DC Animated Universe

"The Terror Beyond" is the forty-first and forty-second episode of Justice League. When the Justice League learns that Aquaman helped Solomon Grundy escape from the authorities, they discover an approaching threat to the world, one which Hawkgirl knows well.


Part I[]

At the docks of an unnamed city, the army corners Solomon Grundy. He fights back with everything he has, but the army was prepared for him. However, Aquaman arrives, riding a sea-serpent, and covers Grundy, promising to help him.

Grundy Fate

Solomon Grundy impatiently asks Doctor Fate what he wants in return.

Taken someplace, Aquaman offers Grundy gold if he helps him with something. They enter a room and are greeted by Inza, who summons Doctor Fate. Fate explains that he needs Grundy's help in a ritual they are about to perform, but they need to know how Solomon Grundy came to be. Grundy has no memories of his past life, so Fate preforms a revelation spell to learn...

Decades ago, Cyrus Gold was a wanted gangster. However, a deal with mobster associates turned sour, and they killed Gold. They cursed his body with a powerful gris-gris which took his soul and dumped his body in a swamp filled with mystical properties. The magical forces did not sit well together, and after several decades, Solomon Grundy was born, cursed with greed, unaware of what he wanted.

The spell reveals the truth to both Fate and Grundy, and Grundy now remembers his past. Fate says that Grundy will be able to help, but Grundy no longer wants the gold. Instead, he wants his soul back. Grundy offers to do whatever they want if they help him reclaim it, and Fate promises to do everything in his power to find it for him.

Back at the docks, Superman saves a soldier from being crushed by a tank. Wonder Woman and Hawkgirl show up and also offer their help, but after Aquaman's appearance, the commander isn't so eager on superheroes. Deciding to investigate, the Justice League heads to Atlantis. En route, they see a cruise ship being attacked by a massive sea-creature of unknown species. The creature is able to harm Superman, but Hawkgirl manages to drive it off with her mace.

Mera is confronted by the League

Hawkgirl, Superman, and Wonder Woman confront Mera.

Reaching Atlantis, the Leaguers are taken to Queen Mera. Hawkgirl skips pleasantries and demands to know what the sea-creature was doing, where Aquaman is, and why the Atlantean navy is on full alert, implying that they may be preparing for a war on the surface world. Insulted at Hawkgirl's rudeness and mistrust of Aquaman, Mera says that he's with Doctor Fate and will speak to the League at his pleasure, ending the audience. On the Javelin 7, Superman and Wonder Woman criticize Hawkgirl's abruptness, but Hawkgirl points out that it got them a lead. This leads Superman to conclude that the sea-creature was magical, as only that, red sun radiation, and Kryptonite can hurt him.

Heading to Fate's home, they find no doors. Superman can't penetrate the walls, so Hawkgirl smashes it with her mace. Finding the interior rather oddly designed, the Leaguers come across Fate preforming a spell on Grundy, using Aquaman's Trident. The Leaguers try to stop it, but Inza throws up a force field. Hawkgirl's mace is able to pierce it, knocking out Inza, and the Leaguers are able to disrupt the ceremony. Fate and Aquaman tell them to leave, but Grundy simply attacks them. Irritated by the noise, Fate sends Superman and Grundy to Egypt, while Wonder Woman and Aquaman are sent to Easter Island. Hawkgirl remains to fight Doctor Fate. In Egypt, Superman is able to overcome Grundy, while Aquaman defeats Wonder Woman by dragging her underwater. The victors take their defeated opponents back to Fate's home, and engage each other, which Superman emerges victoriously.

Icthultu comes

"We were trying to prevent that."

In the battle between Fate and Hawkgirl, she is able to use her mace to break through his magical attacks. Suddenly, she recognizes the runes on the floor are Thanagarian symbols and demands answers. Superman and Wonder Woman return with the unconscious Aquaman and Grundy. They demand answers, when suddenly, a tear in the empty space within the room opens, revealing a massive, hideous, cephalopodal creature. Fate finally reveals that that's what they were trying to prevent.

Part II[]

As the creature hovers above them, Doctor Fate tries to cast a spell to banish it away. The creature attacks, but Hawkgirl assists Fate, also speaking the incantation. Fate explains that his spell only bought them some time and is curious as to how Hawkgirl knew the incantation, and she explains that it's something like a prayer on Thanagar. Superman and Wonder Woman demand answers one more time, and Fate conjures up an image, while he and Aquaman explain...

