DC Hall of Justice Wiki
Secret Origins
Secret Origins
Production Number: 1.01, 1.02, 1.03
Episode Count: 1,2,3
TV Episode: JL s01e01,
JL s01e02,
JL s01e03
DVD Episode: JL s01e01,
JL s01e02,
JL s01e03
Writer: Rich Fogel
Director: Butch Lukic,
Dan Riba
Stars: George Newbern (Superman/Clark Kent/Kal-El),
Carl Lumbly (Martian Manhunter/J'onn J'onzz),
Kevin Conroy (Batman/Bruce Wayne),
Phil LaMarr (Green Lantern/John Stewart),
Michael Rosenbaum (The Flash/Wally West),
Susan Eisenberg (Wonder Woman) Maria Canals (Hawkgirl)
Recurring Role: Susan Sullivan (Hippolyta),
Kevin Michael Richardson (General Wells)
Guest Stars: Gary Cole J. Allen Carter
Packed With: Justice League:The Complete Series, Justice League:Season One,
Justice League (video)
First Aired: Nov 17, 2001
Figure Packs Referenced: Justice League 7-pack
Special Figures Referenced: none specifically


Batman investigates a series of mysterious space signals and finds an alien conspiracy, while Superman is overwhelmed by telepathic alien messages sent by the alien J'onn J'onzz as war-machines land and begin attacking Earth.

Green Lantern, Wonder Woman, Flash, and Hawkgirl team up with Superman, Batman, and J'onn J'onzz to defeat the alien invaders, but one of them falls in battle and the others are soon overwhelmed. The heroes race to rescue two of their own before the Imperium gets to Earth and completes its conquest.

Part One[]

On Mars, astronauts explore and one of them, J. Allen Carter, stumbles across an ancient underground structure. He forces open the door and is overwhelmed by a burst of energy.

Metropolis, Two Years Later

Batman breaks into a deep-space monitoring station to investigate three technicians. They use alien technology to send a signal directly from the satellite dish. When he confronts them, they display superior strength and shape-shifting abilities. As start to overwhelm him, Superman arrives but before he can attack he is overwhelmed by telepathic images. The fake technicians destroy the satellite dish and flee while Batman moves Superman to safety. Although the “technicians” are badly injured, they quickly reassemble themselves and saunter off. Upon regaining consciousness, Superman has no idea who or what assaulted his mind.

At the U.N., now-Senator Carter proposes that Superman undertake a plan to disarm the world. Over the next six months, and the objections of General Wells, Superman removes all the nuclear warheads. One night Superman is overwhelmed again by the same telepathic images. At an abandoned STAR laboratory, Batman investigates and finds the same alien technology and the technicians. He then finds alien pods containing comatose human beings – the same ones that he’s been investigating. Before he can move further, an alien dog-like creature attacks him and then shapeshifts into a gelatinous creature. Batman activates the signal watch and Superman quickly arrives to find Batman unconscious and badly injured.

Just then a fiery object flashes overhead, crashing in a nearby park. Superman turns Batman over to the medics and goes to investigate, but Batman revives and goes to help. The “meteor” bursts open and an alien three-legged war-machine emerges and begins attacking everything in its path – its energy beams are capable of hurting even Superman.

Batman takes in the Batplane and engages the war-machine but his weaponry has no effective. He diverts its attention long enough for Superman to revive and lend his strength. They still are unable to take it out, and other war-machines emerge. Worse, Superman is overwhelmed by more of the alien images, and goes into a trance. He flies off and Batman pursues as the Air Force arrives. The war-machines arrive all over the globe.

On a tropical island, Diana and Hippolyta discuss matters – Hippolyta asserts that nothing beyond their shores is none of their concern but Diana disagrees.

Batman follows Superman to a seemingly-abandoned military base and finds more of the alien pods containing people. He finds Superman bursting open the door to a secret laboratory and inside it they find a green-skinned humanoid alien. Superman frees it and reveals that it was trying to contacting him telepathically. The alien speaks telepathically to them, introduces himself as “J’onn J’onzz,” and warns he came to caution them about the invasion but was captured. He takes on human form but Batman is still suspicious. Before they can speak further, the U.S. army arrives and threatens to take J’onn into custody. When Superman tries to advise against it, the troops revert into the same gelatinous aliens as seen earlier, and open fire . . .

