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"For the Man Who Has Everything"

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Justice League Unlimited episode
For the Man Who Has Everything
"For the Man Who Has Everything"
Airdate: August 7th, 2004 (USA)
Production Number: 02
Airdate Order: 02
Animation Services by: Dong Yang Animation Co., LTD.
Written by: J.M. Dematteis
Story by: Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons
Directed by: Dan Riba
Episode images (7)

"For the Man Who Has Everything" is the second episode of Justice League Unlimited, and it was adapted from the story written by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons.

Plot

Batman and Wonder Woman have arrived at the Fortress of Solitude to pay their respects to Superman on his birthday. Wonder Woman seems unimpressed at Batman's gift-an envelope containing cash-but he admits that it is hard to shop for "the man who has everything". Upon arrival, they discover their Justice League teammate is standing in the middle of the room, unaware of his surroundings, and with a mysterious alien-looking organism firmly planted on his chest. Wonder Woman realizes the Fortress has been breached, and flies off to investigate.

What they do not immediately realize is that the Last Son of Krypton has been subdued by the Black Mercy, a telepathic plant from a distant galaxy that renders its victims helpless and delusional in a dreamworld created from their heart's desires. Superman's mind is now trapped in a most tantalizing prison: a Krypton that never exploded. He lives on a small farm, married to a Kryptonian woman named Loana, with a little son, Van-El, Krypto, and Brainiac, whom he visualizes as the helpful AI attendant of his home.

In the real world, Superman is still incapacitated as Mongul appears before Batman, holding an unconscious Wonder Woman. As he boasts about taking over the planet, Wonder Woman comes around and knocks him down with a kick. As the two face each other, Batman intervenes, prompting Mongul to reveals the origins of the plant. With Superman trapped in a world he himself has created, Mongul presumes that conquering Earth will now be exceedingly simple. Batman futilely tries to buy time and gather clues about the plant, but Wonder Woman's rage cannot be contained. She engages Mongul, though it is apparent from the start that she is outmatched.

Kal-El's journey of the mind takes him before his father, Jor-El, now a tired old man forever shamed by his premature warnings of Krypton's destruction. However, Superman now sees the cracks in his false reality, manifesting as increasingly frequent tremors. As he takes Van-El to the roof-mounted zeroscope, the words of his friend Batman, ringing in the real world, begin to slip through to his subconscious. As Batman pulls frantically at the Black Mercy in the real world, Kal-El-now realizing he is simply imagining his new life-tearfully says goodbye to a son who can never exist. As Krypton explodes around him, Kal-El promises Van-El that he will never forget his homeworld and the life he could have lived.

At last, the Black Mercy comes free, but it immediately clamps onto the chest of Batman, who slips into his own dreamworld, where Thomas Wayne retaliated and begins overpowering the gunman that killed him and his wife in reality. However, like Superman's dream, it turns sour when the gunman regains himself and shoots Thomas in front of his horrified family.

Realizing the situation, Superman tears after Mongul, and a brutally beaten Wonder Woman crawls to Batman's side to help snap him out of his dreamworld. Nearly blind with rage, Superman batters the would-be tyrant, even using his heat vision to burn Mongul's chest. However, before he can strike a decisive blow, Superman is distracted by a statue-his parents holding Krypton aloft. In his moment of hesitation, Mongul gains the advantage.

By now, Wonder Woman has helped Batman break free of the Mercy's illusion. Just before Mongul can finish Superman off, Wonder Woman throws the plant at him. It strikes Mongul, freezing him in place and putting him under its spell.

As the trio regroups, Wonder Woman gives Superman his birthday gift: a new breed of rose named after his homeworld. Superman takes it gladly, before solemnly swearing to his parents' image that he will never forget Krypton. Turning back to the comatose Mongul, they ponder just what the Black Mercy is causing him to experience. Batman says that it's far too good for him, and indeed, Mongul smiles weakly as cries of agony and sounds of war echo in his mind.

Continuity

Background information

Home video releases

Production notes

  • Jor-El's design is similar to the design of Superman in the first season of Justice League. Some fans disliked the additional lines on Superman's face that were supposed to make him look chiseled, instead claiming it made him look 20 years older than he did in Superman: The Animated Series. Bruce Timm stated in the commentary this is a intentional gag.
  • First appearance of Wonder Woman's invisible plane. Its origin was meant to be told through a feature film, Justice League: Worlds Collide, which would also depict the expansion of the League's membership, but the project was postponed indefinitely. Its replacement, Justice League: Crisis On Two Earths, eventually revealed it to be Owlman's jet, permanently stuck in cloaking mode.
  • The sound of the Neural Impactor is a high-pitched version of the Howie Scream.

Production inconsistencies

  • The number of digits on Mongul's hands changes repeatedly throughout the episode. While his original design from War World depicts him as having four fingers (three digits and a thumb), many angles in this episode clearly show him as having five (four digits and a thumb); it switches back and forth almost constantly.

