|Production Number:||1.12, 1.13|
|TV Episode:||JL s01e10, |
|DVD Episode:||JL s01e12, |
|Stars:||George Newbern (Superman/Clark Kent/Kal-El), |
Carl Lumbly (Martian Manhunter/J'onn J'onzz),
Phil LaMarr (Green Lantern/John Stewart), Maria Canals (Hawkgirl)
|Recurring Role:||Eric Roberts (Mongul)|
|Guest Stars:||William Smith (Draaga)|
|Packed With:||Justice League:The Complete Series, Justice League:Season One,|
Justice League: Paradise Lost
|First Aired:||Feb 24, 2002|
|Figure Packs Referenced:||none specifically|
|Special Figures Referenced:||none specifically|
Superman and J'onn are taken prisoner during a rescue mission gone bad, and Superman is forced to compete in a gladiatorial tournament on a distant world while Hawkgirl and Green Lantern try to rescue them.
Green Lantern and Hawkgirl continue their search for Superman and J'onn, who have discovered a diabolical plot within War World's gladiatorial games.
Somewhere in Saturn’s orbit, J’onn and Superman are analyzing a three-mile wide asteroid on a collision for Earth as Hawkgirl monitors them. They plant two jet boosters and fly away to activate them, but Hawkgirl detects hydrogen pockets that violently explode, sending Superman and J’onn flying off into space.
An alien ship finds the two unconscious heroes and brings them aboard by tractor beam. An angry John Stewart confronts Hawkgirl and they go off after their comrades. Superman wakes up to find himself and J’onn manacled in a holding cell with electrified manacles. The aliens know that Superman is a Kryptonian, a “rare specimen,” and take him to…War World. In an arena on an alien planet, the crowd is cheering Draaga, the greatest gladiator, who in turn salutes their leader, Mongul. Draaga’s newest opponent enters the arena and then the two are teleported to War World, a rocky planetoid capable of sustaining life. The two warriors move through the crevasses until Draaga’s opponent grabs him. Draaga cuts himself free and brings down a ledge on his opponent, winning the battle. The crowd calls for the loser’s head, which Draaga willingly grants.
Mongul captures the ship’s captain and informs him that the crowd wants more impressive specimens then the sorry lot the captain has been delivering recently. The captain assures Mongul he has a Kryptonian that will make for a promising spectacle. John and Hawkgirl find the ruined Javelin and Green Lantern picks up an ion trail that they follow. Superman is taken before Draaga who is unimpressed by him. After he leaves, Superman breaks free and goes after J’onn. He finds him near a sewage pit where some kind of crocodile creature attacks. Superman sends it flying and revives J’onn, who is inexplicably weakened by something in the atmosphere. The crocodile creature comes at them again and swallows Superman, but he breaks free from inside it and they leave. Robot guards open fire and Superman crushes them and flies out. They hit a force field and J’onn is knocked clear on the outside but Superman is stunned and the robot guards take him down while J’onn flees into the surrounding city.
John and Hawkgirl lose the trail and spot a nearby refueling port and head over there. Mongul’s counselor briefs him that their civilization is falling apart but Mongul is confident he can distract the people by giving them good fights. Superman is brought before him and Mongul decides to turn him over to Draaga immediately rather then build up his reputation.
On the refueling port’s planet, John is interrogating an alien while some other thugs close in on Hawkgirl. They overwhelm her until Green Lantern knocks them off and they run away. Green Lantern brings one back who reveals Superman was taken to War World and offers to help them. Draaga is awaiting his newest challenger as J’onn sneaks into the arena in a disguised form and gets word Superman will be fighting. Mongul plays up Superman as he is hauled into the arena in manacles and then freed and given a weapon to fight with. Superman refuses to fight, breaking his weapon, but Mongul simply teleports him and Draaga to…War World!
Draaga immediately attacks Superman, who tries to convince him not to fight. Draaga isn’t impressed but Superman disarms him and destroys the weapon. Draaga, who possesses superhuman strength of his own, continues the fight. After sparing back and forth, Draaga buries Superman under a slab and starts to claim victory, but Superman breaks free and punches Draaga into unconsciousness. Mongul has no choice but to praise Superman and the crowd call for Draaga’s blood, but Superman refuses. Even Draaga agrees, asking for an honorable death, but Superman refuses. When he does so, the security drones open fire to kill Superman.
