Superman seems to be vaporized after making a Heroic Sacrifice. The League attempts to cope with the loss of Superman by defending Metropolis in his absence and Lobo offers to be the replacement. Superman actually wakes up 30,000 years in Earth's future with Vandal Savage, the only human left alive as the result of an attempt at world domination staged a few months after Supermans disappearance.
- Absence of Evidence: Superman is apparently killed by Toyman's latest machine, but Bruce refuses to believe it and presents his theory to Alfred by saying the lack of evidence is what tipped him off. Toyman's weapon left no debris, so it didn't blow him up. It left no scorch marks, so it didn't incinerate him. It didn't even leave radiation, hence it didn't disintegrate him. Bats deduces that since Toyman is merely an obnoxious Mad Scientist, not a god, the Law of Conservation is still in effect and therefore Superman couldn't have just been destroyed. His conclusion: it teleported him somewhere. He is right - Superman was shunted forward in time, but the show leaves it up to the viewer whether this was a logical conclusion or if Batman was simply in denial and right by coincidence. The other heroes state Batman mourned Superman "in his own way".
- Achievements in Ignorance: Toyman had effectively built the world's first weaponized time machine/teleporter or at least a tachyon particle beam. But he assumed that it was merely a Disintegrator Ray. The future Vandal Savage mocks him for underestimating the power of his own machine:Vandal Savage: That simpleton Toyman never truly understood what he had created.
- Alien Sky: Subverted; the planets have just been altered because of Savage's gravity device having Gone Horribly Right, and the red sun is because he's far in the future. After encountering the crashed remains of the Watchtower, Superman realises he's been on Earth All Along.
- Antagonist in Mourning: Lex Luthor shows up at Superman's funeral. Knowing the history between the two, Lois has every reason to slap him in the face for just showing up and says this:Lois Lane: You've come to gloat! You've tried to get rid of him for years! Are you happy now?! Isn't this what you've always wanted? I hate you! I HATE YOU! (she starts sobbing into Luthor's chest, and he holds her)Luthor: Believe it or not, I'm going to miss him, too.
- Anti-Hero Substitute: Lobo becomes this for Superman within the League.
- The Aloner: Vandal Savage has had 30,000 years of self-inflicted isolation to reflect on his mistakes. He even gave up on his project to build a starship because he came to feel that he deserved to be stuck on the world he'd ruined.
- Bad Future: Happens shortly after Superman's supposed death - Vandal Savage builds a Gravity Master device, murders the entire League, and then destroys the world as we know it without even meaning to.
- Badass Beard: Superman sports one in the future. When he returns to the present, Wonder Woman approves of his new look, but in a nod to Status Quo Is God, Superman refutes any idea he might keep it.
- Beware the Silly Ones: For all the powerful members in the very brief league, Toyman was the only one to succeed at seemingly dispose of Superman.Toyman: Superman go bye bye!
- Brick Joke:
- When discussing possible replacements for Superman, Green Lantern suggests Metamorpho, Flash suggests Aquaman, and Hawkgirl asks about Supergirl. In Part 2, Superman finds the crashed Watchtower and Aquaman's picture is included with the rest of the team.
- The goods that Superman salvages from the bits of building transported with him include the energy bars the Flash was endorsing in "Eclipsed".
- Brought Down to Badass: Superman doesn't have his powers for most of Part II, but he's still tough and resourceful enough to survive. Among other things, he turns a pack of mutant wolves into his personal dogsled team—mainly by defeating their leader and turning his hide into a cloak. Said wolves are saddened when Superman has to let them go.
- Burying a Substitute: When Superman is apparently killed, a full funeral is held for him, complete with a casket. A small scrap of his uniform that was left behind is the only thing actually in the casket.
- Call-Back: Lobo recalls once saving Superman's life.Green Lantern: That's not how he told the story.
