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The Enemy Below
The Enemy Below
Production Number: 1.06, 1.07
Episode Count: 6,7
TV Episode: JL s01e06,
JL s01e07
DVD Episode: JL s01e06,
JL s01e07
Writer: Kevin Hopps
Director: 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)
Susan Eisenberg (Wonder Woman)
Recurring Role: Scott Rummel (Aquaman),
Michael Rosenbaum (Deadshot),
Jason Marsden (Snapper Carr),
Kristin Bauer (Mera)
Guest Stars: Richard Green (Orm)
Packed With: Justice League:The Complete Series, Justice League:Season One,
Justice League: Justice On Trial
First Aired: Dec 3, 2001
Figure Packs Referenced: none specifically
Special Figures Referenced: Aquaman 1 ver 2


When Aquaman, ruler of Atlantis, decides he has had enough of the surface-dwellers trespassing in his ocean, the Justice League tries to smooth things over. Aquaman takes Superman's advice and arrives in New York City to speak to the World Assembly, but it soon becomes apparent that he may have been right about the surface-dwellers all along.

Betrayed by his own subjects, Aquaman and the League fight to save Atlantis, the world, and Aquaman's own son against his half-brother Orm's coup.


A U.S. nuclear submarine, the Defiant, is cruising under stormy waters when they spot an unidentified deep-sea craft approaching. They take evasive action but the craft closes on them in a collision. The hostile craft comes around for another pass, opening up leaks in the hull and sending it to the bottom. The mysterious craft watches them go down and a helmeted leader, Aquaman, commands, “Let it sink.”

League members Green Lantern, Superman, and Wonder Woman come to the rescue in a Javelin, enter the waters, and go down to approach the sub. They note a nearby craft, the same vessel that sunk the Defiant. It opens fire and the League take evasive action and loses them, but more ships open fire. The League get out as the Javelin is destroyed and take the fight to the enemy, quickly demolishing the enemy ships. Aquaman advances and warns them they are intruding in Atlantean waters. Wonder Woman appeals to him and Aquaman lets them take the crew away but he’ll keep the ship. The League reluctantly agree and evacuate the sailors to the surface. Superman remains and speaks to Aquaman, advances him to meet with the United Nations as a king.

Beneath the waters in Atlantis, Aquaman’s military leader, General Brak, advises they have the technology to wipe the surface-dwellers away. Lord Orm (Aquaman’s brother) intervenes when Brak rebels and Aquaman retires to consider the matter. He meets with his wife Mera and their son, and considers what future he is making for his child. Aboard the Watchtower, Superman assures the Navy while Green Lantern and Wonder Woman argue the merits. Green Lantern goes to spy on the Atlanteans and finds that the nuclear missiles and fissionable material have been removed.

At a beach, Aquaman comes ashore and walks to the United Nations building, where he demands an audience. Green Lantern warns the League of what he saw as Superman notes that Aquaman is meeting with the General Assembly. Aquaman demands the Assembly accept his peace, a near-surrender on their parts, and angrily leaves when Superman arrives to counsel a bit more diplomacy. Aquaman goes out through the reporters but a rooftop sniper fires on him with an exploding missile and the monarch is badly injured.

The newscasts repeat the broadcast as the Atlanteans watch, and Lord Orm takes command as regent, claiming Aquaman may already be dead. Orm reassures Mera he’ll be avenged. At the hospital, the doctors are tending to a steadily-worsening Aquaman as the League (including J’onn) look on. Batman steps out of the shadows to offer his own assistance, and the doctors place Aquaman into a special water tank, where his condition stabilizes. Reporters have gathered outside the hospital as Aquaman wakes up and Green Lantern interrogates him about the plutonium. Aquaman denies it and insists on finding the sniper – Batman offers his help.

That night, the League covers the area as they prepare to move Aquaman to a facility for special treatment. Aquaman is moved out while the same sniper from earlier emerges from a manhole cover and takes up a nearby position. Pulling out a shoulder-launched rocket, he prepares to fire but Batman sends the shot wide and the League closes in. The sniper runs back for the sewers and when Superman follows is caught in an electrical booby trap. J’onn reveals he was shape-changed into Aquaman while the sniper sheds his coat, revealing himself as Deadshot. He runs a motorcycle through a dematerialized J’onn and heads toward Wonder Woman, who breaks open the sewer behind him and then gets ahead of him. He brings down the roof on top of her as a distraction while an impatient Aquaman confronts Green Lantern, who is guarding him. Aquaman cold-cocks him and leaves.

Back in the sewers, Batman confronts Deadshot leaving a trail of mini-mines which knock out the motorcycle. He uses a smoke grenade to get away from Batman and makes it to an getaway van – Superman spots him and gives chase. The Man of Steel takes out a wheel with heat vision and pries Deadshot out. The assassin initially refuses to talk but Batman has a quiet word with him. Deadshot tells them he doesn’t know who hired him, but he was paid in Spanish doubloons – tying it to Atlantis. Green Lantern arrives to warn them Aquaman has left. In Atlantis, Lord Orm calls the Navy together and orders them to attack the surface-dwellers but Aquaman busts in, accusing him of treason, but Orm is in charge and tells the Navy to take him into custody.

Aquaman fights back against the troops under his brother’s orders but is quickly overwhelmed. Orm orders General Brak to ready the troops and as they depart, Mera shows up and Orm denies that her husband has returned, and that he’ll protect her…and has already placed her son under his “protection” in return for her cooperation.

J’onn, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, and Superman are approaching in a Javelin when the Atlantean ships open fire. When Superman tries to approach them peacefully, believing Aquaman is still in charge, Brak opens fire and the League defends itself. They defeat the ships and approach Atlantis, but are knocked out by hidden depth charges.

