DC Animated Universe

"Hereafter" is the forty-fifth and forty-sixth episodes of Justice League. It first aired on November 29, 2003.


Part I[]

Superman's Ultimate Sacrifice

Superman makes the ultimate sacrifice for his teammates.

A group of supervillains are gathered around and plotting to take their revenge on Superman. They arrange an ambush for the Man of Steel by attacking Metropolis. They battle the rest of the Justice League, but when Superman arrives, Toyman reveals his secret weapon: a giant toy robot equipped with a disintegrator beam. Toyman fires several times and sections of the city disappear without trace. Superman evades the beams, but Toyman takes aim at Batman and Wonder Woman. Superman throws himself in front of them and takes the blast, disappearing without trace. Shocked, the League and the Earth believe that the blast killed Superman. In anger, Wonder Woman destroys Toyman's robot and threatens to kill him, but Flash talks her out of it, telling her it goes against Superman's memory.

The only person who refuses to believe that Superman is dead is Batman. He analyzes the evidence from the battle, insisting that objects can't disappear without a trace, citing the law of conservation of mass. He snubs the invitations of Alfred and the other Leaguers to attend Superman's funeral in Metropolis.


Lex Luthor comforts a heartbroken Lois.

At Superman's funeral, the attendants include the League (minus Batman), the staff of the Daily Planet, Jonathan and Martha Kent, several Earth leaders, and superheroes. However, everyone gasps as Lex Luthor arrives. Lois Lane is furious that Lex has appeared, as she believes he came to gloat over Superman's death, but she soon breaks into tears until Lex comforts her and genuinely admits that he will also miss Superman greatly. J'onn J'onzz pronounces a eulogy and the League ceremonially inters a coffin in a monument. As they bring the coffin to his memorial, Wonder Woman spots Batman watching the procession from the shadows.

Holding a wake for Superman in the Watchtower, the League swaps stories about him, then J'onn tentatively proposes adding a new member. Suddenly, Lobo crashes through the window, announcing that he's there to take Superman's place. When the League orders him out, he decides to "audition" by tearing the Watchtower apart and attacking them. They hold him off, then hear that dozens of supervillains are running amok in Metropolis, celebrating Superman's death in their own fashion. The League reluctantly bring Lobo along as they go to fight, mainly because they don't trust him alone in the Watchtower. However, given his unique fighting ability, they allow him to join the battle, only as long as he follows their direct orders.

Investigating another of his theories, Batman follows a trail to Superman's memorial. Finding nothing, he wonders if he's wrong and Superman really is dead. Alone, he takes this opportunity to tell Clark that, despite their differences, he has always respected him and what he taught him and that he will miss him... but his tribute is interrupted by a nearby explosion, and Batman takes off to battle the attacking supervillains.

Superman alive

Superman is alive.

The League attacks, with difficulty subduing the rogue villains. Lobo makes himself useful in his own fashion, beating Kalibak into submission with a few cars, forcing him to say Uncle, and causing plenty of destruction in the process. To the already grieving League, Lobo boasts how with him on the team, Superman is no longer needed. The Leaguers bow their heads, contemplating life without the Man of Steel. Elsewhere, on a barren landscape, under a red sun and some rubble lies... Superman.

Part II[]

Superman regains consciousness and sees the barren landscape, as well as a few sections of Metropolis that were hit by Toyman's disintegrator beam. Wherever he is, the beam transported him there instead of destroying him. He sees that the sun is red, meaning his powers will wane. Also, his communicator does not have any audio. He picks up a signal on the communicator and decides to move towards it and find the source. Salvaging what food and supplies he can from the cars in the street fragments, he then siphons gas into one of them and drives off.

Superman adapts

Superman adapts to his new surroundings.

Unable to find anything else, he makes camp one night and is menaced by a pack of wolf-like creatures. He manages to drive them away with fire. To prepare for any more dangers that lie ahead, he uses some flares to fashion an iron bar into a crude-but-effective sword. Before too long, his car is out of gas and he is forced to walk. Attacked that night by the creatures again, he kills their leader and subjugates the rest of the pack, harnessing them as sled dogs for a new improvised vehicle and wearing the leader's pelt.

