- Title: Justice League Unlimited – Clash
- wiki: link
With a new Superman in now in theaters every now and then I’ll continue to take a look back at the hero’s more memorable moments on both the big and small screen. The Big Red Cheese vs. The Big Blue Boyscout. The only appearance Captain Marvel (Jerry O’Connell) would make on Justice League Unlimited certainly didn’t disappoint as the newest member of the Justice League finds himself immediately at odds with one of the founders due to Superman‘s (George Newbern) growing concerns about what Lex Luthor (Clancy Brown) is really up to.
An ingenious plan by Luthor, and Captain Marvel’s naivete in giving anyone the benefit of the doubt, plays right into Superman’s distrust and obsession with his arch-nemesis who is successfully re-branding his public image. Eventually Superman looses his cool when he discovers what he believes is a Kryptnite-powered bomb underneath Lexor City. Despite Luthor’s denials that the device is anything more than an alternate energy source, the mere presence of the Kryptonite causes Superman to go over the edge and Captain Marvel to try and stop him from doing something he will regret.
The result is an epic fight that destroys nearly all of the newly constructed low-income housing live on television as Superman and Captain Marvel fight toe-to-toe for several minutes (which includes a nice call-back to Kingdom Come where Captain Marvel uses the magic lightning as a weapon against Superman) doing far more damage to the surrounding area than to each other. Although the battle plays out with Superman getting the better of Marvel, the Captain puts up one hell of a fight.
The episode is notably for several reasons besides the only appearance of the classic versions of Captain Marvel and Billy Batson (Shane Haboucha). First, it’s really the only example we ever see of Superman completely loosing his cool and causing mass damage on this scale (without being influenced, controlled, or as an alternate version of the character from another time or dimension). Second, Captain Marvel marks one of the few DC heroes that is able to go all twelve rounds with the Man of Steel and give as good as he gets. And finally, “Clash” marks one of the few episodes of the DC Animated Universe where Lex Luthor clearly beats the Man of Steel as Captain Marvel. disgraced by his own actions, immediately resigns from the League, and the destructive battle between two heroes plays out even better than Luthor could possibly have imagined.