"The Doomsday Sanction" is the third episode of the second season of Justice League Unlimited, and the 16th of the overall series. It originally aired on February 19, 2005. While Batman investigates the Cadmus conspiracy headed by Amanda Waller, Superman battles Doomsday in the heart of a volcano.
As she prepares to leave her high-security home, Amanda Waller watches a news report that Lex Luthor has announced his candidacy for the U.S. Presidency. Standing in the shower, she is shocked to find Batman standing outside, having entered the house without tripping the alarms. He confronts her about the secret work she is doing against the Justice League, and she retorts that she is operating under the government's authority. In response to the Justice Lords incident, her department was ordered to prepare defenses against the Justice League, should it ever go rogue. The way she sees it, she and her cohorts are the people's only protection against the metahumans. Batman warns her against attacking his comrades, and leaves. Waller receives his threat without a blink, but when she grabs the phone to trigger the alarms, she is surprised to find her hand shaking.
Aboard the Watchtower, Batman explains the Cadmus agenda at a closed meeting of the seven founding members. Superman says that there's no funding for Cadmus, secret or otherwise, in the federal budget, and speculates that Luthor is a possible source of its funding. Batman informs the others that he's already assigned the Question, the League's own conspiracy theorist member, to research the possibility. He responds to the others' reluctance by assuring them that if there is a link, Question can find it.
At the same time, Waller holds a summit meeting of Cadmus's department heads. After various progress reports, she turns to Dr. Milo, whose work with splicing animals has failed to produce any results. Milo shakily tries to defend himself, but Waller orders his department terminated and he is reassigned to a lower-ranking position.
In bitterness, Milo steals into the chamber where Doomsday is being held prisoner. Amazingly, he has almost completely recovered after being lobotomized by the Justice Lord Superman. Milo explains to Doomsday that his existence is a lie: He is actually a flawed clone of Superman created by Emil Hamilton, and conditioned by Hamilton, Waller, and Hugo Strange to hate Superman. It was they who tormented Doomsday, not Superman, and it is they who he should take revenge on. Doomsday appears to accept this, and agrees to solve both their problems if Milo releases him. Milo does, and Doomsday "solves" Milo's problems by killing him, before returning to his ingrained agenda: Killing Superman.
Superman is engaged with a League team assisting an evacuation from the small island of San Baquero, the volcano of which is in danger of erupting. While Wonder Woman and Flash conduct the evacuation at the harbor, Superman plans to bore holes through the mountain's sides, venting the lava to prevent a more dangerous eruption. Before he can begin, Doomsday arrives and attacks, and their battle threatens to bring the volcano down.
Hearing the news of Doomsday's escape, Waller angrily orders General Eiling to contain the mess and "sanction" Doomsday, she doesn't care how. Eiling takes her order as an invitation to fire a nuclear cruise missile with a Kryptonite warhead at San Baquero.
J'onn detects the missile launch from the Watchtower. Batman immediately calls Waller—on the special hotline to her office connected only to the White House, giving her another shock—and tells her to abort the missile. Waller plays it cool, but Batman can tell she didn't know Eiling's plan. J'onn reports that Captain Atom is too far away to reach the missile, and Batman leaps into action: rushing down to the Javelin bay, he performs an emergency launch into space and hurtles his ship down through the atmosphere, despite J'onn's warning that he's risking burn-up.
Waller confronts Eiling, demanding to know what he was thinking. Eiling coolly explains that the missile will solve the government's problems of Superman, Doomsday, and drug-trafficking to and from San Baquero in one fell swoop - "three birds, one stone." Waller orders him to abort the missile, and he replies that it has already passed the point of no return and he couldn't stop it even if he wanted to.
J'onn calls Wonder Woman, warning her to evacuate the island immediately. She tells Flash to go with the last ships, and that she's going back for Superman.
As Batman's Javelin trails the missile, he fires a pair of rockets, but the missile has a magnetic repulsor field. There is only one way to stop it now, and Batman doesn't hesitate: he charges the Javelin with its own magnetic field, and clamps onto the missile, managing to steer it off course. As the Javelin-and-missile overshoot the island and fly out to sea, Batman ejects. The ship crashes into the ocean and there is a colossal explosion, followed by a tidal wave that swamps Batman's escape pod. J'onn calls him on the radio, but there is no response.
On the island, Superman has taken a savage beating from Doomsday, and is desperate enough that he tries the unthinkable: Burning into Doomsday's brain with his heat vision. But this doesn't work, and Superman changes tactics, grabbing Doomsday and hurling him into the volcano's maw. The seismic upset caused by his landing causes the eruption that Superman was trying to avoid, and the island, though mercifully uninhabited, is destroyed. Superman is too weak to escape, but is saved just in time by Wonder Woman.