Part Two[]

On the island seen previously, an island covered in Greek-style buildings, a hooded figure sneaks into a temple and confronts a statue of Artemis. The figure, Diana, takes several mystic artifacts – bracelets, tiara, lasso, a tunic – and departs.

The alien invaders at the army base open fire, stunning Superman. Batman buys themselves times with an explosive grenade and J’onn assists him but is injured. Superman revives and provides cover as Batman gets J’onn into the Batplane and leaves. Superman joins them but the aliens give pursuit in fighter vessels. They send Superman flying (again) and pursue Batman, who takes evasive action. They shoot one wing off the Batplane but before it can crash, they’re enveloped in a green energy beam. It’s Green Lantern, who has arrived with Hawkgirl and the Flash. J’onn summoned them telepathically and combining their forces, they defeat the fighter squadron. Hawkgirl is stunned but before the fighters can kill her, another figure intervenes – Diana, wearing the costume and artifacts from the temple.

Afterward Diana reveals she comes from Themyscira and has come to help the outside world. J’onn briefs the heroes, telling them that he came from Mars and that a thousand years ago alien invaders arrived to conquer the planet. The Martians fought back but the aliens psychically fed on the Martians, gaining their shapeshifting abilities. Finally J’onn and the other Martians led a suicide attack, unleashing a nerve gas that paralyzed them all. J’onn was the only survivor. He sealed up their citadel and stood guard for 500 years. But when he was in a hibernation cycle, the Earth astronauts opened the citadel and awakened them so they turned toward Earth. J’onn escaped and came to Earth, but the invaders’ advance agents were already there, sabotaging Earth’s defenses.

The war-machines are still advancing, and Senator Carter asks everyone to come together. He’s interrupted by a new alien machine emerging from a meteor – a vast tentacled factory that starts spewing massive qualities of black fumes into the air. J’onn reveals he can’t create more of the paralyzing agent so the heroes split into teams to take on the factories. Green Lantern and Flash go to an island and Flash rushes in to distract the war-machines. He hits an alien landmine and is covered in goo and Green Lantern comes to his rescue, but is stunned by gas and Flash is forced to flee with him.

In Egypt, Batman, J’onn, and Diana investigate a factory and an impatient Diana goes charging in and takes out one machine single-handedly (impressing even Batman). They break into the factory and only Batman notes the invaders seem to run from the sunlight.

Hawkgirl and Superman are defeating the war-machines in Metropolis and force an opening into the factory there. Even Superman is impressed by Hawkgirl’s . . . “enthusiasm.” Gas is released into the chamber to stun Hawkgirl while energy blasts take out Superman.

Batman’s team are blocked off and J’onn warns them Superman and Hawkgirl have failed. J’onn leads them further into the factory to the central core. He advises them they must destroy the ion-matrix crystal but he’ll need a distraction . . . which Diana and Batman supply. But before he can destroy the crystal, J’onn is stunned. Batman grabs the crystal but is cut off from the others and is left to fight against dozens of the invaders. Diana can only look on from the other side of the barrier as dozens of energy blasts ring out, and J’onn warns that there is nothing more they can do for him.


The heroes are trapped!

Part Three[]

At the satellite dish where things started, the (legitimate) technicians get it back on-line and note the approach of a huge spaceship. Rioting breaks out in Metropolis as Diana and J’onn look on, then Green Lantern and Flash arrive. They plan to rescue Superman and Hawkgirl, imprisoned within the factory-structure. J’onn warns that he can also sense the alien intelligence controlling the invaders. The Flash creates a diversion while the others sneak in. As Green Lantern forces an opening, J’onn warns they don’t have much time left, and outside the vast alien spaceship arrives over the city.

The heroes find an unconscious Hawkgirl and Superman, but they’re disguised shapeshifters – it’s a trap. The heroes are gassed unconscious and the alien invaders imprison them as well. They wake up imbedded in an imprisoning substance where Senator Carter reveals he’s an invader, who used Superman to disarm the Earth. The controlling alien, the Imperium, arrives in the structure and confronts J’onn. The Imperium has him stunned into his original Martian form and prepares to eliminate the last Martian. It sends tentacles into J’onn’s body, absorbing his essence. J’onn resists and the Imperium realizes J’onn is hiding something in his mind. It probes further and J’onn yells “Now!” Batman makes his entrance – together the two of them faked his death. Batman reverses the ion charge of the matrix crystal, causing the entire structure to go into “reverse” and stop putting forth the black fumes.