Trivia

  • The story is derived from the celebrated Alan Moore comic book story of the same name, published in 1985. With the author's permission, the creative team made several key changes. He allowed Bruce Timm and the team to use his name, whereas he has had it removed from several major Hollywood productions of adaptations of his work due to dissatisfaction with the adaptations.
    • Unlike the DC Comics version, Jason Todd is not present. The original story featured the Jason Todd Robin, who turned out to be the one who saved Superman from Mongul.
    • Here, Wonder Woman's present is a new flower called the "Krypton", while Batman's gift ("What do you get for the man who has everything?") is simply a card with cash. The original story depicted Batman presenting the new breed of flower and Wonder Woman presenting Superman with a reproduction of the bottled city Kandor, which, unbeknownst to Wonder Woman, Superman already had.
    • Kal-El's "wife" is Loana, a merger of Lois Lane and Lana Lang, with Lois's voice, rather than Lyla Ler-Rol.
    • Kal-El's "daughter", Orna, is omitted.
    • Many of the cues were taken verbatim from the original story, including Superman's curse: "Burn", and his subsequent vicious heat vision attack on Mongul.
    • Likewise, Wonder Woman grabs a weapon and fires it at Mongul, just as she does in the comic story, only her curse "Go to hell!" had to be abbreviated for censorship reasons. This is one of several occasions the word "hell" has been cut off.
    • The comics story had Kal-El's "dream" Krypton depicted in more detail, and featured a subplot of a rebellion against society involving Jor-El and cousin Kara.
    • Batman's vision when ensnared by the Black Mercy is longer in the comics, where Joe Chill is arrested after Thomas Wayne subdues him. After being freed, he also recollects marrying Katherine Kane (the comics' Batwoman) and having a teenage daughter, though this is not shown.
    • DCAU viewers do not get to see Mongul's fantasy as it was depicted in the comics: he imagines killing Superman and all of the heroes, and ruling over Earth — creating a new War World. This is hinted at by the end of the episode, when the audience hears screams of pain and terror from inside Mongul's head.
  • This episode marks the first and only appearance by Joe Chill (who is voiced by Kevin Conroy) in the DCAU.
  • The movie that is being shown as the Wayne family is leaving the movie theater is The Mark of Zorro. To date, three movies have been made called The Mark of Zorro; a silent film in 1920, a TV movie in 1976, and the famed 1940 version starring Tyrone Power, all based on Johnston McCulley's The Curse of Capistrano. However, young Bruce's boasts "Beware my terrible sword" and "Let all evildoers beware my..". seem odd after having just seen this story; it does not feature any boasts, nor many "evildoers". In fact, in the guise of Zorro, Diego Vega hardly speaks at all. Most of the action features Diego in his civilian identity.
  • Loana mentions the upcoming party of "Little Zod", a nod to the Kryptonian criminal General Zod who otherwise has never been alluded to in the DCAU (Instead Jax-Ur and Mala filled a similar role). While before his imprisonment in the Phantom Zone, Zod is supposedly around Jor-El's age, Zod is his surname, his full name being "Dru-Zod", so it may be a younger relative.
  • Mongul is revealed to have been significantly far more of a threat than he seemed in his first appearance; explicitly making the point that Superman was the only person who stood any chance of beating him, shown as he brutally and almost effortlessly beat Wonder Woman into the ground. Many of his lines of dialogue are also more sinister in nature. Perhaps to signify his becoming a more dangerous villain, his design has been tweaked slightly in that the silver bands on his clothing are now all black and a darker shade of purple is used for his main costume.

Cast

Actor Role
George Newbern Superman
Susan Eisenberg Wonder Woman
Kevin Conroy Batman
Joe Chill (uncredited)
Thomas Wayne (uncredited)
Eric Roberts Mongul
Dana Delany Loana
Mike Farrell Jonathan Kent (voice only)
Brainiac (uncredited)
Josh Hutcherson Van-El
Young Bruce Wayne (uncredited)
Christopher McDonald Jor-El

Uncredited appearances

Quotes

Mongul: I suppose Superman told you about our previous encounter.
Batman: You mean how he humiliated you?
Mongul: A... jaundiced account.


Mongul: Oh, dear. Is that a neural impactor? I didn't know that they were still making those. I'd advise you to try the plasma disruptor. It's more of a woman's weapon.
Wonder Woman: Go... to... (fires)


Superman: Do you have any idea what you did to me?!
(Superman strikes Mongul several times, then Mongul kicks him aside)
Mongul: I fashioned a prison you couldn't leave without sacrificing your heart's desire. It must have been like tearing off your own arm.


Mongul: Happy birthday, Kryptonian. I give you oblivion.
Superman: Burn. (Fires his heat vision at Mongul)


Mongul: You should have stayed in whatever happy fantasy the Black Mercy granted you.
Superman: HAPPY??! Do you know what I've lost?!


Wonder Woman: I wonder what he's seeing.
Batman: Whatever it is... it's too good for him.



Previously produced episode:
"Initiation"
Episodes of
Justice League Unlimited
Next produced episode:
"Hawk and Dove"
Previously aired episode:
"Initiation"
Next aired episode:
"Kid Stuff"


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