After a few more days, he reaches the ruins of a city and finds the source of the signal: the Watchtower, crashed to the ground. Entering, he tries to access its computer. It tells him that the rest of the League's whereabouts are unknown, then shuts down due to low power. Superman bangs his fists down in frustration and asks aloud, "What happened to everybody?" A voice answers, "They died, Superman. Thousands of years ago." A figure appears from the shadows... Vandal Savage.

Savage seems uncharacteristically glad to see Superman and he soon explains why: the planet they are on is Earth, 30,000 years in the future and the entire human race, except for the immortal Savage, is dead, meaning that the whole Earth belongs to him now.

Savage explains that, only a few months after Superman disappeared, he stole a piece of white dwarf star matter from Dr. Ray Palmer and used it to create a gravity-based superweapon. Without Superman, Savage killed the rest of the Justice League and proclaimed himself ruler of the Earth. However, the weapon disrupted the balance of the solar system, killing the rest of the human race. Upon hearing this, Superman attacks Savage in rage, and Savage does not resist. Superman almost crushes Savage's head with a rock, but refrains due to the awareness that Savage cannot die. Savage acknowledges he deserves such treatment and more; after millennia of loneliness and isolation, he's come to realize that his obsession with conquest was meaningless.

Vandal and Superman have dinner

Superman has dinner with Vandal Savage.

With plenty of time on his hands, Savage has built himself a luxurious multi-story mansion in the ruins of Metropolis, with a large garden and plenty of technological amenities. He passes his time reading self-help books, working on various inventions, or on hobbies such as restoring other parts of the city. One of them includes a spaceship that he intended to use to explore the universe, but later chose not to as penance for his previous misdeeds. He treats Superman to a home-cooked meal and invites him to stay. Wandering around the mansion one night, Superman finds a time machine.[1] He wakes Savage and asks why he did not finish it. Savage explains there would be no point, as the machine would not allow him to travel back to any time where he was already alive. Superman points out that he can since he's 'dead', having been removed from the time period entirely and can stop Savage's destruction of the Earth.

He and Savage work together to complete the machine, but find that they can't keep the portal open without a much larger power source. Savage knows of only one: a zero-point energy generator that he built but was stolen some years ago by a colony of giant cockroaches. Since Savage stated that building another one will take fifty years, he and Superman arm themselves and sneak into the colony to get it back. In battle with the roaches, Superman apparently falls to his death into the pit containing the generator – but instead the device, which as Savage has explained, is like a "miniature sun", instantly restores his powers and he is able to get himself and Savage away safely.

Savage opens the portal, giving Superman the information he needs to thwart his younger self's plan. Before going, Superman asks what will happen to Savage if he succeeds. Savage says he may be possibly redeemed but tells him not to worry. The two men shake hands and Superman departs.

Superman reunites with the Justice League

Superman happily reunites with the Justice League.

Back in the present where Part 1 ended, Deadshot takes aim at Batman with a missile. Superman's hand appears and catches it. In wonder, the League crowds around him (except for Batman). Superman tells Lobo he's fired and the bounty hunter angrily jets away on his bike. Superman says he'll explain what happened to him, but first they have a job to do. The League flies into action, with Superman leading the way.

In the future, Savage is quietly sitting alone among the ruins of Metropolis. He sees a ghostly figure of a child run by, then more people. Slowly, the ruins disappear and a living city replaces it, filled with people. Savage sees his own body becoming translucent and gratefully says, "Thank you, my friend..." before fading into the new timeline.


