DC Animated Universe

"Apokolips... Now!" is a two-parter consisting of the 25th and 26th episodes of the second season of Superman: The Animated Series, and the 38th and 39th of the overall series. It depicts Darkseid's first attempt to take Earth into his possession. Orion comes to earth to warn Superman of the impending invasion. Together he and Superman manage to turn back the first wave of attack but after Orion leaves, another attack comes and Orion can't be contacted. Now Superman and the people of Earth must fight back the might of Apokolips alone.


Part I[]

It's a typical Metropolis night, the SCU escorts an armored truck into a heavily guarded building. The truck's cargo is revealed to be laundered money taken by Intergang and confiscated by the SCU. Just then, criminals driving a high-tech flying tank burst into the building. All attempts to stop the tank are futile. The tank lowers a tentacle and forces energy into Captain Maggie Sawyer's car causing it to explode and badly injuring her. The tank then takes the truck and makes its way out of the building.

Outside, Superman attacks the tank. At first it seems that he will succeed in defeating the tank but they fire a bomb that creates flash strong enough to disorient Superman. They then send out a device that produces a screech so loud, all glass in the city shatters and everyone who hears it is stricken with pain. Superman is also affected by the device and though he manages to destroy it, the criminals get away.

Back at Mannheim's house, he is presented with the money but a bracelet he's wearing starts beeping. He sends his men away and receives a holographic message from Darkseid, who is unhappy at Mannheim's petty use of his tank and destroys the money. He leaves Mannheim unharmed and tells him that he will soon make him a king if he serves him well.

Orion seeks Superman

Orion arrives with an urgent summoning.

At a press conference, Dan Turpin insists that they cannot expect Superman to save them every time and the SCU will handle it themselves. Clark notes that the tank looks alien but his claim is dismissed. Just then, a boom tube opens and a helmeted man dressed in red flies in. He approaches Clark and exclaims, "Superman!". Though it seems that his secret identity has been revealed, the stranger then says, "Must warn... Superman", and faints.

Later, at S.T.A.R. Labs the man angrily insists that he needs to see Superman. Superman arrives and the man introduces himself as Orion. Orion explains that Darkseid is coming and has his Mother Box explain the origins of Apokolips and New Genesis.

The two worlds were once one, but they split into two: one that is almost pure good, New Genesis, and the other is almost pure evil, Apokolips. The two worlds were locked in eternal war until Darkseid and Highfather exchanged their infant sons. However, Darkseid took this opportunity to search for the Anti-Life Equation and conquers other planets. Now Darkseid is after earth and human agents have Apokoliptian weapons.

Orion's explanation

Orion explains Darkseid's plans.

Soon after hearing this, Superman and Orion are told that there are hover tanks attacking an Air Force Base. Human aircraft proves to be no match for the tanks but Superman and Orion land on the scene. Superman is captured by one the tanks and is hurt by massive surges of energy flowing through the metal tentacle, but Orion saves him. While Superman saves the pilots of the tank, Orion uses his advanced technology to destroy the rest of the tanks.

Elsewhere, Darkseid talks to Mannheim about the battle. He recognizes Orion but decides it isn't important. He then says that he's ready to begin phase two of his plan and takes Mannheim to a nuclear power plant.

After the end of the Air Force battle, Orion doesn't seem happy about the battle. He knows that Darkseid will strike again because Orion is his son. He then leaves to report to New Genesis, but leaves Superman with a device to signal him for more help.

Darkseid betrays Mannheim

Darkseid leaves Mannheim to die.

Back at the power plant, Mannheim and some parademons activate a device to take out the reactor's cooling system. Darkseid then congratulates Mannheim on his success but leaves him to die in the explosion, while dubbing him 'the King of Fools' to complete his earlier "promise". Mannheim tries to escape in a motorboat, but the explosion claims him.

Superman witnesses the blast and realizes that the troubles are not yet over.

Part II[]

After the explosion, Earth's sky has turned red. Professor Hamilton explains through a computer simulation that the reactor will melt through the planet until it reaches Earth's core. This will create an explosion that will cover Earth with more burn holes, essentially making it into a second Apokolips.

