Justice League Unlimited

Season 2 Episode 20

Hereafter (2)

Aired Saturday 10:30 PM Nov 29, 2003 on Cartoon Network
out of 10
User Rating
157 votes

By TV.com Users

Episode Summary

Superman finds himself on a devastated future Earth with the man responsible - Vandal Savage.

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  • i though i was good.

  • The team responsible for Justice League work their magic once again.

    I'm writing this review in response to JLUmember1's review. Obviously this episode of JL failed to connect with this reviewer in some way. SpikeTbear gives a great recap in his review, so I'll review another aspect.

    Superman may be the most famous superhero in the world, but he get's a lot of flak from some people. They say "He has every superpower" and "He's invulnerable so he's not really risking anything" compared to superheroes like Flash or Batman. This is true. Superman's doesn't risk his life every time he fights, although kryptonite has the potential to kill him. Superman is a hero for a different reason: He does the right thing. He makes the right choices at the right times, even when thousands or millions of lives are on the line. That includes using his powers for good rather than evil, even though it would be easy for him to succumb to the temptation (as shown in the episode A Better World). Superman stands for justice, even when it's not the easy way out and doesn't result in personal gain.

    Knowing all this, the writers adapted a well-known Superman storyline for this show. Now we see Superman without his powers, struggling to survive in a hostile environment. Guess what? He's still a hero. He battles the elements, carnivorous wildlife, grief, hopelessness, and terrible odds to get back to his friends. It would have been easy for him to give up along the way or even die if he hadn't fought well enough. But he didn't. He triumphed in the end. With his powers he's a superhero. Without them, he's still a hero. To the core.

    That's what this episode is about. If you watch it and still don't get it, don't fret. I can recommend some excellent television shows that are light on actual storytelling and heavy on mindless action and dimensionless characters. But that's not what Justice League is about.moreless
  • The Best Episode of Justice League

    The Bottom Line: "Classic"

    The Best Episode of Justice League ...Continue »

    The second part of the episode Hereafter is completely different from the first. This episode reveals that Superman is not really dead, but in fact transported away to a future, desolate world that he later realizes is Earth. It focuses on Superman surviving in the wilderness for perhaps months as he journeys toward a Justice League com-link signal. Superman's resourcefulness leads us to believe that he may actually have been a boy scout.

    Superman meets a very different Vandal Savage, who as we know is immortal. Having survived for the past 30,000 years, Savage has learned to cope with the fact that he was responsible for killing everyone on Earth. His character is remarkable, having become a philosopher in his countless millenniums of life. He has realized that his quest to rule the world was pointless, and instead tries to rebuild what is left.

    Savage had, at one point, tried to make a time machine, but what he could build with his limited resources only allowed a limited type. He could only travel to a point in the past where he did not already exist. However, Superman was already dead in his present, so he would happily make the journey. He and Savage work together to build the machine. Superman goes back and prevents Savage of the past from destroying Earth. Savage sees the Earth from 30,000 years in the future as it would have been if he had not destroyed it, and thanks Superman just before disappearing from existence. (It's pretty optimistic, if you ask me, assuming that humans will still be alive so far in the future.)

    This is a superb episode, the finest example of the kind of creativity and genius I have come to expect from Timm and the other guys who continually make exceptional work for the DCAU.

    I especially love science fiction-type shows, which are captured well in just about every episode of Batman Beyond. But my favorite superhero will always be Superman, and giving him this awesome time-travel storyline resulted in an epic, classic story. My favorite of the whole Justice League Series, which deserves much more praise than it has received.moreless
  • This was the worst episode ever!

    I thought that this epside was terible. I can't beleive I watchted the entire episode! The episode focused way to much on Superman. What happened in the battle. This episode was painful to watch and I will never watch this episode agin. I enjoied part one but I think this episode was the worst thing I ever saw! And, what happened to Vandel at the end, since he is imortle, the League couldn't have defeated them. Also, why didn't Supergirl help the League. or a side kick I'm sure that they would call in help if Savage started killing the heroes. It had a lot of loose ends that weren't tied up.moreless
George Newbern

George Newbern

Superman/Clark Kent/Kal-El

Maria Canals

Maria Canals

Hawkgirl/Shayera Hol

Carl Lumbly

Carl Lumbly

Martian Manhunter/J'onn J'onzz

Kevin Conroy

Kevin Conroy

Batman/Bruce Wayne

Susan Eisenberg

Susan Eisenberg

Wonder Woman/Diana

Michael Rosenbaum

Michael Rosenbaum

Flash/Wally West

Brad Garrett (I)

Brad Garrett (I)


Guest Star

Michael Dorn

Michael Dorn


Guest Star

Michael Rosenbaum

Michael Rosenbaum

Deadshot (uncredited)

Guest Star

Phil Morris

Phil Morris

Vandal Savage

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (5)

    • Trivia: Superman has Flash-endorsed energy bars in his trunk.

