DC Animated Universe

"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,[1] 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.


Background information[]

Home video releases[]

Production notes[]

  • 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.[2]
  • On the "Cadmus Exposed" feature, Bruce Timm stated that this episode was a turning point for Batman, and they had toyed with the idea of having him 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.

Production inconsistencies[]

  • 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.
  • 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.


  • 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.
  • Michael Jai White's voice is vocoded for Doomsday, something which was not done in the Justice League episode "A Better World".


Actor Role
Kevin Conroy Batman
Susan Eisenberg Wonder Woman
Watchtower Computer (uncredited)
Carl Lumbly J'onn J'onzz
George Newbern Superman
Michael Rosenbaum The Flash
Cadmus Soldier (uncredited)
Anchorman (uncredited)
CCH Pounder Amanda Waller
Robert Foxworth Professor Emil Hamilton
Juliet Landau Tala
Michael Jai White Doomsday
J.K. Simmons General Wade Eiling
Armin Shimerman Dr. Milo

Uncredited appearances[]


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: That's moot.
Waller: Humor me. In every single scenario you'd beat us... badly. But that was before Cadmus. Now we have the technology to defend ourselves.
Batman: Whatever you think you're doing, if you present a threat to the world, the Justice League will take you down.
Waller: If we present a threat!? You've got a space ship floating over our heads with a laser weapon pointing down! In another dimension, seven of you overthrew the government and assassinated the President! We're the good guys, protecting our country from a very real threat: you!

Batman: Project Cadmus is in the business of developing weapons, specifically to fight us.
J'onn: They're worried we've grown too powerful, and they want to even the odds.

J'onn: We're all thinking the same thing...
Wonder Woman: Luthor.
Batman: The obvious suspect. He funded General Hardcastle's rogue operations, but if he's bankrolling Cadmus, he's doing an excellent job of covering his tracks. I've got the Question looking into it and--
(He's interrupted by groans from some of the others)
Flash: Not that kook!
Batman: I admit, he's wound a bit too tightly. But if anyone can find a hidden link from Luthor to Cadmus, he's the man.

Waller: Doctor Milo, I'm not known for my sense of humor, but I know a sick joke when I see one.

Milo: (Seeing Doomsday approach him.) What are you...?
Doomsday: (Reaching towards Milo) Your problem solved.
(Doomsday kills Milo while he screams.)

Waller: Milo. I'll have his hide for this!
Soldier: (Wincing) Doomsday beat you to it, ma'am.

Doomsday: Superman, I'm here to kill you. Is this a bad time?

Superman: I know who you are, but I'm not the one who hurt you.
Doomsday: Superman is Superman, and I will kill you.
Superman: Why?
Doomsday: It's what I am. I don't care why.

Waller: What were you thinking? You're gonna kill Superman and everyone else on the island!
Eiling: We have to sanction Doomsday, we were gonna get to Superman somewhere down the line, and we've been trying to stop drug traffic from San Baquero for years. The way I see it: three birds, one stone.

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.
Superman: We'd never go there. It isn't in our nature and nothing can change that.
Batman: Nothing? What if Luthor does become President, like he did in their world? What would stop you from doing what that Superman did?
Superman: There's always that Kryptonite you carry around.
Batman: You don't get to joke! Not today. I just took a bullet for you.
Superman: I'm sorry, Bruce. You're right. But you don't have to worry about the Justice League. Trust me. You know me.
Batman: Yeah, I do.


  1. 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.
  2. 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