Justice League Unlimited episode
Amazo and Lex Luthor
"The Return"
Airdate: September 18th, 2004
Production Number: 7
Airdate Order: 8
Animation Services by: DR Movie Co., LTD.
Teleplay by: J.M. DeMatteis
Story by: Stan Berkowitz
Directed by: Joaquim Dos Santos
Episode images (25)

"The Return" is the eighth episode of the first season of Justice League Unlimited, and the eighth of the overall series. It originally aired on September 18, 2004. It depicts the return of Amazo. After the power-absorbing android "destroys" the home planet of the Guardians of the Universe, the League must intercept him before he reaches Earth and achieves his goal: revenge on the recently reformed Lex Luthor.


John Stewart is in communication with the Guardians of the Universe on Oa, who inform him that his recent request for a transfer away from Earth has been denied. Then the planetary defense system alerts them that something is approaching Oa at an incredible speed. Kyle Rayner and the other resident Green Lanterns fly into space to establish a shield, but the object breaks through it instantly, revealing itself to be Amazo. Before the Guardians can react, the android hurtles into the planet, there is a sudden flash of light, and just like that, Oa is gone.

Amazo's trajectory shows that he is heading for Earth. The League mobilizes its full strength, determined to stop the android from reaching the planet's surface. In short order, they realize what Amazo is coming back for: revenge on Lex Luthor.

Supergirl Steel Luthor

Supergirl and Steel fly Lex Luthor to safety.

On his estate, Luthor is giving a television interview explaining his reformation since he was diagnosed with Kryptonite poisoning. He has just finished expressing his hope that he and the Justice League can be friends when Supergirl and Steel suddenly appear and fly him away. As soon as he is told Amazo is coming, Luthor insists on going to a safe house of his own design — located in a barber shop. He soon gives the two heroes the slip and escapes down an underground tube which includes a number of defenses, including Kryptonite-lined walls. This proves too much for Supergirl and she and Steel return to counter the android.

Luthor ends up in a laboratory where he arms a powerful cannon which is based there. However, the League is one step ahead of him — the Atom is riding on his clothing, having slipped on earlier. Since Atom is an expert in nanotechnology, and has Professor Ivo's original blueprints for the android, he and Luthor agree to modify the cannon specifically to destroy the android.

Amazo returns

Amazo is back.

The League has set up three defensive lines to halt the android: the first, in space, consists of Superman, Green Lantern, Captain Atom, Orion, Dr. Light, S.T.R.I.P.E., Starman, and the League's entire fleet of Javelins. As the android approaches, he communicates with them telepathically, warning them not to stand in his way. When he refuses to turn back, the assembly unleashes a massive energy barrage. But Amazo shrugs it off, smashes through the entire line in moments, and continues toward Earth.

In the laboratory, Luthor and Atom are working flat out to complete the cannon before Amazo arrives. In the upper atmosphere, Amazo locates Luthor with his telepathy and then smashes through the second defensive line — Supergirl, Fire, Red Tornado, and Rocket Red. Seeing the second line collapse, J'onn turns to a visitor to the bridge: Dr. Fate, who says he has an alternative proposal.

Amazo touches down outside the barber shop and, just as easily, disables the third and last defensive line — Wonder Woman, Flash, Steel, and Ice.

The cannon is completed just before Amazo enters the laboratory, which he does just in time to receive a blast from it. Mildly impressed, the Android indicates the cannon might have worked a month earlier when he was still nanotech.

In space, Green Lantern revives to see Kyle and the other surviving Lanterns approaching. Kyle says their only option is to hit Amazo with a concentrated blast from all of their rings at once, even it if it means destroying half the planet.

In the laboratory, as a last resort Atom shrinks both himself and Luthor down to subatomic size, to hide from Amazo Again, this proves futile: Amazo shrinks himself down as well, enough to grasp them in the palm of his hand.

Luthor is prepared to meet his fate, but Amazo hesitates. What he has come back for is not so much revenge as to satisfy his curiosity. Amazo has read his mind, and can't understand it: for all his wealth and power, Luthor is still consumed with ambition to be and have more. Amazo, likewise, was made to evolve and absorb knowledge, but for all that he has learned, he still feels empty, with no idea of what his purpose in life is.

As John and the other Lanterns fly into the laboratory, Fate appears and asks them to hold off. John orders him out of the way, and after a moment, Fate complies.

Amazo Luthor purpose

Luthor explains the true meaning of purpose.

Luthor says that in a way he is empty of purpose: for all his accomplishments, he is still mortal, and everything he's done will be gone and forgotten after a few generations. Amazo, on the other hand, is immortal and nearly all-powerful. He will be able to see time through until its very end. Amazo is not satisfied with merely being a witness to events. Ultimately, Luthor says, he cannot solve the mystery for Amazo: every being creates its own purpose in life. Amazo then relents and brings both of them to full size.

Just then, the Lanterns arrive and aim their rings. Fate teleports beside Amazo, telling them the threat is over. The Lanterns refuse to accept this, until Amazo surprises them by telling them that Oa was not destroyed, he simply moved it to another dimension as it was in his way. Without leaving the laboratory, he moves it back.

Amazo accepts Fate's offer of sanctuary in his tower, and to help him in his search for meaning as that is his purpose. When they arrive back, it is revealed that someone else has taken sanctuary at Fate's home... Shayera Hol.


Background information

Home video releases

Production inconsistencies

  • When Lex is talking to Sroya Bashir, he shows her the harness underneath his shirt. However, when he is working with the Atom, he has his collar unbuttoned, showing an undershirt.