    • Trivia: We learn that Superman's user code is 02.

    • Superman has his "S" logo intact when he is first seen at the end of the first part, while lying partially under a slab. This logo now appears ripped at the start of the second half; presumably the missing part is the portion that Batman picks up in the first installment.

    • According to Savage, the reason why he couldn't go back in time to stop himself is that he can't go back to a time when he already exists. However, in "The Savage Time," the Martian Manhunter was able to travel to World War II, despite the fact that, at the time, he was still alive on Mars. (editor's note: there seems to be some misconception concerning Savage Time - the "present" Savage did not travel into the past. Rather, he sent technical knowledge back to his past self but never went there himself.)

    • Superman can shave whether he has super-powers or not. If he's got his invulnerability he shaves with a mirror and heat-vision. If he doesn't, he can use a blade, and he obviously has no trouble making blades - he crafts a katana! So if he doesn't like the beard so much, why doesn't he just make a knife or something in the future and shave it off? Heck, Savage looks like he keeps his goatee pretty trim - can't Superman borrow a razor from him?

  • QUOTES (8)

    • Superman: What happens to you?
      Vandal Savage: Redemption if I'm lucky...don't worry about me. Go back to your friends. Do what you do best. What you were born to do - save the world...

    • Vandal Savage: Your funeral was lovely. It was on all the networks...I used to have the DVD...

    • Wonder Woman: I love the beard. Keeping it?
      Superman: Not a chance.

    • 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: 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 stares) Like you've got something better to do.

    • Superman: How'd you get here?
      Vandal Savage: The old-fashioned way – I'm immortal.

    • Lobo: Ain't this great! The whole team together again. All eight of us.
      Superman: Count again! You're fired!
      Lobo: What!
      Superman: You're not Justice League material Lobo. Go chase a bail jumper. I don't care what you do, just clear out.
      Lobo: This is the thanks I get? What a stinkin' rip. Next time you lollipops need help, don't bother asking the Main Man! (Lobo flies off)
      J'onn: We didn't ask you this time!!

    • J'onn: You were greatly missed, my friend. By all of us.
      (everyone stares at a stoic Batman)
      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.

  • NOTES (5)

    • Phil Morris reprises his role as Vandal Savage.

    • The second half of "Hereafter" is based upon the classic Superman story "Under a Red Son". Episode writer Dwayne McDuffie wanted to adapt it to Superman: The Animated Series, but the opportunity never presented itself.

    • The entire League appear in this episode.

    • Just like in the comics, Lobo is rejected for membership by the Justice League because of his attitude.

    • The scientist Vandal Savage steals the White Dwarf device from is Ray Palmer - in the comics Ray Palmer is the Atom, and the device is the source of his shrinking power. In Season 3 the Atom becomes a Justice League member.


    • Visual: A book by Plato among Savage's collection
      In Savage's bookshelf, we can see one book by Plato, one of the most influential classical Greek philosophers, which supports the idea of Savage's redemption -- he is now an intellectual, rather than a megalomaniac.

    • Bugs:
      The big bugs/hive motif is pretty common in sci/fi, but these bugs strongly resemble the "infantry" Bug aliens of Starship Trooper (especially in the legs and gait). One might also draw comparisons between this ep and the anime Blue Gender where a cryo-tube guy wakes up to a giant bug infested earth.

    • Superman with a Hammer
      Superman wielding a hammer, wearing a beard, and having a red cape gives him more then a passing resemblance to Thor, the Norse god of Thunder and superhero over at Marvel Comics. Coincidentally or not, Avengers/JLA #3 came out the week before this episode aired, and the cover of Avengers/JLA #4 also has Superman wielding Thor's hammer.

    • Superman: On your feet, Mr. Wizard.
      Referencing the popular cult TV show, first aired in 1951 and run on various U.S. and Canadian channels in various incarnations.

    • Spaceship:
      Savage's spaceship project looks suspiciously like the spaceship and the launching pad as seen in the 1951 movie When Worlds Collide.

    • Story
      This episode seems to pay homage to Planet of the Apes with several similarities to that sci-fi classic: 1) The protagonist making his way across a desert to a jungle; 2) The protagonist follows a tracking signal to a downed spacecraft (more the remake); 3) the aspect of the protagonist time-travelling to the future without realizing right away that it is Earth until he sees a "ruin" from his time; 4) the evolution of lower creatures to the dominant species as a result of a nuclear cataclysm and 5) Superman resembling Charlton Heston as his hair grows, the injuries he sustains throughout his ordeal, and the makeshift clothing made from his tattered uniform.