"Twilight" is the season premiere of the second season of Justice League. It originally aired July 5, 2003. When Apokolips comes under attack by Brainiac, Darkseid has no choice but to seek the help of Superman and the Justice League. Caught between Krypton's darkest legacy and the man who nearly destroyed his own legacy on Earth, Superman is conflicted and suspects that there is more going on than meets the eye.
On a distant planet, a fleet of ships under the command of Steppenwolf is under attack from a larger number of ships. Unable to get out of the gravity well or boom tube themselves out, Steppenwolf contacts Apokolips via hologram to update Darkseid his situation. Desaad realized that they might come under attack from New Genesis, but Darkseid still took the risk. Thanking him for his years of service, Darkseid orders Steppenwolf to fight on, but Steppenwolf suddenly screams as the connection breaks off. The image of Orion takes the place of Steppenwolf, then sends Darkseid "a present" by way of boom tube with Highfather's compliments: Steppenwolf's vessel, which crashes into a fire pit, causing an explosion that destroys several war machines in depot, and makes its way to Darkseid's palace, burying him, Desaad, and Kalibak in rubble. As Darkseid emerges from the rubble, Highfather himself contacts Darkseid and gives him fair warning: Break the treaty again, and Apokolips will be shown no mercy.
At the Watchtower, Hawkgirl is watching a video of some hawks. J'onn J'onzz comes in and offers some company. She says she is feeling homesick, and relates how she arrived on Earth: While chasing a pair of criminals, she stumbled into a space-time disturbance that catapulted her to another part of the galaxy. Now she is lost, with no idea how to get home.
Back on Apokolips, Kalibak is overseeing reconstruction. Desaad criticizes Darkseid's moves to find the solution to the Anti-Life Equation, and in punishment, Darkseid kills him with the Omega Beam. However, a ship of unknown origin arrives in the sky, and Darkseid realizes that "it's death".
At the Watchtower, Hawkgirl is explaining how she arrived on Earth: She tracked a group of criminals to their base, and they used some sort of particle weapon on her, sending her to Earth. J'onn sympathizes, noting that most of the Justice League's members are either exiles or the last of their kind. Suddenly, an alarm sounds in the tower. Heading down a level, Hawkgirl and J'onn meet with Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman. Batman says that an unknown energy signature is appearing in the tower, which Superman recognizes as a boom tube. Suddenly, Darkseid arrives. Superman immediately attacks him, but Diana and J'onn restrain him before his fight can damage the Watchtower. Darkseid explains that Apokolips is under attack by Brainiac, and that he has no choice but to ask for the League's help. To the shock of his teammates, Superman is willing to leave Apokolips to die, but Darkseid notes that Brainiac will not stop with Apokolips. As the League knows, Brainiac's true goal is to digitize the information from all planets, then destroy them, leaving nothing behind. As the League debates what to do, Batman finally convinces Superman to help, despite Superman's suspicion that Darkseid is planning something. He finally agrees, but asks Batman for a favor.
On Apokolips, Kalibak leads an attack on Brainiac's ship, but its shields are too powerful. Superman, Hawkgirl, and J'onn arrive, but they also cannot break through the shield. Darkseid, however, has another plan.
Meanwhile, Batman and Wonder Woman travel to New Genesis by boom tube, hoping to enlist Orion's help in stopping Brainiac. However, they are attacked by a massive predator. Wonder Woman is knocked unconscious and Batman is nearly devoured when someone fires a buzz-bomb into the creatures mouth. Taking the two heroes away, their rescuer introduces himself as Forager, a Bug, one of the lower class citizens of New Genesis. When they ask where to find Orion, Forager explains that all the Gods live above them—both figuratively and literally, dwelling in a city far above the plains. Heading for the city, Batman and Wonder Woman encounter Lightray who playfully spanks Wonder Woman and dares her into a flight race. After Batman breaks away and manages to trap Lightray with his cape, the Leaguers ask the captured Lightray where to find Orion. At that moment, however, Orion has found them.
Back on Apokolips, Superman challenges Brainiac to come out and fight him. Brainiac opens his shield enough to blast Superman with an energy beam, but Superman is able to withstand the energy long enough to further pry open the shield. Darkseid uses this opening to fire a powerful energy weapon at Brainiac, which damages him. The shields of Brainiac's vessel to go down and allow Kalibak's army to destroy the device trying to absorb Apokolips' databanks. Brainiac takes flight, and the Justice League pursue in the Javelin, chasing Brainiac to an asteroid field. However, once they fly over a hole within a large asteroid, they realize that they've been lead into a trap: Not only is the "asteroid" built with technology, it is also shaped in Brainiac's image.