Actor Role
Phil LaMarr Green Lantern
Steel (uncredited)
Carl Lumbly J'onn J'onzz
George Newbern Superman
Clancy Brown Lex Luthor
Guardian (uncredited)
Maria Canals Shayera Hol
Oded Fehr Dr. Fate
Will Friedle Kyle Rayner
Jennifer Hale Inza
Sroya Bashir (uncredited)
John C. McGinley The Atom
Robert Picardo Amazo
Nicholle Tom Supergirl

Uncredited appearances


Guardian: There's an unidentified object approaching Oa at a somewhat astonishing speed...

Guardian: Magnify image.
J'onn J'onzz: Professor Ivo's android!
Green Lantern: Holy Mother of-!

Luthor: Wherever you're taking me won't be safe enough, but I have just the place.
(Steel and Supergirl fly him to an ordinary-looking shop in a city main street)
Supergirl: A barber's shop?
Steel: Got to hand it to you, Luthor. Nobody would think to look for you here.

Luthor: The most powerful creature in the universe wants my head, and the League sends its least powerful member to protect me.

Superman: Why have you come back? What do you want?
Amazo: Why do you ask questions which you already know the answer to?
Superman: Luthor.
Amazo: Of course.
Superman: We're not going to give him up.
Amazo: He's your enemy. You owe him nothing.
Superman: Turn back now.
Amazo: I have evolved far beyond what I was when we last met. You do not want to challenge me.
Green Lantern: LIGHT HIM UP!
(The First Line attacks)

The Atom: The android, why does he hate you so much?
Luthor: I once took advantage of his naïveté. He's not naïve anymore, and I've stopped taking advantage of the innocent.
The Atom: Let's hope you'll be more convincing if you have to tell him that.

Amazo: Your bravery is admirable, but annoying.

J'onn J'onzz: You'll need that cannon very soon.
Luthor: Then stop interrupting us!

J'onn J'onzz: You've come to offer help?
Dr. Fate: Not help. Hope.

Amazo: An intriguing idea, modifying the cannon so that it could alter my programming, and it might've worked... a month ago, when I was still nanotech. But I have transcended that limitation.

Kyle Rayner: We're gonna use every bit of power left in our rings and take one last shot at the android.
John Stewart: A blast like that could destroy half the planet.
Kyle Rayner: Half a planet's better than none.
(in the Watchtower)
J'onn J'onzz: It's... the only way.
Dr. Fate: Hm. Those words are always used to justify destruction.
J'onn J'onzz: We can only guess how much power the android has amassed as it has worked it's way across the galaxy. It has to be stopped, Fate. Here and now. Not just for the sake of this world, but for all worlds.
Dr. Fate: Then for the sake of all worlds, I will continue to seek a better way.

Luthor: What do you want from me?
Amazo: You have everything humans desire. Wealth. Power. Yet you crave more. And you'll do anything to get it. Why? What is your ultimate purpose?
Luthor: What you're really asking is... what is yours?

Dr. Fate: Wait. Please. The android's nature has proved benign before. I believe it will again.
John Stewart: Benign?! You call destroying Oa benign?! (all assembled Green Lanterns aim their rings at Dr. Fate) Not even you can stand against the Green Lantern Corps.
(Dr. Fate steps aside, and the Lanterns find the room empty)
John Stewart: What the devil's going on?
Dr. Fate: Lex Luthor is saving the world.

Luthor: The truth is, for all my struggles to make my mark in life, for all I've accomplished, in just a few short generations my name will be forgotten. Even the greatest of us can't compete with time... and death.
Amazo: Then why do you go on? Why does anyone? Why don't I just destroy you and everything else right now? All it would take is a single thought and...
Luthor: No! If you do that you won't see the end of it!
Amazo: The end of what?
Luthor: The evolutionary process. You of all beings should know something about that.
Amazo: Yes. Yes, I'm evolving. That's why Professor Ivo made me. These past months I have amassed so much knowledge, and yet... I remain confused... empty. What am I evolving into? What is my purpose?! I must know! Tell me!
Luthor: There's no way to tell. And that's why I stay in the game. My purpose, if you will, is to see where it's all going. And you! You'll live forever. You'll be able to see it all.
Amazo: Is that my purpose? Simply to be... a witness?
Luthor: We create our own purpose in life. Now go create yours.

Luthor: You know, when I heard you were coming I was actually afraid of you. Petrified. But now, when I see your fear, your uncertainty, I just pity you.
(Amazo glares)
The Atom: Should have quit while you were ahead.

Dr. Fate: It's over. Isn't it?
Amazo: Yes.
John Stewart: He murders an entire world, and it's over? Just like that? I don't think so!
Amazo: I did not destroy Oa. I simply moved it to another dimension.
(stunned silence)
Amazo: It was in my way.
John Stewart: Then could you move it back?
Amazo: (eyes glow briefly) Done.

Dr. Fate: I can help you on your journey. In your search for meaning.
Amazo: Help me? Why?
Dr. Fate: Because that... is my purpose.

Inza: Are you all right?
Dr. Fate: Fine, although there was a moment when I actually thought John Stewart was going to attack me.
Shayera Hol: Oh, I don't know about that. His bark's a lot worse than his bite.

Previously produced episode:
"This Little Piggy"
Episodes of
Justice League Unlimited
Next produced episode:
"The Greatest Story Never Told"
Previously aired episode:
"The Greatest Story Never Told"
Next aired episode: