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"The Call"

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Batman Beyond episode
JLU
"The Call"
Airdate: November 11, 2000 (Part I);
November 18, 2000 (Part II)
Production Number: 50-51
Airdate Order: 46-47
Animation Services by: Koko/Dong Yang
Teleplay by: Stan Berkowitz
Story by: Paul Dini and Alan Burnett
Directed by: Butch Lukic
Episode images (13)

"The Call" is a two-parter of Batman Beyond, composed of the forty-sixth and forty-seventh episodes. Part I originally aired on November 11, 2000 and Part II on November 18, 2000. Terry McGinnis is initially starstruck when Superman appears and offers him membership in the Justice League Unlimited. However, Terry is troubled by the hostility he receives from the other Leaguers, and further troubled when Superman confides that he suspects one of them is a traitor.

Plot

Part I

In Metropolis, a commuter monorail loses control and starts speeding down the wrong track, on a collision course with another. Micron boards the train and manages to uncouple the passenger cars and evacuate the engineer to safety. However, as soon as Micron tries to exit the train, a force field pops over the door, making it impossible for him to escape. In the ensuing crash, Micron is badly wounded.

Inque spinning

Inque messes with Superman.

In Gotham City, Batman is chasing down Inque. Inque catches sight of a nearby civilian, and wraps herself around him to hold him hostage. However, the 'civilian' remarks "I'll take it from here, Batman" and spins at superhuman speed, splattering Inque in all directions, and revealing himself to be Superman — a bit older, a bit grayer, but still as strong and active as ever. Terry is awestruck.

The two return to the Batcave. Bruce Wayne is not interested in reminiscing, and asks Superman point-blank what he wants. Superman, used to Bruce's demeanor, responds that he wants to offer Terry membership in the JLU. Terry is taken aback, but accepts Superman's invitation to visit the Watchtower.

Terry's arrival is immediately greeted with hostility from a surprised Big Barda and Warhawk, as Superman decided to invite him without first consulting his teammates first. Terry receives a civil but no less suspicious reception from Kai-Ro and Aquagirl. Superman insists that his decision in final, and his teammates walk out, leaving Terry to think this was a bad idea. In private, however, Superman confides to Terry that he suspects one of the League members of trying to sabotage and kill the others. Superman reveals Micron's current state, as he is recuperating in a stasis tank. Superman explains to Terry that Micron was taken down by a method that only an insider would know how to use.

Terry is reluctant to suspect Earth's greatest heroes, but begins reviewing the files of each League member. Mareena (Aquagirl) appears and apologizes for her initial coolness, and invites Terry to join her on her training swim. Terry politely declines, as he has a lot of JLU homework to catch up on.

Once Mareena is inside the tank, it malfunctions and begins to overheat. Terry sees that the camera focused on the tank has gone blank, rushes down, and sees her in trouble. When Terry's initial attempts to break open the door fail, he rushes back to the training room, seizes Barda's mega-rod from her hand, then runs back and blasts the door open, flooding the antechamber with water and rescuing Mareena. While alive, Mareena has been injured, and Barda berates Terry for acting without the others. Superman and Terry investigate the tank's door, finding it has been sabotaged. Superman confirms his suspicions: There is a traitor among the group.

Just then, a distress call comes, saying that a large portion of the city is threatened by a series of explosions. The League, including Terry, helps save civilians and minimize the damage. Terry is accompanying Warhawk, apparently receiving another distress call. Terry, confused, says he is not receiving anything. Warhawk dismisses this and tells Terry to stay behind, while he flies up to meet the threat — an incoming ballistic missile. Terry ignores him and follows along in the Batmobile. Warhawk seals his armor and clamps onto the missile, pushing it off course.

Then the missile explodes, apparently taking Warhawk with it. The rest of the team is stricken.

In the Batcave, Bruce reviews the footage from the Batmobile's recorder. Terry speculates that the missile must have been on some kind of timer, and Warhawk was unlucky, but Bruce doesn't buy it. Bruce applies a spectral analysis, which shows the missile being hit by a beam of some kind just before it exploded. Bruce tracks the beam back to its source: Superman's heat vision. As unbelievable as it seems, the traitor is Superman himself.

Bruce goes to a hidden corner of the Batcave and unlocks an ultra-high-tech security system, giving Terry his only recourse: A container with a small sliver of Kryptonite. Bruce says that this is not the first time Superman went rogue, but even though Superman entrusted Bruce with the green mineral should anything happen to Superman, Bruce hoped he would never have to use it. While the radiation might prove fatal to Superman, Bruce orders Terry to do whatever necessary to stop the Man of Steel. Reluctantly, Terry accepts the Kryptonite.

Part II

Terry shows the footage to the rest of the League, excluding Superman. Barda refuses to believe it, instead suspecting Terry of fabricating it, resulting in an argument which quickly escalates to physical violence. But then Warhawk appears, alive and well. He confides that he became suspicious when he was the only one who received his distress signal, and what tackled the missile was an empty suit of armor, remotely controlled. Warhawk has also gained new respect for Terry (when Terry defied his command not to follow him), and believes his suspicions of Superman.