On Apokolips, Kalibak congratulates Darkseid, who is sure that Superman will still resist him. Kalibak asks for another chance to kill Superman but is refused. Darkseid instead summons Steppenwolf and sends him to Earth.

Back on Earth, Superman tries to call Orion, but the explosion damaged the device so there is no hope of getting help. He heads off to stop the reactor but is intercepted by Steppenwolf, who attacks him with a laser blast from a sword. Superman easily manages to destroy it, and Steppenwolf then sends his parademons to attack. Superman manages to beat the parademons but is hit by an energy net that forces him to the ground.

Parademons strike

The Parademons strike.

Jimmy and Lois arrive and though Lois tries to help Superman, the parademons get to him. They start to pile onto their prey, but Superman manages to fight them off. Just then, a missile strikes Steppenwolf's vehicle. Turpin arrives in a helicopter and orders the pilot to fire again. The vehicle is destroyed, and Steppenwolf is forced to dive into the ocean. More members of the SCU arrive and fight off the rest of the Parademons. Superman thanks Turpin and heads off to the power plant.

Upon arriving at the power plant, Superman drills holes into the ocean floor and fills in an underground cave. When the reactor reaches the water-filled cave, it cools and the threat is defeated.

Tired out from his efforts, Superman goes to a cliff to rest. Darkseid approaches Superman and offers him a chance to join him. Superman refuses, and Darkseid hits him with his Omega Beams.

Darkseid's speech

Darkseid delivers a speech to the people of Earth.

In Metropolis Plaza, members of the SCU work hard to fight off the endless waves of parademons. Jimmy is nearly killed by a parademon but Turpin saves him. Lois is also in the area, but she remains safe until a huge tank-like vehicle drives in. The tank has an interesting headpiece: Superman, broken and restrained. All fighting ceases and Darkseid makes a speech of subjugation to the people of Earth.

When Darkseid is done, Turpin and the people oppose him. They start attacking again and Turpin manages to free Superman. Kalibak attacks Superman but is easily defeated. Superman attempts to fight Darkseid but before they can start, another boom tube opens, and several soldiers of New Genesis arrive. Orion tells Darkseid that Earth is now under the protection of Highfather, and any attack will be a breach of their treaty.

Just a brave one

"In the end, the world didn't really need a super man. Just a brave one."

Darkseid begins to retreat after a few words, and Turpin mocks him. Stating how no victory comes easily, Darkseid fires his Omega Beams at Turpin, killing him, then disappears into a boom tube. Superman, mad with grief, destroys Darkseid's tank. Orion then offers his condolences. A funeral is held for Turpin where all of Metropolis attends and a Rabbi sings for him. Superman sadly stands over Turpin's tombstone and says goodbye. He then places his hand on the tombstone and reads the inscription dubbing Turpin "Earth's Greatest Hero".


Background information[]

Home video releases[]

Production notes[]

