size of a nail. Bruce explains that this is not the first time Superman went rogue, but even though he entrusted Bruce with the green mineral should anything happen to him, Bruce hoped he would never have to use it. While the radiation might prove fatal to Superman, Bruce orders Terry to do whatever necessary to stop the Man of Steel. Reluctantly, Terry accepts the Kryptonite.

Part II[]

Rogue again

Has Superman gone rogue again?

Batman shows the footage to the rest of the JLU, excluding Superman. Barda, having known Superman the longest, refuses to believe it, instead suspecting Terry of fabricating it. The two quickly begin to argue and Batman, finally having enough of Barda's attitude towards him, says they won't find out anything unless she stops being so "pigheaded". Angered, Barda attacks Batman but before she can do any further harm to him, Kai-Ro stops her and traps her with his ring, while Mareena tends to Batman. Barda demands to be released but Kai-Ro refuses until she calms down. They suddenly they hear a voice agreeing with Kai-Ro: Warhawk reveals himself to be alive and well.

Everyone is overjoyed Warkhawk is alive and when asked of how he survived, he confides that he became suspicious when he received a distress signal when Batman didn't, and thus what tackled the missile was an empty suit of armor, remotely controlled. Warhawk has also gained new respect for Terry because of his refusal to stay behind and believes his suspicions of Superman.

The team confronts Superman, caught in the act of tampering with Micron's stasis field. Superman becomes defensive and denies their accusations. Mareena steps forward to reassuringly touch his chest, when to their shock an alien eye pops a hole in his tunic, and Superman attacks. The others are no match for him, and Batman is about to use the Kryptonite, but hesitates, and the belt compartment is knocked out of his hand.

Micron, awakened from stasis, seizes hold of Superman, which allows Batman to retrieve the Kryptonite from a vent it fell in. Superman breaks free and knocks Micron out, but is forced away from confronting Batman by Barda's mega-rod and flies away. Micron is returned to stasis while Warhawk is treated, and Kai-Ro searches for any news sightings on Superman but finds nothing. Terry admits his hesitation to Bruce, because of Superman being one of the greatest heroes that ever lived and thinking that there must have been another way; Bruce notes that now (because of Superman's power) Terry knows better. The others speculate that Superman has escaped to his Fortress of Solitude, and although none of them know where it is, Terry knows that Bruce does.

The team boom-tubes to the Fortress and find Superman waiting. After a brief fight, Batman manages to disable him with the Kryptonite. Pulling off his tunic, they see a starfish-like creature planted on his skin. Galactic travelers Kai-Ro and Barda have never seen one, and Kai-Ro doesn't know how they can separate an unknown alien from another alien being. Mareena connects telepathically with it, and learns its story:

Several centuries ago, the creature occupied an aquatic world, but was abducted from its home by the Preserver. The Preserver later kidnapped Superman, but Superman broke free and sent the Preserver into space to his death. Having no way to return the beings to their rightful worlds, Superman adopted the collection of creatures and housed them in the Fortress. Though it was still little more than a prisoner, now Starro had a plan: Starro decided to gain control of Superman since it witnessed the Kryptonian's strength.
Starro attacks Superman

Starro makes its move on Superman.

Decades later while Superman was feeding the star creature, it leaped onto his face and took control of his mind. It has been controlling him for years.

The others ask why it has waited so long before trying to kill the rest of them. Mareena opens a door to another chamber, and sees hundreds, maybe thousands of the star creatures nesting in an underground pool; under the creature's direction, Superman was breeding them. There are now enough of them to possess a large portion of the planet.

As they look closer, several other creatures jump out of the pool and attach themselves to the other Leaguers. Only Batman remains free, able to electrocute them off his Batsuit. Superman is released, and the Kryptonite shard is flung away. The others attack Batman, but he flees in the Batmobile, sent by Bruce as a precaution. Bruce can only suggest informing the military through Commissioner Barbara Gordon to ensure that the creatures don't escape; as their job would be to bomb the Fortress, Terry turns the option down. Starro/Superman pursues, while the others prepare to open an underwater door that will release the creatures into the ocean.

