Episode #39 - Destroyer (Part 2) Original Airdate - May 13th, 2006 - Series Finale
In a knock-down drag out battle on Earth and in space, the power
moving behind the scenes of the villains is revealed leading to the most
unexpected team-up in Justice League history.
Reviews by SJJ, Stu
Media by Bird Boy
Written by Dwayne McDuffie
Directed by Joaquim dos Santos
Music by Kristopher Carter, Michael McCuistion, Lolita Ritmanis
Animation by D.R. Movie Co., LTD.
Kevin Conroy as Batman
George Newbern as Superman
Susan Eisenberg as Wonder Woman
Michael Rosenbaum as The Flash
Phil LaMarr as Green Lantern
Maria Canals as Shayera Hol
Carl Lumbly as J'onn J'onnz
Clancy Brown as Lex Luthor
Michael Ironside as Darkseid
Daniel Dae Kim as Metron
Jennifer Hale as Giganta
Michael Beach as Mr. Terrific
Lex Lang as Atomic Skull
So here we are. The finale. The final one. The end. Excited.
I bet you are.
And what a mixed bag it is. Two sides to this, my ill-metaphored sword.
On one side, it's a shinning beacon to all that is JLU; it has action,
it has heroes, it has battles. It has great animation, some really smart
one liners and it treats all it's characters with dignity. On the other
side, it is all slightly ill paced, utilizes the worst case of deux ex
machina I've seen on TV and lacks a little character detail for my
In a little more depth (or in the context of the plot, maybe a little
less), "Destroyer" concludes the season arc "Legion Of Doom". Lex
Luthor's Legion returns to Earth after accidentally unleashing the maniac
god Darkseid instead of the maniac machine, Brainiac. The Justice League
and the Legion Of Doom (or Secret Society as DC would prefer) come
together in alliance to stop this threat as revenge thirsty Darkseid and
his creatures invade Earth.
There isn't much more than this to the story, but then the whole episode
is designed to be a virtual homage to all that is super-hero action. One
shouldn't condemn this episode for the weak plot, it's all about action,
Action certainly comes thick and fast. It's fluid, dynamic and very
exciting stuff. Some pretty nasty scenes there; a spear in Shayera's
wing, a decapitation of one of Darkseid's many goons.. It's all fun,
occasionally shocking and unlike some of the previous episodes, the
action scenes feel well placed and not contrived. After-all, action is
the whole point to the story.
While it means there is little in terns of story-depth, this approach
allows the show to pay it's respects to as many characters equally and
fairly. This seems rather appropriate for a show about a whole league of
In between the action, there is some nice dialogue and a couple of
welcome character scenes. J'onn makes a return. The character has
clearly evolved and as he intended, found a life. Good on him.
Those expecting any serious resolutions won't find any. This is JLU-alongside-the-
Legion-of-Doom-versus-Darkseid-and-minions (his generic minions, don't
expect any of his usual cohorts).
The focus battle is Batman, Luthor and Superman Vs Darkseid. The arena:
The remains of "The Daily Planet" building. It's a damn fine fight. A
particular highlight for me was Superman's small speech before he goes
"extra super" on Darkseid.
The attempts from Batman and Luthor to distract Darkseid's attack on
Superman give this feud an extra layer. Some may argue having a mortal
like Batman knock a virtual god over is slightly unrealistic. However,
considering how vital Batman has been to Justice League, it's nice to
see him have some serious interaction. It's particularly good to see
Superman and Batman working together again.
This seems a good time to take a break from the good, and speak of the
bad. Overall, there isn't much of this, but there were certainly some
issues in this episode.
I still question (for those who read my review of the previous episode,
"Alive") as to whether Darkseid needed to return. He offers nothing new
here at all. It's Darkseid after Superman again and the fight is like an
extended version of their last encounter in "Twilight". It's good, but
with all of DC's literature at their disposal, did we need a forth
reckoning? Wasn't "Twilight" major finale strong enough?
Furthermore, his invasion forces are toned down to stupid drones and
until his final attack on Superman, he doesn't seem that much more
impressive than before. After so many world threats, this doesn't really
FEEL much above the norm for JLU, despite seeing such a large roster
Personally, I feel that characters that are godly in nature tend to be
restrictive. A story can only offer a certain amount of resolutions for
such one sided battles. It seems, by "Destroyer", that DCAU have
exhausted all angles on Darkseid. It's good fun, but nothing new is done
with the character.
The deux ex machina in the final moments comes from the power of
anti-life. The problems are two-fold. Its introduction, application and
resolution are lightning fast. This really gives some pacing issues with
the rest of the episode. It also means it falls for the danger of any
such device; the audience feels slightly cheated after such a gigantic
The second problem is there is no explanation to this device or its
effect. If this was a continuing series, you could forgive that, however
as a finale in which it's used to resolve the whole story dilemma, it
If you know your DC, there probably is no problem - you probably have
the background knowledge required to understand the use of anti-life.
However, a television show should cater for it's whole audience in the
same way a school essay should work on the presumption the reader has
little to no knowledge of the subject. In the end, the whole event feels
very messy, unwanted and unresolved.
That said, we can now go back to the good. The ending is very touching.
Some well executed comments (Superman's remark to Batman about getting
old neatly points towards the next stage of the saga - Batman Beyond)
and a wonderful montage of all that is JLU, visually and aurally. It's a
lovely "heroes heading off into the sunset" type of finish. While some
fans would rather have more resolution details, I feel we know all we
need to. We know Batman, Superman and JLU carry on into the future. We
know that Lantern and Shayera will have a child who joins the JLU. We
know there are many more battles out there to fight in the interim
between now and Batman Beyond.
