"Superman Red vs. Superman Blue" is the thirty-sixth episode of the first season of Justice League Action. It is the overall thirty-sixth episode of the series.
Lex Luthor comes up with the means to separate each Justice Leaguer in two: one passive and good, the other aggressive and mean.
Lex Luthor, in his battle suit, has broken into S.T.A.R. Labs (in Metropolis?) and steals a pulse(?) modulator while the employees look on helplessly. As he flies away through the city, he dismantles the device and removes what he calls a quantum battery and inserts it into his kryptonite radiation emitter, saying that he now has the weapon that will destroy Superman. His way is suddenly blocked by the latter who threatens him. Luthor raises the weapon and fires and, though Superman is hit, it appears to have no effect. Then, as Luthor looks on incredulously, there is a flash of light and the figure of Superman splits into two identical copies, except that one is tinted red and the other blue.
They fall to the ground but soon take off, pursue Luthor and shoot him down with their combined heat vision. Then, as they consider how to finish with their foe, it becomes apparent that they have different and opposite personalities: the blue Superman is good-natured and naive but the red Superman is bad-natured and devious. The red one seems to want to batter Luthor to death and the blue one tries to restrain him. As they fight, Luthor escapes on foot but only until his path is barred by Wonder Woman. The villain again pulls his gun, shoots and now Wonder Woman splits into blue and red halves that bicker and fight, though Luthor is knocked down and drops his gun. The opposite Superman halves now show up and, while the two blue superheroes politely escort Luthor to a cell in the Watchtower, their red counterparts take the gun and fly away with a plan to use it for some evil purpose.
In the Watchtower, Green Arrow learns of the preceeding events from the captive Luthor and then goes to join Batman who has been able to locate the emitter from its radiation signature. He and Green Arrow head off to find it, leaving the two clueless blue superheroes behind. The two red superheroes with the emitter gun are located in an old hideout of Luthor and intend to free the red halves of all of the Justice League members. Batman and Green Arrow arrive and become involved in an extended fight with the two reds but eventually Batman is hit by the ray and splits into blue and red halves. His red half overcomes the blue and then takes charge of the red team, telling them that they can split the rest of the League by routeing the emitter's effect through the Watchtower's satellite links. As they leave, Green Arrow revives the blue Batman and they go in pursuit.
Back in the Watchtower, the blue Superman and Wonder Woman have been placed in a cell while the red team prepare the satellite links. To stop them, Green Arrow snatches the emitter but is tripped and accidentally shoots Luthor in his cell. The latter splits into two, and the red half disposes of the blue, offering his services to the red superheroes. The red Batman won't let the emitter be used on Green Arrow for fear of draining the battery. Red Luthor then links the emitter to the Watchtower's system and says he is ready to split the whole of the Justice League. However, the Watchtower's defensive armament activates and shoots the red superheroes with the emitter ray with the result that the blue and red halves of Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman are reunited into their original selves. Red Luthor apologises politely for his deceitful behaviour. Batman tells the puzzled Green Arrow that the red halves had been abberations and in the case of the bad Luthor it was his good half. The good Luthor turns the emitter on himself and his joint self is restored.
Back in his cell, Luthor moans that he has been betrayed by the person that he most trusted - himself.
Appearing in "Superman Red vs Superman Blue"
- The Superman Red and Blue story is from a Silver Age story in Superman #162 and later was re-imagined during the "Electric Superman" era of comics in the late 1990s when Superman lost his powers and gained energy based ones. In both cases, Superman was affected by a machine which resulted in him splitting into two beings, much like this episode. The 1998 version of Superman Red was similar to the animated version as he was more aggressive while Blue was rational, but not a separation of good and evil like in the cartoon.