Supergod issue 1 (November 2009)
|Publication date||October 2009 – 2010|
|No. of issues||5|
|Created by||Warren Ellis
|Written by||Warren Ellis|
|Editor(s)||William A. Christensen|
In an essay written at the time of publication, Warren Ellis said:
Supergod is the story of what an actual superhuman arms race might be like. It’s a simple thing to imagine. Humans have been fashioning their own gods with their own hands since the dawn of our time on Earth. We can’t help ourselves. Fertility figures brazen idols, vast chalk etchings, carvings, myths and legends, science fiction writers generating science fiction religions from whole cloth. It’s not such a great leap to conceive of the builders of nuclear weapons and particle accelerators turning their attention to the oldest of human pursuits. Dress it up as superhuman defense, as discovering the limits of the human body, as transhumanism and posthumanism.
Supergod is narrated from the point of view of Simon Reddin, a British scientist who sits in the ruins of post-apocalyptic London, waiting to die. Reddin tells his story to "Tommy," an American counterpart taking refuge in a bunker, in order to provide an oral history of the events that led to the end of the world.
In 1955, years before the onset of the Space Race between the United States and the Soviet Union, Great Britain launches an experimental rocket with a crew of three astronauts for the sake of observing the then-unknown effects of outer space on the human body. Weeks later, when the rocket returns to Earth, scientists find that the three astronauts have been fused together into one gigantic, three-headed being by a mass of alien fungus. This creature is named "Morrigan Lugus," after multi-headed deities from Celtic mythology.
England's possession and study of Lugus spur the other developed nations of the world to begin developing their own superhuman programs. (This is ostensibly a military arms race, but several times throughout his story, Reddin injects his own opinion—supported by a speech from Lugus—that human beings have a psychological compulsion to create and worship their own gods.) The United States creates Jerry Craven, a cyborg built from the broken body of a crashed Air Force pilot; Russia creates Perun, an advanced cyborg built from the remains of a previous model destroyed by Craven; Iran creates Malak, able to generate a force field that dissolves the atomic bonds of nearby matter; China creates Maitreya, who can shape and manipulate human flesh into complex objects.
The flashpoint for global conflict comes in the early 21st century with the activation of Krishna, the Indian superhuman. Krishna is built with state-of-the-art technology, granting it godlike control over both matter and energy, and is governed by a simple artificial intelligence program with instructions to "save India." Krishna takes this command to its logical extreme, solving India's problems of pollution and severe overpopulation by laying waste to the country, leveling its cities and killing most of its people. The chaos in India prompts Pakistan to launch its entire arsenal of nuclear missiles against Krishna, but Krishna merely turns the weapons around, obliterating Pakistan.
These catastrophic events provoke other nations to mobilize their own superhumans against Krishna; meanwhile, Reddin, part of the team studying Morrigan Lugus, argues that since Krishna does not appear to value human life, Lugus—as a higher form of life, like Krishna himself—should be released from the underground chamber where it is currently held so that it may communicate with Krishna and convince him to halt his rampage. Faced with no other way of stopping Krishna, the British government agrees.
All attacks on Krishna fail, as he is far too powerful for any of the other superbeings to pose a threat to him. Perun and Maitreya are easily killed, and Malak is catapulted into space, where his force field shatters the Moon, causing lunar fragments to rain destruction upon the Earth. With his enemies defeated, Krishna begins the process of rebuilding India, creating structures capable of cleaning up the devastated environment and housing its surviving population. Jerry Craven arrives on the scene, but—weary of conflict and mentally traumatized by his own death and resurrection—expresses his desire to live in peace with Krishna.
However, Craven is joined moments later by Dajjal, a bizarre, incomplete superhuman covertly developed by the United States during the Iraq War. Dajjal was designed to be without sanity, allowing it to observe the flow of time and to perceive all possible futures. Dajjal implies that all futures arising from this moment in time would result in a utopia created by Craven and Krishna, and would all be "so boring" that Dajjal cannot bear to live through them. To avoid this fate, Dajjal self-destructs, resulting in a massive explosion that kills Craven and Krishna and destroys most of Asia and Europe.
In the present, with his story finished, Reddin bids farewell to Tommy, strips off his clothes, and prepares to leap into the River Thames to meet his "god": Morrigan Lugus, the last surviving superbeing, whose spores have infested the entire planet.
The series has been collected:
- trade paperback: Supergod (128 pages, December 2010, ISBN 1-59291-099-8)
- Hardback: Supergod (128 pages, August 2011, ISBN 1-59291-100-5)
One review called the work a "magnificently grim and horrifying superhero comic".
-  Avatar Press official webpage
- Doctorow, Corey (8 October 2012). "Supergod: Warren Ellis's horrific arms-race endtimes - Boing Boing". Boing Boing. Retrieved 6 September 2014.
- Review: Supergod #1, #3, #4, Comic Book Resources
- Supergod #1 Review, #2, #4, Comic Book Resources
- Review: Supergod, , The ZONE
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