So enjoy. It is overall, a great half hour. As I said, in some ways the
ending is a little frustrating and one wonders whether having Clark
simply beat Darkseid would have been a better ending to the big fight -
even if it would have been a little more simplistic. I personally felt
that Superman's final blows to Darkseid were an effective enough climax
not to warrant any external intervention.
What's more to say? Oh yeah, Grodd and Tala don't come back. Nor do the
captive half of the Legion from "Alive". There may have been no obvious
deaths for the JLU team, but there were certainly serious casualties in
this final epical battle.
A good end to an overall strong season. Not as strong as "Divided We
Fall" and a little bit disappointing in relation to the seasons arc (Luthor
does disappear mighty fast), but still a solid ending to a solid season.
Regardless of the minor issues, JLU certainly was an epic series with an
epic finale. Now, go and watch Epilogue again. I think this is the right
time to do so.
Review (Stu): After 39 episodes and many hours of entertainment,
Justice League Unlimited comes to its end here. Given how the
season has ranged from absolutely brilliant to mind numbingly boring, I
was really hoping for something special to cap an uneven season. On a
personal note, this episode felt special for the sole fact that I had to
get up on a Saturday morning to watch it! I haven't done that
since Spider-Man: The Animated Series ended 8 years ago!
Finale's are difficult top crack at the best of times but when you've
got a 14 year history and an entire legion of fans expecting you to top
"Divided We Fall", it was never going to be an easy task. Justice
League Unlimited is arguably the biggest superhero cartoon of all
time and there simply isn't enough time or money to do everyone justice
in a single episode. One does wonder they used an all villain story
beforehand though, especially as it could've been the perfect
opportunity for many characters to get their final lines and such. Fret
not though, whatever DC's versions of True Believers are called, as in
the end, it simply didn't matter, this was an awesome finale, and did as
good, if not better job as expected.
I was excited to see Darkseid once again, because let's not fool
ourselves; he's the ultimate villain. As much as I love Luthor or even
Joker, they're physically no matches for The League and despite whatever
plan they come up with, when it comes to one on one, the heroes will
hand them their ass. But Darkseid is different, to me at least. If any
of the normal guys came up against him, he could crush them almost
instantly. All in all, this means we're gonna get a hell of a Superman
fight, as he takes on his greatest enemy. Luckily, Joaquim Dos Santos
directs, and once again, he is in fine form.
I remember being slightly disappointed by Darkseid in Twilight,
specifically how he moved. The visuals weren't there weren't anywhere
near as cool as they were back in Superman, and I thought he lacked
presence. It sounds odd, and fanboy nitpicky, but even the way Darkseid
walked in Twilight was far too ‘mere mortal' like. Thankfully, Darkseid
is back to his best here, and his new Brainiac heavy design is certainly
a treat. Michael Ironside returns to voice the Lord Of Apokolips and
manages to make dialogue that could sound corny work perfectly. “Let's
go” had me pumped throughout the commercial break. There's something
about his booming voice that simply brings out the best in scripts, weak
Superman vs. Darkseid has never disappointed before and this battle was
their best to date. It was an interesting twist to throw Batman and
Luthor into the mix, but it wasn't an unwelcome one. As odd as it
sounds, I don't think I would've cared for it if Green Lantern or
Captain Atom were involved. Batman acts as a strategist here, and Luthor
is there to help Batman beat up Parademons. The talking in between the
punches really does help emphasize the fight here, it's good to see that
they haven't forgotten exactly who is fighting here, and they're still
interested in telling stories with their characters, even if the episode
is basically everyone in the League battling Parademons. I absolutely
loved Superman's “I live in a world of cardboard” speech and then
promptly laying the smackdown on Apokolips' Lord and Savior.
I thought the Anti Life equation would work in the episode somewhere,
but I thought they might actually attempt to explain it and even
possibly use it against Darkseid. One couldn't help but feel slightly
jilted, especially considering Luthor apparently committed suicide to
use it against Darkseid. Had he gloated at the end of it all or even
said something about this being his revenge for stealing Brainiac away
from him, it could've worked better, but no dialogue, a weak explosion
and no real conclusion left me feeling slightly disappointing. In the
end though, everything else was pretty much spot on, so I found myself
with very little to complain about by the end of the episode.
I know some people will complain that there's too much fighting in the
episode, but I felt it was worth it to see everyone get their due. I
originally wasn't sure if I cared if everyone got a spot or not, but
when I didn't see Flash cameo at the end of the last episode, I had a
terrible feeling of dread that he wouldn't appear. I actually cheered
when he showed up on screen, and literally laughed out loud at his “Why
don't you just throw it into the sun?… Yeah, that was a pretty stupid
idea. Given how he's essentially been ignored all season, it was nice to
see The Question kicking some ass. Given how he's ignored in the current
comics and there's nothing cooler than this version, I feel he's going
to one of the characters I miss most.
So, now it's all over, how did it do overall? I admit to being hesitant
when they announce that the show was being revamped, but it's been too
good a series to dismiss that now. I found a lot of the new characters
they introduced to be more interesting than the original 7, and we've
seen some of the best storylines ever in the DCU unfold in this series.
At the end of the day, this is quite easily the best show on TV, and
it's going to be missed terribly. With The Batman seemingly peaked and
dropping in quality, Teen Titans ending on a whimper and the new
upcoming DC cartoons sounding like manufactured drivel for a network
that can't even do a simple thing like stick to the market it was
created for, it seems that there are dark days ahead for animation in
general. The DCU has been a constant success both critically,
commercially and personally for 12 years and it's as good now as the day
as the day Batman rode "On Leather Wings" all those years ago. A true
testament to the talent behind the show who've yet to let us down even
if the rest of their very medium has.