The team confronts Superman, caught in the act of tampering with Micron's stasis field. Superman becomes defensive and denies their accusations. Mareena steps forward to touch his chest, wanting to check him telepathically, then an alien eye pops out of a hole in his tunic, and Superman attacks. The others are no match for him, and Terry is about to use the Kryptonite, but hesitates, and it is knocked out of his hand.

Micron, awakened from stasis, seizes hold of Superman. Superman breaks free and flies away. The others speculate that Superman has escaped to his Fortress of Solitude, but none of them know where it is. However, Bruce does.

The team boom-tubes to the Fortress, and find Superman waiting. After a brief fight, Terry manages to disable him with the Kryptonite. Pulling off his tunic, they see a starfish-like creature planted on his skin. Mareena connects telepathically with it, and learns its story:

Several centuries ago, the creature occupied an aquatic world, but was abducted from its home by the Preserver. The Preserver later kidnapped Superman, but Superman broke free and sent the Preserver into space to his death. Having no way to return the beings to their rightful worlds, Superman adopted the collection of creatures and housed them in the Fortress.
Starro attacks Superman

Starro makes its move on Superman.

One day, while Superman was feeding the star creature, it leaped onto his face and took control of his mind. It has been controlling him for years.

The others ask why then has it waited so long before trying to kill the rest of them. Mareena opens a door to another chamber, and sees hundreds, maybe thousands of the star creatures nesting in an underground pool; under the creature's direction, Superman was breeding them. There are now enough of them to possess a large portion of the planet.

As they look closer, several other creatures jump out of the pool and attach themselves to the other Leaguers. Only Batman remains free, able to electrocute them off his Batsuit. Superman is released, and the Kryptonite shard is flung away. The others attack Terry, but he flees in the Batmobile, sent by Bruce as a precaution. Bruce suggests informing the military to ensure that the creatures don't escape. Superman pursues, while the others prepare to open an underwater door that will release the creatures into the ocean.

Starro controlling Superman

Superman/Starro chase Terry.

Superman catches up with the Batmobile and disables it with his heat vision. Superman/Starro confronts Terry, offering him a chance to "be one of us". Terry declines, luring Superman close enough to hit him with a grapple from the Batmobile that electrocutes the creature off his chest. Superman recovers, not remembering what he's been doing. Terry quickly fills him in as they fly back to the Fortress.

Superman attacks, freeing Warhawk, Barda, and Kai-Ro from the mind control, while Terry dives into the pool to stop Mareena opening the door. Terry is too late. Superman starts tearing huge rocks free and dropping them down, saying they have to block the exit at any cost, even if it means killing Terry and Mareena. The others reluctantly aid him. They succeed in blocking the entrance, knocking out Mareena, but Terry narrowly saves both her and himself.

The League collects every last one of the creatures. Barda and Warhawk are all for exterminating them, but Superman refuses. Mareena communicates with them, and discovers the location of their homeworld. Barda booms them back to their native ocean.

Terry has now earned the heartfelt respect and gratitude of the other Leaguers, who are eager for him to join. But Terry can't overlook that the others almost sacrificed him and Mareena. Barda reminds him that joining will put him one up on "the old man", to which Terry coolly replies that maybe he and Bruce have something in common after all.

As Terry walks away, Superman comments, "More than you think, son. More than you think.".

Continuity

Background information

Home video releases

Production notes

Production inconsistencies

  • In the beginning of Part I, a civilian refers to the JLU headquarters as the "Watchtower". However, the building bears a striking resemblance to the Justice League's Earth-based center of operations. Moreover, in the Justice League Unlimited episode "Epilogue", Bruce tells Terry to meet Superman at the "Metro Tower", presumably the same building.
  • After Superman breaks free from Inque, Batman steps on and holds her on the ground. However, in the next scene showing both Superman and Batman, Inque is gone.
  • In the end of Part I, Terry is in the Batcave still in his Batsuit but his costume can be seen on display next to Nightwing's. However, this suit has always been regarded as unique and that display has been always empty in other episodes (but this has also occurred in "Eyewitness" and "Out of the Past"). In the beginning of this episode, when Superman was in the Batcave, the display was empty.
  • When Starro first reveals himself and right before Superman uses his heat vision against the League, he becomes translucent for a frame.
  • There's no point in the scene with the missile where Warhawk can exit his armour without being spotted by the viewer or Batman (or anywhere safe Warhawk could stand while his armour took off).
  • Though it is revealed that Superman had been possessed for some time, no explanation was given for why Superman sought out Batman or if it was really Superman's idea or Starro's.
  • Wayne Brady is credited for voicing Micron in Part II, even though he did not have any lines.
  • When Batman is going over Aquagirl's file, a picture of her father Aquaman can be seen. After the initial shot, the colors in the image, except for his skin, all go black.

