Justice League Unlimited

Season 3 Episode 12

The Once and Future Thing: Weird Western Tales (1)

Aired Saturday 10:30 PM Jan 22, 2005 on Cartoon Network
out of 10
User Rating
191 votes

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Episode Summary


Batman, Wonder Woman, and Green Lantern chase a time-travelling thief into the past and team up with some local "superheroes" of the era to deal with an outlaw who has used the thief's futuristic technology to take over an Old West town.

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  • Wild Wild West

    While perhaps not the most wildly awaited episode of the series, "Weird Western Tales" has a lot to offer. First we get to see Batman and Green Lantern just...hanging out. Discussing romances. It doesn't look like much will come of the Batman/Wonder Woman relationship, but the GL relationship with Hawkgirl looks to pay off in part 2.

    With David Clinton we have a suepr-villain turned into a schlub from the future, using time travel to escape his harpy of a wife. Cute reversal of the concept in the comic.

    After a somewhat short set-up, we get the heroes into the past. They get to have a little fun with the whole "Hey we're in the past" angle, then we get the first of several DC Western characters. Bat Lash, a Maverick knockoff (and voiced by Farscape/Stargate-r Ben Browder) gets some cute moments.

    Then the League does a prison break (with a suspiciously Scooby Doo-like green ghost) and we get some more heroes - Jonah Hex, El Diablo, and Sheriff Ohiyesa Smith. Thankfully, they avoided calling the latter by the rather derogatory reference of "Pow-Wow Smith" as he was best known in the comics, even though they toss it in later as an insult made to the character.

    The only thing they missed was tossing in a female Western hero, which would have been interesting to compare to Wonder Woman.

    Oh, and "Tobias Manning" is a Western-style villain in the comics, too.

    There's a fun shootout where everyone gets to participate, and then Batman gets (rather easily) surprised and it's on to part 2, which is pretty widely and wildly awaited, since we get the Batman Beyond setting and Static of Static Shock all rolled into one.

    Overall this was pretty good with a nice use of DC's older Western heroes - particularly Ohiyesa Smith who you'd be hard pressed to find a lot of serious comic fans to remember. Writer Dwayne McDuffie obviously had a lot of fun with the idea. Hopefully part 2 will be up to the same standards - since McDuffie created Static he'll presumably be in on that too, so it looks promising.moreless
  • this is a great episode.

    this episode is about a inventor not ot far in the future goes back in time to steal batmans utility belt but batman, green lantern, and wonderwoman catch him but he goes back in the 1850s and the three members follow him and try and stop him before he does anything else but after they catch him again but again he goes to the future where they follow him. this is a great episode.moreless
  • Weird western tales

    Batman, Wonder Woman, and GL travel back in time chasing Chronos and end up in the Old West to find Chronos in a prison. Jonah Hex and other old west heroes are there trying to stop a thief who stole Chrono's stuff. So they stop him and help Chronos but he ends up going to the future where new things happen. . . . . . . . . .. .. . . . .. . . . .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .moreless
Phil LaMarr

Phil LaMarr

Green Lantern/John Stewart

Susan Eisenberg

Susan Eisenberg

Wonder Woman/Diana

Kevin Conroy

Kevin Conroy

Batman/Bruce Wayne

Ben Browder

Ben Browder

Bat Lash

Guest Star

Adam Baldwin

Adam Baldwin

Jonah Hex

Guest Star

Jonathan Joss

Jonathan Joss

Sheriff Ohiyesa Smith

Guest Star

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (11)

    • Bruce Wayne is once again shown to have blue eyes, as he did in The New Batman Adventures. In the previous Justice League episode Maid of Honor, his eyes were dark, as they had been in Batman: The Animated Series.

    • When the three League members catch Dave Clinton stealing Batman's belt, Clinton drops it on the floor and leaves. However, at the end of the episode, he still has it.

