"The God Machine": Having dragged Brainiac into a black hole in order to save Metropolis, Superman is confused to find himself in a bizarre, otherworldly plane. Wondering if that was Brainiac's doing, he is surprised to hear a voice warn h
- No matter the universe or timeline--you demand attention...You asked where we were...This is where I watch you die.
Synopsis for "The God Machine"
Having dragged Brainiac into a black hole in order to save Metropolis, Superman is confused to find himself in a bizarre, otherworldly plane. Wondering if that was Brainiac's doing, he is surprised to hear a voice warn him that it was not Brainiac who led him there, but Vril Dox - and no matter the universe or timeline, Superman demands the real Brainiac's attention. Superman looks to see a gargantuan visage that resembles the Brainiac he knows - but is somehow different. This stranger claims that Metropolis is beyond help, and is irrelevant given that the test he intends to put to Superman will determine whether he lives or dies. Vril Dox, he explains, is long gone, but he was just one aspect of the Brainiac. There are many, and each one is an unknowing extension of the one Brainiac's consciousness, and they serve on purpose: to break Superman's resolve - to kill him or be killed. Superman just killed the Vril Dox of his timeline and universe.
As for where they are, Brainiac explains that they are where he watches Superman die - where he watches every Superman die. In every case, he has sent one of his extensions to kill Superman, and in every case, Superman has found some way to evade that death, only to be killed by someone else in order to save other lives. He had watched one version die at the hands of Doomsday, and it is from there he got the idea to infect Superman with the Doomsday Virus. Like he learned from that Superman's death, and triumph over it, Brainiac has learned from this Superman - and that information will serve him well. With that, Brainiac abandons Superman there.
Superman eventually frees himself, but finds that he is in a barren wasteland; nothing for millions of miles. On the horizon, he spots a figure, and chases after it, but it is gone before he can get to it. He calls out for the figure to come back, but he is answered by a voice who challenges him to tell where his city is. Superman turns to see another Brainiac, who notes that his master was right to be concerned about Superman. In every timeline, it always ends with him. Superman demands to be taken to his city - to Metropolis. The Brainiac comments that he has collected many versions of Metropolis, and each of them is filled with people who he protects, for their survival. While he cannot get Superman back to his - he is sure he can find him one he will like. He is, after all, the keeper of the worlds.
Superman refuses the offer, to the keeper's annoyance. It comments that the true Brainiac had a great admiration for Jor-El. In every timeline and universe, he had found a way to enable his son to escape death. Noting that Brainiac has been absent for too long in his mission to restore the timeline of this Superman's Earth, the keeper accuses Superman of having done something to him, though he has been speaking with him the whole time. Superman insists that he did nothing, and wants to be taken back to his own Metropolis. Conceding that Superman must need answers, Brainiac obliges.
The planet they are on was once very different, and life on it was perfect and in perpetual balance - the product of a sentient design by a living planet. Brainiac recognized its potential, and shaped it to its will - though it was painful for the planet. It endured all the same, allowing Brainiac to prepare to support the lives that he would bring to it. He would bring cities doomed in their own timelines to the planet, and judge their merit. He then moved the planet outside of time and space.
Hearing this, Superman realizes that the keeper of the cities is, in fact, the planet itself. Having only known Brainiac, it cannot take any form but his extensions. Superman looks upon the collected cities, and sees that the people inside are trapped and wish to escape. Angrily, he accuses Brainiac of running a zoo. The intelligence can only respond that this is the master's design. Collecting these people with their cities has saved them from their extinction. They ere collected right at the point at which their existence was to be wiped out.
Superman realizes, then, that right now, Brainiac is at his Earth, planning to collect a city - but he hasn't returned. The keeper warns him that because he has no city on this planet yet, Superman must go back to where he came from. The manner and path of his return will erase his memories of this place until it is time for him to return at last.
As Superman is sent away, the keeper realizes that in the same way that Brainiac is unique, so must it be unique. It endeavors to become something other than Brainiac in order to right the mistake that Brainiac made. As Telos, he will make the judgment of which universes will survive based on merit by forcing them to fight one another for existence.
Appearing in "The God Machine"
- Brainiac (Futures End)
- Telos (First full appearance)
- Gog (Earth-22)
- Lex Luthor (Earth-149)
- Batman Beyond (DCAU)
- Doomsday (New Earth) (Appears only as a corpse)
- Lois Lane (New Earth)
- Kara Zor-L (Earth-Two)
- Supermen of the Multiverse
- Technically, Pre-Crisis Earth-Two Metropolis itself did not appear in The Flash #123 but it is the first appearance of Earth-Two as definitively separate reality.
- There seems to be a typo as Post-Crisis Metropolis first appeared in Crisis on Infinite Earths #11...unless there is some kind of difference between the Metropolis of issue 11 and 12.
Links and References
- "One is a failed experiment. An Injustice." p.27
- Adventure Comics #247 (1958)
- Legionnaires #1 (1993)
- Action Comics #263 (1960)
- Action Comics #242 (1958)
- Action Comics #1000000 (1998)
- Hex #1
- Adventures of Bob Hope #94
- Tangent Comics: Atom #1
- Strange Adventures #117
- Earth 2 #1
- Crisis on Infinite Earths #4
- Whiz Comics #2
- Captain Carrot and His Amazing Zoo Crew #1 (1982)
- Detective Comics #327 (1964)
- Zero Hour: Crisis in Time #0 (1994)
- Batman: Gotham by Gaslight
- Injustice: Gods Among Us #1
- Flashpoint (Volume 2) #1
- Batman Beyond #1
- Just Imagine: Batman #1
- Batman (Volume 2) #1
- Batman and Dracula: Red Rain
- Blue Beetle (Volume 5) #1
- Justice League of America #30
- Kingdom Come #1
- The Flash #123
- Crisis on Infinite Earths #12
- Superman & Batman: Generations #1
- Superman #162
- Superman: Red Son #1
- The New 52: Futures End FCBD Special Edition
- Freedom Fighters #1
- Green Lantern (Volume 2) #2
- Justice League Europe #15
- Kamandi #1
- WildC.A.T.s #1
- 1st Issue Special #8
- Adventures of Superman #476
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