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David Clinton was a henpecked husband living in the Gotham City of the future. His wife Enid wants him to take out the trash, and instead finds him in the garage collecting trash, except that the "trash" he has been collecting were taken from various points of time with his new Chronos Suit. Enid be

Quote1.png Plan? We put him in the ground. Quote2.png
Jonah Hex

The Once and Future Thing, Part I: Weird Western Tales is an episode of season 1 of Justice League Unlimited. It premiered on January 22, 2005.

Synopsis for "The Once and Future Thing, Part I: Weird Western Tales"


David Clinton was a henpecked husband living in the Gotham City of the future. His wife Enid wants him to take out the trash, and instead finds him in the garage collecting trash, except that the "trash" he has been collecting were taken from various points of time with his new Chronos Suit. Enid berates him for that, saying he could have taken gold, jewels, or even gained future stock information. David tries to tell her that he can't steal anything that would change history, but Enid cares very little for that. Her final comment, saying that he invented a time travel device that he can't find anything useful to do with, drives David to respond, "I can use it to get away from you!" He activates a button on the suit's belt, and a portal opens up, allowing him to escape from his wife through time.

Present Time

On board the Watchtower satellite, the Justice League members are getting their meals when Hawkgirl and Wonder Woman end up grabbing the same tray at the same time. They are both still angry with each other: Wonder Woman relents only to let Hawkgirl have the tray, and Hawkgirl simply carries it without saying a word back. Batman and Green Lantern watch from their table, with Green Lantern saying Wonder Woman's still holding a grudge and Batman saying she'll get over it. Bruce Wayne asks John Stewart about Shayera Thal, and John says he's simply giving her some space and that he's happy seeing Vixen now. Bruce just says "uh-huh" to that. John tries to ask about Bruce's love life and his attraction to Wonder Woman. Bruce says he doesn't have time to pursue that kind of relationship, and that he admires Diana as a remarkable woman and friend...and then gets the feeling she's standing right next to him listening in. Diana simply says, "Don't let that stop you...keep digging!"

Suddenly an alarm goes off; an intruder is in the dormitory section of the Watchtower. Batman, Green Lantern, and Wonder Woman rush off to find the intruder stealing one of Batman's utility belts. Fearful, he activates a device on his belt, opening up a portal into which he jumps. The three heroes follow in after him, finding themselves bouncing around within the energy tunnel as they travel to where the portal leads.

Past Time: The Old West

They arrive in the desert, and soon are surrounded by a few highwaymen in western outlaw clothing, demanding a toll to be paid for crossing through Tobias Manning's territory while aiming guns at the heroes. One of them tries to get "a little friendly" with Wonder Woman, who then grabs him and throws him away from her. The other two highwaymen fire their guns, which Wonder Woman blocks with her silver bracelets, saying that their bullets are the slowest. The three bandits try to make their getaway, but Wonder Woman is quick with the lasso as she snags all three of them and violently yanks them over her head to the ground.

Batman looks through one of the highwaymen's belongings and finds a newspaper dated June 12, 1879, indicating that they have traveled through time into the past. Green Lantern suggests that they should head for the nearest town to start looking for the intruder. Batman says they can't go into town dressed in their uniforms, and soon the highwaymen are stripped of their outer clothes which Batman and Wonder Woman wear while Green Lantern, not liking the smell of wearing used clothes, uses his power ring to change into a western lawman's outfit.

The three heroes take the bandits' horses and ride off to the town of Elkhorn, where they enter its saloon and watch a poker game in progress. One of the players is the Tobias Manning mentioned by the highwaymen, who is left placing a high bet against the sole remaining player also placing a high bet to see what cards each other is holding. Tobias shows he is holding four kings and an ace; the other player shows he is holding four aces and a king. As he scoops up his winnings, Tobias draws out a gun, as does the other player. However, as the Justice League members notice, the gun Tobias draws out has extendable barrels, obviously a piece of future technology that he somehow got his hands on. The other player peaceably surrenders his winnings before Manning tells his men to "hang 'im at dawn" and they drag him away to the nearest jail cell, pronouncing him guilty due to Elkhorn being Tobias' town.