Starro controlling Superman

Superman/Starro chase Batman.

Starro catches up with the Batmobile and cuts off one side with Superman's heat vision. Starro confronts Batman, offering him a chance to "be one of us". Batman declines, luring Starro close enough to hit it with a grapple from the Batmobile that electrocutes the creature, disrupting its control and allowing Superman to pull it off his chest. Superman recovers, not remembering what he's been doing. Terry quickly fills him in as they fly back to the Fortress.

Superman attacks, freeing Warhawk, Barda, and Kai-Ro from the spawn, while Batman dives into the pool to stop Mareena opening the door, but he is too late. Superman starts tearing huge rocks free and dropping them down, saying they have to block the exit at any cost, even if it means killing Batman and Mareena. The others reluctantly aid him. They succeed in blocking the entrance, knocking out Mareena, but Batman narrowly saves both her and himself. Superman's heat vision stuns the spawn attached to her for removal.

The League collects all of the creatures into a Lantern-construct tank, with Starro, struggling away from the electrified grapple, being the last one. Barda and Warhawk are all for exterminating them, but Superman refuses as it was never their choice to leave home. Mareena communicates with Starro, and discovers the location of their homeworld. She borrows Barda's Mother Box and booms them to the coordinates, where Kai-Ro drops them into their native ocean. Starro is finally home and reunites with the rest of his species.

Justice League Apology

The Justice League finally accepts Batman.

Terry has now earned the heartfelt respect and gratitude of the other Leaguers, who are eager for him to join. But Terry can't overlook that the others almost sacrificed him and Mareena. Barda reminds him that joining full-time will put him one up on the first Batman, who wasn't always a team player, to which Terry coolly replies that maybe he and Bruce have something in common after all.

As Terry walks away to the Batmobile, Superman fondly comments, "More than you think, son. More than you think".


Background information[]

Home video releases[]

Production notes[]

  • A working title for this episode was "The League".
  • Wonder Woman was initially slotted to appear, but couldn't due to licensing reasons.[1] Big Barda was suggested by Paul Dini to take her place instead.[2]
  • On the DVD featurette discussing this episode, Bruce Timm admits that there are several "logic flaws" throughout the whole episode, but that nonetheless it remains an entertaining episode.
    • One of said "logic flaws" that Timm later discussed with Alan Burnett was why would Superman, under Starro's control, recruit Terry with the expressed intent of finding out who the traitor was, when he himself was the traitor? Burnett (partially in jest) replied that Superman was subconsciously fighting Starro's influence.[3]
  • According to Timm, the crew were thinking of ways to introduce Superman to the show all throughout production. "We kept talking about doing a Superman episode. We toyed around with a bunch of different scenarios, and the problem with Superman is that he's such a big icon; whatever we decided to do with him, we felt that it should be something special." Ultimately, this led to the crew sitting on the idea until they realized there was a script shortage towards the end of production on the final season.[4]
  • When the episode's plot was being developed, Bruce Timm suggested showing Superman caring for an 80-year-old invalid wife Lois Lane. However, according to Timm, Glen Murakami, Paul Dini and Alan Burnett disliked the idea completely.[5]
  • The star creature is never named in the episode but Bruce Timm and others on the episode roundtable refer to it as "Starro". Starro The Star Conqueror is famous as the Justice League's first enemy. In its appearances in the comics, it has been variously portrayed as a gigantic starfish and/or as a hive mind inhabiting millions of smaller starfishes, capable of possessing people.
  • At the time of the Superman: The Animated Series episode "The Main Man", Starro's appearance wasn't meant to be anything but a cameo.
  • When Superman is blasted through the Watchtower in Part II, there's an explosion that is reused footage from the Superman: The Animated Series episode "World's Finest" where one Wayne/Lex T-7 blows up another droid.
  • Superman is voiced by Christopher McDonald (Jor-El's voice actor), with Bruce Timm choosing to use McDonald's voice as a sign of Superman sounding like his father the older he got.
  • Aquaman's file photo attached to Aquagirl's file matches his original appearance on Superman: The Animated Series, not his revamped appearance on Justice League and Justice League Unlimited. It lists his status as "whereabouts unknown".
  • In the flashback, Superman is wearing his modified costume when he is first possessed by the creature, which indicates that this event takes place after Justice League and Justice League Unlimited. In a roundtable on the episode's special feature, Will Friedle and Bruce Timm debated this point: Timm insisted that Superman was wearing his old costume, which raised the distressing possibility that he was possessed during some of his years with Justice League, while Friedle correctly insisted otherwise.

