Small details you missed in Justice League

Justice League didn't hold back on any of the big moments. We got a planet-threatening disaster, a team of superheroes determined to stop it, and a good old-fashioned race between Superman and Flash. But now that justice has been served on the big screen, we're doing justice to the little moments, small details, and Easter eggs you may have missed in Justice League. Spoilers ahead.

Crisis cameo

Early in the film, you may have caught that newspaper headline from the Metropolis Post asking if a bunch of fallen heroes—David Bowie, Prince, and Superman—returned to their own planets. Well okay, you definitely caught it. That newspaper was like, thirty feet tall on the screen. What you may not have noticed was the smaller headline beside the main story—"Citywide Crisis."

A crisis is a big deal anywhere, but in DC specifically, a crisis doesn't mean you're late for work and can't find your keys, it generally means some planet somewhere is going to explode. In other words, it's kind of a big deal, and DC doesn't throw the C-word around casually. It started in Justice League of America #21 with the Crisis on Earth One story line. In the very next issue, there was Crisis on Earth Two. Later, 1985's game-changing Crisis on Infinite Earths story arc put the entire multiverse in peril. Various crises even popped up after that, like Infinite Crisis and Final Crisis. Basically, most of DC comics' history has been defined by crises, so name-dropping the word in a DCEU movie is definitely a piece of fan service.

Smooth finish

For the majority of the movie, Cyborg had a notably different look than he did in the comics. Most issues have the metal man fighting crime with a smooth, aerodynamic exterior—a little more Iron Man and a little less a drawer full of scissors. In Justice League, however, the young Cyborg had pieces and chunks and sharp edges sticking out everywhere. It's super robo-tastic and cool, sure, and there have been a few spiky iterations of Vic Stone in the DC pages over the years, but most of his stories give him that smooth, mirror finish.

Well, perhaps in deference to that comic book look, at the end of Justice League Vic uses his growing control over the Mother Box tech to give himself a makeover, ditching the Lawnmower Man vibe for a more finger-friendly polished shell lifted straight from the comics. Which is great, but maybe a glorified shave isn't the best use of your superpowers. And while we're on the topic of Cyborg…


Any fans of Cyborg won't leave the theaters disappointed. Throughout the guy's run on Teen Titans Go!, Sparky has had one distinguishing catchphrase. It isn't much, but here it is: Booyah. It takes most of the movie to get there, but right at the end he drops his big line in a big way, giving at least some of the audience a reason to get out of their seats with a smile. If you've never come across Cyborg in any form before Justice League, you'd never know what all the fuss was about.


Amber Heard's character, Mera, didn't get a ton of screen time in Justice League, but the costume designers definitely paid homage to Mera's comics wardrobe. From Mera's crown to her green-scaled armor, the likeness is exact. 

One important aspect of Mera that Justice League only hinted at: she's Aquaman's wife. Or, in some variations, his fiancé. Either way, she always orders the Curry, if you know what we mean. (Hopefully, you know we mean Aquaman's name is Arthur Curry.)

Unfortunately, Justice League left the fate of Mera—and the nature of her relationship with Aquaman—up in the air, but since Amber Heard is slated to star in the upcoming Aquaman film, it looks like we'll get to see what finally happens with the princess of Xebel.

Red sky of doom

Leading up to the climax of Justice League, Steppenwolf takes the Mother Boxes back to that little Russian town to start his Apokalips terraforming picnic. Big crystal vines start sprouting, deadly alien flowers bloom, and the sky turns blood red. On the surface, that red sky is pure Apokalips—Steppenwolf's turning Earth into a version of his reddish world, after all. Slightly under the surface, a red sky is like clicking the "ominous" preset on on the movie's color grading. Something's going down, and it ain't good. Even deeper under the surface, that red sky represents very DC-specific levels of doom.

Leading up to the Crisis on Infinite Earths story line we mentioned, DC's comics, across the entire line, started coloring the skies red. Some of these books had nothing to do with the Crisis story line, but suddenly those unconnected characters were wondering why their skies looked like the aftermath of a piranha attack instead of their regular blue. Much of the time, that was the only tie-in, which is the reason panels like this showed up in comics like Swamp Thing. It became such a thing among fandom, that purely tangential connections in any franchise are now referred to as a "Red Skies Crossover."