The League are brought before Orm and have head-units attached that prevent them from using their powers. Mera overhears them as they talk of how they came to warn about the plot on Aquaman. They are taken away and locked in a chamber that begins flooding while Orm tells Brak to proceed while he tends to some “unfinished business.” Mera arrives and knocks out the guards, then frees the League to ask for their help. Mera leads the League through the city when they are attacked by soldiers – the heroes make short work of them.

Near a volcano, Aquaman has been chained to the rocks and Orm arrives with Aquaman’s baby son. He boasts that he will kill the child and make it look like the surface-dwellers are responsible and insure that he inherits the throne. Orm departs after blasting the mountain, sending them plummeting toward the lava. Aquaman is able to break one chain but has no choice but to use his belt symbol to cut off his remaining hand to get free.

The League have made it to the throne room and haven’t found Aquaman or his son. The Sea King staggers in holding his son, but needs medical treatment. A loyal doctor attaches a hook to the stump while Batman calls in to tell them the temperatures at the North Pole are rising. Aquaman reveals the Atlanteans created a nuclear meltdown device to melt the polar cap in case the surface-dwellers attacked them. Orm used the plutonium from the sub to arm the device and Aquaman resolves to go after them. He quickly swims to the North Pole and the League offer their help and Aquaman refuses…until the Atlanteans attack them all. Batman arrives as the glaciers start to melt and the League take out the Atlanteans. Brak leads his forces into battle and Aquaman takes him out with the help of a killer whale. Green Lantern accompanies Aquaman to the doomsday device inside a glacier while the other Leaguers battle the remaining troops.

Aquaman approaches the device but his brother Orm is waiting for him and knocks him out. Aquaman recovers enough to fight back while Green Lantern and Batman approach. The two brothers are evenly matched and Orm warns the reactor can’t be shut down. Green Lantern provides a shield for Batman to get into the reactor and try to disarm it. Aquaman and his brother are sparring on an ice bridge in the melting glacier – Aquaman takes out Orm’s power-trident but is badly wounded by a knife thrust. The bridge collapses and Aquaman lets a pleading Orm fall into the crevasse, while Batman stops the reactor.

Back in Atlantis, Brak pleads his loyalty without much effect. Aquaman confesses his fear of the surface-dwellers blinded him to Orm’s treachery and Green Lantern apologies (sort of). Looking upon his child, Aquaman vows that some sacrifices are worth it.

Episode Oddities[]

  • Aquaman is talking with the League as he gets his hand replaced. Then in the next scene, he's at the Arctic Circle and the League fly up behind him. How'd he get from Atlantis to the Arctic when seconds count before the polar caps melted? Even at a couple of 100 miles an hour, it would take a while to get there. And where were the League while Aquaman was swimming along? In a crisis situation you'd think they'd give him a lift, but apparently they were just flying along waiting for him to (relatively slowly) arrive at the North Pole to tell them he doesn't want their help.
  • It makes sense in the comics because they've been explaining it for years. But to the casual (and not so casual) viewer, it is rather confusing why the water-breathing Atlanteans live in a big oxygen-filled dome.
  • When the Justice League and Aquaman arrive at the North Pole, General Brak says "Soldiers of Atlantis - Attack!" then Aquaman dives into the water. His missing hand is back and partially hidden by his body.


  • While the Flash doesn't appear in this episode, voice actor Michael Rosenbaum does, doing the voice of Deadshot.
  • Originally, the production team planned to use Black Manta, but went with Deadshot as a more appropriate assassin-type villain.
  • Summer Gleeson, the recurring female reporter from Batman: The Animated Series, is among the reporters at the hospital as Aquaman is being moved.
  • Scott Rummel replaces Miguel Ferrer, who voiced Aquaman in the Superman episode "A Fish Story."
  • The current version of Aquaman, with the beard and bared-chest look, was chosen partially because he is the current version, but also because the writers and producers wanted to overcome the kinda "wimp" reputation that Aquaman has acquired thanks to his SuperFriends appearances (and which in turn Cartoon Network itself mocks in that Powerpuff Girls/Legion of Doom advert). They were also inspired in part (or so they claim) by the Sub-Mariner over at Marvel, and made Aquaman even more of a "barbarian king" than he is in the comics.
  • This episode perhaps coincidentally has several strong visual and plot cues to the Disney movie The Lion King, with Orm as Scar, Aquaman as Mufasa (although he lives), and Aquababy as Simba. Note particularly Orm's backwards plunge to his death, paralleling Mufasa's above the wildebeast herd.
  • As is often the case, the writers and producers combined a number of elements. In the comics Aquaman doesn't lose his hand trying to save his son. In fact, his son dies in the comics: not surprisingly, everyone involved opted out of showing a young baby being brutally murdered. Still, writer Kevin Hopps does a good job of playing up the "will they or won't they kill Aquaman's son" angle.


Superman: You know, all this could have been avoided.
Aquaman: How?
Superman: Come and air your grievances at the World Assembly. Negotiate for peace.
Aquaman: You'd have me crawl to them like some beggar?
Superman: No. Stand before them like a king.

Aquaman: What’s taking so long? I must return to Atlantis.
Green Lantern: Sit tight, "your highness." We’ll tell you when it’s safe to go.
Aquaman: (slugs him) You presume too much.

Superman: You tried to kill Aquaman – why?
Deadshot: Gee, why would a hired gun try to shoot someone? Could it be that someone paid me to?

Deadshot: You can't scare me, Batman.
Batman: Let me give you one word of advice.
(the Batman whispers)
Deadshot: Okay - I'll tell, I'll tell!
Wonder Woman: What did he say?
Superman: You don't want to know.

Batman: There’s not much time. If we can’t shut that down, the entire world is doomed.
Green Lantern: I suppose this is a bad time to say, "I told you so."