Voiced by ???
Millennia old, the Imperium was the supreme intelligence that controlled and directed the Alien Invaders as they infested and subjugated countless worlds. Though successful in its past conquests, the Imperium met its match when it encountered Earth's costumed protectors. Its invasion forces routed by these super-powered beings—who would soon organize to form the Justice League—the Imperium presumably met its end when its ship crashed into one of its smoke factories in Metropolis.
Cartoon Network on the Imperium: "At first conquering Mars under the command of the Imperium, the Invaders absorbed the Martian's shape-shifting powers and soon infiltrated the Earth. [...] Little is known of [the] mastermind behind the Alien Invaders. A nocturnal creature, its only weakness seems to be daylight (courtesy of Cartoon Network)."
Bruce Timm on the Alien Invaders: “With all the alien technology, we had a really hard time trying to come up with something we hadn’t done before or something that hadn’t been seen a zillion times before. During the initial development process, we kind of keyed in on the old illustrator Richard Powers [a sci-fi illustrator from the 1950s and 60s; some of his artwork can be seen here]. So all of the stuff sort of has a slightly Richard Powers-eque look to it (courtesy of Toon Zone).”
Screen Grabs of the Alien Invaders
The Imperium Image | Alien Invader Images
"J'onn J'onzz, it's been a long time. [...] You have defied us for centuries."
"And I will never bow before you or any of your kind."
An exchange between the Imperium and J'onn J'onzz from "Secret Origins"
An original character created for Justice League, the Lovecraftian, jellyfish-like Imperium was designed to serve as the figurehead for the Alien Invaders and to provide J’onn J’onzz with a climactic scene in the third act. The Imperium is unlikely to return, as 1) it apparently died at the end of "Secret Origins" and 2) the Justice League creative team has a wealth of far more interesting villains to occupy the League’s time. Simply put, it was designed to be a one-note, one-dimensional adversary—one that filled the “villain” slot of the episode and didn’t compete with the League in terms of establishing itself as a fully developed personality—and it showed.
Unlike their leader, the Alien Invaders themselves come from a more interesting pedigree, as they appear to have been inspired by not one, but two alien races from DC Comics: the White Martians and the Swarm. The White Martians, from Grant Morrison’s first JLA story arc, were an aggressive offshoot of the Green Martian race (which J’onn J’onzz was a part of), who possessed inherent shape-shifting abilities and decimated their green brothers in a fashion similar to the Alien Invaders. As for the Swarm, who were hinted at in the pages of Martian Manhunter, they were a hostile race that J’onn is fated to fight for 22,000 years at some point in his future (which makes his mere 1,000 year conflict with the Alien Invaders seem almost like a simple task). In addition, the Invaders also can lay claim to drawing inspiration from the Martians from War of the Worlds, if their tripod weapons were any indication.
Again, it is unlikely that either the Imperium or the Alien Invaders will return on Justice League, as they lack the depth that the League’s other world conquering adversaries possess. They were fodder, meant only to give the League a taste of what was to come.
Images courtesy of Toon Zone, Bat313, Warner Bros. Entertainment, and Cartoon Network.
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