The crowd calls for Superman’s death but J’onn starts to rouse the crowd to support their new champion. Superman is on his last legs but Mongul is unwilling to risk riling the crowd against him and lets him live. Superman is teleported back to the prison cell and the prisoners are willing to help him escape, but Superman refuses to leave without J’onn. An unconscious Draaga is hauled off to “the pit,” but Superman tells them not to and has them use the planned escape route for the defeated gladiator.
John and Hawkgirl are aboard the informer’s ship and when they fight the alien gasses them unconscious. Meanwhile Draaga is dumped on a garbage planet and out of the shame of his defeat, brands an “S” on his chest to remind him of the one who defeated him. Meanwhile, Mongul’s guards are tracking down rebels who are spray painting “S” symbols of their own across the planet. Mongul is concerned about how the populace is flocking to Superman and Mongul plans to teach him fear.
Hawkgirl and John are dumped off a planet without enough of a ring charge to get to another world. Hawkgirl flies off and John tries to apologize. Before he can get it out, they spot lights and follow them to a camp where aliens attack them. The heroes take them prisoner and ask for the location of War World, whereupon Draaga offers his help.
With Draaga’s navigational help, John flies them to War World. Hawkgirl notices the “S” symbol on his chest but they’re interrupted before Draaga has to explain. The threesome arrives on the planet when Draaga knocks John out – Hawkgirl rescues him while Draaga jumps to safety and gets away. Mongul confronts Superman and reveals Draaga once tried to rally the people until Mongul revealed he has a planet-destroying cannon that he would have used on Draaga’s planet if he hadn’t cooperated. Mongul plans to do the same with any planet to force Superman to throw a fight against Mongul himself. The two are teleported to War World where Superman “makes it look convincing” by beating up on him.
J’onn sneaks into the facility holding the planetary cannon and then takes on Mongul’s form to bluff his way through, but his weakness causes him to revert to his normal form at an inopportune moment and the guards open fire. Mongul is ready to crush Superman when Draaga arrives to settle the score. Superman tells Draaga to stay out of it or a planet will be destroyed. Draaga is impressed by Superman’s willingness to sacrifice himself, but Mongul starts pounding on Superman again. J’onn is rescued by John and Hawkgirl as Mongul’s staff prepares to destroy Draaga’s home world. Hawkgirl destroys it with one well-laced mace attack as they leave.
The three Leaguers arrive and tell Superman that the cannon is destroyed. Superman prepares to finish off the conqueror but Draaga demands satisfaction and the two fight. Draaga knocks Mongul out as the crowd cheers him on. Draaga offers Mongul’s crown to Superman but the Kryptonian refuses and suggests how he can regain his honor before the Leaguers depart.
- If J'onn is so weakened and reverts out of his Mongul shape...shouldn't he revert to his true Martian form? Instead he shifts to his more humanoid/earthling form - but that's just as much an assumed form as the "Mongul" shape.
- For some reason, when Mongul says, "The people have spoken" and cancels Superman's death sentence, the background crowd behind him "flickers" in a very odd manner. They don't move slightly but they literally flicker through several entirely different frames of different patterns. They don't do this in any subsequent shots.
- So how long does the charge on GL's ring last? In the comics it used to be 24 hours, but then why didn't he bring the recharger (a "power battery" shaped like a lantern - the one we see in the opening credits) along with him? Was he expecting the rescue to take no more than 24 hours? And indeed it does seem like more than 24 hours have passed judging by the activities over the course of the two episodes.
- According to Bruce Timm, the original draft of the script had Superman defeat Mongul, similar to how he defeated Darkseid. This was changed to Dragaa fighting Mongul to resolve his story.
- This episode echoes the comic book storyline when Superman is exiled from Earth and lands on Warworld, meets Mongul, and fights Draaga: circa Adventures of Superman #454, May 1989.
- According to Bruce Timm, Maria Canals does a "hilarious unbilled second voice" in this episode and part 2 - apparently the alien old woman who kvetches at J'onn J'onzz.
- Draaga comes across as a homage to Draba, the Ethiopian gladiator played by Woody Strode in 1960's Spartacus, starring Kirk Douglas.
Hawkgirl: Great – take his side.
Green Lantern: I’m not taking his side. I’m just saying…
Hawkgirl: I’m wrong again!
Alien Pilot: Uh, do you two want a little privacy?
Hawkgirl: What a dump!
Green Lantern: I’ve seen worse.
Hawkgirl: I bet.
Alien Old Woman: I got to admit, he’s a real champ.
J’onn: He’s more then that – he’s a Superman!
Green Lantern: All we want to do is find our friends. You can talk to me or her.
(Hawkgirl smacks her mace into her hand angrily)
Mongul: The people have spoken – long live democracy!