Lovely Bones DC Universe Archives, Part Three: World’s Finest – The New Frontier

The Timeline of the DC Universe so far is as follows: From 1978 to 1989, full TV and movie series run through concurrently for Superman and Batman, along with four miniseries for Wonder Woman, Green Arrow, Supergirl, The Flash, and Green Lantern.

The five seasons of World’s Finest will run from Autumn 1989 to January 2000.

The details of the Superman Movie Trilogy and The Caped Crusader can be found here:

Lovely Bones DC Universe Archives, Part One: The Complete Caped Crusader

The details of the four origin miniseries can be found here:

Lovely Bones DC Universe Archives, Part Two: The Complete Origin Miniseries

Main Cast: Clark Kent – Omid Abtahi, Bruce Wayne – Wentworth Miller, Diana Prince – Jamie Chung, Wallis West – Mya Taylor, John Stewart – Mike Colter, Black Canary/Laurel Lance – Naya Rivera, J’onn J’onnz – Daniel Kaluuya, Lex Luthor – Joel McHale. 

Olive Queen – Adrianne Palicki, Arthur Curry – Manu Bennett, Dr. Fate – Sofia Boutella, Vixen/Mari McCabe – Yetide Badaki, Supergirl – Narges Rashidi.

Recurring/Guest Season 1 Lois Lane – Alison Brie, Huntress – Yu Aoi, Catwoman – Archie Panjabi, Steel – Ricky Whittle, The Question – Riz Ahmed, Mera – Sakina Jaffrey, Dr. Vulko -Jemaine Clement, Maggie Sawyer – Bridget Regan, Plastic Man – Aiden Gillen.

Chronos – Dominic Purcell, Ultra-Humanite – Kelsey Grammer, Zod – Naveen Andrews, Black Manta – Yahya Abdul-Mahteen II, Giganta – Yunjin Kim, Captain Cold – Pedro Pascal, Mirror Master – Rose Leslie, Trickster – Aubrey Plaza, Captain Boomerang – Margot Robbie, Reverse Flash – Giancarlo Esposito, General Maksai – Peter Mensah, Gentleman Ghost – Alan Cumming, Prometheus – Shameik Moore, Gorilla Grodd – Ian McShane, Queen Bee – Indira Varma, Constantine Drakon – Lee Byung-hun, Ma’alefa’ak – Avery Brooks, Starro’s Herald – BD Wong, Starro – Tony Todd.

Season 2 Guy Gardener – Seann William Scott, Jessica Cruz – Natalie Morales, Kyle Rayner – Gael Garcia Bernal, Black Lightning – Adewale Akkinuoye-Agbaje, Ted Kord – Jordan Peele, Jaime Reyes – Elliot Fletcher(?).

Sinestro – Mahershala Ali, Ocean Master – Cliff Curtis, Funky Flashman – Paul Rudd, Roulette – Gina Torres, Gamemnae – Kelly Hu, Parasite – Ron Perlman, Count Vertigo – Sendhil Ramamurthy, Brainiac – Matthew Goode, Professor Ivo – Will Arnett, AMAZO – Michael B. Jordan, Kalibak – DeObia Oparei, General Wade Eiling – Kurtwood Smith, Morgan Edge – Bruce Campbell, Killer Moth – Doug Jones, Bizarro – Saber Abar.

Season 1

1. Seven Soldiers of Victory

Exhausted in the aftermath of their disturbing cosmic adventure with a monster named Solaris, the recently resurrected Bruce Wayne, his dear friend Clark Kent, and Clark’s fiance Lois Lane, return to Clark and Lois’ apartment to rest. Bruce stays at their apartment for some time, distressed in pondering how to reestablish contact with his family in Gotham, who still believe that he’s dead. When they learn from the evening TV news that John Stewart has made contact between the Green Lantern Corps and the United Nations as the beginning of his diplomatic mission, they take it as a sign to begin their own new mission. Taking inspiration from his own assembly of the BatFamily and then Batman Incorporated, Batman works together with Superman to travel the world in a call to action, contacting and recruiting four of the other world’s finest heroes. Kal-el visits the Amazonian Wonder Woman on a battlefield in Eastern Europe and John Stewart at the UN, while Batman meets with fellow Gotham vigilante Black Canary and the recently emerged popular superhero called the Flash, a young trans woman named Walli West, as she rescues civilians from a burning building in Central City.