Inside Brainiac's asteroid, Superman, J'onn J'onzz, and Hawkgirl realize that their control over the Javelin has been removed, so the vehicle automatically leads them to a landing platform, where they decide to exit the plane, and then step unto an approaching hover platform, which then takes them to Brainiac's main hall. Sitting on a throne, Brainiac offers Superman another chance to join him in "carrying out the legacy of Krypton". Calling him a perversion of Krypton, Superman refuses. Brainiac attacks, but the League members are able to destroy Brainiac's body. Unfortunately, Brainiac's programming is within the asteroid itself, and thus, upon his body's death, Brainiac's voice echoed from speakers across the hall and doors open to reveal a huge group of several other robot bodies, which then flies to surround Superman, J'onn and Hawkgirl.
On New Genesis, Highfather is with a group of children, instructing them on the merits of gardening, and how anything good takes time to bear fruit. Orion, Batman, Wonder Woman, and Lightray come in, saying that they have news from Apokolips and the villainous Darkseid. Not wanting to frighten the children by saying Darkseid's name out loud, Highfather takes them outside the garden to discuss further. Explaining what is happening on Apokolips, Orion suggests to mount an army and destroy Darkseid once and for all, but Highfather reminds him that the treaty forbids New Genesis from interfering in the internal affairs of Apokolips. Orion counters that Darkseid's existence is a very threat to peace, which Highfather concedes, but he remembers all too well the cost from the previous war between the two worlds. Torn between the threat of Darkseid and the horrors of a new war, Highfather decides to consult the Source before he commits to any action, and commands Orion to wait and do nothing, pending the results of Highfather's commune. Orion concedes, but is clearly angered by Highfather's decision.
On Brainiac's asteroid, the Justice League is holding their own against Brainiac robot duplicates when Darkseid suddenly arrives via boom tube and surprise-attacks the Justice League. Once the three present League members are defeated, Darkseid tells Brainiac that he has kept his promise to deliver Superman into Brainiac's hands.
On New Genesis, Wonder Woman asks about Forager and his people, but Orion dismisses them as "bugs" and therefore "unimportant". Orion also reveals that he is planning to attack Darkseid regardless of Highfather's decision, and intends to do it at once. As he flies through a boom tube, Wonder Woman and Batman follow. The latter mentions that she should hit him real hard the next time he lets Superman take charge.
On Brainiac's asteroid, Darkseid reminds Brainiac of their deal: In exchange for Superman, Apokolips will be spared. As they arrive in Brainiac's central computer core, Darkseid asks what Brainiac's intentions are for Superman. Brainiac reveals that he has reached the limits of his evolutionary line. To further evolve, he requires genetic material from the last Kryptonian alive. However, as Brainiac begins extracting DNA from Superman, Darkseid places his Mother Box on Brainiac's central control console, programming Brainiac to serve Darkseid. While Brainiac is fully aware of what is happening, he has no choice but to obey. Darkseid instructs Brainiac to begin assimilating New Genesis.
Back in the throne room, Hawkgirl and J'onn awaken, realizing Darkseid betrayed them. Searching the complex for Superman, J'onn muses that there may be information on Thanagar in Brainiac's datatracks, but Hawkgirl says that they have no time to look because Superman needs them. In the asteroid field, Orion carries Batman and Wonder Woman with him in a protective field, with Orion's Mother Box saying that Darkseid is here. Seeing Brainiac's asteroid, they head in.
On New Genesis, Highfather's communion with the Source is interrupted by Darkseid's attack. As Lightray arrives, Highfather orders the city to be evacuated. The entire population takes flight in escape pods down to the surface, but even as they escape, storms rage across their world. From the surface, a horrified Forager looks on.
At Brainiac's asteroid, Hawkgirl and J'onn arrive in the central core, so Darkseid orders Brainiac to destroy them. Though Brainiac has no desire to help, Darkseid's programming forces Brainiac to release his drones and attack. J'onn takes control of one of the drones, using it to destroy the others, but they are nearly overwhelmed when Orion, Batman, and Wonder Woman arrive. Orion immediately goes for Darkseid, while Batman tries to stop Brainiac's assault. Unable to work the controls, Batman smashes the console, releasing Superman and deactivating the drones and absorption of New Genesis, and also causing a critical system failure that will destroy the asteroid. As the Justice League flees for the Javelin, Superman stays behind. When the League realizes that Superman isn't with them, Batman tells them to take off as he goes looking for Superman.
