DC Animated Universe
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Ultimen Pan

The Ultimen (Wind Dragon, Juice, Long Shadow, Shifter, and Downpour).

"I admit, they're a little overeager, but they're really a nice bunch of kids."
Wonder Woman[1]

The Ultimen were created by Project Cadmus to have a team of superheroes loyal to the United States government.


The Ultimen were genetically engineered, artificial life forms; in essence test tube babies, created in Cadmus laboratories by Emil Hamilton and possessed complete sets of false memories (most likely implanted by Dr. Hugo Strange, the only member in Cadmus with such knowledge). Designed by Project Cadmus to be a popular alternative to the Justice League the government deemed too rogue. When Wind Dragon began exhibiting unexpected changes in his powers, Cadmus discovered that the clones were unstable.

After discovering that they were part of an experiment to create superpowered clones with implanted memories, the Ultimen rebelled and went on a rampage against both Cadmus and the Justice League. They were reasoned with by members of the League and they stopped their rampage. Long Shadow, who refrained from participating in the destructive rampage, left with the Justice League while the remaining members were returned to Cadmus.[2]

With that, the original Ultimen were out of the picture (their final fates unknown). It was never revealed if the sentient Ultimen first encountered by the Justice League were able to be saved by Cadmus or the League, in the case of Long Shadow. But in the case where they did all die from massive cellular degradation (as presumed), the Ultimen died for nothing as caged lab rats in Cadmus captivity, while Long Shadow was given a hero's death, nobly giving his life for the honor and glory of the Justice League during his last moments.

Some time later, Project Cadmus manufactured and activated an army of at least twenty-six groups of Ultimen clones in order to support Galatea's assault on the Justice League Watchtower. While retaining the Ultimen's powers and expertise in using them, the clones were essentially mindless, possessing no free will so as to be used only as living metahuman weapons of destruction (which, ironically, was what the original Ultimen feared the government wanted them to be all along). The clones served to distract the League while Galatea went after the Watchtower's primary reactor. However, the assault failed as the League successfully defended their home in a massive battle.[3]


Background information[]

  • The Ultimen bear strong resemblances to the original characters created for the Super Friends series in the 1970s and 80s (with the exception of El Dorado, who was not used).
Ultimen Super Friends Similarities
Wind Dragon Samurai Air manipulation
Juice Black Vulcan Electricity manipulation
Long Shadow Apache Chief Self-magnification
Downpour and Shifter Zan and Jayna (The Wonder Twins) Assume and control any form of water (Zan/Downpour)
Assume any animal form (Jayna/Shifter)
  • The League members appearing in this episode were the same four characters that comprised the original Super Friends team: Batman, Superman, Aquaman and Wonder Woman.
  • The Lava Men are similar to the creatures from the Super Friends episode of the same name.
  • The Ultimen's headquarters resembles the Hall of Justice, headquarters of the Super Friends, though here it is located atop a highrise building rather than at ground level.
  • Dwayne McDuffie claims that "the beast that threw itself against the bars" is a nod to the Wonder Dog.[4]
  • The Ultimen suddenly developing convenient new powers is likely a nod to observations that Super Friends writers seemed to be making up powers for the show's original characters as they went along.


Justice League Unlimited

Project Cadmus
Leader Amanda Waller
Sponsor Lex Luthor
PR / Manager Maxwell Lord
Division Heads
Genetics Emil Hamilton
Psychology Hugo Strange • Moon
Splicing Milo
Mysticism Tala
Military Tactics Wade Eiling
Captain Atom • Doomsday • Galatea
Ultimen Downpour • Juice • Shifter • Long Shadow • Wind Dragon
Task Force X Captain Boomerang • Clock King • Deadshot • Rick Flagg • Plastique


  1. McDuffie, Dwayne (story) & DeMatteis, J.M. (teleplay) & Dos Santos, Joaquim (director) (December 4, 2004). "Ultimatum". Justice League Unlimited. Season 1. Episode 9 (airdate). Episode 9 (production). Cartoon Network.
  2. McDuffie, Dwayne (story) & DeMatteis, J.M. (teleplay) & Dos Santos, Joaquim (director) (December 4, 2004). "Ultimatum". Justice League Unlimited. Season 1. Episode 9 (airdate). Episode 9 (production). Cartoon Network.
  3. McDuffie, Dwayne (writer) & Dos Santos, Joaquim (director) (July 9, 2005). "Panic in the Sky". Justice League Unlimited. Season 1. Episode 24 (airdate). Episode 24 (production). Cartoon Network.
  4. [1]