Trivia

  • Though short, Inque's appearance on this episode makes her the only villain (not including Derek Powers unless he's Blight) to appear on Batman Beyond more than three times.
  • Part I won a Annie Award for Outstanding Individual Achievement for Directing in an Animated Television Production.[1]
  • The musical score playing during Batman's chase of Inque is a re-edited version of that playing in the episode "Disappearing Inque" during their fight in the laboratory.
  • Part I is the third episode since "The Last Resort" and "April Moon" in which Batman does not throw a single Batarang.
  • Superman escapes from Inque using the same trick he used in the Superman: The Animated Series episode "Fun and Games" to escape from Toyman's "Dopey-Doh".
  • When Superman says he can't see any more bombs, he should be using X-ray vision, which normally makes his eyes glow blue, but instead, his eyes are glowing red, hinting that he is the one causing the explosions in the first place.
  • Aquagirl is voiced by Jodi Benson, the voice of Ariel of Disney's Little Mermaid.
  • Christopher McDonald later voiced Hego, a superhero on Disney's Kim Possible. Hego is a parody of Superman, having the same superstrength and built physique, but portrayed as somewhat dim-witted and given to making ridiculously obvious statements in a melodramatic tone (several such lines were written for Superman in the first season of Justice League, and were later parodied in the second season episode "A Better World").
  • Though they never worked together on it, Christopher McDonald and Jodi Benson both starred in the 1997 movie Flubber as Wilson Croft and the flying yellow robot Weebo respectively.
  • A darker version of the Superman: The Animated Series theme can be heard after Superman defeats Inque, when Superman lifts cargo tank with one hand, and when Superman is chasing the Batmobile.
  • Big Barda refers to Superman as "Kal", a nickname sometimes used by fellow superheroes like Wonder Woman and the Legion of Super-Heroes.
  • Batman asking Bruce if the Batmobile's top speed is "faster than a speeding bullet" is a nod to the opening narration of the Fleischer cartoons of the 1940s.

Cast

Actor Role
Will Friedle Terry McGinnis / Batman
Kevin Conroy Bruce Wayne
Jodi Benson Aquagirl
Wayne Brady Micron
Timothy Dang Driver
Chad Einbinder Father
Farrah Forke Big Barda
Shannon Kenny Inque
Christopher McDonald Superman
Peter Onorati Warhawk
Lauren Tom Green Lantern

Uncredited appearances

Quotes

Part 1

Superman: You seem to be holding up pretty well.
Bruce Wayne: I could use some of that Kryptonian DNA.
Superman: You'll outlive us all, Bruce. You're too stubborn to die.
Bruce Wayne: (looks at Terry) What are you smiling at?
Terry McGinnis: Nothing.


Batman: Well, maybe Aquagirl. But I had to save her life to win her over.
Bruce: That's one way to make friends.


Bruce Wayne: This isn't the first time Superman's gone rogue. I made sure to be prepared for when it happens again. I prayed I'd never have to use it.
Batman: Kryptonite. This could kill him.
Bruce Wayne: Do whatever it takes, but make sure you stop him.


Part 2

Barda: Let go of me, Lantern!
Green Lantern: Not until you calm down.
Warhawk: Yeah, Barda. Calm down. The kid's right.
Aquagirl: Warhawk! How did you-
Warhawk: I wasn't in the armor. I was operating it by remote. That's the only reason I'm not dust right now.
Green Lantern: Very shrewd. Not like you.
Batman: Tell me something: What made you decide to get out of the armor?
Warhawk: The emergency call.. and me being the only one who got it. With everything that had been happening, I got suspicious. I told him not to tag along, but he disobeyed. I like that.


Warhawk: Fine, let him explain... and then I'll rip his arms off.


Green Lantern: You see those blue things?
Batman: (picking up a blue stone) What is it, food?
Green Lantern: Used to be.


Green Lantern: Whatever it is, it appears to have imbedded itself into his skin.
Batman: Any chance of getting it off?
Green Lantern: I must remind you that this not just one alien species before us, it's two, and I do not yet understand the subtleties of their interaction.
Warhawk: I'll take that as an "I don't know".


Batman: What's the top speed on this thing?
Bruce Wayne: Mach 3.
Batman: Is that faster than a speeding bullet?


Big Barda: So, where should I boom them to? Some empty galaxy? Or maybe the surface of the sun?
Superman: Barda, these creatures never asked to come here. We have no right to kill them.
Warhawk: Back to his old self again.


Big Barda: Come on, it'll put you one up on the old Batman. He never made it past part-timer.
Superman: Yeah, he wasn't what you'd call a joiner.
Batman: Maybe we've got more in common than you thought.
Superman: More than you think, son. More than you think.



Previously produced episode:
"Curse of the Kobra (Part II)"
Episodes of
Batman Beyond
Next produced episode:
"Countdown"
Previously aired episode:
"Speak No Evil"
Next aired episode:
"Betrayal"

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