- The Cameo: Alfred, Lois, and Luthor appear with dialogue, but other attendees of Superman's funeral include Tim Drake, Jonathan and Martha Kent, Kara, Jimmy Olsen, Perry White, Lana Lang, Bibbo, Maggie Sawyer, Dr. Fate, Orion, Hippolyta, Aquaman, Mera, and assorted Green Lanterns (including Kyle Rayner).
- Captain's Log: Superman notes that his commlink is picking up a carrier signal, but no audio. On the off chance that somebody at the other end can hear him, he explains his situation with periodic updates. Fortunately Vandal Savage picks up the signal and uses it to track him, though he doesn't try communicating until they're face-to-face for fear Superman will stop transmitting.
- Car Fu: Lobo defeats Kalibak with a few cars. While he holds another car, Hawkgirl tells him to put it down since Lobo already won. Lobo mutters, "I was gonna " and throws the car into a building.
- Continuity Nod: When the Leaguers discuss who should replace Superman, Green Lantern suggests his old buddy, Metamorpho.
- Delayed Ripple Effect: After Superman returns to his own time, Savage waits by his memorial... until he sees people begin to appear, after which he and his devastated surroundings fade away to be replaced by a peaceful future-Earth city.
- Earth All Along: Superman is transported to a post-apocalyptic planet orbiting a red sun that he learns is Earth in the very distant future.
- Empathic Environment: It begins to rain just after Superman is hit by Toyman's weapon.
- Exact Words: Lobo promised Superman that he wouldnt harm Earths people. So his solo fight has him taking on Kalibak, who comes from Apokolips.
- Forging Scene: Superman uses a sledgehammer and some road flares to turn a metal rod into a sword.
- Freeze-Frame Bonus: When Superman investigates the remains of the Watchtower, Aquaman is pictured alongside the rest of the League in the station database, indicating they eventually recruited him onto the team in the timeline where Superman never returned.
- From My Own Personal Garden: Vandal Savage invites Superman to lunch. The food's great because he has had 30,000 years to rediscover the principles of agriculture.
- The "Fun" in "Funeral": After the solemn official memorial service, the remaining Leaguers (except Batman) hold a wake on the Watchtower where they share reminiscences, including a funny story about Superman containing a grenade explosion in his bare hands. Then Lobo shows up to invite himself to take Superman's place on the team...
- Gilded Cage: Vandal Savage built up a nice piece of civilization for himself over the past thousands of years. Though it's implied to be both the result of keeping himself busy and making his self-imposed punishment as the last man on Earth more comfortable. It's telling he did build a spacecraft to leave Earth, but decided he wasn't worthy of leaving.
- Go Mad from the Isolation: Yes and no. Being alone for 30,000 years has cured Vandal Savage of his megalomania and powerlust (global domination isn't so great when it's by default because you're the last man on earth). It also left him very eccentric and detached, such as when he recounts his destruction of the Justice League as if he were describing a sporting event. When Superman calls him insane, he cheerfully says thats true, but that doesn't mean he's not a nice guy now.
- Gory Discretion Shot: Superman kills the pack leader of the wolf-like creatures with a sword he forged, but only the swinging of the sword is shown.
- Heroes Prefer Swords: Realizing that he has no powers because of a red sun, and that he needs some means of self-defense against whatever dangers may lie ahead of him, Superman fashions himself a crude sword out of an iron crowbar.
- Heroic Comedic Sociopath: Averted with Lobo. He's as hilarious as always, but is Completely Missing the Point with the whole hero thing.
- Hold the Line: Batman uses his martial-arts skill to hold his own against the much stronger Kalibak until help arrives:Kalibak: I just flattened Wonder Woman! You really think you can beat me?
Batman: I'm not trying to beat you. I'm trying to stall you.
Kalibak: Stall me? For what?
(Superman lands behind Kalibak, who turns to look)
(Superman decks Kalibak)
Superman: For what it's worth, I don't think you could've taken Batman either.
- I Hate Past Me: Vandal Savage begs Superman to stop his past self from getting the piece of white dwarf matter and setting up the Bad Future.
- Irony: How does Brought Down to Badass Superman deal with the savage future? Using boy scout skills.
