First hinted at in the Justice
League Unlimited episode Fearful Symmetry, the government plot to
provide a counterbalance to the Justice League's rapidly-increasing power base
has become the main plot point of the current season, which is set to come to a
head in this season's four-part finale. However, despite the claims of
Amanda Waller, who claims that the Cadmus Project came into being as a result of
the events of A Better World, or the Question, who claims that it really
began following the events of Legacy, the octopus-like tendrils of the
Cadmus' conspiracy can be traced to the DCAU's very beginnings.
Surprisingly, the more one digs into the DCAU's past for clues, the more Amanda
Waller's assertion that, "We're [...] protecting our country from a very
real threat: you," takes on disturbing connotations.
BATMAN: THE ANIMATED
Leather Wings and Terror in the Sky
and second appearances of Dr. Kirk Langstrom, who genetically augments himself
(and, later, his wife accidentally) with bat DNA to become the Man-Bat, arguably
making him the first instance of a "splicer," a term introduced in Batman
Beyond. It is later revealed
that his notes fall into the possession of the Cadmus Project and Dr. Milo.
Strange Secret of Bruce Wayne
appearance of Dr. Hugo Strange, a classic Batman villain who specializes in
psychology; in this episode he develops a machine that can read people’s
minds. Later becomes a key player in
the Cadmus Project, possibly as an expert on mind control.
encounters Dr. Emile Dorian—a contemporary of Dr. Langstrom, but working
independently—after he abducts Catwoman and “splices” her with cat DNA in
order to make her a potential mate for his feline / human hybrid Tygrus.
While there exists no stated connection, it’s possible that the Cadmus
Project is aware of Dorian’s work, and has confiscated his notes as well.
Scratch Fever and Moon of the Wolf
second appearances of Dr. Achilles Milo, who—in Moon of the Wolf—transforms
professional athlete Anthony Romulus into a werewolf by “splicing” him with
wolf DNA. It was this primarily this
activity that brought him to the attention of Cadmus, who hired him as an expert
on human / animal hybridization, but he would later be removed from his station
due to a lack of further results.
as a Bat
experience with developing weapons for the military cements Bruce Wayne’s
reluctance to do so in the future, as seen in World’s Finest.
encounter with Lyle Bolton, the sadist ex-chief of security of Arkham Asylum who
later adopts the costumed identity of Lock-Up, Batman draws a line in the sand
in regards to where justice and fascism lie on his spectrum.
NEW BATMAN ADVENTURES
episode featuring genetic engineering, this time on farm animals. It is
possible that the Cadmus Project has confiscated Farmer Brown's notes.
Last Son of Krypton
episode chronicles Superman's first adventure as a crimefighter in Metropolis,
as well as the first
appearance of Lex Luthor, the man who may or may not be bankrolling the Cadmus
Project. Also, this episode features
the beginning of the ongoing Superman / Lex Luthor rivalry.
Little Piece of Home
appearance of Dr. Emil Hamilton, who starts off as Superman’s friend, but
later joins the Cadmus Project following their confrontation in Legacy.
Lex Luthor discovers the wonders of kryptonite and gets his first sample
of Kryptonian DNA, which he uses to begin his cloning experiments.
Finally, the jet packs used in
this episode by Luthor’s henchmen resemble the ones used by Cadmus agents in Fearful
Way of All Flesh
has former henchman John Corbin poisoned, and then uses his brain as part of his
project to create Metallo, which he uses in his campaign against Superman.
allies himself with Brainiac, but their initial team-up is short lived, as
Brainiac betrays him. Brainiac is
destroyed, but leaves a copy of its program in Luthor’s computer systems.
From the Past
Hamilton and Superman discover a Phantom Zone projector in Superman’s space
craft, which they use to free a prisoner who had served her sentence, but she
rebels and frees the disgraced General Jax-Ur.
During their misadventure, which includes Kryptonian villains attempting
to take over the world, Hamilton gets to see Superman’s Fortress of Solitude,
as well as another taste of Kryptonian technology (he learns how to build a
Phantom Zone projector). The first instance of a Kryptonian attempting to
conquer the world.
appearance of General Hardcastle, Lex Luthor’s friend in the military and a
man who hates Superman. It’s later
revealed that many of Hardcastle’s pet projects were funded by Luthor.
sentiment grows, thanks to radio personality Leslie Willis, who is employed by
Luthor and is the top commentator on one of his radio stations.