As the sunlight returns, it becomes clear the aliens are vulnerable to sunlight. Batman had deduced this earlier and the other heroes use the distraction to free themselves and cut loose on the invaders, opening holes in the walls to drive them back. J’onn takes on the Imperium, which flees leaving its troops behind. Diana lassos his escape shuttle and delays it long enough for Hawkgirl to take out its engines. Diana regains her grip on it and pulls it back into the factory, destroying the structure. The others rescue the imprisoned civilians and make their escape as the place comes tumbling down. The remaining aliens escape in their mothercraft and the heroes let them go.

Now that they know the secret of the aliens and have cut off their reinforcements, the heroes drive out the remaining pockets of resistance. Both the military and Batman consider what might happen if the invaders return. As a result, Batman (as Bruce Wayne) has a giant orbital Watchtower built and turns it over to the others as an early-warning system. Superman suggests they should stay together to oppose evil and the others agree . . . except for Batman, who simply offers his occasional help. Only a mourning J’onn is reluctant but Superman convinces him to join them and accept Earth as his home, as well as join their new “Justice League.”

Episode Oddities[]

  • We later find out the invaders are vulnerable to sunlight ... so how did the alien duplicating Carter get by for two years?
  • Why do only four heroes show up to help Superman, J'onn, and Batman? Not only are previously established heroes from previous WB series such as Supergirl absent (and she'll feature significantly in Season 3), but all of the heroes we'll see in Season 3 are absent too. Earth's being invaded - couldn't they be bothered?
  • When the alien flagship escapes and the League is standing on the Daily Planet, you can see that Hawkgirl isn't wearing pants but just her red shorts (i.e., her legs are bare).
  • When stopping to rescue the people trapped in pods, two aliens run up and start to shoot at Superman. These two aliens clearly walk into the sunlight, and are half in and half out of the light (which should start killing them. They don't react and in the next shot they are back in darkness with no indication they physically shifted place.
  • Why is Green Lantern unable to use his ring simply because it is imbedded in the alien entrapment substance?
  • Why do the aliens imbed Hawkgirl in the entrapment substance with her electro-mace in her hand?
  • This version of Superman doesn't seem to have a code against killing: he deliberately opens up a section of wall and lets some of the aliens fry in the sunlight.


  • The name of this episode appears during the Green Lantern sequence of the opening montage, this happens for all three "Secret Origins" episodes. All future episode titles are displayed after the opening montage.
  • Despite that they are in the next two parts, Hawkgirl and Green Lantern do not appear in the first part. Phil LaMarr does have a minor role as another character, however.
  • The two alien shapeshfiters disguised as scientists look like the two scientists who appeared in the movie Batman Forever.
  • General Wells' line about not being able to entrust the security of Earth to Superman works as a reference to the two part Superman: The Animated Series finale, "Legacy," which Superman was brainwashed by Darkseid to conquer Earth. The same can be said for Superman's line about working long and hard to earn trust.
  • The tripod war machines bear a strong resemblance to H.G. Wells' The War of the Worlds. Notice also that General Wells' is named in honor of H.G. Wells.
  • John Stewart is brought in as the Green Lantern of Earth, despite the fact that in the Superman series, in "In Brightest Day..." it was established that Kyle Rayner was the (new) Green Lantern of Earth. The producers purportedly wanted a more racially diverse cast of characters.
  • Michael Rosenbaum takes on the voice-role of The Flash, replacing Charles Schlatter, who did the role in the Superman episode "Speed Demons."
  • George Newbern takes on the voice-role of Superman, replacing Timothy Daly (who played the role in the previous WB animated series), who was involved in other projects
  • The reporter often seen throughout the series, Snapper Carr, is a bit of an homage to a character of the same name who acted as a sort of "mascot" or "sidekick" to the Justice League in their early comic book appearances. Inducted as an "Honorary Member" after helping the League defeat Starro the Conquerer in their first appearance in The Brave and the Bold #28, the character would continue to appear in Justice League stories for years to come.
  • "J. Allen Carter" is in-joke reference to the secret IDs of three golden age DC Heroes: Jay Garrick (the Flash), Alan Scott (Green Lantern) and Carter Hall (Hawkman). The last name "Carter" may also be a nod of the hat to John Carter of Mars.
  • Secret Origins was the name of a DC comic which showcased the origin stories of various heroes. It has been relaunched as the infrequent Secret Files and Origins.