- Know When to Fold 'Em: When it becomes apparent that the villains are up against the whole League rather than just Superman, Livewire suggests calling off the attack. It's too late for that, though.
- Lampshade Hanging: Wonder Woman stopped a lightning attack with her metal wrist bracers.Flash: There are so many reasons why that shouldn't have worked.
- Last of His Kind: Vandal is the last human left alive in the Bad Future.
- Legion of Doom: The Superman Revenge Squad
- Literal Metaphor: Vandal comments that the world belongs to the cockroaches now. He's not kidding.
- Mass "Oh, Crap!": The reaction to Superman being seemingly vaporized.
- Mike Nelson, Destroyer of Worlds: The future Vandal Savage accidentally threw the entire solar system for a loop with his gravity-control machine. As a result, he's now the only human left alive thanks to his immortality.
- Mood Whiplash: Constantly. Light hearted battle, Superman is killed and the world mourns, Lobo shows up for his usual Boisterous Bruiser comedy, then the League mourns, then straight up adventure with Superman: At Earth's End and then a Heartwarming/Tearjerking ending with Savage.
- Morality Chain Beyond the Grave: When Toyman (apparently) disintegrates Superman, Wonder Woman grabs him intending to put a fist through his head. Flash runs up to stop her:
- My God, What Have I Done?: Vandal's attempt at world domination disrupted the gravity of the entire Solar System, destroying mankind in the process. He's had 30,000 years alone to think about it.Vandal: "I've got issues, what with my destroying the Earth and all."
- Mythology Gag: The end of the world was caused by Vandal Savage stealing a piece of white dwarf matter from a scientist named Ray Palmer.
- "What did you always call it, Clark? The never-ending battle?"
- No Conservation of Energy: Averted, in that Batman's whole basis for believing Superman wasn't killed was that the First Law of Thermodynamics seemed to have been violated (matter cannot be destroyed, just converted to energy).
- Phlebotinum Battery: Savage's generator turns out to work as one.
- Pre-Asskicking One-Liner
(A batarang knocks Weather Wizard's wand out of his hand)
- From the first big fight in Part I:
Batman: Maybe you should get a strap for this. (decks him)
Kalibak: I'm not dead yet.
- From the second big fight in Part I:
Lobo: You're right. My watch is about ten seconds fast.
- Pretender Diss: After Lobo declares that he's come to take Superman's place in the League:Wonder Woman: You're no Superman!
Lobo: The ladies say different.
- Properly Paranoid: Batman was right. Superman didn't actually die.
- Pun-Based Title: A subtle example, according to episode author Dwayne McDuffie — Superman is presumed dead (the "hereafter") but has actually been transported to future Earth ("here, after").
- Pyrrhic Victory: Vandal Savage destroyed the Justice League and conquered the world...and wiped out the rest of mankind in the process.
- Ragnarök Proofing: The Watchtower stayed in orbit after Vandal Savage destroyed the Earth, only crashing down seventy-five years before Superman's arrival. And the security system still recognizes Superman when he finds it. Vandal lampshades, "They don't build 'em like this anymore."
- Redemption Equals Death: Vandal Savage says his erasure from history will, if he's lucky, be the outcome of sending Superman into the past to save Earth, and is pleased when it happens.
- Rewind, Replay, Repeat: Batman repeatedly watches a tape of Superman being disintegrated, determined to prove (or rationalize to himself) that he's not really dead.
- Ride the Lightning: Livewire tries to get away by traveling along an electrical wire when things start going south for the villains. Flash races ahead of her and dunks one end of the wire into water, forcing her to emerge and shorting out her powers.
- Roaring Rampage of Revenge:
- What prompts the Villain Team-Up between Metallo, Weather Wizard, Toyman, Livewire, and Kalibak. They all have a score to settle with Superman. Then again, all incarnations of the Superman Revenge Squad has followed the trope.
- After Superman is apparently killed, Wonder Woman nearly kills Toyman before Flash talks her down.