Aboard the Watchtower, five of the seven founders hold a tribunal for Doomsday, imprisoned in a block of cooled magma. Like Milo, Superman tries to tell Doomsday that he has been used by Cadmus, and asks Doomsday to reveal what he knows. Doomsday retorts that he will escape one day, and will go right back to trying to kill Superman. Feeling that they have no choice, Superman uses a Phantom Zone projector to send Doomsday into that penal dimension. Doomsday vows that they will regret this.
Batman is recuperating in the infirmary, injured (but not severely) after his crash. He expresses disgust at Superman's decision, saying that such arbitrary action is exactly what Cadmus has reason to fear. He asks Superman point-blank what would happen if Luthor does become President, but Superman assures him that the League will never cross the line. As Superman leaves him, Bruce is left in the darkness. Seeing another one of Luthor's campaign commercials on the news, he silently deliberates the dangers that lie ahead.
- Lex Luthor continues his run for the Presidency as foreshadowed at the end of the Justice League episode "A Better World".
- Amanda Waller mentions the Watchtower's binary fusion cannon that the Justice League used in "Dark Heart".
- Batman mentions the Ultimen from "Ultimatum".
- In discussing Luthor as a possible source of Cadmus's funding, Batman mentions that Lex was definitely the source of funding for General Hardcastle's rogue operations as seen in the Superman: The Animated Series finale "Legacy".
- Emil Hamilton reports that Galatea is almost fully recovered since being injured by Supergirl in "Fearful Symmetry".
- Tala discusses plans for stealing "the armor", foreshadowing the events of "Task Force X".
- Though he does not speak, Professor Hugo Strange is among the department heads of Cadmus, having last appeared in the Batman: The Animated Series episode "The Strange Secret of Bruce Wayne", where he ascertained Batman's secret identity. However, he was led to believe Batman was not Bruce Wayne when Dick Grayson appeared as Bruce in disguise and Batman claimed that he asked for his help to take Strange down. It is unknown if Strange ever did indeed learn the truth.
- Dr. Milo last appeared in the Batman: The Animated Series episode "Moon of the Wolf". He makes reference to notes made by another specialist in splicing in the Batman: The Animated Series episode "On Leather Wings".
- Batman says that he has assigned the Question to investigate possible links between Project Cadmus and Luthor, foreshadowing the events of "Double Date" and "Question Authority".
- Doomsday recovered from his lobotomizing by the Justice Lord Superman in the Justice League episode "A Better World".
- The Phantom Zone projector used by Superman is presumably the same one created by Professor Hamilton in Superman: The Animated Series "Blasts From the Past".
- Superman jokes that Batman always carries Kryptonite around with him as "insurance" against Superman going rogue. Batman last displayed a piece of Kryptonite in the Justice League episode "Tabula Rasa" which he kept in a compartment in his utility belt. But since that piece was pulverized by Amazo, Batman acquired more at some point as he later retrieved a piece from his Batcave vault decades later to provide Batman II with the means to stop Superman in the Batman Beyond episode "The Call".
- In "Epilogue", Waller tells Terry that she saw Batman save the day many times, even without the metahuman members of the Justice League. This would be one such instance.
Home video releases
- Justice League Unlimited - Season One (DVD)
- Justice League - The Complete Series (DVD)
- Justice League Unlimited - The Complete Series (Blu-ray)
- Best of Superman (DVD)
- Best of Warner Bros. 25 Cartoon Collection: DC Comics (DVD)
- According to Dwayne McDuffie, Hugo Strange's cameo was a set up for another episode (presumably Question's interrogation scene in "Question Authority"), but due to the Bat-embargo, he could not be used again in later episodes.
- On the "Cadmus Exposed" feature, Bruce Timm stated that this episode was a turning point for Batman, and he was originally going to split off from the League and join Cadmus. Since there was no way to do this without making Batman look like the bad guy, the idea was scrapped. Timm has stated on the ToonZone.net forums that if the plan came to fruition, Batman would have created a superhero team of non-super powered heroes, such as Huntress and Wildcat.
- Michael Jai White's voice is vocoded for Doomsday, something which was not done in the Justice League episode "A Better World".
- In the opening scene, Waller wakes up and has her earrings on.
- Waller tells Batman that in another dimension "that the seven of you overthrew the government and assassinated the President". She's referring to the Justice Lords; however, at the time they did that, there were only six of them, as the Flash had already died. Furthermore, the episode depicts only Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman attacking the White House, while J'onn, Stewart, and Hawkgirl were not shown.
