|Batman Beyond episode|
|Airdate:|| November 11, 2000 (Part I); |
November 18, 2000 (Part II)
|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 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.
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.
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 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 Terry without first consulting his teammates. Terry receives a civil but no less suspicious reception from Kai-Ro and Aquagirl. Superman insists that his decision in final. In private, he confides to Terry that he suspects one of the League 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, who says that he is 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.
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, who later kidnapped Superman (and Lobo), 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.
- 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 suit. Superman is released, and the Kryptonite shard is flung away. The others attack Terry, who 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.
Superman catches up with the Batmobile and disables it with his heat vision. Superman 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.".
- Inque last appeared in the Batman Beyond episode "Inqueling" where she apparently died of dissolution after being poisoned by her own daughter but was shown spying on her daughter afterward. This episode (which was produced later) doesn't explain how she survived or whether or not she went after her daughter.
- Big Barda's file contains a photo of her in full-body armor as well as a photo of her husband. Both would be prominently featured in the Justice League Unlimited episode "The Ties That Bind".
- While talking to Terry McGinnis on the phone, Bruce Wayne is shown in the Batcave's garage working on his second Batmobile seen from Batman: The Animated Series.
- Bruce tells Terry that Superman has gone rogue before, referring to the events of the Superman: The Animated Series finale "Legacy".
- It's possible that the Kryptonite sliver that Batman (Terry McGinnis) uses is what's left of the hand-sized chunk of Kryptonite that Batman (Bruce Wayne) is shown carrying in the Justice League episode "Tabula Rasa" around in his belt as "insurance" but was destroyed by AMAZO.
- This episode indicates that the Fortress of Solitude's location is a secret Superman keeps even from the other JLU members but Batman (Terry McGinnis) reveals that his predecessor knows its location to which the Justice League Unlimited episode "For the Man Who Has Everything" confirms when Batman (Bruce Wayne) and Wonder Woman visit to celebrate Superman's birthday.
- The flashback sequence that Aquagirl refers to are the events of the Superman: The Animated Series episode "The Main Man, Part II" in which Superman and Lobo were kidnapped by the Preserver, and after which Superman adopted the collection of alien creatures. Also, the serpent that Batman stumbles upon earlier is the same that Superman and Lobo fought together in that episode.
- Batman (Terry McGinnis) awkwardly gets out of the Boom tube while the other JLU members calmly come out. Bruce Wayne expresses disdain for Boom tubes similar to the Justice League episode "Twilight" shows Batman (Bruce Wayne) experiencing nausea after using the portal unlike Wonder Woman.
- Several of the JLU members are featured or referred in the Justice League Unlimited episode "The Once and Future Thing Part Two: Time, Warped" where the JLU has been almost entirely destroyed due to Chronos's time tampering: Kai-Ro was reportedly killed by Dee Dee, Terry and Warhawk are among the few surviving members along with Bruce and Static, and Warhawk is revealed to be John Stewart's and Shayera Hol's son.
- Big Barda and Superman tells Batman (Terry McGinnis) to his predecessor that was never more than a part-time member. Justice League and Justice League Unlimited stay consistent with this fact with Batman (Bruce Wayne) being a part-time member of the Justice League.
- When Batman (Terry McGinnis) comments that he and his predecessor may have something in common after all, Superman remarks "more than you think, son". Either Superman is somehow aware of this or simply noticed similarities between the two. Regardless, this is one of three foreshadowing remarks about their kinship (see also the Batman Beyond episodes "Disappearing Inque" and "Inqueling").
Home video releases
- A working title for this episode was "The League".
- In the "Close-up On..." DVD special feature for Part I, Bruce Timm claims that they could not use Wonder Woman for the JLU line-up so they used Big Barda as a placeholder.
- At the roundtable, Bruce Timm admits that Warhawk's survival is a "total cheat". He also says that there are many "logic flaws" throughout the whole episode.
- The star creature is never named in the episode but Bruce Timm and others on the episode roundtable refer to it as "Starro". Starro The Star Conqueror is famous as the Justice League's first enemy. In its appearances in the comics, it has been variously portrayed as a gigantic starfish and/or as a hive mind inhabiting millions of smaller starfishes, capable of possessing people.
- At the time of the Superman: The Animated Series episode "The Main Man", Starro's appearance wasn't meant to be anything but a cameo.
- When Superman is blasted through the Watchtower in Part II, there's an explosion that is reused footage from the Superman: The Animated Series episode "World's Finest, Part III" where one Wayne/Lex T-7 blows up another droid.
- Superman is voiced by Christopher McDonald, Jor-El's voice on Superman: The Animated Series and later on Justice League Unlimited. On the special feature, Bruce Timm said that Tim Daly was available but the producers chose to use McDonald's voice as a sign of Superman's advanced age. Ironically, Daly was unavailable and was replaced by George Newbern when Justice League was being cast.
- Aquaman's file photo attached to Aquagirl's file matches his original appearance on Superman: The Animated Series not his revamped appearance on Justice League and Justice League Unlimited. It lists his status as "whereabouts unknown".
- In the flashback, Superman is wearing his modified costume when he is first possessed by the creature which indicates that this event takes place after Justice League and Justice League Unlimited. In a roundtable on the episode's special feature, Will Friedle and Bruce Timm debated this point: Timm insisting that Superman was wearing his old costume which raised the distressing possibility that he was possessed during some of his years with Justice League while Friedle insisted otherwise and turned out to be right.
- 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 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 Earth-based center of operations called Metro Tower. Moreover, in "Epilogue", Bruce tells Terry to meet Superman at the "Metro Tower". So, it is presumably the same building.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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, Part II").
- 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 Wayne 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.
- Aquagirl indicates that Starro witness Superman's powers firsthand. It's possible that this occurred in the Superman: The Animated Series episode "The Main Man" when Superman was fighting the Preserver, or in the Justice League Unlimited episode "For the Man Who Has Everything" when Superman was fighting Mongul, or even both scenarios.
- Superman's comment at the end of Part II alludes to the link between Bruce and Terry later revealed in Project Batman Beyond.
Barda: Let go of me, Lantern!
Warhawk: Fine, let him explain... and then I'll rip his arms off.
Green Lantern: See those blue things?
Green Lantern: Whatever it is, it appears to have imbedded itself into his skin.
Big Barda: So, where should I boom them to? Some empty galaxy? Or maybe the surface of the sun?
| Previously produced episode:|
"Curse of the Kobra (Part II)"
| Episodes of|
| Next produced episode:|
| Previously aired episode:|
"Speak No Evil"
| Next aired episode:|