    • In the scene where Batman is sitting at the table with GL, and WW is behind him, the alarm goes off. The camera quickly zooms into a view of Batman's face and Wonder Woman behind him. If you look at Batman's right "ear" he moves his head to the left, and leaves part of the ear hovering in mid air.

    • When the three League members catch David Clinton stealing Batman's spare utility belt, he drops it on the ground beside him and escapes. When the League members chase after him, the belt is nowhere to be seen.

    • When Green Lantern plows through the gate at the ranch, there's a cord hanging from the skull hanging above it. When the angle changes to have the gate in the background, the cord is no longer there.

    • When GL is "beaming" the futuristic debris away, the bubble itself is green but the ray going from his ring to the bubble is miscolored yellow.

    • When Sheriff Smith confronts Manning, he tosses away his guns. Then he fights him, knocks him out, bends over to take the chrono-belt, and the guns are instantaneously back in his holsters.

    • When Bat Lash and Manning square off against each other, you can see the three Leaguers behind them toward the saloon doors, Wonder Woman sitting on the left, Batman with his back square to the window behind him, and the piano off to their right, behind GL. Then they cut to a close up of the Leaguers and the piano is gone, and Wonder Woman and Batman are kind of sitting slant-wise toward the window. Then they cut away and back and in the next shot the piano is behind GL again. Then after Bat Lash is taken out Wonder Woman has her back almost directly to the window where Batman was about 20 seconds earlier. Then Wonder Woman leaves and Batman's back is finally directly against the window.

    • In the poker game, Manning spreads his cards - the four kings have the K indices on the upper-left/lower-right corners (correctly), but the A indice of the Ace is on the upper-right/lower-left. All five of Bat's cards (which include 4 aces) have the indices correctly on the upper-left/lower-right corners.

    • When the intruder alert goes off, only three Leaguers respond, even though at least six other members were in the immediate vicinity, including another founding member. We've also seen that the satellite has its own security, which would presumably respond to an alert.

    • While the thug on the velociraptor is shooting at Batman, who is using the body of a robot as cover, his gun fires as a revolver, however in the next shot it's suddenly shooting like an SMG.

  • QUOTES (16)

    • Smith: Be careful - there are some of the strangest things down at that ranch.
      Green Lantern: Don't worry, we've got a lot of experi... (pterodactyl screeches overhead) I'm sorry, what were you saying?

    • Bat Lash: Shoot, I wanted one of those fancy ray guns.
      Jonah Hex: Ain't dependable - they jam.

    • Batman: Six guns, six of us. Nobody miss.

    • Jonah Hex: Fancy gun belts you've got there. I'm thinking you folks are time travellers.
      Batman: Where would you get a crazy idea like that?
      Jonah Hex: Experience. I've had an interesting life.

    • Green Lantern: What's the plan?
      Jonah Hex: Plan? We put him in the ground.

    • Wonder Woman: You're with us. (rips off another cell door)
      Bat Lash: That's a healthy gal.

    • Green Lantern: I'll get the door. (Wonder Woman rips it off) Or that.

    • Bat Lash: Do you mind? I'm trying to plan an escape over here!
      Clinton: How's it going so far?
      Bat Lash: I'm working on it...

    • Wonder Woman: We have to help that man.
      Batman: That's not what we're here for. Someone's tampering with history - the stakes are much higher than the life of one card shark.
      Wonder Woman: Then it's settled - we'll break him out after sundown.
      (Green Lantern snickers)

    • Manning: Hang'em at dawn.
      Bat Lash: Don't I get a trial?
      Manning: Sure. You're guilty. My town, my rules.

    • Green Lantern: Has the shower been invented yet? Someone should tell this guy.

    • Wonder Woman: These shoes are killing me.
      Batman: You fight crime in high heels.
      Wonder Woman: High heels that fit.

    • Wonder Woman: Those are the biggest, slowest bullets I've ever seen.

    • Robber: You circus folk?
      Wonder Woman: Not exactly.