- Shayera Hol is in the initial founding members conference to discuss Cadmus. But at the end, she's not in the tribunal that is interrogating Doomsday. There's an empty chair which is for Batman who was in the infirmary.
- When the camera pans around the table during the meeting at Cadmus, Tala's tattoo is missing, but it's visible in the wide shot from Milo's point of view.
- In the hangar in the long shot, Wildcat is in the lead, Hourman is in the middle and to Wildcat's right, and the much darker, shadowy Obsidian is bringing up the rear to Wildcat's left. But in the close shot when Batman comes charging in, Obsidian and Hourman instantaneously swap left-for-right and the two of them are walking even.
- It is unexplained how Doomsday knew where to find Superman. However, given that Doomsday has super-hearing, it is possible he heard Waller and Eiling mention Superman's presence on San Baquero.
- When Doomsday busts out of his lab, he is hit from his left, even though in the next scene the guards are in front of him.
- This episode marks the first appearance of Tala and the last appearances of Dr. Milo and Doomsday.
- In the comics, Doomsday is "killed" or incapacitated at least three or four times in battles with Superman or the Justice League; strangely, none of the methods used included sending him into the Phantom Zone; the closest thing would be in Superman/Doomsday: Hunter/Prey, when he was sent forward in time to the entropy of the universe.
- Some of Doomsday's dialogue in this episode, most notably the line "I'm here to kill you now. Is this a bad time?", was reused by Justice League Unlimited producer (and this episode's story writer) Dwayne McDuffie while scripting the non-DCAU video game Justice League Heroes.
- Dr. Milo's fate is similar to that of Salvatore Valestra in the feature film Batman: Mask of the Phantasm. Both turn to a dangerous rogue for help, but the rogues do so simply by killing them.
- Eiling's choice to use a Kryptonite-tipped missile to kill both Superman and Doomsday indicates that Doomsday is also vulnerable to it, being a clone of Superman (although Bizarro, another flawed clone, was not); in the comics, this is not true of Doomsday until after one of his "deaths", when his body is rebuilt using Superman's DNA.
- Batman stopping the Kryptonite missile mirrors how he saved the world on the Justice League finale "Starcrossed" only on a smaller scale. In both cases he descends from the Watchtower's orbit so fast that his transport burns as it enters Earth's atmosphere and although he had not planned to from the start, Batman ended up stopping the missile by using the Javelin itself as he did with the first Watchtower.
- Armin Shimerman replaces Treat Williams as Dr. Milo's voice actor.
- When Superman finally throws Doomsday in the volcano, after the line "I guess I'll need a bigger fire", an extremely dark variation on the Superman: The Animated Series theme plays.
- During Doomsday's "trial" in the Watchtower, he faces five of the original founding members, with a sixth chair unoccupied, presumably because Batman is recuperating in the infirmary; the fact that there are only six chairs suggests that the room was built before Shayera Hol rejoined the League, and yet she is included in the meeting of the original founders at the beginning of the episode.
|Susan Eisenberg||Wonder Woman|
Watchtower Computer (uncredited)
|Carl Lumbly||J'onn J'onzz|
|Michael Rosenbaum||The Flash|
Cadmus Soldier (uncredited)
|CCH Pounder||Amanda Waller|
|Robert Foxworth||Professor Emil Hamilton|
|Michael Jai White||Doomsday|
|J.K. Simmons||General Wade Eiling|
|Armin Shimerman||Dr. Milo|
Batman: Get dressed. It's time we talked.
Waller: If the Justice League ever went rogue, what do you think would be the result?
Batman: Project Cadmus is in the business of developing weapons, specifically to fight us.
J'onn: We're all thinking the same thing...
Waller: Doctor Milo, I'm not known for my sense of humor, but I know a sick joke when I see one.
Waller: Milo. I'll have his hide for this!
Doomsday: Superman, I'm here to kill you. Is this a bad time?
Waller: What were you thinking? You're gonna kill Superman and everyone else on the island!
Doomsday: You'll wish you'd killed me.
Batman: Passing judgment like gods, with our super-powered army and our orbiting death ray... Cadmus is right to be scared. The human race wouldn't stand a chance.
- Berkowitz, Stan (writer) & Riba, Dan (director) (November 1, 2003). "A Better World, Part I". Justice League. Season 2. Episode 11 (airdate). Episode 37 (production). Cartoon Network.
“ As you suspect, many Batman characters are unavailable for JLU, at least for the time being. It's only been a problem a couple of times [...] I wanted to use Hugo Strange [...his appearance in "Doomsday Sanction"] was to set up a later appearance. The later appearance won't happen now. ”
— Dwayne McDuffie in DwayneMcDuffie.com
|Cadmus Story Arc||Next episode:|
"Task Force X"