Following the accident that transforms her into Livewire, there is a
question among some that Superman didn’t do enough to save her from that
electrical storm…and may have even wanted her to die.
Kryptonian DNA pilfered from Superman’s blood (which he obtained in A
Little Piece of Home), Lex Luthor develops his first generation of
Kryptonian clones, including the imperfect, brain-damaged Bizarro.
The reason for Bizarro’s impairment had much to do with their lack of
knowledge of Kryptonian DNA, but the process would become refined in later
years, resulting in Galatea (Fearful Symmetry) and Doomsday (A Better
World, The Doomsday Sanction).
and Solar Power
second appearance of Edward Lytener, an employee of Lex Luthor who would later
adopt the costumed identity of Luminus. His
expertise in hologram / light-based technology—including the technology to
create solid light holograms—may explain Cadmus’ possession of a solid-light
generating training chamber in Fearful Symmetry.
Hamilton’s test run of a dimensional portal (which he was able to create using
his experience with the Phantom Zone projector), Lois Lane falls into a parallel
Earth where Superman and Lex Luthor have taken over Metropolis, turning it into
a fascist police-state. It is
assumed that both Superman and Hamilton were told about her adventure upon her
return, which may have planted the first seeds of doubt in Hamilton’s head
regarding Superman’s benevolent activities. The second instance of a
Kryptonian attempting to conquer the world.
in the Machine
whose program still resides in Luthor’s computer systems, takes Luthor hostage
and forces him to rebuild its body. In
the end Brainiac is defeated, and Luthor is able to take possession of the
Brainiac body, which—while built with Earth technology—was still built using
Kryptonian know-how. Thus, Luthor
gets his first piece of Kryptonian technology.
World and Little Big Head Man
second and third appearances; these are included here as both episodes feature a
creature as powerful as Superman tearing up Metropolis.
Henry Irons’ capabilities, Lex Luthor attempts to build a suit of armor that
has the ability to take on Superman blow for blow.
This model doesn't work too well,
but this prototype may have been an antecedent to Luthor’s power armor from Justice League.
Little Girl Lost
During a visit to the
Kryptonian star system, Superman answers a distress call on a neighboring
planet, discovering Kara In-Ze, a Kryptonian-by-way-of-Argos who would soon
become known to the world as Supergirl. She would return to Earth with the
Man of Steel and, later, join the Justice League.
appearance of Volcana, a woman with pyrotechnic abilities who was an unwilling
participant in a government program designed to turn super-powered humans into
weapons. This is the first instance
of the military attempting to do so…but it would not be the last.
a bad first meeting with Lex Luthor, Aquaman and the armies of Atlantis narrowly
avoid declaring war on the surface world.
world’s fears come to fruition as a brainwashed Superman attacks the Earth and
attempts to take power. Lex
Luthor’s anti-Superman activities are given a name—Project:
Achilles—which may or may not be a forerunner of the Cadmus Project.
Lex Luthor and General Hardcastle fight and defeat Superman, but fail to
keep him imprisoned (or kill him using a lethal injection of kryptonite)—this
was the moment that Hardcastle fell out of favor with the military, leading to
his early retirement and his murder in Fearful Symmetry.
Driven to anger over Hamilton’s apprehension over treating a wounded
Supergirl, Superman nearly attacks Hamilton, which is the moment when Hamilton
begins to see Superman as a threat. During
Supergirl’s treatment, Hamilton pockets a sample of her DNA, which is later
used to create Galatea. In the end,
Superman is treated as a pariah, and must work to reclaim his position as a
benevolent champion. The
third instance of a Kryptonian attempting to conquer the world.
In a world forty to fifty years in
the DCAU's future, the genetic augmentation of humans using animal DNA has moved
from a pioneering science and a domain of shadowy government conspiracies to a
lifestyle choice, as Dr. Cuvier and the Chimera Institute mass-market it and
give it the trendy name "splicing."
and The Zeta Project
Two episodes of Batman Beyond
chronicled the story of Zeta, an sentient android created by the military to be
a war machine, but who chose to rebel against its programming and pursue a
pacifist lifestyle. The robot—who
would soon receive its own spin-off series The Zeta Project—would later
be connected to an earlier incarnation called the Z-8 Project, which was
initiated by General Hardcastle.