Gorilla sign language

If you could give the Flash an iconic nemesis that wasn't a speedster, like the red-clad hero himself, such as Zoom, Reverse-Flash, or any others of that ilk, it would undoubtedly be Gorilla Grodd, a hyper-intelligent ape who's got a hyper-personal vendetta against the Flash. Obviously, there weren't any giant gorillas in Justice League, but there was a mention of that classic villain, albeit briefly.

When Bruce Wayne tracks down Allen and waits for him in Flash's "second-favorite chair," the super-speedster tries to convince Wayne that he's not really the Flash, offering a few descriptives about his hobbies, web design, viola, and sign language—specifically, gorilla sign language. For fans of the comics, it was immediately obvious that Allen was referring to Grodd, the greatest gorilla in the DC universe. At least, outside of Jackanapes, the Joker's adopted gorilla son. But this was much more likely a sly reference to Grodd.

Cold resistance

In that same scene where Bruce Wayne first meets Barry Allen, there are a ton of things going on. We mean, look at that little warehouse room. It's filled with computers, monitors, a big Flash suit, the works. And if you weren't paying attention to the Rick & Morty episode playing in the background, you might have noticed something else on one of those screens. 

Look closely at the monitor directly behind and to the left of Ezra Miller, and pay attention to the words at the top: Cold resistance. Clearly, Barry has been testing his suit's tolerance for a chill, and one particular Flash villain comes to mind when you think of cold—Captain Cold, aka Leonard Snart, one of Flash's deadliest villains.

Does this mean that Flash has already defeated Captain Cold in this universe? Or was he gearing up for a confrontation when Steppenwolf, ahem, stepped on everyone's plans? We just don't know!

A Flash by any other name

One interesting detail that stood out by way of omission is the fact that nobody calls Barry Allen the Flash. Everybody else got their names—Batman, Aquaman, Cyborg, Superman. Wonder Woman already had her movie, so she doesn't count. What about The Flash? He's fast, right? Like a flash. Someone could have easily made a pun about that. It's a small detail, but we can't help but wonder why nobody even bothered to pay fan service to the guy's alter-ego throughout the film.

Ace Chemicals

There were a good handful of Easter eggs emblazoned on the buildings of Gotham throughout the film, the most noticeable perhaps beingca that neon sign saying Janus. Slightly more obscured was a smaller neon sign advertising Ace Chemicals, which you can glimpse in the scene where Flash, Batman, and Wonder Woman spot the Bat Signal. And if you know your comics history, you know where this is going.

Ace Chemicals is the chemical plant where the Joker fell into a vat of chemicals and became, well, the Joker. It's gone by different names in different versions of the origin story—it was called Axis Chemicals in 1989's Batman and, oddly, Monarch Playing Card Company in the original run of Detective Comics—but Ace Chemicals is now DC canon for the birthplace of the Joker. In Justice League, the sign is a blink-and-you'll-miss-it detail, but it's a nice touch on the world-building of the movie.

Gotham gargoyle

Nothing says Batman like crouching on a gargoyle high above Gotham on a dark, stormy night. If you could put that in a bottle, it'd smell like the inside of Batman's cowl, guaranteed. So the shot of Batman on a Grim Reaper gargoyle in the Justice League Comic-Con trailer was a definite crowd pleaser. 

If you've done your homework and read all gazillion issues of Detective Comics, you might recognize that Reaper image. The shot is a direct homage to the cover of Detective Comics #682, which sees the Dark Knight perched on the exact same statue.

Ancient king

After Steppenwolf's first invasion of Earth (where he failed pretty hard), the three Mother Boxes were split among the races: Amazons, Atlanteans, and Men. The Amazons and Atlanteans built cool little shrines for their boxes, but the Men, being men, decided that they couldn't trust anyone with their Mother Box, so they buried it out in the woods.

