"The Return" is the eighth episode of Justice League Unlimited. It originally aired on September 18, 2004. It depicts the return of Amazo. After the power-absorbing android destroys the home planet of the Guardians of the Universe, the League must intercept him before he reaches Earth and achieves his goal: murdering the recently reformed Lex Luthor.
John Stewart is in communication with the Guardians of the Universe on Oa, who inform him that his recent request for a transfer away from Earth has been denied. Then the planetary defense system alerts them that something is approaching Oa at an incredible speed. Kyle Rayner and the other resident Green Lanterns fly into space to establish a shield, but the object breaks through it instantly, revealing itself to be Amazo. Before the Guardians can react, the android hurtles into the planet, there is a sudden flash of light – and just like that, Oa is gone.
Amazo’s trajectory shows that he is heading for Earth. The League mobilizes its full strength, determined to stop the android from reaching the planet’s surface. In short order, they realize what Amazo is coming back for: revenge on Lex Luthor.
On his estate, Luthor is giving a television interview explaining his reformation since he was diagnosed with kryptonite poisoning. He has just finished expressing his hope that he and the Justice League can be friends, when Supergirl and Steel fly down and kidnap him. As soon as he is told Amazo is coming, he rejects their ideas for protection and insists on going to a safe house of his own design – located in a barber shop. In short order he gives them the slip, riding an underground tube (with Kryptonite-lined walls) down into a laboratory, where a huge cannon sits waiting. However, the League is one step ahead of him – the Atom is riding on his clothing, having slipped on earlier. Since Atom is an expert in nanotechnology, and has Professor Ivo's original blueprints for the android, he and Luthor agree to modify the cannon specifically to destroy the android.
The League has set up three defensive lines to halt the android: the first, in space, consists of Superman, Green Lantern, Captain Atom, Orion, Dr. Light, S.T.R.I.P.E., Starman, and the League’s entire fleet of Javelins. As the android approaches, he communicates with them telepathically, warning them not to stand in his way. When he refuses to turn back, the assembly unleashes a massive energy barrage. But Amazo shrugs it off, smashes through the entire line in moments, and continues toward Earth.
In the laboratory, Luthor and Atom are working flat out to complete the cannon before Amazo arrives. In the upper atmosphere, Amazo locates Luthor with his telepathy and then smashes through the second defensive line – Supergirl, Fire, Red Tornado, and Rocket Red.
Seeing the second line collapse, J'onn turns to a visitor to the bridge: Dr. Fate, who says he has an alternative proposal.
The cannon is completed just before Amazo enters the laboratory, which he does just in time to receive a blast from it. Mildly impressed, the Android indicates the cannon might have worked -- a month earlier when he was still nanotech.
In space, Green Lantern revives to see Kyle and the other surviving Lanterns approaching. Kyle says their only option is to hit Amazo with a concentrated blast from all of their rings at once – enough energy to destroy half the planet along with the android.
In the laboratory, as a last resort Atom shrinks both himself and Luthor down to subatomic size, to hide from Amazo. Again, this proves futile: Amazo shrinks himself down as well, enough to grasp them in the palm of his hand.
Luthor is prepared to meet his fate, but Amazo hesitates. What he has come back for is not so much revenge as to satisfy his curiosity. Amazo has read his mind, and can't understand it: for all his wealth and power, Luthor is still consumed with ambition to be and have more. Amazo, likewise, was made to evolve and absorb knowledge, but for all that he has learned, he still feels empty, with no idea of what his purpose in life is.
As John and the other Lanterns fly into the laboratory, Fate appears and asks them to hold off. John orders him out of the way, and after a moment, Fate complies.
Luthor says that in a way he is empty of purpose: for all his accomplishments, he is still mortal, and everything he's done will be gone and forgotten after a few generations. Amazo, on the other hand, is immortal and nearly all-powerful: he will be able to see time through until its very end. Amazo is not satisfied with merely being a witness to events. Ultimately, Luthor says, he cannot solve the mystery for Amazo: every being creates its own purpose in life.
Just then, the Lanterns arrive and aim their rings. Fate teleports beside Amazo, telling them the threat is over. The Lanterns refuse to accept this, until Amazo surprises them by telling them that Oa was not destroyed, he simply moved it to another dimension. "It was in my way." Without leaving the laboratory, he moves it back.
Fate offers Amazo sanctuary in his tower, to help him in his search for meaning. Amazo accepts. When they arrive back, it is revealed that Shayera has also taken sanctuary there.
- Amazo's last appearance was in Justice League, "Tabula Rasa," which both introduced the character and gave the reason for his vendetta against Luthor.
- At the beginning, John has requested a transfer away from Earth because of "personal problems" - presumably a reference to his heartbreak over Shayera in Justice League, "Starcrossed."
- This is Shayera's first appearance since she left the League in "Starcrossed."
- Amazo destroys Red Tornado when he defeats the second defense line, but Tornado appears in subsequent episodes; how he was reconstructed is not explained.
- This was the final appearance of the Green Lantern Corps, including Kyle Rayner, Katma Tui, and Kilowog.
- Will Friedle, the voice of Terry McGinnis in Batman Beyond, replaces Michael P. Greco as the voice of Kyle Rayner.
- This is Steel's first speaking appearance in Justice League Unlimited. Phil LaMarr replaces Michael Dorn.
- The voice actress for news reporter Soroya Bashir is not credited. One possibility is Olivia d'Abo, the voice of Star Sapphire, among others.
Dr. Fate: I can help you on your journey. Your search for meaning.