"The Long Journey Home": Chester King brings Nathaniel's dead body to Dr. Anton Sarrok and explaining to him what had happened.

Quote1.png Well, I suppose I'm lucky I didn't go straight to hell. Quote2.png
Captain Atom

Captain Atom (Volume 2) #42 is an issue of the series Captain Atom (Volume 2) with a cover date of June, 1990.

Synopsis for "The Long Journey Home"

Chester King brings Nathaniel's dead body to Dr. Anton Sarrok and explaining to him what had happened.

In the astral plane, Nate's spirit is ferried to the afterlife by the Black Racer. He is then joined by Death of The Endless, who she explains to Nate that Death is a "big concept" in which she and the Black Racer are one of many aspects of Death: Death of The Endless is "Death as the Release, as Mercy, as Compassion" and the Black Racer is "Death as an Inevitability". Nate reaches his destination in Purgatory, which is presented as a massive towering mountain. Upon disembarking, Nate meets Destiny, who explains to him that in order to pass on to Paradise at the top of the mountain he must purge his sins — Pride, Wrath, Sloth, and Lust — as he ascend the mountain.

Nate begins his first task in purging his pride by carrying a massive stone — which represent the size of his pride that left him held his selfish desires above the safety of his close friends and allies — around the circumference of the mountain. Nate march for what felt like days until finally finishes his task.

Nate ascend to the mountain's Third Terrace, where the Sins of Wrath are punished. There, Nate is suddenly helped by the Phantom Stranger, who tells Nate that he must temper his distilled wrath.

On the Fourth Cornice, the Sin of Sloth, Nate is freezing from the cold and comes upon Colonel Richard Flag. The former member of the Suicide Squad explains why he is there is because of his own complacency that allowed every man and woman in the Squad to die. Nate helps Flag in climbing out of the terrace and finally reaching the final cornice, the Flames of Lust, where he and Flag has their lust burned away, and finally cleansed.

Nate and Flag are sent to the Garden of Eden, where they are reunited with their respective loved ones, Angela Adam and Karin Grace. Nate is ready to pass on into the afterlife with his wife, but only to be told otherwise by Angela that it is not his time yet as he is needed back in the realm of the living. Destiny, the Stranger, and the incarnations of Death explains to Nate that when his soul departed, his body was ripe for possession in which another soul had entered his body and kept it alive in order to use its power for ill-intent. Nate is hesitant to leave Angela, but his wife reassures him that she still loves him and all she wants for him is to keep on living.

The Captain then realizes that neither the Black Racer or Death of The Endless didn't claim his soul, as there is another aspect of Death that is hungering for his soul and the power it possesses. The Stranger and Destiny reveals to Nate the reasons for why they and the incarnations of Death helped him to ascend the mountain is to face and defeat the malevolent aspect of Death in order to return to Earth. This aspect is the "Cosmic Certainty" and the "Ultimate Opponent" — Nekron, Lord of the Unliving!

Appearing in "The Long Journey Home"

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  • Neil Gaiman, creator of Death of The Endless, has reportedly taken issue with Death's portrayal as an aspect of Death in this issue, as he felt that it diminished her importance. Since then, Gaiman and DC Comics have struck an agreement that Death can only be used in the DC Universe with his explicit permission.[1]

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