Movies & TV Shows

10 Scariest Justice League Episodes, Ranked

An animated adaptation of Justice League: Warworld was announced for production, which will see Superman and the other members of the Justice League pitted against the fierce enemy, Mongul. Mongul is a petrifying warlord, who has devoted a large part of his life, bringing much violence and chaos to the world. With him now having a whole movie, there’s no telling how much destruction he will create.

Compared to some of the sadistic villains and monsters they have faced in the Justice League and its followup, Justice League Unlimited, this Warlord does look like he is capable of tearing apart the team. But whether his story will be as terrifying as the others is something that is going to be up for debate for a while (at least until 2023). Given the huge time gap, there’s plenty of time for the writers to come up with something just as terrifying and horrific as these monsters.


The Justice League Faces Off Against Ichthultu

The squid-like god Icthultu staring down at the League with luminous eyes in Justice League.

Basing an episode on the tales of Cthulhu and the Elder Gods is sure to bring plenty of horror. Although its monster is technically called “Ichthultu,” the principle remains the same. The League must not only fight Ichthultu in his own dimension, but fend off his army of screaming nightmare creatures flooding into Earth as well.

RELATED: 5 Things Justice League Did Well (& 5 That Unlimited Did Better)

Ichthultu alone is enough cosmic horror for one episode. Looking like a cross between a skull and a squid, he is tremendously bloodthirsty, to the point where even the warlike Thanagarians rejected him for requiring too much sacrifice. He’s also animated markedly differently than the League, emphasizing his otherworldliness and the wrongness he exudes.

Superman Is Forced To Face His Fears Over Outliving Everyone

A disheveled Superman and Vandal Savage walk through a destroyed city in Justice League.

The classically horrifying premise of Superman being killed is enough, with the shattered League struggling to carry on after his loss. But what actually happened to Superman is where the real horror kicks in: not only the primal fear of being irretrievably lost but the even more incomprehensible fear of outliving absolutely everything.

RELATED: 10 Times Batman And Wonder Woman Were Couple Goals

Superman ends up 30,000 years in the future, in an Earth so mangled and destroyed he doesn’t recognize it. His only company is the immortal Vandal Savage, who has been driven to darkness by the isolation of eternal life after the apocalypse. It’s a heartbreaking sight to see Superman’s pain since it’s one that could be deemed very relatable to the viewers.

Supergirl Petrified After Her Memories & Fears Are Used Against Her

Galatea versus Supergirl in Justice League Unlimited

Many horror movies center around an unknown, malicious entity taking over a hero’s consciousness, forcing them to see horrible visions or commit acts of violence they would never perform of their own will. In this episode, Supergirl is subjected to exactly that: tormented by visions of herself murdering innocent people with her heat vision.

RELATED: 10 Actors Who Had Multiple Roles In The DCAU

The idea that a person could become a brutal killer against their will, with only their nightmares to reveal these repressed memories, is terrifying. The actual explanation isn’t much better: the real culprit is Galatea, Supergirl’s sadistic clone, created from stolen DNA and raised by Cadmus as an anti-League weapon. Stealing Supergirl’s body parts is violation enough, but using them to create a clone that wants her dead is a whole other level.

When Ace Uses Her Powers For Evil

The Joker Traumatizes a teenaged Ace.

The Joker doesn’t appear often in this show, but he certainly makes his moment in the spotlight count in one of Justice League‘s best episodes. Once the world is tuned in to his latest crime, Joker explains that his real goal was to get everyone looking into the TV and into the psychic Ace’s eyes (so her powers would drive millions to act out of character).

While Ace herself is an innocent child with no desire to harm others, the effects of her powers are devastating and inescapable. Though Joker claims that Ace’s powers won’t effect, both he and Batman, whose mental fortitude is legendary, fall once she puts her mind to breaking them. The sight of the Joker begging a child for mercy just drives home how terrifying her influence must be.

The Effects Of Flashpoint Are Petrifying

A smoking crater surrounded by destroyed buildings in Justice League.

Featuring several of the most underrated characters in Justice League Unlimited, this episode stands out as both shocking and frightening. The explosive climax of the conflict between the League and Cadmus is bringing out the worst in everyone, creating mounting suspense as to what lengths everyone is willing to go to win.