Senator Carter: (on Mars) Would you look at that? It's a little slice of Heaven.
Astronaut: If your idea of Heaven is a barren, lifeless rock.

J’onn: I am J’onn J’onzz. (offers his hand to Batman who refuses the gesture)
Superman: Don’t take it personally, J’onn-–he doesn’t trust anyone.
J'onn: A wise policy.

Superman: Here, it’s a signal watch. Call if you need any more help. (flies off)
Batman: Right...

Superman: I'm expected back in Metropolis.
Batman: Another key to the city?

Diana: I am Diana – Princess of the Amazons.
Flash: Pinch me – I must be dreaming. (Superman elbows him)

Flash: Whoa – where have you been all your life?
Diana: Themyscira.
Flash: Huh?

Green Lantern: Sorry I’m late – there was an uprising near Rigel 9.

Superman: Keep a sharp eye out.
Hawkgirl: I always do!

Green Lantern: Tactically we have multiple objectives. So we need to split into teams.
Flash: Dibs on the Amazon!

Flash: You're no fun!
Green Lantern: This isn't supposed to be fun.

Green Lantern: Who's the rookie in the tiara?
Superman: I don't know.

J'onn: The invaders are nocturnal. They want to blot out the sun so they can live in perpetual darkness.
Flash: (to Batman) Friends of yours?

Green Lantern: Lady, this is no job for amateurs.
Diana: We Amazons are warriors born. Want to test me?

Green Lantern: (rescuing Flash) Of all the idiotic, boneheaded, glorygrabbing moves, haven't you ever heard of teamwork?
Flash: Maybe we should save the motivational speeches for later?

Green Lantern: Okay, we’re going in. Flash create a diversion – Diana, watch my back.
Diana: You want to rely on an amateur?

Flash: Is it just me, or does (J’onn) creep everyone out?

Superman: You shouldn’t have risked your lives for us.
J’onn: Would you have done less for me?

Flash: Iced mocha?
Superman: No thanks.
Diana: Umm. They don’t have these on Themyscira.
Flash: Stick around, Princess – I’ll show you the ropes.

Batman: I'm not really a people person. But when you need help ... and you will, call me.

Superman: I once thought I could protect the world by myself, but I was wrong. Working together, we saved the planet and I believe that is we stayed together as a team, we could be a force that could truly work for the ideals of peace and justice.
The Flash: So you want us to be some kind of...super friends?
Superman: More like a Justice League.

(looking at their new HQ)
Superman: Do your stockholders know about this, Bruce?
Batman: A line item hidden in the aerospace R&D budget.

J'onn: My family and loved ones are long gone. I am the last of my kind.
Superman: I know the feeling.


Alien Invasion Plot All three parts of Secret Origins bears a partial resemblence to the undercover invasion of Earth by "White Martians" in several different Justice League story arcs, written by Mark Waid and Grant Morrison.

Nuclear Disarmament Superman going before the UN General Assembly and disarming the world bears a number of parallels to the movie Superman IV: The Quest for Peace.

Superman: "..I will continue to uphold the ideals of truth and justice, not just for America, but for all the world." Referring to the end of the introductory monologue to the 1951 - 1957 series, The Adventures of Superman, starring George Reeves: ...who disguised as Clark Kent, mild-mannered reporter for a great metropolitan newspaper, fights a neverending battle for Truth, Justice, and the American Way.

The Flash: Buh-bye. Emulating the phrase popularized by David Spade on Saturday Night Live in the "Airline Stewardess" skits.

The Flash: So you want us to be some kind of ... super friends? A reference to the SuperFriends TV series, a Hanna Barbara animated version of the Justice League that aired in the early 70's.