After they decide their options, Bruce, John, and Diana choose to enter the county jail to break the card shark out, with John entering first by creating a green ghost to scare the jailkeeper into knocking himself unconscious. Then Wonder Woman rips the cell door off its hinges and frees the man who calls himself Bat Lash, who has a score to settle with Tobias. Also in the jail is the man they're looking for -- David Clinton, the inventor of the Chronos Suit. He arrived in that time period six months ahead of the Justice League and was robbed of his time travel device by Manning, who then used it to steal future technology in order to take over Elkhorn, keeping Clinton alive only to teach him how it works.

Bruce notices surveillance cameras mounted on the ceilings near the jail cells and tells David Clinton they're leaving now. Diana breaks David out of the cell, but they hardly get near the exit when they are greeted outside with gunfire by Manning's men. John Steward shields them with their energy ring, but he feels that they need to fire back. Soon they get unexpected help in the form of a Native American named Ohiyesa Smith, a masked man with a cape named El Diablo, and a fierce-scowling cowboy named Jonah Hex. They take down Manning's men with ease and introduce themselves to the Justice League members, with Ohiyesa saying that he used to be the sheriff of Elkhorn until Manning ran him out of town with some "magic powers" of his. He had been looking for some allies such as El Diablo and Hex to remove Manning from running Elkhorn like his personal kingdom and returned when he found them. After the Justice League explain their situation without revealing that they came from the future, saying the man they're after is the indirect cause of Elkhorn's problems, the two teams join together to pursue Manning with Clinton and Bat Lash in tow.

On their way to Manning's hideout, Ohiyesa Smith warns the Justice League to watch out for strange things going on -- which they see rather quickly as a robotic pterodactyl emerges from a cliff side, attacking them. Wonder Woman jumps up and punctures a hole in the robot's wings, causing its rider to jump out and glide to safety before it crashes. Arriving at the hideout, Ohiyesa sees that there are robotic guards and security cameras armed with machine guns posted around the perimeter. Batman and Wonder Woman spring into action to take out the cameras, the guns, and the robots. Soon one of Manning's men charges at Batman riding a robotic raptor, which Wonder Woman wrestles to the ground. Hex, Ohiyesa, Stewart, and Lash rush in following them, dealing with all sorts of future technology such as tanks and robot mechanoids. El Diablo shows up to take down one of the mechs as Manning tries to make his escape on a robotic pegasus. Ohiyesa grabs onto the flying robot to bring it the ground before confronting Manning face to face, felling him with one punch. He grabs the belt from David Clinton's Chronos Suit off from Manning and shows it to the Justice League.

After John Stewart cleans up all the future technology and sends it off into space using his energy ring, and the Justice League members are back in their uniforms, Batman looks at the Chronos Belt to figure out how it works. Clinton acts as if to teach Batman, but instead presses a button that gives him an electrical jolt that briefly stuns him. Clinton grabs the belt from Batman, presses a button, and jumps into the time portal created. Wonder Woman and Green Lantern go in after Clinton, taking Batman with them, as the heroes of the Old West watch in amazement.

Future Time: Gotham City

They arrive in Gotham City, except that it is 50 years into the future. They are greeted by a gang of colorful thugs called the Jokerz, and like Manning, they seem to be equipped with future technology as well. They tell their new arrivals that they have been expecting them. Another voice breaks in and says, "I bet you weren't expecting us!" The Justice League members see three heores emerge from the sky: an older version of Static, Terry McGinnis (the future period's Batman), and a Caucasian man wearing metal armor and wings who calls John Stewart "Dad", surprising him.

Appearing in "The Once and Future Thing, Part I: Weird Western Tales"

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