The binary fusion cannon of the League’s satellite being fired is evocative of a nuclear attack: horrifying imagery for any medium, let alone a children’s show. Thousands of every day people stop in their tracks and stare in horror as the sky lights up, and the sole reason there are only injuries and destruction instead of hundreds dead is that the building attacked had already been evacuated.

Lex Luthor Being Torn Apart

An engorged Lex Luthor with machinery sprouting from his limbs and back and Brainiac's face in his stomach in Justice League.

Following up on “Flashpoint,” this episode continues the perfect storm of all-out battle between the League and Cadmus. It’s heart-pounding enough to see the League on the back foot, deprived of their strongest members while facing down a Cadmus army bent on killing them all.

But as it happens, Lex Luthor is the one putting the icing on the horror cake. At the end of the episode, it appears his plan is foiled, lulling viewers into a false sense of security. Then out of absolutely nowhere, machinery starts tearing through Lex’s body as he screams and flails, and the skin of his stomach melts away to reveal Brainiac inside him in a scene straight out of the scariest body horror anime.


Tala screaming as she's killed by the resurrection machine in Justice League.

In one episode, Lex Luthor is striving to resurrect Brainiac and use him to conquer the universe, slaughtering allies and enemies alike in a way that’s never been seen in the show before. Tala gets the worst death, betrayed by Lex and sacrificed for the resurrection, dying with screams that unnerved everyone watching.

The general energy of the episode as a whole is a landslide of “from bad to worse,” and the ultimate results of Lex’s efforts exemplify that. He doesn’t just resurrect Darkseid, one of the most powerful DC villains, but a Darkseid with all of his power intact and a cold pragmatism (replaced by wild rage and lust for revenge after Superman killed him). Lex is so horrified he does the unthinkable for him: goes running to Superman for help.

Legends Provided Some Harsh Truths

The mutated Ray Thompson glaring offscreen in Justice League.

Like the comics they derive from, superhero shows often try their hands at depicting the multiverse. This episode decides to play it for horror, with the Justice League being flung into an alternate universe where something is very off with their 50s-comics-esque counterparts, the Justice Guild. When they discover the Guild members’ graves, they suspect the work of a villain, but the true killer is even more terrifying: nuclear war.

This Earth is really a destroyed wasteland: the Guild’s city is a colorful disguise thrown over it by Ray, a psychic child traumatized by the war and coping by creating his own perfect world, a la The Twilight Zone‘s “It’s a Good Life.” To free the League and the other survivors roped into Ray’s creation, the imaginary Guild must kill him and sacrifice themselves.

A Better World

The Justice Lord Superman About To Punch The Flash As The Two Teams Battle On Earth 1.

It’s extremely lucky for the world that its superheroes have limits: without them, they would become the Justice Lords, brutal despots enforcing law and order through terror. Fans realize right away, to their horror, that this is not the Superman they know and love, when his teammates ask if he’s okay after killing Lex Luthor and he turns to them with a grin and says he feels great.

Citizens live in fear of being imprisoned for such crimes as complaining in public, villains are lobotomized instead of any attempts at rehabilitation, and the Lords are perfectly willing to kill their League counterparts for getting in their way of subjugating their world, too. Their existence so horrifies the League that they bring in the additional members of Unlimited to act as moral limiters and stop them from ever going too far.

Only A Dream

Doctor Destiny lunging at the camera with a syringe and a wide, skull-faced grin in Justice League.

Justice League‘s answer to A Nightmare on Elm Street is full to bursting with terrors. Egotistical John Dee acquires power over people’s dreams and immediately uses it to become a monster. He tortures his ex-wife to death, traps the League in unending and eventually fatal nightmares of their worst fears, and even transforms his own body to become more frightening.

All of the Leagues’ fears strike terror into viewers as well. Superman, his powers going haywire, accidentally fries Lois Lane with heat vision and snaps Jimmy Olsen’s spine with his strength. Flash is trapped in a “Hereafter”-esque fate where he’s run too fast and time has frozen around him, and Green Lantern is suddenly an object of fear and horror to all other humans. Hawkgirl’s worst fear is not only fitting for someone used to flying freely in the sky but most relatable to the audience: being buried alive and beyond help.

NEXT: 10 Best Superman Villains, According To Ranker

You may also like

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published.