  • Metallo claims that he and his teammates have been wronged by Superman. This refers to all the times that each villain felt aggravated by the Man of Steel:
Villain Episode Aggravation
Metallo "The Last Son of Krypton, Part III" Corben was defeated after battling Superman with the Lexo Suit and then was thrown to jail.
"Action Figures" Metallo was defeated and stranded by Superman in a volcanic island, trapped under solidified magma without his Kryptonite battery.
"Superman's Pal" Metallo tried to kill Superman using Jimmy Olsen as bait, but was bested again.
Toyman "Fun and Games" Superman foiled his attempt to kill Bruno Mannheim.
"Obsession" Superman prevented him from retrieving Darci Mason.
"Toys in the Hood" Superman interfered with Toyman's plot to build a new body for Darci, which ultimately ended with Toyman's defeat and arrest.
Weather Wizard "Speed Demons" Superman foiled his extortion plan and jailed him.
Livewire "Livewire" Leslie blamed Superman for becoming Livewire. Even before that, she made a career airing her many grievances about him on her radio show.
Kalibak "Father's Day" Superman defeated Kalibak in battle, thus humiliating him in his father's eyes.
"Legacy, Part II" Superman bested Kalibak with two swift blows, again humiliating him in front of Darkseid.
"Twilight, Part II" Superman was partially responsible for Darkseid's demise.
  • Lobo claims to have saved Superman's life once, alluding to the events of Superman: The Animated Series' "The Main Man". John promptly objects that this is not an entirely truthful account, although technically it is, as Superman and Lobo saved each other once in the episode.
  • Superman made a deal with Lobo in Superman: The Animated Series' "The Main Man" to free Lobo from his cell if Lobo would "leave me and everyone else on Earth in peace", to which Lobo agreed. In this episode, Lobo only battles the League in the Watchtower, which is in orbit (believing it to be an audition and not intending permanent harm) and on Earth, he only fights Kalibak (who is not from Earth, but Apokolips). Technically speaking, Lobo has kept his word.
  • Superman carries a box of Lightspeed Energy Bars that the Flash sponsored in "Eclipsed".
  • John suggests Metamorpho as a team member. Metamorpho first appeared in (and was established as John's friend in) "Metamorphosis". Metamorpho would later join the league in Justice League Unlimited.
  • Superman references the times Vandal Savage attempted to conquer the Earth in "The Savage Time" and "Maid of Honor".
  • The future Vandal Savage mentions that in order to stop his past self, the League must prevent his theft of a piece of dwarf star matter from a scientist named Ray Palmer, who would later appear in Justice League Unlimited as The Atom. In the comics, this piece of matter is what enables The Atom to manipulate his own size.

Background information[]

Home video releases[]

Production notes[]

  • Originally, the new member to be recruited for the Justice League after Superman's supposed death was Captain Marvel. However, legal rights prevented that appearance and Lobo was chosen instead as the least likely suspect.[2]
  • Due to budgetary issues, Corey Burton served as a stand-in for Bud Cort as Toyman and Malcolm McDowell as Metallo for this episode. Both Cort and McDowell would reprise their roles in the final season of Justice League Unlimited.
  • Likewise, an uncredited Maria Canals (Hawkgirl's voice actress) voices Livewire in this episode.
  • In part I, when Volcana absorbs her fire blast, there's an explosion that is reused footage from Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker, when the console that the Jokerz tried to steal blows up.

Production inconsistencies[]

  • Snapper Carr mentions heads of state from over 400 countries attending: even with "in-universe" countries such as Kaznia and Atlantis, the actual number of countries of the Earth does not even reach 200.
  • John Stewart wears a green overcoat throughout Superman's funeral, including when he is a pallbearer for the coffin. However, in the final scene of the funeral, it is missing.
  • The ground at Superman's memorial is all green except for his S-Shield on the ground. When Batman gets close to it, however, there's a straight pathway behind him.
  • When Flash redirects a blast of fire Volcana aimed at Wonder Woman, an ATM in the background reads "MTA", indicating the background has been mirrored.
  • During the fight with Lobo aboard the Watchtower, all of the Leaguers' black armbands disappear and reappear in various shots.



Actor Role
George Newbern Superman
Kevin Conroy Batman
Susan Eisenberg Wonder Woman
Phil LaMarr Green Lantern
Carl Lumbly J'onn J'onzz
Maria Canals Hawkgirl
Livewire (uncredited)
Watchtower computer (uncredited)
Michael Rosenbaum The Flash
Deadshot (uncredited)
Clancy Brown Lex Luthor
Corey Burton Metallo
Weather Wizard
Dana Delany Lois Lane
Maggie Sawyer (uncredited)
Michael Dorn Kalibak
Brad Garrett Lobo
Jason Marsden Snapper Carr
Phil Morris Vandal Savage
Efrem Zimbalist, Jr. Alfred Pennyworth

Uncredited appearances[]


Part I[]

Kalibak: I just flattened Wonder Woman! You really think you can beat me?
Batman: I'm not trying to beat you. I'm trying to stall you.
Kalibak: Stall me? For what? (Superman appears behind him) Aw... (gets punched in the face)
Superman: For what it's worth, I don't think you could've taken Batman either.