The six have soon assembled at their initial headquarters, the Hall of Justice, built on an uninhabited island in the Atlantic. The sextet agrees to form a founding member council of the Justice League International, in which each of them has an equally weighted vote on all matters, and that future recruits will have the choice to join as either part of the League’s primary leadership, or a secondary membership. They are sworn to secrecy to protect each other’s identities and loved ones. Pre-established superhero organizations like the Birds of Prey or Batman Inc. will be respected as independent operators and welcome as collaborators in crises when necessary, in part established so that John Stewart will not be forced into a conflict of loyalty between the League and the Lantern Corps. Various government contacts from around the world, including those from John’s visit to the UN, are invited to the island to begin negotiations as Batman begins hiring the island’s maintenance and service crews.

After a quick montage covering the League’s first weeks getting their operation up and running, the six founding members are deployed for their first mission when a spacecraft crashes in Rio de Janeiro, where several hulking, pale-skinned aliens have emerged and began attacking locals as they seek out a far more fragile green-skinned creature, who has started to use shapeshifting powers to hide from his predators and blend in with the populace. Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, and the Flash pursue the predator aliens and fight with them to defend civilians, while Bruce, Kal-el, and Laurel attempt to peacefully and diplomatically speak with the shapeshifter. After some reluctance, the shapeshifter eventually explains that he is J’onn J’onnz, a Green Martian, whose people’s powers dwell in the psychological, and who were enslaved and massacred by the physically powerful White Martians. Despite his fears, once the pack of White Martians has been defeated, the empathy and understanding extended to J’onn by the League inspires him to come with them and be given refuge.

The League votes unanimously to induct J’onn into JLI leadership, which quickly attracts much criticism and concern from their diplomatic contacts. J’onn warns that he can sense an invasion force, likely the rest of the White Martians, approaching Earth from afar, opening the League to further governmental concern and criticism that they are placing Earth in danger by harboring this fugitive. The League stand firm in their status as a sovereign entity with the right to make this choice and argue that J’onn’s presence only allows them to better prepare defenses for the invasion, they would be attacked whether he was there or not. This settles the matter for now, but tensions remain among the public and world governments alike as they face some striking changes: the presence of J’onn J’onnz and the threat of invasion on the horizon that came with him, the introduction of the cosmic warriors known as the Lantern Corps to humanity, and the emergence of the Justice League as a force for change.

2. Speed Demons: The Flash is in an especially cocky mood, which leads to her and Superman challenging each other to a race to see who’s the fastest, arranging a charity event around it. As the race escalates and she considers the potential consequences of her actions, Walli embraces humility and holds back, allowing Superman to win.

3. Time to Shine: Chronos engages in petty thievery to turn himself into a present-day renowned art collector, raising the League’s suspicions and leading to an investigation led by Bruce. The investigation ultimately uncovers that he is acting on the orders of the Ultra-Humanite, a mad scientist that simply desired to own as much classical art as possible. After the climactic battle causes his facility to collapse and fatally injure him, the scientist transfers his mind into the body of an albino ape from the mysterious Gorilla City. Meanwhile, Superman searches for his previous trainee, Plastic Man, as a new recruit for the League.

4. The Phantom Zone: Lex Luthor’s privately funded space exploration project leads to him discovering the Phantom Zone and the imprisoned General Zod, who is weary and without resources. After he learns of Superman’s success and popularity, Lex attempts to exploit his jealous rage and goad him to attack. Instead, knowing that he’s without allies and past his prime, Zod decides to speak with Kal-El and convince him that he was friends and allies with Jor-El, infiltrating the League and beginning to earn Superman’s trust.