    • Green Lantern: Anyway, why are we always talking about my love life? What's going on between you and Diana?
      Batman: Nothing. She's a respected colleague.
      Green Lantern: Uh-huh...
      Batman: I don't have time to pursue a relationship. My work is too important to allow any distractions. Diana is a remarkable woman, she's a valued friend. She's... standing right behind me, isn't she?
      Wonder Woman: Don't let that stop you--keep digging.

    • David: I'm careful to only take things that wouldn't be missed.
      Enid: Like your spine?

  • NOTES (9)

    • Character bios: Chronos, the Time Thief, Jonah Hex, Bat Lash, El Diablo, Sheriff Ohiyesa Smith, Tobias Manning

    • The final shootout scene was storyboarded by Kevin Altieri, a series director on the original Batman: The Animated Series. He left Bruce Timm's production team shortly before Superman: The Animated Series began production.

    • The future Batman (Terry McGinnis), Static, War Hawk, and the Jokerz appear very briefly at the end of this episode - see part 2 for more information. Green Lantern recognizes Static from their encounters in the Static Shock series starting with "A League of Their Own (1)" and continuing up through "Fallen Hero" (see also Analysis for part 2).

    • While Batman, Wonder Woman and GL are riding with the Old West heroes, the original Justice League theme can be heard (with a Western motif) and the team rides forward in silhouette like in the original opening credits.

    • Other heroes briefly seen in the cafeteria: Gypsy, Stars/Stargirl, Booster Gold, Skeets, Supergirl, Steel (Hank Heywood, not John Henry Irons), Elongated Man, and Shayera/Hawkgirl. Shayera is now wearing either a black-and-white civilian outfit or what may be a new costume (although it lacks headgear).

    • The full title of this episode is "The Once and Future Thing." After that appears on-screen, there is a new screen-caption that says Part One: "Weird Western Tales". This is the first time a multi-part story has had sub-titles, much less sub-titles given in this manner.

    • Peter Onorati (briefly) reprises his role as War Hawk from the Batman Beyond episodes starting with "The Call (1)" (even though he has only one word of dialogue here). Adam Baldwin assumes the role of Jonah Hex - previously Bill McKinney played Hex in Batman: The Animated Series.

    • Previews at the end of this episode are from the next episode, part 2.

    • The opening clips of this episode are a montage of various episodes - the same ones seen in "Wake the Dead". This appears to be the new "regular" opening credits.


    • Title
      Weird Western Tales has been the titles of several different runs of a particular DC comic. Many of the stories have not been so much supernatural as just...strange and weird. Or not even that - more as if the idea of gambler Bat Lash was "weird." Several DC Western heroes with no weird/supernatural powers (including Bat Lash) had series in the book.

    • Pterodactyl:
      The Pterodactyl sailing across the Western landscape is a visual reference to the classic 1969 B movie The Valley of Gwangi, the most famous film to feature cowboys taking on dinosaurs.

    • Title:
      Play on the title of the novel, The Once and Future King by E.H. White. It tells the story of King Arthur, from his childhood to his reign to his death.

    • Robot Pterodactyl:
      The noise the robot pterodactyl makes seems to be a spot-on use of the audio from the old Jonny Quest series, specifically the episode "Turu the Terrible."

    • The Western Team: Line of riders
      The line of heroes riding along, as well as the rewriting of the original Justice League theme as a Western, along the lines of Elmer Bernstein, are certainly a homage to the movie and TV series The Magnificent Seven.

    • Bat Lash: My pappy always said . . .
      The Maverick brothers on the series Maverick always used to claim that their pappy told them something or another.

    • David Clinton: Things to steal
      Clinton's checklist of things to steal (excerpt from his personal digital assistant): M's Dress, Napoleon's Vest, Washington's teeth, Batman's Utility Belt. Given the fact he shares a last name with a U.S. President, the thief might be targeting the famed blue dress of Monica Lewinsky.