Thousands of years ago, Atlantis floated above the waves, ruled by sorcerer-kings. In the reign of King Poseidon, the ancient world came under attack by the Old Ones, extra-dimensional beings who were preparing the way for their master, Icthultu. Poseidon drew upon nearly all of Earth's ambient mystical energy to create the Trident, which destroyed the already present Old Ones and sealed Icthultu's portal. However, it also caused Atlantis to sink beneath the waves by draining the energy that kept Atlantis above the water.

Realm entered

Icthultu's realm entered.

Now, the Old Ones are trying again. Fate was using Grundy and the Trident to cast a spell which would prevent Icthultu from returning. Wonder Woman and Superman oppose this, calling it torture, but Hawkgirl says that it's more like a sacrifice. She explains that the ancient Thanagarians once worshiped Icthultu, who in turn gave the primitives culture. Grundy also insists on going through with the ceremony, but Superman and Wonder Woman refuse without another way. Hawkgirl says there is: go to the Old Ones world and kill Icthultu. Though incredibly risky, Grundy wholly supports the idea, and Fate agrees that it may be a more effective solution. Aquaman refuses, however, saying that if they aren't going to cast the spell, he is to be returned to Atlantis. Fate sends him home and asks Inza to remain to help Fate find their way back. The Justice League, Fate, and Grundy head for Icthultu's realm. Fate tells them to stay together, as earth and sky are not always parallel in this realm.

In Atlantis, Aquaman appears in his throne room before Mera. The couple greet each other, then Aquaman orders his war council to be summoned when he realizes that he cannot hear the creatures of the sea, for they are gone. Outside the city, a tear opens, and a swarm of Old Ones head through...

In the other realm, Superman and Wonder Woman are still shocked that anyone would worship Icthultu. Hawkgirl explains that Icthultu gave them agriculture, science, philosophy, even the Nth metal. However, after a time, they stopped worshiping Icthultu, they now worship no one. Suddenly, the group are attacked by a group of creatures from Icthultu, but they are able to defeat them. They notice a large swarm heading for a fissure, and Superman and Wonder Woman head to slow them down aided by a spell from Fate.

Near Atlantis, Aquaman leads the Atlantean Navy against the Old Ones. He calls for help from sea creatures, and his call is answered.

Icthultu and Hawkgirl

Icthultu speaks with Hawkgirl.

In the other realm, Hawkgirl, Fate, and Grundy find Icthultu. He recognizes Hawkgirl as a Thanagarian, and decides to speak with her, while ordering his minions to destroy Fate and Grundy. Hawkgirl is uninterested in talking to Icthultu, revealing what they paid for his favors – the souls of ancient Thanagarians. Hearing that Icthultu steals souls, Grundy becomes convinced that Icthultu has his, and manages to force his way inside Icthultu.

Elsewhere, Superman and Wonder Woman are barely able to hold their own against the Old Ones, when they begin retreating. Aquaman arrives through the fissure, and the two Leaguers place an asteroid in the fissure, which Aquaman seals with the Trident.

Meanwhile, Grundy has gone on a rampage within Icthultu, damaging membranes and veins, injuring the monster and allowing Hawkgirl to get free. Making his way to Icthultu's brain, Grundy fights a creature that is guarding it, managing to destroy the beast, but he is mortally wounded. Hawkgirl races to his side, and he asks her to find his soul. Hawkgirl flies over Icthultu's brain, but the beast is confident that she won't attack, saying he has faith in her. Hawkgirl agrees, and strikes her mace into the brain, killing Icthultu. Heading to Grundy, she comforts him in his dying hour, saying that his soul is waiting for him on the other side. He dies smiling, knowing that he finally gets his reward.

Hawkgirl cries

Hawkgirl mourns the fallen Grundy.

The next morning, the Justice League, Doctor Fate, Inza, and Aquaman hold a funeral for Solomon Grundy. Hawkgirl doesn't understand why Solomon Grundy was so calm at the end, but Aquaman attributes it to faith, saying 'You're not supposed to understand it. You just have it.' The gravestone simply reads 'Solomon Grundy Born on a Monday'.


Background information[]

Home video releases[]

Demon Swarm

Icthulu's Demon Swarm by Tommy Tejeda

Production notes[]

Production inconsistencies[]

  • When the General tells the League that Solomon Grundy escaped with one of the Justice League's "friends", Superman asks "who", but his lips mouth "what".
  • During Dr. Fate's story, Aquaman identifies the image of Atlantis as "thousands of years" prior to Atlantis' sinking. The scene Fate's illusion is in fact, the sinking itself.


