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Summary:  When Superman sacrifices his life during a battle with the Superman Revenge Squad in order to save his friends, both the Justice League and the world have to learn to live without his presence.  However, as the population grieves and he is remembered by those closest to him, the League must deal with the fallout of his demise, namely a supervillain crime wave in Metropolis and the untimely arrival of Lobo, who wishes to join the League in Superman's place.  Meanwhile, 30,000 years in the future, a familiar, red-caped figure stirs in a post-apocalyptic wasteland...

JL Roll Call:  Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, The Flash, J’onn J’onzz, Hawkgirl, Lobo

SRS Roll Call:  Metallo, Kalibak, Toyman, Livewire, Weather Wizard

Featured Character:  Superman

Villains:  The Superman Revenge Squad, Vandal Savage

Supporting Villains:  Metallo, Kalibak, Toyman, Livewire, Weather Wizard, Volcana, Deadshot, Star Sapphire, Copperhead

 

Cartoon Network on “Hereafter”:  “After Superman makes the ultimate sacrifice to save his fellow heroes, the Justice League and the rest of the grieving planet must learn to live in a world without Superman (courtesy of Cartoon Network).”

Maxie Zeus on “Hereafter”:  “I don’t know whether ‘Hereafter’ is a travesty and a waste of a great opportunity, or if it is sheer, unadulterated brilliance.  Maybe it’s both.  Certainly, the idea of taking an iconic event like the death of Superman and dramatizing it with strung-out, random crap and playing it for wall-to-wall comedy is…original.

“If you’re going to kill Superman, it seems like it should be done in a story that is big, big, BIG.  Except then it’s all anti-climax when he comes back—which you know he is.  Playing the death of a hero for straight, breast-beating when you’re just going to wind up saying, ‘Oops, heh, not really,’ is an ugly thing to do.  So why not take the opposite tack?  All credit for the gutsy move to avoid the obvious (courtesy of The World's Finest).”

Bruce Timm on “Hereafter”:  “At that time, the rights to Captain Marvel weren’t available to us, so we couldn’t do that.  Somehow that story got mixed up with ‘Hereafter,’ and somebody, I can’t remember who, said, ‘If we can’t have Captain Marvel replace Superman, who would be the best person to replace him?’  Well, it couldn’t be anybody obvious that people would suspect, and we came up with Lobo.  Within five minutes we had that whole story plotted out; everything just fell into place.

“Now, a lot of people complained about the seemingly random nature of that story—it starts off with the ‘death’ of Superman, then it goes off on this wild left turn when Lobo shows up and the whole tone abruptly shifts.  Then, at the end of that show, it abruptly shifts again to the adventures of Superman in a post-apocalyptic world.  I personally love that.  At the end it all kind of dovetails and makes sense, but while you’re watching it it’s definitely, ‘I’m thinking this story is one thing, then it becomes something else, and then it becomes something else again.’  We knew we would throw people, but forget it; ring that bell.

“To that end, the whole first part of the show with the supposed death of Superman, is all very somber and played very straight and very much from the heart.  Then, when Lobo shows up, he’s basically making fun of the Justice League and making fun of Superman.  Then part two is all from Superman’s point-of-view.  I’m a huge Robert E. Howard fan and a huge Edgar Rice Burroughs fan, so I really got off on the idea of Superman without powers on this post-apocalyptic mutated world, having to deal with monsters and having to arm himself and being Mr. Survivalist Guy (courtesy of RetroVision CD-ROM Magazine).”

Dwayne McDuffie on “Hereafter”:  “The trouble with ‘Death of Superman’ is everybody’s seen that story.  We didn’t want to have Doomsday come in and punch Superman until he was dead, which is what happened in the comic book.  I wanted Superman to die in sacrifice and I really wanted to do a story about what Superman meant to the other characters.  And, moreover, when you’ve got a character like Superman versus Batman, you want to show that Superman is formidable, that he’s a hero without the powers.  So sending him off to this future world where he doesn’t have superpowers, but he’s still the master of everything he comes up against, sort of underlines the fact that if he didn’t have the powers, he’d still be a very formidable person.  I mean, how tough is it to be a hero when nothing can hurt you?