At the urging of Senator J.
would later be revealed to be an alien imposter—Superman disarms the world's
stockpile of nuclear weapons, leaving it vulnerable to an attack by the Imperium.
To combat this threat, the
Justice League is formed.
appears before the U.N. and tries to force his will upon them; they don’t take
kindly to it. Also, the machinations of his brother Orm threaten to
destroy the surface world.
appearances of Cheetah (a scientist who “splices” herself with cheetah DNA)
and Copperhead (a man who appears to have been “spliced” with snake DNA by
some unknown agency). Also,
Lex Luthor discovers that he’s dying of cancer, becomes a fugitive, and
dedicates the rest of his days to destroying Superman and the Justice League.
Simon Stagg, billionaire
and head of Stagg Industries, attempts to sell his idea of
transforming ordinary workers into superhumans to the corporate world, but fails
to attract interest. Seeking a test subject, Stagg transforms his employee Rex Mason
into Metamorpho, a man able to manipulate his body into any combination of
elements. It is most probable that the Cadmus Project has been made aware
of Metamorpho's origins, and have confiscated the notes.
fighting Darkseid, Superman loses his cool, vowing to turn the Lord of Apokolips
into a “greasy smear on his fist.” Batman
tries to stop him—and eventually succeeds—but not before Superman strikes
him out of anger.
Justice League indirectly influences world political events, as they struggle to
liberate Kasnia (and the world) from the machinations of Vandal Savage.
Justice League is overwhelmed and replaced by the Justice Lords, a version of
the team from a parallel Earth where they assassinated the president, overthrew
the world’s governments, and declared marshal law.
They attempt to conquer the League’s Earth as they did their own, but
they are defeated by the League and Lex Luthor.
For his services, Luthor receives a full pardon but, in order to obtain
it, Superman has to tell the authorities all about the Lords’ universe, which
causes them alarm. The world is also
introduced to Doomsday, who was created as part of the Cadmus Project to fight
Superman, and Lex Luthor announces his desire to enter politics. Another
highlight of the episode is the Justice League's Batman versus the Justice
Lords' Batman, where "our" Batman reaffirms his stance against the fascism
that the Lords' stand for. The fourth instance of a Kryptonian attempting
to conquer the world (with the rest of the League in tow).
The Terror Beyond
Aquaman interferes with a
military operation to capture and imprison Solomon Grundy, destroying government
property in the process. The military commander blames the Justice League,
as he incorrectly believes that Aquaman is a member.
G. Gordon Godfrey, a political
commentator and talk show host, begins a muckraking campaign against the Justice
League to boost his ratings. Although initially profitable, his
credibility is ruined following a successful League mission that saved the solar
revealed that the Justice League uses Z-8 Combat Trainers, which they purchase
in bulk from the U.S. Military, in their training sessions.
appearance of the Royal Flush Gang, whose ranks are made up of superhumans
trained by the government to be weapons, as Volcana had been.
However, the Joker hijacked them and used them for his own ends.
a member of the Justice League from the very beginning, betrays the League and
the Earth by selling them out to the Thanagarian military.
Although her intentions were good—she thought she was helping to protect the
inhabitants of the Earth from the threat of the Gordanians—their
invasion nearly destroyed the planet. In the end the Watchtower and
Javelin-7 are destroyed, and Hawkgirl resigns from the team. In the
aftermath of this event, the League is forced to regroup and rebuild.
JUSTICE LEAGUE UNLIMITED
army of new recruits, a fleet of Javelins, and a new, larger Watchtower; the
newly-reformed Justice League establishes itself as a world power in and of
itself. Their first adventure:
forcing their help on the breakaway nation of Chong-Mai.
the Man Who Has Everything
nearly loses control again, as Mongul pushes him to the breaking point.