- San Dimas Time: Technically, Savage should have vanished the moment Superman returned to the past, but he's seen some time after sitting at the Superman Memorial before he slowly vanishes away, Back to the Future-style.
- Sand In My Eyes: When Superman returns, The Flash sniffs and says there's something in his eyes. Green Lantern notes it's tears and they all feel the same way.
- Secret Circle of Secrets: Played with in the opening scene, but the Superman Revenge Squad quickly remove their hoods and make no secret of their identities, at least their supervillain ones.
- Shining City: Metropolis becomes this once Superman has Set Right What Once Went Wrong. Even as Vandal Savage fades out of existence, he's perfectly content with this.
- Silly Rabbit, Idealism Is for Kids!: Lobo wants to join the League because it's an opportunity to bust some heads, and isn't interested in being told that there's more to it than that:Martian Manhunter: The Justice League is about more than physical power. It's about ideals, caring, helping...
Lobo: Buy me a ticket to Pukesville.
- The Slow Path:Superman: How did you get here?Vandal Savage: The old-fashioned way. I'm immortal.
- So Much for Stealth: Superman says this word for word when an unusually-alert roach notices them and roars, waking up the entire nest.
- Stab the Scorpion: Superman suddenly slashes at Savage. Savage ducks, and the sword takes out the monster behind him.
- Subverted Catchphrase: While he's tearing up the city, Kalibak says this is a job for Superman, only he's dead! Cue Batman arriving to launch a missile into his chest.
- Survivor Guilt: Vandal Savage developed this during 30,000 years of being alone on a dead Earth.
- Taking the Bullet: Superman intercepts the Toyman's beam as it's fired at Batman and Wonder Woman, which is what sets off the plot. He returns Just in Time to catch a missile fired at Batman by Deadshot.
- Talking to the Dead: Batman insists that he doesn't believe Superman is actually dead, but his attempts to confirm his suspicions lead nowhere, and his confidence seems to waver in a visit to Superman's memorial:Batman: I've got some things to say. I should've said them when you were here, but... despite our differences, I have nothing but respect for you. I hope you knew... know that. You showed me justice doesn't always have to come from the darkness. I'll miss...
(an explosion goes off in the distance)
Batman: What did you always call it, Clark? "The never-ending battle?"
- Thou Shalt Not Kill:
- Flash talks down Wonder Woman when she's ready to put a fist through Toyman's head, pointing out that Superman wouldn't want that.
- Superman momentarily seems to have abandoned this rule when Vandal Savage infuriates him by casually describing the deaths of the Justice League, but he satisfies himself with slamming down a heavy rock next to Savage's head. (Also, it wouldn't have actually killed him anyway.)
- Supes also has no problem with killing the giant cockroach creatures, which may or may not be intelligent beings. He also kills the leader of the wolfpack. It's possible Superman suspended his oath because here, he was not a superpowered being, and therefore wasn't abusing his powers in a life-and-death situation.
- Time-Passage Beard: Superman grows a beard while making his way to the fallen Watchtower, indicating that the journey takes several months.
- Vitriolic Best Buds: Discussed. While at Superman's grave, Batman acknowledges how they often disagreed, but that he always respected him.
- Was It Really Worth It?: Vandal Savage won, killed the Justice League, and finally rules the world... and accidentally killed everyone else on the planet. He's had 30,000 years to think about his actions and ask himself this question, and long since decided... no, it wasn't.
- Would You Like to Hear How They Died?: Inverted. While the information conveyed to Superman is part of this trope, Savage isn't trying to be ironic with his delivery and isn't trying to be sadistic nor sarcastic at all. Savage recounts how in his bid for world conquest, he acquired tremendous power, and proclaimed himself "master of the world". Superman retorts that the Justice League would have never allowed it, and Savage confirms that they stood in his way, then rather matter-of-factly recounts how he killed them. Even so, while he is just genuinely telling Superman what happened without Evil Gloating, it's still fairly chilling:Vandal Savage: Green Lantern was the most difficult. I killed him right here. (points towards a spot, then walks towards another) No... it was over there.
- You're Insane!