Toyman: What are you going to do to me?
Wonder Woman: I'm going to punch a hole in your head.
Flash: We don't do that to our enemies.
Wonder Woman: (In tears) Speak for yourself.
The Flash: I'm trying to speak for Superman.

Flash: I used to be able to goof around so much because I knew Superman had my back. Now all I've got is his example, and that's gonna have to be enough.

(Lex Luthor arrives at the funeral)
Lois: Luthor, how dare you show your face here!
Luthor: Lois, I- (Lois slaps him in the face)
Lois: You've come to gloat! You've tried to get rid of him for years! Are you happy now? Isn't this what you've always wanted? I hate you! I HATE YOU! (breaks down sobbing)
Luthor: (hugging Lois) Believe it or not, I'm going to miss him, too.

J'onn J'onzz: Though we gather here today, bound together in sorrow and loss, we share a precious gift. We are, all of us, privileged to live a life that has been touched by Superman. The Man of Steel possessed many extraordinary gifts, and he shared them with us freely. None of these gifts were more remarkable than his ability to discern what needed to be done, and his unfailing courage in doing it, whatever the personal cost. Let us all strive to accept his gift, and pass it along, as an ongoing tribute to Kal-El of Krypton, the immigrant from the stars, who taught us all how to be heroes.

Lobo: What's with all the long faces, Justice-Dweebs? It's like a wake in here. Lighten up! The answer to all your problems has arrived. Since we're gonna be workin' together, you can call me Lobo.

Lobo: The Main Man happens to be the best bounty hunter in the known universe. You can ask Superman if he weren't busy pushing up daisies.

Wonder Woman: You're no Superman.
Lobo: The ladies say different.

Lobo: You want an audition? C'mon, ladies, let's dance!

Batman: I've got some things to say. I should've said them when you were here, but... despite our differences, I have nothing but respect for you. I hope you knew... know that. You showed me justice doesn't always have to come from the darkness. I'll miss...
(explosion in distance)
Batman: What did you always call it, Clark? The Never Ending Battle?

Kalibak: This looks like a job for Superman!... But I don't think he's coming.

Hawkgirl: You wanna settle down now? Please say no!

J'onn J'onzz: The Justice League is about more than physical power. It's about ideals, caring, helping.
Lobo: Buy me a ticket to Pukesville.

Kalibak: I'm going to grind you into paste!
Lobo: Awful brave talk for a dead man.
Kalibak: I'm not dead yet.
Lobo: You're right. My watch is about ten seconds fast.

Part II[]

Superman: You're insane.
Vandal Savage: True, but that doesn't mean I'm not good company. Say, you wanna come over to my house?
(Superman is surprised)
Vandal Savage: Like you've got something better to do.

Superman: I should smash your skull!
Vandal Savage: Go ahead. We both know it wouldn't work.
(Superman slams the rock into the ground to the right of Savage's face)
Superman: What now?
Vandal Savage: ...Lunch?

Superman: Self-help books? You don't seem the type.
Vandal Savage: I read whatever I can find. Anyway, I've got issues—what with my destroying the Earth and all.

Superman: What happens to you?
Vandal Savage: Redemption, if I'm lucky. Don't worry about me. Return to your friends. Do what you do best, what you were born to do. Save the world.
(Superman shakes Savage's hand and returns to his time)

Deadshot: Bang, you're dead.

Wonder Woman: Don't let him fool you. Your death hit him as hard as it did any of us.
Superman: Really?
Batman: No. I never believed you were dead in the first place.
Superman: I guess that's sort of a compliment...

Lobo: Next time you lollipops need help, don't bother asking the Main Man! (flies off)
J'onn: We didn't ask you this time!

Vandal Savage: Thank you, my friend. (fades away)


  1. Just like the one used in "The Savage Time"
  2. Bruce Timm, RetroVision CD-ROM Magazine http://jl.toonzone.net/shazam/shazam.htm