  • When recalling the process of coming up with this story, Bruce Timm has stated it was a challenge that required multiple brainstorming sessions with Paul Dini. The pair came up with multiple potential springboard ideas, "and then the 'Apokolips Now' storyline just came full-blown into my head one day."[1]
  • While Timm has stated Rich Fogel's script stayed true to the original story outline, he's noted that the addition of Steppenwolf was Fogel's idea.[1]
  • Discussing the episode's end, Timm has stated it almost turned out differently. "Turpin was still going to defy Darkseid at the end and say, 'You guys can't have this planet. We'd rather die first.' At that point Darkseid was just going to go, 'I really want this planet. I don't want to destroy it, so you win.' And everybody realized that was just too anticlimactic."[1]
  • The addition of the New Gods in the finale was a topic of back-and-forth discussion. Bruce Timm has stated he had come up with the idea initially "but I rejected it myself because I thought it was too easy." Ultimately, Rich Fogel and Alan Burnett saw their inclusion as a necessity.[1]
  • Bruce Timm has stated there was difficulty in getting both Broadcast Standards and Practices and DC Comics on board for Darkseid killing anyone. With DC it was particularly about the choice of character. While discussing Darkseid's motives with Paul Dini, Bruce jumped ahead to the end of the story suggesting Darkseid needed to "kill someone who is very close to Superman out of pure spite" and landed on Ma and Pa Kent. When the idea was brought to DC Comics, they said "Sure you can kill them... as long as you bring them back." In response, the crew cycled through other possibilities almost landing on Emil Hamilton, "but none of us really liked him anyway, so we figured if we killed him it would be 'Oh, thank you, Darkseid.'"
    • They settled on the idea of memorializing the recently deceased Jack Kirby by having Darkseid kill Dan Turpin, who they had already visually based on the artist.[1]
    • The production crew had anxiety regarding the potential reaction of Jack Kirby's widow, Roz Kirby. "It had been a couple of years after he had died, so she might have been okay with it," said Bruce Timm. "But at the same time, I certainly didn't want to cause her any more pain. I'm sure Jack's death was a really horrible thing for her. They were so close for so many years."[1] Roz passed away shortly before the episode aired.
  • When the SCU jet blows up in part I, the ensuing explosion is reused footage from a scene of "My Girl", in which Mr. Eelan blows a vat of hot lead off its support. This is used again later when Dan Turpin fires a missile at one parademon.
  • Likewise, when Turpin throws a spear to free Superman, the collision emits a flash that is reused footage from the gas canisters explosion that Superman ignites in "The Way of All Flesh".
  • In the episode's original broadcast, Dan Turpin's funeral featured cameos of several production members, comic book creatives, and numerous Jack Kirby creations, some of them characters from Marvel Comics. These characters and persons were initially removed, with the scene and soundtrack re-edited for subsequent airings and its release on DVD, but ultimately restored when the show was remastered in HD for Blu-Ray and streaming.
Storyboard for Turpin funeral

Original storyboards for Dan Turpin's funeral.

  • The original storyboards for this scene were reproduced in Michael Eury's book The Krypton Companion, which revealed that Captain America and Tony Stark were planned for the scene. More of the production staff such as Alan Burnett and Mark Evanier can also be seen in the storyboards.
  • Part I of this episode has a "hidden" commentary on the DVD. This can only be accessed by clicking on Superman's "S" logo in the special features section.
  • In the commentary, the writers compare Darkseid's attempt to tempt Superman into joining him to "Lucifer tempting Jesus on the mountain" from Matthew 4:1-11.
  • Darkseid's line about Mannheim being "A king of fools!" was originally supposed to be "And so you are... the King of Hell!". However, the censors wouldn't allow this line, and it was changed.

Production inconsistencies[]


  • Dan Turpin is the only major character to be killed off in the show.
  • Bruno Mannheim doesn't return after this episode, suggesting that he was killed in the explosion. In a hidden Easter Egg commentary on the Superman: The Animated Series, Volume Three (DVD), the writers confirm that he did in fact die.
  • Police officers Giacoia, Royer and Colletta are all named after Jack Kirby's inkers, as are the Ayers Island Nuclear Power Plant and Sinnott Air Base.
  • Dan Turpin is Jewish, as confirmed during his funeral when a rabbi reads the Jewish mourning prayer called the Kaddish to honor the deceased. Turpin is modeled after his creator Jack Kirby, who was also Jewish.
  • The rabbi who says the Kaddish for Turpin at his funeral is voiced by real-life Rabbi Joseph Gole.
  • The rabbi recites the first half of the Half Kaddish, omitting line four. This is customary in the Ashkenazi tradition. The full text (transliterated into western type) is:
Hebrew English
Yitgaddal veyitqaddash shmeh rabba May His great name be exalted and sanctified is God's great name.
Be'alma di vra khir'uteh in the world which He created according to His will
veyamlikh malkhuteh May He establish His kingdom
behayekhon uvyomekhon during your lifetime and during your days
uvkhaye dekhol bet yisrael and during the lifetimes of all the House of Israel,
be'agala uvizman qariv ve'imru amen speedily and very soon! And say, Amen.
  • The woman at Sawyer's bedside is her partner Toby Raynes. In the DVD commentary for this episode and "Tools of the Trade", the producers explain that it made sense for Raynes to be with Sawyer during the episode, touching on their relationship from the comics.
  • The title of the episode is a clear reference to Francis Ford Coppola's film Apocalypse Now.
  • Darkseid's forces altering Earth to become like Apokolips was also the plot of the Super Powers Team: Galactic Guardians episode "The Seeds of Doom", but an extraterrestrial plant was used instead of an explosion.