5. Beneath the Waves: The Justice League journeys to the city of Atlantis to establish diplomatic relations with its king after conflict rises between him and those navigating the world’s oceans. They are ultimately forced to set their differences aside when the terrorist Black Manta strikes the city, putting them all in danger. Aquaman formally joins Justice League leadership in order to represent Atlantean interests on the surface world and to repay them for protecting his people.

6. The Cat and the Canary: The League crosses paths with the Birds of Prey when Wonder Woman’s sister Giganta attacks Gotham in a desperate bid for her attention. In the aftermath of the conflict, Black Canary’s successful recruitment of Huntress as a full-time Leaguer brings up tensions between her and Catwoman, which are further exacerbated when Selina sees Bruce for the first time since his resurrection.

7. Heavy Metal: John Henry Irons perfects the suit that he was working on for LexCorp and steals it, leaving the company to become Metropolis’ vigilante Steel. As power quickly goes to his head, Steel enters a confrontation with Superman, leading to his recruitment and training under Kal.

8. Flash and Substance: In the midst of a major event commemorating her, Flash’s colleagues in the League remain skeptical of her skills and popularity. Flash’s Rogues are united under the leadership of Reverse-Flash as they conspire to sabotage the opening of the museum devoted to her and her family’s legacy. She is given the opportunity to prove herself to her coworkers by holding her own against her united nemeses. After she extends compassion and respect towards them, the Rogues overthrow Reverse-Flash, rejecting his homicidal tendencies in favor of establishing a long-term labor union and co-op.

9. Alien Nation: The League is operating in Zambesi to rescue and recruit the mystical Vixen from betrayal by her uncle General Maksai. Cultural clashes and language barriers obstruct their efforts to navigate the area. Meanwhile, J’onn explores human civilization on his own, struggling to belong and connect.

10. Faded Veteran: While Superman is continuing his search for Plastic Man, Zod finally betrays and strikes against Superman when he’s in a vulnerable position, but his friends very quickly have his back despite their frustration with trying to warn him about Zod. Zod is defeated and cast into the sea. An amnesiac Zod washes ashore far away from the League’s eyes. He tries and fails to live a new life as a good man, before being recruited by a shadowy, otherworldly figure who promises to match and succeed his own ambitions.

11. Questioning Fate: A supernatural mystery involving Gentleman Ghost crosses the paths of the zen sorcerer Doctor Fate and the paranoiac private investigator called The Question, leading to them developing a begrudging respect for each other and signing as independent contractors with the League.

12. Knight Time: While the rest of the League is occupied with intervening in the situation of Green Arrow and Supergirl, fugitives from the law, eventually resulting in their legal residency and recruitment, Batman is forced to return to Gotham and face off single-handedly with the young upstart vigilante known as Prometheus. Prometheus is devoted to empowering the youth of Gotham into uprising and tearing down established authority through his anti-elitist, collectivist ideology. Batman is forced to retreat in failure after their first confrontation, during which Prometheus accuses him of possessing “the attitude of a man who knows nothing but wealth.”

13. Grodd Rises!: The League receives an aid request from a hidden city of hyper-intelligent apes, and must carefully navigate it after they get word of the Flash having information on an impending attack from the city’s most notorious war criminal, ).

14. Mortality And Divinity: The recently recruited Green Arrow struggles with her experiences of serving alongside and relating to a large number of the heavily superpowered. Her crime-fighting partner Supergirl reconciles with her previously unknown family relation with Superman and Kryptonian heritage.

15. Rumble in Gotham: A Jackie Chan action comedy homage featuring Batman and other street-level heroes, namely Black Canary, Huntress, and Catwoman, who begins working through her tensions with Bruce, facing off against Prometheus and his recruits (Justice Smith, Skylan Brooks, Tremaine Brown Jr.). Starman appears to aid the heroes, succeeding in discouraging Prometheus’ recruits away from the path they’re taking rather than in battle. In the final scene, Bruce meets with Ted Knight at his Gotham U office afterwards, asking whether he will join the League. Ted agrees to sign as a reserve member, but explains that his full-time duties remain to science rather than defense, having enlisted with the newly formed Challengers of the Unknown.