Production inconsistencies[]

  • In the Batman Beyond Blu-Ray remaster, some notable errors were introduced during the transfer. Throughout the episode there's a noticeable black line that appears across Batman's face during random moments.
  • Likewise, there's also a greenish hue that permeants throughout the episode in the remaster.
  • After Superman breaks free from Inque, Batman steps on and holds her on the ground. In the shot showing both Superman and Batman, however, Inque disappears.
  • In the end of Part I, Terry is in the Batcave still in his Batsuit but his costume can be seen on display next to Nightwing's. However, this suit has always been regarded as unique and that display has been always empty in other episodes (but this has also occurred in "Eyewitness", "Out of the Past" and even Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker). In the beginning of this episode, when Superman was in the Batcave, the display was empty.
  • When Starro first reveals himself and right before Superman uses his heat vision against the League, he becomes translucent for a frame.
  • There's no point in the scene with the missile where Warhawk can exit his armor without being spotted by the viewer or Batman, something which Bruce Timm also points out in "The Call" DVD featurette.
  • Wayne Brady is credited for voicing Micron in Part II, even though he did not have any lines.
  • When Batman is going over Aquagirl's file, a picture of Aquaman can be seen. After the initial shot, the colors in the image, except for his skin, all go black.
  • In Part I, the glow that Green Lantern emits only surrounds his body, but in Part II, it covers him completely.
  • In Part II, when Superman is escaping, Batman attempts to stop him, but the background briefly changes to the outside of the water tank.


  • Though the Justice League existed since Bruce's time as Batman, this is their debut in the DC Animated Universe.
  • On the special features, Bruce Timm talked about how this two-parter served as a backdoor pilot of sorts to the Justice League series.
  • Though short, Inque's appearance on this episode makes her the only villain (not including Derek Powers unless he's Blight) to appear on Batman Beyond more than three times.
  • Part I won an Annie Award for Outstanding Individual Achievement for Directing in an Animated Television Production.[6]
  • The musical score playing during Batman's chase of Inque is a re-edited version of that playing in "Disappearing Inque" during their fight in the laboratory.
  • This episode serves as the final chronological appearance of Superman and Big Barda in the DCAU, production-wise the former would appear again in Justice League and Justice League Unlimited and the latter would appear in the Justice League Unlimited episode "The Ties That Bind".
  • Part I is the third episode since "The Last Resort" and "April Moon" in which Batman does not throw a single Batarang.
  • Part I has Terry unmasked only in the Batcave while Part II has Batman is in his Batsuit entirely.
  • When Superman says he can't see any more bombs, he should be using X-ray vision, which normally makes his eyes glow blue, but his eyes are glowing red instead, hinting that he is the one causing the explosions in the first place.
  • Aquagirl is voiced by Jodi Benson, the voice actress of Ariel of Disney's The Little Mermaid.
  • Christopher McDonald later voiced Hego, a superhero on Disney's Kim Possible. Hego is a parody of Superman, having the same superstrength and built physique, but portrayed as somewhat dim-witted and given to making ridiculously obvious statements in a melodramatic tone (several such lines were written for Superman in the first season of Justice League, and were later parodied in the second-season episode "A Better World").
  • Though they never worked together on it, Christopher McDonald and Jodi Benson both starred in the 1997 movie Flubber as Wilson Croft and Weebo (the flying yellow robot and Professor Brainard's assistant) respectively.
  • A dark version of the Superman: The Animated Series theme can be heard after Superman defeats Inque, when Superman lifts cargo tank with one hand, and when Superman is chasing the Batmobile.
  • Big Barda refers to Superman as "Kal", a nickname sometimes used by fellow superheroes like Wonder Woman and the Legion of Super-Heroes.
  • Batman asking Bruce if the Batmobile's top speed is "faster than a speeding bullet" is a nod to the opening narration of the Fleischer cartoons of the 1940s.


