Superman (Kingdom Come)

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Superman
Kingdom Come Superman on the cover of Justice Society of America (vol. 3) #10. Art by Alex Ross.
Publication information
Publisher DC Comics
First appearance Kingdom Come #1 (May 1996)
Created by Mark Waid
Alex Ross
(based upon the original character by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster)
In-story information
Alter ego Kal-El
Place of origin Krypton (in the universe containing Earth-22)
Team affiliations Justice League (Earth-22)
Justice Society of America
Notable aliases Clark Kent
Abilities Superhuman strength, speed, stamina, senses, intelligence, regeneration, and longevity; super breath, heat vision, x-ray vision, invulnerability, and flight

The Superman of Kingdom Come (usually referred to as Kingdom Come Superman) is a fictional character, an alternate version of Superman in the DC Comics universe. First introduced in Kingdom Come #1 (May 1996), Kingdom Come Superman was created by Mark Waid and Alex Ross.

Publication history[edit]

The Superman of Kingdom Come first appeared as the main character of the 1996 Elseworlds miniseries Kingdom Come written by Mark Waid and Alex Ross with art by Ross, set in the future of the DC Universe. In 1999, The Kingdom, a sequel to Kingdom Come written by Waid but without the involvement of Ross, was published. This series again featured this version of Superman as a central character. In 52 #52, the Kingdom Come universe is shown in the DC Multiverse as becoming, for the first time, a part of the mainstream DC continuity. Starting with Justice Society of America #9, Kingdom Come Superman appears as a member of the Justice Society of America. The character also received a solo one-shot, Justice Society of America: Kingdom Come Special: Superman.

Fictional character biography[edit]

Kingdom Come[edit]

Main article: Kingdom Come (comics)

Ten years prior to the start of the events of Kingdom Come, the Joker floods the offices of the Daily Planet with Joker venom, killing all the staff except for Lois Lane, who finds a gas mask. Lois tries to attack the Joker, who fractures her skull in retaliation. Superman returns as Lois succumbs to her injuries and dies. As the Joker arrives for his trial, he is killed by a new superhero named Magog. In an instance of jury nullification, Magog is acquitted for his act. Superman is appalled by the public embracing a killer as a hero. Already disheartened at the death of Lois Lane, Kal-El abandons his life as Superman and retreats to his Fortress of Solitude, where he spends the next decade. During Superman's absence a team of new heroes, led by Magog, attempts to capture the Parasite, which results in the irradiation of the entire state of Kansas and much of the surrounding area when the Parasite kills Captain Atom. [1]

Coaxed back into action by Wonder Woman, Superman decides to return to Metropolis and re-form the Justice League. He manages to collect former heroes (including Green Lantern, the Flash, Hawkman, and Dick Grayson, now known as Red Robin, among others) and some of the newer heroes who had risen during his absence.

Superman's Justice League constructs a prison and gathers up new violent heroes who followed in the example of Magog. A battle soon breaks out between the imprisoned heroes, the Justice League, a third group of heroes led by Batman, and Lex Luthor's Mankind Liberation Front—which includes a mind-controlled Captain Marvel. [2]

As conditions worsen, the United Nations Secretary General Wyrmwood authorizes the deployment of three tactical nuclear warheads, hardened against certain metahuman powers. [3]The battling heroes manage to stop two of the bombers, but the third dropped its warhead. Superman attempts to stop the bomb, but Captain Marvel frees himself from Luthor's control and sacrifices himself in Superman's place. The bomb goes off, killing many superhumans, many also survive.

In the aftermath of the battle, Superman helps fix the damage done to Kansas and resumes his identity as Clark Kent. He begins a romantic relationship with Wonder Woman, and at the end of Kingdom Come, the two are expecting a child. [4]

The Kingdom[edit]

Main article: The Kingdom (comics)

Twenty years after the events of Kingdom Come, a survivor of the Kansas disaster is granted power by the Quintessence, who dub him Gog. The power drives him mad, and he takes out his anger on Superman, killing him and carving his "S" shield on the ground. He then travels a day backward in time and kills him again, and repeats the process.[5]