16. Strange Visitors: A solitary White Martian arrives and begins to terrorize a local populace, but J’onn eventually learns that it is not in fact part of the invading force, but a refugee from an entity so dangerous that it wiped out his people’s own predators. He ultimately mercy-kills the creature after struggling to negotiate his rage with his empathy, and warns the League of the vastly approaching danger.

17. Secret Society: Secretly funded by Lex Luthor, Gorilla Grodd joins forces with Prometheus to assemble a diabolical secret society that can fight with the Justice League as a group. They gather Giganta, Black Manta, Chronos, Killer Frost, Queen Bee, Constantine Drakon and the Scavenger to strike against the League just as the first wave of the mysterious invasion force hits earth, led by an entity of mystical power, the Herald. Drakon manipulates the League’s members against each other.

18. Stronger Together: Drakon is revealed to be Malefak in disguise, a surviving Martian with a grudge against J’onn, and successfully tears the Society apart at the seams, while the League overcomes their tensions and loyally bands together to successfully defeat and capture the Society. They are forced to neglect the rapidly spreading infestation of starfish aliens that mind control citizens of the Earth.

19. No One Does It Better: The League collaborates once more with the Birds of Prey when the mind-controlled citizens are led by the Herald of the infestation to attack Atlantis, turning Aquaman’s people and some of their fellow superheroes against them. The Birds thoroughly prove their worth as an independent organization against the doubts of some heroes, and in a grand act of distraction to help the League with freeing their imprisoned comrades, they perform a grandstanding musical number about their own prowess.

20. Invasion!: The alien hivemind known as Starro finally lands on Earth, where it aims to harvest the world’s finest scientific minds and harness their dangerous technology against the Justice League, specifically targeting the Challengers of the Unknown* and necessitating a team-up.

* Ted Knight/Starman – Donald Glover, Rhiannon Choi/The Atom – Britney Young, Android Hourman – Mandy Patinkin, Ace Morgan – Tina Desai, Roxy Rocket Ryan – Melissa Fumero, Leslie Rocky Davis – Vincent Rodriguez III, Prof Haley – Rahul Kohli.

21. The Conqueror: Starro nearly reaches total conquest of Earth as all of the active superheroes on Earth work collectively to defeat it, ultimately nullifying its abilities with quicklime at the end of an extended battle and soon after dispelling its spawn from the solar system for good with the help of the Lantern Corps.

22. The New Frontier: Having already greatly expanded the League with the additions of Aquaman, Steel, Huntress, Question, Dr. Fate, and Vixen among others, and recently defeated the widespread infestation of Starro the Conqueror, the League must grapple with a rapidly expanded universe to consider while entering new negotiations with the United Nations and the Lantern Corps alike, and launching their new headquarters, a space station called the Watchtower, in orbit over the Earth.

World’s Finest Season 2

1. The Silver Age

Kryptonian artificial intelligence Brainiac crash lands on earth and soon becomes the center of an international conflict between the UN, Luthor Corp and the League for claim over the data within his shell, which seems to be irreparably damaged. Luthor successfully makes the argument that his resources provide the best opportunity for accessing the data, on the basis of two conditions argued by the League: that the technology cannot be monetized in any way, and that he is legally obligated to share the data if he can access it.

2. Hearts and Minds

With recovery from Starro’s attacks and the extended dealings with Earth’s governments completed, the Lantern Corps launch the next phase of their diplomatic outreach program on Earth, opening up to Earth’s citizens for education and possible recruitment. During John Stewart and Kyle Rayner’s operation of the program, they successfully speak with mutual friend and veteran Jessica Cruz, and also get involved in an altercation with a brash, volatile wannabe recruit by the name of Guy Gardener. Sinestro infiltrates the Lantern program in order to misinform humans they’ve registered and in the process frame John for the criminal exploitation of their new human contacts.