Actor Role
Will Friedle Terry McGinnis / Batman
Kevin Conroy Bruce Wayne
Jodi Benson Aquagirl
Wayne Brady Micron
Timothy Dang Driver
Chad Einbinder Father
Farrah Forke Big Barda
Shannon Kenny Inque
Christopher McDonald Superman
Peter Onorati Warhawk
Lauren Tom Green Lantern

Uncredited appearances[]


Part 1[]

Superman: You seem to be holding up pretty well.
Bruce: I could use some of that Kryptonian DNA.
Superman: You'll outlive us all, Bruce. You're too stubborn to die.
Bruce: (briefly smiles, then looks at Terry) What are you smiling at?
Terry: Nothing.

Warhawk: Just keep out of my way, junior. Hawks eat rodents like you for breakfast.

Batman: Well, maybe Aquagirl. But I had to save her life to win her over.
Bruce: That's one way to make friends.

Bruce: This isn't the first time Superman's gone rogue, so I made sure I'd be ready if it ever happened again. I always hoped I'd never have to use it.
Batman: Kryptonite. This... This could kill him, right?
Bruce: Do whatever it takes, but make sure you stop him.

Part 2[]

Warhawk: I wasn't in the armor. I was operating it by remote. That's the only reason I'm not dust right now.
Green Lantern: Very shrewd. Not like you.

Warhawk: I told him not to tag along, but he disobeyed. I like that.

Warhawk: Fine, let him explain... And then I'll rip his arms off.

Green Lantern: You see those blue things?
Batman: (picking up a small blue sphere) What is it, food?
Green Lantern: (smiling) Used to be.

Green Lantern: Whatever it is, it appears to have somehow imbedded itself into his skin.
Batman: Any chance of getting it off?
Green Lantern: I must remind you, this not just one alien species before us, it's two, and I do not yet understand the subtleties of their interaction.
Warhawk: I'll take that as an "I don't know".

Batman: What's the top speed on this thing?
Bruce: Mach 3.
Batman: Is that faster than a speeding bullet?

Big Barda: So, where should I boom them to? Some empty galaxy? Or maybe the surface of the sun?
Superman: Barda, these creatures never asked to come here. We have no right to kill them.
Warhawk: Back to his old self again.

Big Barda: Come on, it'll put you one up on the old Batman. He never made it past part-timer.
Superman: Yeah, he wasn't what you'd call a joiner.
Batman: Maybe he and I have something in common after all.
(Batman walks away)
Superman: More than you think, son. More than you think.


  1. "The Ever-Lovin' Blue Eyed Timm: Bruce Timm - The Comicology Interview" by Brian Saner Lamken - Comicology #1 (Spring 2000)
  2. "Close-Up On..." featurette Batman Beyond - Season Three (DVD)
  3. Bruce Timm forum post (2005)
  4. "The Ever-Lovin' Blue Eyed Timm: Bruce Timm - The Comicology Interview" by Brian Saner Lamken - Comicology #1 (Spring 2000)
  5. [1]
  6. Annie Awards