…I cannot believe how long it has taken me to getting around to doing this, especially since this is a requested review from one of my closest friends, but here we go: As pretty much everyone who reads my blog knows, I love me some superheroes. Be it comic books, movies, tv shows, I love a good story that involves superheroes, and one of my favourites is the Justice League animated series. They just seemed to tell the stories of these heroes and their supporting casts a lot better than most any other series involving multiple heroes in a team. And it was a very diverse team, with Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, The Flash (Wally West, THANK GOD), Hawkgirl, Martian Manhunter, and Green Lantern (John Stewart). There are tons of great episodes to pick a favourite from, but in the case of PinkRangerWannabe, hers is the two-parter known as Hereafter.
So, as is my custom nowadays, let’s go through the actual plot first before making additional notes and whatnot. Part 1 opens with the forming of the Superman Revenge Squad, which consists of Metallo, Weather Wizard, Livewire, Toyman, and Kalibak. They decide to stage an attack on Metropolis to draw out Superman, but they bite off more than they can chew when the entire Justice League shows up. They do manage to hold their own well against the JLU, though, but are ultimately taken down one by one until only Toyman remains, piloting a giant robot with a cannon that seems to be utterly disintegrating anything it hits. Of course, it’s not like he could actually hit Superman with that…until he aims it at Wonder Woman and Batman, who are unable to get out of the way. With no other choice, Superman flies in its path, taking the hit and vanishing. Well, Diana kinda goes apeshit on Toyman, bringing down his robot and almost killing him before Flash can stop her, reasoning that Superman wouldn’t want revenge, to which she tearfully agrees to.
As can be expected, the world is left in a state of shock and grief: Superman, their greatest and most noble hero, is dead. Even Lex Luthor claims that he’ll miss him. The only one who refuses to take part in the funeral is Batman, who is in a state of denial since matter simply can’t disappear without a trace, though he does watch from the shadows, unseen by all except Wonder Woman. Later, at Superman’s wake in the Watchtower, the rest of the League (minus Batman) trade happy stories about the Man of Tomorrow, before they eventually realise that they should probably consider increasing their numbers with Superman’s death. Of all people who could possibly show up to interrupt, Lobo arrives on the Watchtower to cause havoc, crashing through the windows like Macho Man demanding kids snap into a Slim Jim…which is technically alright, since he only told Superman he’d leave Earth alone, and they’re well above orbit. lol Anyway, he insists that the League needs the Main Man, but they refuse, and a fight breaks out. The JLU eventually corner him, but they have bigger problems when they learn that Batman is in trouble.
Down on Earth, it seems that the Superman Revenge Squad have broken out of prison with a number of the JLU’s rogues gallery, going on a massive attack in celebration of their biggest adversary’s death. When Batman is clearly not enough to deal with them all, the League are forced to bring Lobo down with them (because they don’t trust him alone on the Watchtower) to deal with the situation. To his credit, Lobo does manage to stop Kalibak in a pretty badass fashion, albeit while doing far more property damage than necessary. Lobo insists that the League is far better off with him than they were with Superman, but unbeknownst to them, in a distant place lit by a red sun, Superman lives! (Yes, I went there. 😛 )
Part 2 opens with Superman getting to his feet and trying to contact the Justice League, but he can’t get through to them. What’s worse is that the red sun has robbed him of his powers, and while he can seem to pick up a JLU beacon, it’s clearly far off. Luckily, plenty of food and supplies got caught in Toyman’s blasts, as well as…
So Superman drives the car as far as he can, trying his best to avoid a group of wolf-like creatures along the way, but eventually he runs out of the gas he siphoned from the other cars and is attacked again. However, after the last attack, he went blacksmith and made a sword for himself. So he kills the pack leader, uses his fur to make new clothes for himself, and the rest of the wolves are made into sled-dogs for a sled he fashions out of the hood of the car…What?! They attacked him first! Besides, as he goes along, he makes sure to keep them well fed, and when he gets to where he’s going, they actually seem kinda sad to leave him.