Actor Role
Tim Daly Superman/Clark Kent
Dana Delany Lois Lane
David Kaufman Jimmy Olsen
Michael Ironside Darkseid
Joanna Cassidy Maggie Sawyer
Joseph Bologna Dan Turpin
Victor Brandt Professor Hamilton
Steve Sandor Orion
Bruce Weitz Bruno Mannheim
Barbara Perkins Mother Box
Laraine Newman Toby Raynes
John Garry Guard
Steve McGowan Thug #1
Joseph Gole Rabbi
Sherman Howard Steppenwolf
Michael Dorn Kalibak
Michael Donovan Male Anchor

Uncredited appearances[]


Part I[]

Daniel Turpin: Won't those Intergang bums ever learn Turpin's first law? You play in my backyard, you play by my rules.

Clark Kent: It almost looks... alien.
Lois Lane: Sure, Kent. Maybe it was a Martian strapped for cash.

Orion: (approaching Clark and Lois) Superman!... Must warn... Superman.

Turpin: Freeze, bucket-head! One more move, and you're back in intensive care.
Superman: Hold it, inspector! Everybody calm down.
Orion: I didn't fight my way through a battalion of Parademons to be told to calm down!
Turpin: And they say I got a temper.

Orion: Mother Box can explain it better than I. She is a living computer connected to the Source.
Mother Box: Let us begin at the beginning. What once was whole was split asunder. And in its place, there arose two worlds. Worlds as different as daylight and darkness, virtue and evil. One is called New Genesis. Unparalleled in its beauty... It is ruled by the wise and powerful Highfather. The other is Apokolips, a ravaged wasteland ruled by the demonic and omnipotent Darkseid. He psychically feeds on the despair and misery of others. Because of their opposite natures, these two worlds have been locked in eternal war. However, an uneasy truce was established when Darkseid and Highfather exchanged their infant sons. Unfortunately, this has not diminished Darkseid's ambitions. For years he has searched the galaxies for the legendary Anti-Life Equation, a formula that would give him complete control over all living things. In his endless search, he has conquered and subjugated planet after planet.
Orion: Now he threatens Earth. He's already provided human agents with Apokoliptic weaponry.

Orion: I'm here to offer my assistance in the coming battle.
Turpin: Well, strap on your six-gun, space cowboy. Your playmates are attacking Sinnott Air Force Base.

Bruno Mannheim: You promised you'd make me a king!
Darkseid: And so you are: a king of fools!

Part II[]

Darkseid: You're a magnificent opponent, Superman, but even you must realize it's hopeless.

Darkseid: I could easily destroy you now, and once you're gone, the pathetic beings of this planet won't have the will to resist me. The few who survive, that is.

Darkseid: Think of it, Superman. The power you have now, it's nothing compared with what I'm offering you.
Superman: You know I can't do that.
Darkseid: Pity. Still, if you won't be my knight, you will be my pawn.

Sawyer: I've got to get down there!
Toby: Whoa, cowboy, what are you going to do? Hold your gun in one hand and your IV in the other?

Darkseid: People of Earth, I am Darkseid, lord of Apokolips. Here is your savior, cowed and broken. I have crushed him as easily as I have crushed all who have dared to oppose me throughout the cosmos. I am power unlike any you have ever known: absolute, infinite, and unrelenting. You have no choice but to prepare as a long dark future as my subjects and my slaves.

Darkseid: (being opposed) They know this is suicide.
Superman: Better a quick death in battle than a slow one under your heel.

Turpin: I don't care how many crummy planets you've conqured! You ain't getting this one!

Darkseid: It is good to see you after all these years, my son. I've observed your boldness and ferocity for some time. Not without undue pride. Though you're misguided in your loyalty, I won't quibble over this insignificant speck in the universe. I would hate to spoil our reunion with bloodshed. (to his troops) Return.

Turpin: (Last words) Go on, ya mangy buzzards, and don't come back!

Darkseid: Savor your moment of triumph, Superman, but remember, victory has its price.

Superman: Good-bye, old friend. In the end, the world didn't really need a super man. Just a brave one.


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 Modern Masters Volume Three: Bruce Timm by Eric Nolen Weathington (July 2004)