Unveiled over the weekend at Comic-Con International in San Diego, the second trailer for Justice League further showcased the film’s action and humor, while undoubtedly frustrating some fans with its glaring lack of Superman. But in addition to fleshing out the plot, if perhaps only a little, the footage provided a prime showcase for the film’s fictional technology.
From Batman’s gadgets, both large and small, to Wonder Woman’s arsenal, to the wondrous and terrible devices of Apokolips (all springing from the mind of the late, great Jack Kirby), they’re all on display in this latest Justice League trailer. We break them down below.
The great MacGuffin of Justice League, and what brings antagonist Steppenwolf and his Parademons to Earth, Mother Boxes are “living computers” introduced in 1971 by Jack Kirby in The Forever People #1. Invented in DC Comics lore on New Genesis, the sunny counterpart to Apokolips, they’ve effectively sentient PCs capable of a wide range of wondrous abilities, from healing seemingly fatal injuries and creating blasts of injuries to rearranging the molecular structure of matter and opening and closing the extra-dimensional portals known as Boom Tubes.
Mother Boxes were actually introduced into the DC Extended Universe in 2016’s Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, first in a brief video that shows the transformation of Victor Stone into Cyborg, and then in a deleted scene in which Lex Luthor communes with Steppenwolf, who’s seen holding three cubes. Those are Mother Boxes, of course.
“These Mother Boxes are best when they work in threes,” producer Charles Roven explained in June 2016 during a visit by CBR and other outlets to the Justice League set. “And back before there was a history, these Mother Boxes, this is an Amazonian Mother Box, this is Atlantean, and this is mankind.” It was so far back, in fact, that Atlantis wasn’t even submerged yet. We see the Amazonian Mother Box in the trailer, and we’re left to wonder how Cyborg’s father, Dr. Silas Stone, got his hands on one.
In the trailer, Steppenwolf arrives on Themyscira, to the alarm of Queen Hippolyta and her Amazons, courtesy of a Boom Tube, an extradimensional portal opened most commonly by (what else?) a Mother Box. Named for the sonic boom triggered whenever the portal is opened, Boom Tubes have sometimes been depicted in DC comics as the only way to travel between Earth and New Genesis or Apokolips.
Introduced by Jack Kirby in 1971 in The Forever People #1, Boom Tubes can accommodate passengers, and objects, of varying numbers and sizes, making them ideal for transporting, say, an entire Apokoliptian army across the galaxy for an all-out invasion of Earth.
It seems likely the Mother Box in the possession of Atlantis is used to open a second Boom Tube, as in the trailer we see Jason Momoa’s Aquaman dodge an ornate ax. In DC Comics lore that’s the Electro-Ax, the traditional weapon of Steppenwolf. It’s been depicted in different ways over the decades in comics, animation and toys (even being attached by cable to a backpack power source), but one element remains consistent: It’s really, really powerful.
That’s most obvious in the new trailer when Steppenwolf strikes the ground with the Electro-Ax, opening up chasms of lava that creates hell on Earth — or at least makes it a dead ringer for Apokolips. However, there’s also a moment where the weapon seems to meet its match in Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman, which probably shouldn’t be a surprise. After all, she went toe to toe with Doomsday and Ares.
Perhaps not exactly technology, the Parademons are nevertheless an important tool of Steppenwolf and Apokolips. Darkseid’s shock troops, they were introduced into the DC Extended Universe in 2016’s Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, where they were depicted in the “Knightmare” vision sequence as locust-like creatures, swooping in to pick off their foes. That “swarm” aspect is their strength; they overwhelm enemies with their sheer numbers; with their rudimentary intelligence, they’re hardly military strategists.
Debuting in 1971 in DC’s The New Gods #1, by Jack Kirby, Parademons are created in the laboratories of Apokolips to serve as advance forces in his planetary invasions. Possessing enhanced strength and a high tolerance for pain, the Parademons come equipped with Apokoliptian weaponry and wing blades, permitting them to fly. In DC’s New 52, they also possessed fire breath, self-detonation and the ability to convert captives into new Parademons, a la the Borg from Star Trek: The Next Generation.
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