Elsewhere, Darkseid and Orion are locked in combat. Darkseid is pleased to see Orion's skills in combat, but Darkseid is stronger and incapacitates his estranged son with a crushing bearhug. However, Superman arrives, destroys Orion's Mother Box when Darkseid reaches for it to escape, and challenges Darkseid to final combat. Superman is able to hold his own, and despite much difficulty, finally overpowers Darkseid. Batman arrives and tries to stop him, but Superman refuses to leave. Batman then activates a boom tube and drags Superman away, which also pulls Orion into it as well. Though beaten and battered, Darkseid sneers, mocking Superman's failure to finish him off. With that, the entire asteroid explodes.
On New Genesis, the Justice League has met up with Highfather and Lightray. Batman says that there is no way either Darkseid or Brainiac could have survived, but Superman is not so sure. Lightray has failed to find any of the other New Gods, and Highfather fears that all is lost. Suddenly, the children Highfather was with earlier stumble upon them, along with a host of other New Gods, who were given shelter by Forager. Highfather thanks Forager for his compassion, and promotes him to a higher social standing. Looking to the stars, J'onn hopes that one day Hawkgirl will find her place. While grateful for J'onn's friendship, Hawkgirl responds with an unsure "Someday".
- Brainiac's ship is a new version of the one he first arrived on Earth in the Superman: The Animated Series episode "Stolen Memories".
- The "Just-Us League" line used by Hawkgirl is also as part of Glorious Godfrey's campaign against the Justice League on "Eclipsed".
- When Darkseid says Apokolips is under attack by Brainiac, Superman says that Brainiac was destroyed, referring to several Superman: The Animated Series episodes ("Stolen Memories", "Ghost in the Machine" and "Knight Time") (all of which were Brainiac's last chronological appearances). Given his firsthand knowledge of Brainiac's knack for returning, the Man of Steel's disbelief that Brainiac still exists is unexplained; however, it might be because he wouldn't think rationally around Darkseid.
- Superman himself brings up his own painful experience from the Superman: The Animated Series finale "Legacy" where the Man of Steel was brainwashed as Darkseid's adopted son and attacked Earth.
- Batman speaks from experience as Brainiac took over the Dark Knight's mind to exploit Wayne Enterprises's resources in Superman: The Animated Series episode "Knight Time". Seeing as how Batman put his own painful experience behind him and moved on, he expected Superman to do so as well. The message was received as Batman's lecture did indeed motivate Superman into action.
- Brainiac references to Superman of Jor-El's failed attempt to stop him in the Superman: The Animated Series pilot "The Last Son of Krypton".
- Superman asks Batman and Wonder Woman to find Orion, referring to Superman's previous encounter with Orion in the Superman: The Animated Series episodes "Apokolips... Now!".
- Batman travels through a Boom tube for the first time chronologically, explaining his dislike for boom tubes which he reveals to his successor in the Batman Beyond episode "The Call".
- Brainiac uses a space sled for the second chronological time. The first and third chronological times occur in the Superman: The Animated Series episodes "Stolen Memories" and "New Kids in Town" respectively.
- Brainiac proclaims "I am Krypton" to the Justice League just like he does in the Superman: The Animated Series episode "Stolen Memories" to Superman.
- When J'onn J'onzz and Hawkgirl are flying through Brainiac's complex, J'onn mentions that the archives might have some information on Thanagar's location, but Hawkgirl demurs. This foreshadows the series finale when her story proves to be a lie.
- Before their fight, Darkseid mentions all of his previous encounters with Superman (i.e. several Superman: The Animated Series episodes ("Tools of the Trade", "Father's Day", "Apokolips... Now!" and "Legacy") as proof of the former's superiority over the latter.
- Although Batman believes Brainiac is destroyed, the Static Shock episode "A League of Their Own" reveals there's still a piece of the supercomputer left.
- The Justice League Unlimited episode "The Ties That Bind" reveals that Darkseid's death causes the leaderless Apokolips has descended into civil war.
- Brainiac references this episode while teaming up with Lex Luthor in the Justice League Unlimited episode "Divided We Fall".
- The Justice League Unlimited episode "Alive!" shows that Batman had been right about Darkseid not surviving the explosion, but Superman is also proven right about being skeptical that Darkseid's truly gone for good as he's resurrected when Luthor attempts to resurrect Brainiac at the explosion's site.
