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"In Blackest Night"

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Justice League episode
John Stewart on trial
"In Blackest Night"
Airdate: November 19th, 2001 (Part I)
November 26th, 2001 (Part II)
Production Number: 1.04; 1.05
Airdate Order: 4; 5
Animation Services by: Koko Enterprise Co., LTD.
Written by: Stan Berkowitz
Directed by: Butch Lukic
Episode images (14)

"In Blackest Night" is the 4th and 5th episodes of Justice League.

Plot

Part I

On the planet Ajuris 5, a tribunal of alien judges orders the robotic Manhunters to apprehend John Stewart.

On Earth, John is walking down the street in his old neighborhood. He runs into one of his old high school teachers, but seems moody and withdrawn. In the Watchtower, Flash, Hawkgirl, and J'onn J'onzz detect the incoming Manhunters and fly to intercept them. Superman joins them later after finishing dealing with an earthquake.

The Manhunters and the League clash, but John steps forward and surrenders himself. The others are baffled as he allows himself to be handcuffed and transported away. They follow him to Ajuris 5, where a crowd of aliens vilifies and throws garbage at him.

John is put on trial for genocide. The prosecution's first witness, space pirate Kanjar-Ro, testifies that he was delivering a shipment of smuggled weapons to the neighboring planet, Ajuris 4, when John pursued him. A stray blast from his ring accidentally hit a vulnerable part of the planet's crust, and the entire planet exploded, taking three billion lives with it.

During a recess, the League confronts John, demanding to know why he hasn't spoken up in his own defense. John says there's nothing to defend: he's guilty.

Part II

Despite John's confession, Superman says he's not convinced. He and J'onn take off to investigate the ruins of Ajuris 4. Flash is ordered to stall the trial, and steps forward as John's lawyer, despite being warned that he will also be executed if John is sentenced to death. One of the judges explains, "that's how we solved our lawyer problem". Hawkgirl confronts John's comrades from the Green Lantern Corps, but they are unwilling to help him, calling him a disgrace. Angry, Hawkgirl battles four of the Lanterns, defeating all four who attack without her mace. Finally, Kilowog, the only Lantern who didn't participate in the fight, decides to go and help in John's defense. Unfortunately, even with glowing character testimony from Kilowog and others, Flash is unable to press his case. As the prosecutor attacks the Lanterns, the proceedings become more serious, and the Guardians of the Universe, watching from Oa, decide it is time to intervene themselves, traveling to Ajuris 5.

Superman and J'onn travel to Ajuris 4's moon, and immediately see something wrong: the moon should have lost its orbit after the planet was destroyed, but it's still there. Investigating a cave, they find an enormous hologram generator. They are then attacked by Ro, who has followed them, intending on maintaining his "secret" but he is brought down by Hawkgirl, who has followed him.

John is pronounced guilty, and he and Flash are sentenced to death. Superman and J'onn arrive back just before the execution is carried out. On his signal, Hawkgirl destroys the generator, and the intact planet re-appears. It was all a frame-up. John then pounces on Ro, demanding to know why he did this. Ro confesses that the Manhunters paid him to carry out the charade – intended to draw the Guardians away from Oa. The Justice League then notices that Guardians leaving the trial.

The Guardians arrive at the Manhunters' base, only to find them gone, just as the Justice League finds them. They admit that they built the Manhunters several thousand years ago, before the formation of the Corps, but decommissioned them, as the robots were unable to see the “gray area” between right and wrong. They reprogrammed the robots for more mundane tasks, but now realize that the Manhunters have been scheming to retake their old power.

The League returns to Oa to find it under attack by the Manhunters, who have taken control of the outer defense systems. With the assistance of the other Lanterns, who were convinced by Hawkgirl to help, they batter their way through the defenses, but are too late to prevent the lead Manhunter from entering the central battery, absorbing its power into himself. However, John absorbs the battery's power into his ring, reciting the Corp's incantation: somehow, this has the effect of cleansing the power of the Manhunter's influence, and returning it to the Battery. The Manhunters are repelled.

Restored to honor in the Corps, John leaves Oa with his teammates.

Continuity

  • Flash's personal question to Hawkgirl about having a "Hawkboy" will later be answered in "Starcrossed".
  • In his role as defense attorney, Flash says "If the ring wasn't lit, you must acquit!" This phrase is a parody of the infamous line "If it doesn't fit, you must acquit", which was used by attorney Johnnie Cochran during the murder trial of O.J. Simpson. This is actually the third (and final) time the line has been spoofed within the DCAU. The first two times were spoken by a thinly-veiled parody of Cochran himself in two different episodes of The New Batman Adventures; "Joker's Millions" and "Over The Edge".