As Gog travels closer to the modern DC universe, the Linear Men panic when they see that their ordered index of time is unraveling; Superman is dead in the 21st century, yet alive in the 853rd, and their instruments register no error. When Rip Hunter tries to stop Gog from killing Superman on the day his and Wonder Woman's child is born, Gog manages to steal the infant (named Jonathan), whom he plans to raise and name Magog.[6][7]

Rip Hunter recruits Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman from the Kingdom Come era to stop Gog in 1998. Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman team up with their 'past selves' and battle Gog to a final confrontation in a restaurant outside of reality, where they use various weapons gathered from across Hypertime. During the fight, the future Wonder Woman reveals to the Superman of the present why Gog is after him, and Superman vows that the timeline of Kingdom Come will never happen in his universe. He strikes back at Gog, finishing the battle once and for all. As the heroes return to their proper places in time, Rip Hunter explains that there actually are alternate timelines, so the Kingdom Come reality still exists, but it will no longer be the future of the DC universe.[8]

Justice Society of America[edit]

Superman enters New Earth through a dimensional portal created inadvertently by Starman when he opened a black hole to stop a raging mystical fire the Justice Society couldn't contain that was coming from the hole in the chest of the villain Goth. Starman creates a black hole and places Goth inside of it. Goth's powers harmlessly erupt in the black hole, causing a rip in the dimension which brought this Superman to New Earth.[9]

The Kingdom Come Superman was depressed, as many of the heroes he knew from his timeline had died, including many of the present members of the JSA like Alan Scott. He attempts to escape from JSA headquarters and exerts his impressive power levels while doing so, including defeating Starman's gravity powers, which made Superman one hundred times heavier than normal. His escape was not to run from the JSA, but rather to save a young woman who was attempting suicide. He had heard her mumble about how the "world doesn't need her" from blocks away. Her depth of despair snaps him out of his own feelings of failing and loss. He responds, "Giving up never helped anyone miss, trust me on that." In saving her, he begins to save some of his own sense of self. Superman returns to the JSA headquarters and meets with the JSA, the Justice League, and his own younger counterpart, the Superman of New Earth, to determine his real identity and background.[10]

Later when dealing with Japanese metahuman assassins trying to kill the new Judomaster, he shows he had little or no problem threatening the life of his opponents, an option the present Superman would never consider as he follows a strict code of ethics that abhors the use of deadly force.[11] Power Girl, unable to ignore the strong resemblance between the newly arrived Superman and her dead cousin Kal-L, the Superman of Earth-2, starts to form a bond with this version of Kal-El, who in turn is reminded of his fallen cousin, Kara Zor-El of Earth-22. The Kingdom Come Superman asks if it would be all right if they think of each other as family. Power Girl accepts.[12]

Thy Kingdom Come[edit]

After Mr. America brings word of his run in with Gog to the JSA, the Earth-22 Superman then visits Metropolis, where he uses his listening powers to hear the various conversations around the city and his super vision to check for New Earth Superman. This leads him to the Daily Planet. While there he is almost overwhelmed by the sight of his friends and Lois Lane. He is interrupted by New Earth Superman, and they talk about Gog and the danger he represents. Superman demonstrates that he is more powerful than his younger counterpart when he hears something in Gotham City with his super-hearing that New Earth Superman can't. Arriving in Gotham City, they both confront Hercules, who just survived a battle with Gog; Hercules attacks and injures New Earth Superman, but is defeated by the Earth-22 Superman.[13]

After returning to JSA headquarters he and the JSA are attacked by Gog, who impales a defeated Sandman on his power staff. While the JSA tries to mobilize an attack against Gog, Jakeem Thunder is knocked out before he can summon Thunderbolt to attack, and Cyclone is knocked out before she can use her powers to suffocate him. The team is at a disadvantage in the dark with only Dr. Mid-Nite seeing where Gog was attacking from. Then he and Hourman were knocked out. Finally Gog is attacked by Alan Scott, the Flash, Superman, Power Girl, Hawkman, and Wildcat. The fight eventually spills into the street where Power Girl knocks Gog down; he drops his staff. Mr. America passes it off to Amazing-Man, who absorbs its properties and takes the fight to Gog. The fight transfers to the African Congo, where Gog is attacked by a revived true Gog, who states that Williams has abused his own powers. The true Gog removed his powers from Williams, killing him, and reclaiming all of his own powers.[14][15]