3. Fish Out of WaterIn a comedy episode focused on Aquaman’s attempt at outreach to the surface world, he struggles to communicate with and understand humans and their world, but ultimately he will need the help and cooperation of these surface dwellers in order to sniff out and foil the plot of his brother Ocean Master, who has used his fully human heritage to blend in.

4. Lightning Strikes TwiceAnother vigilante emerges in Metropolis aiming to fill the void left behind by Superman, a highly aggressive individual by the name of Black Vulcan, who is perceived in certain neighborhoods as the return of legendary neighborhood protector, Black Lightning. Jefferson Pierce, the former Black Lightning, emerges from retirement to punish Vulcan for abusing power and impersonating him.

5. In Brightest DaySinestro is successfully exposed and then exiled from the Lantern Corps as punishment for his ambitions and amoral behavior, and he strikes at Earth to get back at former friendly rival John Stewart. Despite his considerable power as an individual, he is overwhelmed by the League as a collective and forced to go on the run, contemplating his need for allies.

6. HivemindQueen Bee, returning after the disbanding of the Secret Society, abducts and brainwashes several Amazonian warriors, and attempts to use them to turn all of Earth into her brainwashed drones, forcing Diana to not only see her people for the first in a long time, but have to fight them.

7. Winner Take AllPopular shock jock radio host Funky Flashman begins hosting an illegal superhuman fight club known as Metabrawls in collaboration with Roulette, Gotham crime lord. Vixen and Green Arrow team up to enjoy participating and then shut the operation down without the senior League leadership learning of it.

8. Friends in Low PlacesAfter a disturbing diagnosis, a severely upset and traumatized Luthor reassembles the Secret Society and embraces his full supervillainy, before ultimately being undone by the Ultra-Humanite’s treachery and Martian Manhunter’s infiltration. J’onn’s defeat of the Society occurs in broad daylight, helping endear him to the public, while Ultra-Humanite reveals himself to the League as a government informant and donates his reward to public broadcasting.

New Secret Society: Ultra Humanite, Cheetah, Copperhead, Parasite, Constantine Drakon, Gamemnae, Count Vertigo, Tattooed Man.

9. Ghost in the MachineBrainiac’s consciousness finally awakens within Luthor’s computers, and begins to seize control over his building and machinery before expanding into the city itself. Lex is confronted with the moral quandary of sacrificing his city for the survival of his enterprise and life’s work.

10. Brave New MetropolisIn a near future alternate reality, Lex and Brainiac have nearly fused completely, transformed Metropolis into a tyrannical, high-tech nightmare, and forced the League to go rogue. Despite the best efforts of this League as an underground resistance movement, it is only by Luthor’s hands that things are able to be set right, reverting time to the moment of his pivotal choice and now destroying Luthor Corp and Brainiac along with it.

11. Prodigal SonProfessors Ivo and Morrow design the android Amazo to be an ambassador between the JLI and the rest of Earth. Lex Luthor is still dying of cancer and now desperate to rebuild his empire. He abducts and redesigns Amazo as a weapon to retaliate against the League, blaming them for his crisis of conscience. Amazo ultimately realizes Luthor’s manipulation and deception of it, abandoning both its loyalty to him and the planet in a fit of rage. Luthor is finally taken into custody as Superman and Amazo together exposed him to the public.

12. Father’s Day

The cosmic warrior Kalibak, champion of the New Gods on Apokolips, assaults Earth in a bid to gain the approval of his father, an imposing figure that remains in shadow. Superman holds him off in extended battle as the League debates how best to deal with him, until he ultimately retreats on his own. Kalibak returns to his father’s throne room, where he is introduced to a human general by the name of General Wade Eiling. Kalibak’s father has been planning with the General to aid him against the threat of the unified superheros of the galaxy, and in appeal to prove his loyalty to their cause, the king of the New Gods snaps his fingers and destroys Kalibak as punishment for the attack on Earth. Eiling in repayment introduces Professors Ivo and Morrow as they are recruited into their Project Cadmus. Ivo meets with the king’s advisor Desaad, and is killed and possessed by him.