  • According to Dwayne McDuffie, Cyrus Gold's death occurred during the Jazz Age.[1]
  • Batman, Flash, Green Lantern and J'onn J'onzz do not appear, making this the only episode of Justice League where only three members appear.
  • This is the first episode in which J'onn J'onzz does not appear in at least Part II.
  • Aquaman's line "If you want to live, come with me!" parallels a famous line from the Terminator movies.
  • When trying to break free from the sea monster's tentacle, Wonder Woman invokes Hera to give her strength, to which an annoyed Hawkgirl asks if she has to say that all the time. This is of course a humorous reference to Wonder Woman's regular exclamations. However, in actual fact, up until this episode Wonder Woman has only said it three times:
  • While casting his spell using Grundy and the Trident, Doctor Fate invokes the Lords of Order, supernatural entities with professed godlike powers that appear in DC Comics.
  • The inscription on Grundy's headstone reads: "SOLOMON GRUNDY—BORN ON A MONDAY", the first two lines of the children's nursery rhyme that gave the resurrected Cyrus Gold his name.
  • The team of Aquaman, Doctor Fate, and Solomon Grundy parallel The Defenders, a Marvel Comics superhero team:
DCAU Team The Defenders
Aquaman Namor
Doctor Fate Doctor Strange
Inza Clea
Solomon Grundy The Hulk
  • Grundy even goes so far as addressing Doctor Fate as "stupid magician", Hawkgirl as "Birdnose", and Aquaman as "Fishman", which is what The Hulk called Doctor Strange, Nighthawk and Namor respectively. After saving Grundy in battle, Hawkgirl makes another Hulk reference: "Excuse me, Hawkgirl smash", mirroring Hulk's most famous line "Hulk smash". The Commander who was chasing Grundy has a passing resemblance to Hulk's enemy General "Thunderbolt" Ross.
  • In Part II, Hawkgirl's real name is revealed as Shayera Hol.
  • Icthultu's name, appearance, and title as an "Old One" is based on H. P. Lovecraft's character, Cthulhu. At the time, Dwayne McDuffie was unsure if Cthulhu was a trademarked property. He did not discover until production was nearly finished that the name is public domain.[2]


Actor Role
Maria Canals Hawkgirl
Susan Eisenberg Wonder Woman
Oded Fehr Doctor Fate
Mark Hamill Solomon Grundy
George Newbern Superman
Scott Rummell Aquaman
Kristin Bauer Mera
Jennifer Hale Inza
Bruce Timm Soldier
William Hootkins Commander
Sean Donnellan Technician
Rob Zombie Icthultu


Wonder Woman: Hera, give me strength!
Hawkgirl: Do you have to say that all the time?

Superman: That went well.
Hawkgirl: What, you expected her to confess to an act of war?
Wonder Woman: She's royalty. You were needlessly disrespectful.
Hawkgirl: Standard interrogation technique. I was bad cop.
Superman: You're always bad cop.
Hawkgirl: Why play against type?

Solomon Grundy: Birdnose helps Grundy? But Birdnose and her friends hate Grundy!
Hawkgirl: Grundy help Birdnose, Birdnose help Grundy, okay? Excuse me, Hawkgirl smash.

Doctor Fate: Be on your guard.
Icthultu: Speak not until spoken to, dust mote.
Hawkgirl: Okay, that was just rude.
Icthultu: Wind mote. Who are you?
Hawkgirl: Shayera Hol. Hawkgirl.
Icthultu: You have the stench of the Thanagarians upon you.
Hawkgirl: Says the giant squid.
Icthultu: Definitely Thanagarian.

Icthultu: Speak to me, child of Thanagar.
Hawkgirl: Nothing to say. I've got a gesture for you, but my hands are tied.
Icthultu: How I've missed your people's spirit.

Grundy: Do you think Grundy's soul is waiting for him?
Hawkgirl: Grundy, I don't believe... (Grundy smiles. Hawkgirl tears up.) yes. It's waiting for you.
Grundy: Then Grundy gets his reward. (Dies.)

Hawkgirl: He was happy at the end. I still don't understand why.
Aquaman: It's faith, Hawkgirl. You're not supposed to understand it. You just have it.


  1. "Ask the Maestro" Dwayne McDuffie forum post, 2006.
  2. [1]