Superman continues to remain with the New Earth JSA, even becoming a current member of the team. Superman is suspicious of the revived David Reid, who has been revived as Magog. He is fearful that if Reid is now like the being he knew on Earth-22, a major danger will result to this Earth as well.[16]

The Daily Planet is flooded with gas denser than air. Superman arrives and sees the gas is mixed with green gas; Superman is horrified and sees flashbacks of his world, where Joker's attack on the Daily Planet will occur ten years hence. The green gas is filled with kryptonite, which has no effect on Supermen from alternate universes. Superman becomes aware of the terrorists surrounding him, strikes, knocking the terrorists to the ground, and questions them. The terrorist reveals it was Lex Luthor who was behind this, using the kryptonite to lure Superman into a trap. Superman is about to kill the terrorists and is stopped by New Earth's Superman, who is wary of him. Superman feels sorrow and regret when he lashes out and accidentally hits New Earth's Superman. He apologizes but flees at the sound of New Earth's Lois Lane. Later, Lois Lane meets Superman in JSA headquarters, and asks him what happened to Lois Lane of Earth-22. Superman tells her the story of how his wife died by the Joker at the Daily Planet.[17]

Through Sandman, Superman and the JSA learn that Gog is on the verge of permanently rooting himself into the Earth's core, which would result in the planet's destruction if he ever leaves. Realizing their only choice is to kill Gog and remove his head, Superman and the JSA confront Gog, and with the help of Gog's disillusioned followers (Magog among them) achieve their goal.[18] Superman has Starman open a Stargate to the Source Wall, where he places Gog's head. Superman then asks Starman, who has a map of the Multiverse on his costume, to send him back to Earth-22, to just before the bomb that destroyed Kansas went off. However, Superman arrives at the point shortly after Captain Marvel had set off a metahuman-destroying bomb over the Gulag, which corresponds to vol. 4 of the Kingdom Come miniseries. In the epilogue, Superman is shown to have survived 1000 years after his return, and as an old man, he watches the fly-pass of the future generation of superheroes.[19]

Powers and abilities[edit]

Kingdom Come Superman shares most of the powers of Superman, including vast superhuman strength, speed, stamina, durability, senses, intelligence, regeneration, invulnerability and longevity; super breath, heat vision, x-ray vision, and flight. Kingdom Come Superman is shown to be much more powerful than New Earth Superman.[13] Like other extra-dimensional versions of Superman, he is immune to the Kryptonite of New Earth; in the original Kingdom Come mini-series, Lex Luthor explains that Superman has absorbed several more years' worth of solar energy, effectively erasing his Kryptonite vulnerability.[17]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Kingdom Come #1
  2. ^ Kingdom Come #2
  3. ^ Kingdom Come #3
  4. ^ Kingdom Come #4
  5. ^ The Kingdom #1
  6. ^ The Kingdom #2
  7. ^ The Kingdom #3
  8. ^ The Kingdom #4
  9. ^ Johns, Geoff (w). Justice Society of America v3, 9 (September, 2007), DC Comics
  10. ^ Johns, Geoff (w). Justice Society of America v3, 10 (October, 2007), DC Comics
  11. ^ Johns, Geoff (w). Justice Society of America v3, 11 (November, 2007), DC Comics
  12. ^ Johns, Geoff (w). Justice Society of America v3, 12 (December, 2007), DC Comics
  13. ^ a b Johns, Geoff (w). Justice Society of America v3, 13 (April, 2008), DC Comics
  14. ^ Johns, Geoff (w). Justice Society of America v3, 14 (May, 2008), DC Comics
  15. ^ Johns, Geoff (w). Justice Society of America v3, 15 (June, 2008), DC Comics
  16. ^ Johns, Geoff (w). Justice Society of America v3, 18 (September, 2008), DC Comics
  17. ^ a b Ross, Alex (w). Justice Society of America Kingdom Come Special: Superman 1 (November, 2008), DC Comics
  18. ^ Johns, Geoff (w). Justice Society of America v3, 21 (November, 2008), DC Comics
  19. ^ Johns, Geoff (w). Justice Society of America v3, 22 (December, 2008), DC Comics