“I also love Vandal Savage, and I particularly love incredibly crazy Vandal Savage.  The premise here was that he had been sitting by himself for 30,000 years and had kind of lost it.  He was really fun to write, and Phil Morris, who’s always great providing his voice, just ate this up.  A very subtle, very funny, very touching performance (courtesy of RetroVision CD-ROM Magazine).”

Rich Fogel on “Under the Red Sun” (circa 2002):  “I’m trying to figure out how to adapt one of my favorite Silver Age Superman stories into a Justice League story.  It’s called ‘Under the Red Sun,’ and it involves Superman getting thrown into a post-apocalyptic future Metropolis where the sun has turned red, robbing him of his powers (courtesy of Toon Zone).”

Corey Burton on “Hereafter”:  “Bruce [Timm] figured that he could have me knock off all three roles [Metallo, Toyman, and Weather Wizard], thereby saving a good script.  Interestingly enough, all of my characters are in a scene together.  I’ve been on shows before where I have to talk to myself—this time I did it in triplicate (courtesy of Comics2Film).”

Dwayne McDuffie on Superman’s funeral and Clark Kent’s absence:  “[The Kents were able to attend the funeral] because Superman had publicly saved the lives of Perry, Jon, Martha, and Lana—lots of people [who] were at the funeral weren’t famous.  Superman’s identity wasn’t revealed for the same reason he has one at all:  to protect his loved ones from the wraith of his many enemies.

“After Superman’s return, Clark could have been resurrected in many ways—Kara has remote control Superman (and Clark Kent) robots, J’onn could easily impersonate him or, more simply, Clark could show up and claim he was undercover on assignment for the week and a half he was missing.  But none of this was important to the Justice League episode (where Clark Kent hasn’t yet appeared as a character), so I skipped it.

“Superman returned only a few days after he died.  Again, there were as many people at the funeral who weren’t ‘famous’—how do you know that none of these folks who were at the funeral that you didn’t recognize weren’t also from Smallville…or Detroit, for that matter (courtesy of DwayneMcDuffie.com)?”

Dwayne McDuffie on the nation count in “Hereafter”:  “[The 191 figure [from ‘Hereafter’] is, I believe, the number of countries recognized by the U.N. (I think that the United States recognizes one or two more countries than the U.N.—I’m not sure though).  Either count leaves out Vatican City, Taiwan, and whoever we might be mad at this week.  It also leaves out Puerto Rico, Bermuda [...] and several dozen other 'colonies,' protectorates, et cetera that anybody who isn’t conversant in International Law (like me, for instance) would consider a country.

"My guess is that the reporter counted up the number of different ‘countries’ on the guest list (Northern Ireland, Wales, England…that’s three), got a number somewhere in the upper two hundreds, and ran with it (courtesy of Toon Zone).”

DarkLantern on the science of “Hereafter”:  “During its life cycle, our sun will expand into a red giant, collapse into a white dwarf star, and then eventually a black dwarf star…but if I remember my astronomy lessons correctly, when the sun expands into a red giant, it will completely engulf Mercury, Venus, and the Earth.  Ergo, no Earth with a red sun.

“I suppose Vandal Savage’s gravity device may have pushed the Earth farther away from the sun, but then the Earth would become burned to a crisp when the timeline was altered…unless other future scientists learned how to harness the magnetic poles to…well, I won’t bore you with the details (courtesy of Toon Zone).”

 

Commentary

"Sorry about the mess.  I tried to tidy up a bit."

"You did all this?"

"Every bit.  I've had a long time to tinker.  You have to keep busy or you'll go mad."

"Self-help books?  You don't seem the type."

"I read whatever I can find.  Anyway, I've got issues, what with my destroying the Earth and all."

An exchange between Vandal Savage and Superman from "Hereafter"

Commentary coming soon!

 

Image courtesy of The World's Finest.

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