- Superman and Darkseid reference their fight in the Justice League Unlimited series finale "Destroyer".
Home video releases
- Justice League - Season Two (DVD)
- Justice League - Season Two (Blu-ray)
- Justice League - The Complete Series (DVD)
- Justice League: Crisis On Two Earths (2DVD, Blu-ray only)
- DC Comics Super-Villains: Superman - Worlds at War! (DVD)
- As of this episode, Cartoon Network started to air the second season two-parter episodes back-to-back, without Part I's end credits or Part II's beginning credits.
- This two-parter's title was also listed in some digital cable guides as "Twilight of the Gods".
- Bruce Timm has stated in the commentary that Darkseid was given a subtle, more "Kirbyesque" redesign from his appearances in Superman: The Animated Series.
- Starting with this episode, Superman and Wonder Woman have been redesigned without cheekbone lines.
- After Batman and Wonder Woman capture Forager, Batman's chest symbol resembles the Batman Beyond era Batsuit.
- In this episode, Forager belongs to the lower class "Bugs" of New Genesis' inhabitants and he is promoted to a higher rank only at the end. However, the Superman: The Animated Series episode "Apokolips... Now!, Part II" shows he had been seen among the New Gods "upper class" that deterred Darkseid's invasion of Earth. In the prior episode's commentary, the creators acknowledge this goof.
- When Wonder Woman lassos the large creature on New Genesis, the creature's movements make her lose her grip on it. But after she is carried off to safety and wakes up, it is back on her belt.
- When Brainiac's symbol first appears on Superman's head, it is upside down.
- The Flash and Green Lantern do not appear.
- This is the only two-part season premiere or finale of Justice League (which led to the only stand alone episode to bring the episode count up to 26) and the only premiere or finale to not feature all seven members of the League.
- Rene Auberjonois takes over Robert Morse's role as Desaad's voice. Auberjonois already played Desaad in 1984/85 in Super Friends: The Legendary Super Powers Show and The Super Powers Team: Galactic Guardians.
- Ron Perlman replaces Steve Sandor as Orion's voice.
- Part II was nominated for a Golden Reel Award for Best Sound Editing in Television Animation.
- When Superman is about to tell Brainiac to go to hell, he is cut off for censorship reasons. This is the second of four times that this has happened (see also "A Knight of Shadows, Part I", "For the Man Who Has Everything", and "The Balance").
- When Superman stands up to Darkseid before their fight, the Superman: The Animated Series theme plays.
- This is Highfather's first and only speaking appearance in the DCAU; he is voiced by Mitchell Ryan, recently known as Greg's upper-crust father on Dharma & Greg. Incidentally, his wife in that series is played by Susan Sullivan, Hippolyta's voice actress.
- In the Superman/Batman comic series storyline "The Supergirl From Krypton", Batman is likewise eaten by a giant "New God" creature and manages to escape on his own (hurting it in the process), but does so on his first visit to Apokolips and not New Genesis.
- In the comics, Desaad has been killed by Darkseid's Omega Beams numerous times. However, Darkseid has consistently resurrected him after some time. There remains the distinct (though remote) possibility that Desaad survived.
- On Part II's DVD commentary, Bruce Timm explained that this story's original draft actually had Darkseid break Orion's back with a bear hug during their brief fight. After which, Superman was going to confront Darkseid and simply say "Murderer" before their long-awaited rematch. Timm wanted the dialogue expanded to where Superman and Darkseid trash-talked each other first to express the personal hatred and contempt they had built for one another by this point.
- Also on Part II's DVD commentary, Bruce Timm jokingly suggested that the line "You know something, Bruce? You're not always right." (which is the last thing Superman says to Batman in this episode) is a phrase that he himself has heard from time to time during his DCAU career.
|Susan Eisenberg|| Wonder Woman|
Starkiller crew (uncredited)
|Carl Lumbly||J'onn J'onzz|
|Rene Auberjonois|| Desaad|
|Corey Burton|| Brainiac|
|Rob Paulsen|| Lightray|
Desaad: It was a fool's errand.
Superman: You don't know Darkseid like I do.
Batman: Next time I let Superman take charge, just hit me. Real hard.
Brainiac You deceived me, Darkseid. Used me.
Superman: Any minute now, Brainiac will explode. And guess what? You're going with him.
Darkseid: This is where you belong, Superman, under my heel!
Darkseid: (apparent last words) Loser.
Batman: Nothing could have survived that. Not even Darkseid.