13. Flight of the Beetle: Scientist Ted Kord and intern Jaime Reyes, a trans man, develop twin techno-suits after their discovery of a damaged Scarab AI that bonds and speaks with Jaime. When their employer Morgan Edge confiscates Ted’s suit, the newly minted Blue Beetles turn to the Justice League for help, leading to a heist against the facility.

14. Call of the Scarab: Infiltrating Edge’s headquarters unveils an extensive trove of Reach technology. After Ted reclaims his suit, he seeks to destroy all of Edge’s weaponry and incites an extensive battle within the facility. An Infiltrator Scarab latently attaches itself to Superman in the midst of the chaos.

15. Moth to a FlameMorgan Edge has begun development on two science experiments to get revenge on both the Beetles and the League. His first creation is Killer Moth, but much to his surprise, the creature is inspired by the League’s heroism and turns against him. It is ultimately rejected by the League, leaving it to wander the Earth and nurse its wounded pride. Edge impatiently checks on the development of his other project, a Superman clone.

16. Identity CrisisThe Bizarro Superman is released and begins to rapidly deteriorate, soon attempting to perfect his own mirror image of Superman by destroying his own “homeworld.” Its actions cost Edge the majority of his faculty, and forces Superman into desperate measures to prevent it, in the process necessitating that he contemplate his own ideals.

17. War MachinesMorgan Edge has completely broken down and attempts to harness his remaining Reach technology, combined with newly discovered Apokolips weaponry, to assemble his own techno-suit and declare all out war on the Justice League, destroying himself in the process, but not before wounding Olive Queen.

18. The ReturnAmazo emerges from deep space to confront Lex Luthor, crashing through Oa and killing the Guardians in the process. Luthor in his near death state offers thoughtful, compassionate words that inspire Amazo to go under the spiritual tutelage of Dr. Fate in their out-of-time pocket dimension.

19. In Blackest Night

In the wake of the Guardians’ deaths, the truce between the Guardians and the Reach has been formally dissolved, and the perfect opportunity for the Reach to strike Earth alongside ally Sinestro has opened up. Sinestro proceeds to inspire and recruit an army, before leading in the first wave of assault against Earth. The entire Lantern Corps unite to defend the Earth in a massive battle in the cosmos above its atmosphere. Katma Tui is caught in an explosion. Kilowog dies protecting John from an attack by Sinestro. Sinestro’s army is ultimately defeated and slain, and he is captured, but at great cost, with only John Stewart, Kyle Rayner, and Jessica Cruz remaining alive.

20. The SwarmThe Reach launch their invasion against the weakened forces of Earth, but inspired in large part by the words of J’onn J’onnz, who makes his first public appearance in his original form, the human forces and Justice League International unite to beat back the swarm.

21. Dark Heart

The League turns to the Challengers of the Unknown and sends The Atom to the Reach homeworld so she can shrink down and hijack the source of the swarm, eliminating the remainder of the invasion force. Before the last of the Reach die out on Earth, they activate Superman’s Scarab and force him to attack Metropolis in a final vindictive lashing out against their conquerors. Rampaging through several city blocks, his face is consumed with grief and guilt as his body acts against his wishes, before Diana catches up to him. She boxes Clark’s ears to stun him and pulls the Scarab off his neck before crushing it in her hand. Surrounded by destruction, she holds him comfortingly.

22. Legacy

Superman voluntarily exiles himself by flying out into space, while John Stewart is left to cope with the loss of the Lantern Corps and the rest of the League pick up the pieces. Lex’s sentences are commuted for his role in protecting Earth from Amazo, he enters experimental cancer treatments funded by an unknown benefactor, and he pursues atonement as a vocal advocate for the League. The League works together to help rebuild from the far more devastating impact left by this invasion as they are confronted by their failures and responsibilities.

World’s Finest – Time and Space (Seasons 3 and 4) are forthcoming!