Nobody calls anyone by name in that scene, and IMDb lists the main guy there as the "Ancient King of Men," so there's no saying who that kingly figure really was, right? Well, maybe, but there's one particular ancient king of men who definitely plays a role in the DC universe: King Arthur. Most of the mythological lore of King Arthur is kept intact in the DCU, so it's definitely possible that he was the one who would be entrusted with the Mother Box after a war that happened hundreds of years ago. And the man beside him? That might just be Sir Bors, another DC character who joined King Arthur on his adventures.

Anniversary release

Not every finely crafted detail in Justice League exists within the movie. There's also one detail that probably escaped even the die-hard fans who saw it on opening night. On November 18, 1992—twenty-five years to the day before the film was released—Superman died.

In one of the biggest events in comics history, DC killed off its biggest hero with its "Death of Superman" story arc. Obviously, the guy came back, but, at the time, folks uninitiated with the fact that comics deaths are usually nothing more than a temporary obstacle didn't know if the Man of Steel would ever grace the pages of a DC comic again, which made it a big deal.

Superman died in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. But Justice League leaned heavily on the repercussions of his death, and eventual resurrection, just like the "Death of Superman" arc. Are the dates a coincidence? Not likely.

Super theme song

Like the rest of the film, the soundtrack for Justice League got a major reworking post Zack Snyder. Snyder put Junkie XL, who'd previously collaborated with him on the soundtracks for Man of Steel and Batman v Superman, in charge of the battle tunes. When Joss Whedon stepped in following Snyder's departure, he hired Danny Elfman to compose the score. The end result was a mix of both composers, but we can credit Elfman for sticking the old Batman theme in the mix (as we've covered previously) and also for giving Superman a few notes of his iconic theme from 1978's Superman.

According to Elfman, Richard Donner's original composition formed the basis of one of the tracks on the film's score, although it may not be immediately recognizable. As he put it: "I'm using it in an actually very dark way, in a dark moment." 

God fight

There's a lot to look at during Wonder Woman's epic narration scene of the first battle the forces of Earth waged against Steppenwolf, and most people were probably preoccupied with figuring out who exactly that Green Lantern was. We have no answers there, but there were a few other DC characters featured in that fight who merit a mention.

First of all, Ares makes an appearance, with David Thewlis reprising his role from Wonder Woman. Fighting side-by-side with the god of war is Zeus himself, pictured above doing his godly best to take down Steppenwolf with lightning bolts. DC's Zeus is derived from Greek mythology, but he wasn't a big deal in the DCU until The New 52 relaunch retconned him as Wonder Woman's dad.  

Finally, that battle sequence features a quick shot of a flaming goddess taking down one of Steppenwolf's ships with a single arrow. That was most likely Artemis, an Amazon warrior who first appeared in Wonder Woman vol. 2 #90. Although none of these gods play a role in the actual events of the film, it was certainly gratifying to see them on-screen.

Superman loves plaid

Superman is, historically, the worst at disguises. In real life, combing your hair differently and putting on glasses wouldn't fool Ray Charles, let alone the world, but that's part of who he is, so we're all okay with that by now. Somewhere along the lines, live-action adaptations of Superman decided that he also needed to add plaid to his repertoire of implausibly common wardrobe choices. Maybe it's because he grew up on a farm in Kansas, and that's what farmer's wear?

Whatever the reason, ol' Clark's been putting on plaid whenever he visits the family farm ever since 1978's Superman. It's usually red, but not always. It was white in Superman IV, and white again in Superman Returns. Man of Steel got nervous and put his mom in plaid, but, oh, there's Clark wearing plaid again in Batman v Superman. All the way in Metropolis too. And who can forget the CW's Smallville, a show that spent more on plaid than Sister Act's entire budget for nun costumes.

Which brings us back to Justice League, where Clark, grumpy after getting woken up from the dead, heads out to the farm in Smallville to talk to Lois. In plaid. Even though she totally knows who he is, and he can just wear the suit with the big S. We mean, she just called him Clark in front of a dozen policemen while he was Supermanning the Super Friends. So why did he change to plaid? Because it's an Easter egg, is why.

Look, the bottom line is: if you ever see a guy anywhere wearing plaid and glasses, there's a 30% chance it's Superman.