Anyway, Superman arrives at his destination, but finds that what he’s been tracking isn’t just a beacon: It’s the Watchtower, crashed in the middle of a jungle filled with giant cockroaches. What’s more, he finds there’s no record of what happened to the rest of the League, only to be told they died thousands of years ago by the only human on the planet: the immortal Vandal Savage. Yep, it’s a post apocalyptic future!…And Superman has a beard…and yet, he’s not Bearded Idiot…WHY IS THIS SO HARD FOR COMIC BOOKS TO GET RIGHT?!
Anyway, Vandal Savage very calmly lets Superman know exactly what happened: He killed the entire Justice League with a gravity machine and then accidentally disrupted the gravitational balance of the solar system, thus killing every human being on Earth. Superman now is in a post-apocalyptic world 30,000 years in the future, the red sun is keeping him weak, and the only company he has on the world are the creatures that have evolved on it and Vandal Savage, humanity’s murderer. However, it seems that doing so came as a VERY heavy blow to Savage, who now understands how meaningless his pursuit of power was, although he admits he should’ve learned it FAR longer ago. His guilt over destroying humanity is eating him alive, too. He HAD built a ship to find and colonize other worlds, but decided he deserved to be punished and left alone. He constantly gathers what self-help books he can find in the ruins of cities to deal with his issues. He even built a time machine to go back and stop himself, but he can’t use it since he can’t travel to any point he already exists in…although, Superman ISN’T there, meaning they have a chance to undo all this.
Unfortunately, the only power source in the world that can open a stable time hole isn’t currently in Savage’s ownership: It’s an energy generator that, for all intents and purposes, is basically a miniature sun. Unfortunately, the roaches stole it and built a colony around it. He can build another one, but it’ll take fifty years, and without his enhanced physiology granted by a yellow sun, there’s no guarantee Superman will be in any position to stop him in the past at that age, so they have to try to get the generator back. They make it to the central chamber of the colony, but Superman falls into the pit where the generator is held. However, since the generator gives off energy exactly like a yellow sun, his powers are restored just enough to fly out and take down the roaches. Savage gets everything ready, and tells Superman that, to complete his gravity machine, he’s going to steal a piece of dwarf-star matter from a scientist named Ray Palmer, who we know as The Atom. The JLU HAS to stop him, by any means necessary. Superman understands and leaves through the time hole, Savage ensuring him that, if he’s lucky, this will mean redemption for him.
It turns out Superman actually arrives back in the past just at the right time, as Deadshot fires a rocket at Batman right after the battle at the end of Part 1. Superman manages to save the Dark Knight, who in turn takes down Deadshot. Everyone is happy to see Superman alive, and Superman promptly fires Lobo and tells to go frak himself. He then tells the rest of the League they have work to do and fly off, the story coming to a close back in the future as Vandal Savage sees humanity starting to fade back into existence as he fades away…though I’m pretty sure he’s not dead, since he’s kinda/sorta immortal, so that DOES leave me kinda curious how the Justice League stopped him.
So, my final thoughts? This two-parter is definitely a must-watch for anyone who loves these characters…BUT, I do need to critique it in places. There’s a couple of animation inconsistencies, like where an ATM reads MTA instead, which are admittedly small and don’t really detract at all. The only problem I have with Part 1, and if you’ve been to the DCAU Wiki then you probably already know this, the episode raises more than a couple of questions regarding knowledge of Superman’s secret identity. His parents are near the front row, and nobody questions why? Clark Kent is missing from the biggest story IN THE WORLD, and no one notices? If Lois Lane still could not piece together that Clark Kent was Superman by this point, there’s something SERIOUSLY wrong there. As for Part 2, the pacing at certain points feels kinda off. It just feels like there wasn’t enough time devoted to Superman and Vandal Savage going on the operation to find the generator. Also, how DID the Justice League stop Vandal Savage? I mean, we could assume he was locked away, but we never get an answer. Hell, Vandal Savage never shows up again in the entire DCAU.
But, with all that in mind, this is still a good story. And considering that the second episode was a post-apocalyptic Superman story, it could’ve been a lot worse.
………A LOT worse. I’m Jyger85, and this has been Jyger’s Rant. Ja né!