Batman presumably lets this slide, however, as Mongul's Black Mercy organism
forces him to re-experience his parent's murder (he also beat the hell out of
Hawk and Dove
Hephaestus, the Greek god of
the forge, creates the Annihilator, a magical suit of armor that is fueled by
gives it to a rebel faction in Kasnia, hoping to spur on a conflict into a civil
war. Following Ares' defeat, after which he threatens to
return "sooner than you think," the armor is confiscated by the
Justice League. In The Doomsday Sanction, it is revealed
that one of the Cadmus Project's immediate goals is to take the Annihilator out
of the League's custody.
first appearance of Galatea, a Kryptonian cloned from Supergirl’s DNA, and the
Question, a conspiracy theorist and crimefighter dedicated to the
uncovering of truth. Among the revelations in this episode: General
Hardcastle originally commissioned the Z-8 (later Zeta) Project, which provides
the robots that the Justice League uses for their training sessions; the
government and big business have been performing experiments involving
metahumans, mutants, aliens, and advanced technologies for decades (possible
foreshadowing of Cadmus' evolution?); the military has a file on every member of
the Justice League, and that NuvoGen is a front for the Cadmus Project, which
Professor Hamilton is secretly involved in.
addition, the Question alludes to the existence of the Illuminati, a
"single cabal of powerful individuals that are directing the course of
human history," which may or may not tie into the Cadmus Project and the
government conspiracy against the Justice League (it's worth noting that, in the
comic books, the man who originally organized the Illuminati was Vandal Savage).
Lex Luthor, now a private citizen
and author of the book Into the Light, saves the world by confronting
AMAZO and assisting it in its quest to find a purpose, which no doubt helps his
The first appearance of Maxwell
Lord, an independently wealthy financer; Amanda Waller, the head of the Cadmus
Project; and the Ultimen, a group of young superheroes marketed as less
"aloof" than the Justice League but are, in fact, artificial life
forms that, due to a flaw in their genetic makeup, only last temporarily and
replaced by fresh clones. Faced by their impending mortality, the team
(save for member Longshadow) goes berserk, necessitating the involvement of the
Justice League. In the end, the Ultimen are taken into custody by the
Cadmus Project and Longshadow joins the Justice League (for what little time he
has left). Other revelations in the episode include the fact that Amanda
Waller knows Batman's secret identity, Cadmus is mentioned by name for the first
Waller hints of a group in her employ called "the Squad" (meaning,
presumably, Suicide Squad—a
group of convicted supervillains who, in exchange for a full pardon, are drafted
into performing "suicidal" government missions).
First appearance of General Wade
Eiling, a military liaison to the Cadmus Project. The League fights a
replicating nano-tech organism that seeks to destroy the Earth; following the
organism's defeat it is confiscated by the military. In addition, the military
learns that, among other weapons, the new Watchtower features an orbital laser
that qualifies as a weapon of mass destruction.
Wake the Dead
The Justice League readmits Shayera
Hol—formerly known as Hawkgirl—into its ranks, a move that the Cadmus Project
(as well as many other organizations) may see as a security risk.
The Cat and the Canary
A stadium full of people cheer when
Wildcat apparently beats Green Arrow to death in a Meta-Brawl tournament, which
may betray a shifting attitude in the general public towards the Justice League
and its members.
The Doomsday Sanction
Batman confronts Amanda Waller with
what he's learned about the Cadmus Project, to which she claims that they exist
to counteract the perceived threat that the Justice League is becoming.
The inner circle of Cadmus is revealed to be Amanda Waller (the head of the
organization), Professor Emil Hamilton (in charge of the genetic engineering
division), Dr. Milo (in charge of animal / human hybridization division, later terminated),
Dr. Hugo Strange (in charge of the mind control division?), and Tala (in charge
of the paranormal division?). The disgruntled Milo frees Doomsday from his
that Doomsday was created by Hamilton from a sample of Superman's DNA—and is
killed by the monster, who sets off to hunt down Superman. Doomsday tracks
down Superman, fights him, is defeated by him, and is banished to the Phantom
Zone, much to the chagrin of Batman, who begins to wonder if Waller is correct
in considering the League a threat. In addition, Lex Luthor officially
declares his candidacy for President of the United States, which may facilitate
the possibility of the Justice Lords outcome becoming a reality.