Background information

Home video releases

Production inconsistencies

  • J'onn is unable to make telepathic contact with John in Part I, yet he easily did so in "Secret Origins" to summon the then upcoming League members.
  • When the order for Superman, Flash, J'onn and Hawkgirl to be taken away was given, the voice of one of the judges was heard even though the prosecutor was moving his mouth.
  • There are many inconsistencies with Kilowog's power ring during the bar fight in Part II. When Hawkgirl first confronts the Lanterns, Kilowog's hands are folded and he has no power ring. Then when Hawkgirl attacks the table with her mace, Kilowog's power ring is back on his traditional right hand. Moments later when Hawkgirl wallops Arkkis Chummuck, Kilowog is ringless once again. Then when Kilowog catches Galius Zed in mid-air, the ring is on his left hand. Moments later when Kilowog stops the fight with an energy barrier, his ring is back on his right hand.

Trivia

  • As Flash, J'onn, and Hawkgirl prepare to leave the Watchtower, J'onn says that Wonder Woman is on another assignment, and Batman "would only say that he's busy". This sets up the fact that in nearly all subsequent episodes, one or more of the seven members of the League do not appear.
  • The title of the episode is a continuation of the Green Lantern Oath of Hal Jordan. The first line was used for the first episode to feature a Green Lantern, "In Brightest Day...". The oath itself is used thrice in the DCAU; apart from these two instances, it is also spoken in the Static Shock episode "Fallen Hero".
  • The episode is loosely adapted from a two-part story that ran in Justice League of America #140-141, published March–April, 1977. The stories were titled "No Man Escapes the Manhunter" and "No World Escapes the Manhunters" and were written by Steve Englehart.
  • The music track that plays during the Justice League's initial battle with the Manhunters is later reused in the Teen Titans episode "Titan Rising" when the Titans fight against Slade's robotic worms.

Cast

Actor Role
Maria Canals Hawkgirl
Judge (uncredited)
Bystander (uncredited)
Phil LaMarr Green Lantern/John Stewart
Bystander (uncredited)
Carl Lumbly J'onn J'onzz
George Newbern Superman
Michael Rosenbaum Flash
Arkkis Chummuck (uncredited)
Sportscaster (uncredited)
Rene Auberjonois Kanjar-Ro
Guardian (uncredited)
Galius Zed (uncredited)
James Remar Lead Manhunter
Dennis Haysbert Kilowog
Kurtwood Smith Prosecutor
Garrett Morris Al McGee
Peter Renaday Graz
Bailiff (uncredited)
Brian George Forian
Guardian (uncredited)
Rickey D'Shon Collins Chris McGee
Robber (uncredited)

Uncredited appearances

Quotes

J'onn J'onzz: Wonder Woman is on another case, Superman is dealing with an earthquake and Batman would only say that he is busy.
Hawkgirl: Typical.


(Hawkgirl has just critically damaged an attacking ship.)
Superman: Hawkgirl!
Hawkgirl: What?
(Superman flies off to prevent the ship from crashing.)
Hawkgirl: Oh, that.


Third Judge: We don't want any doubt about our final judgement, do we?
Second Judge: No, we don't. But who will speak for John Stewart?
Flash: Don't you have any lawyers here?
Chief Judge: We solved our lawyer problem a long time ago.
Third Judge: However, you could speak for him if you wish.
Second Judge: But be aware: if you lose, you will share the same penalty as the accused.
Flash: The same penalty? You mean--that's crazy!
Chief Judge: No, that's how we solved our lawyer problem.


Flash: Uh, looks like we've got a surprise witness.
Prosecutor: Surprise witness? He was no where near the crime. What kind of witness could he be?
Flash: A big scary one!


Green Lantern: In brightest day, in blackest night,
No evil shall escape my sight
Let those who worship evil's might,
Beware my power… Green Lantern's light!


Guardian: We chose wisely when we offered you the ring.



Previously produced episode:
"Secret Origins"
Episodes of
Justice League
Next produced episode:
"The Enemy Below"
Previously aired episode:
"Secret Origins"
Next aired episode:
"The Enemy Below"

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