"Up in the Sky":
- So that's what that feels like...
Synopsis for "Up in the Sky"
- ...and he cried with a loud voice, as when a lion roareth, and when he cried, seven thunders uttered their voices...
Norman McCay sees yet another vision, this time of Captain Marvel calling down lightning upon himself. These visions he is seeing are what he believes are "dreams of Armageddon". He and the Spectre are now taken to an ominous-looking dome that now stands upon the Kansas wastelands: this dome is Superman's reformation center for superhumans, called the "Gulag". Due to its vast size, it was intended to house prisoners for months to come, but within two weeks of its construction it filled beyond capacity, though due to its architect and warden it was able to contain its numbers. Kryptonian battlesuit robots stand guard watching over the residents in the "Gulag's" beautiful environment. Dissenters among them mock at the Superman holograms trying to educate them of the proper use of their powers and abilities, with Captain Comet dealing with the hard-case types like Von Bach. Meanwhile, Lex Luthor uses White's "eye" to spy on the simmering stew of unrest within the "Gulag". Norman McCay and the Spectre also notice the Quintessence looking down upon Billy Batson being with Luthor, with Shazam pleading with his fellows for understanding regarding Batson. As the Spectre engages with the Quintessence in conversation, McCay speaks with Deadman, who at this point is now a spirit in skeletal form wearing rotted circus acrobat clothes.
Outside the Green Lantern's satellite which is being used as the Justice League headquarters, Superman and Wonder Woman have a peaceful discussion as they fling rocks around some asteroids, with Wonder Woman telling Superman that she had been ousted from Paradise Island for failing in her mission as the Amazons' ambassador for peace.
In the heart of an underground lab, Lex Luthor subjects Billy Batson to torture by making him watch gruesome images of him and his friends being slaughtered by superhumans and causing worms to crawl in and out of Batson's ears, keeping him from saying Shazam's name. Luthor later joins with Bruce Wayne in a special war room where Wayne reveals his team of superhumans who are ready to lend their support to the cause of the Mankind Liberation Front. Secretly, though, Wayne speaks with John Jones, formerly the Martian Manhunter but now crippled in his abilities, in the hopes of finding out what his friend had sensed.
As Superman looks down upon the Earth with his telescopic vision checking for superhuman activity, Red Robin speaks with his former Teen Titans members about his growing concerns that Superman's plans would eventually fail. Norman McCay finds himself suddenly pulled from the spirit realm into reality to face a Superman who's wondering why he's here. McCay's only answer comes from Scripture: "...and the third part of the trees was burnt up, and all green grass was burnt up...and the sun and the air were darkened...fear God and give glory to Him, for the hour of His judgment has come." While Superman is confused over the cryptic message, Red Robin notices that a riot has broken out in the "Gulag". As McCay vanishes with the Spectre, Wonder Woman sends Flash, Green Lantern, and Power Woman to deal with the situation while she and Superman speak to the Secretary-General of the United Nations about their growing concerns of the "Gulag".
In the main office of the Mankind Liberation Front, Lex Luthor is pleased to report about the riot going on at the "Gulag" and now is ready to send Billy Batson into action to do his bidding. Bruce Wayne keeps Batson from calling upon Shazam, telling him he now knows what Luthor has done to him and his mind. With Luthor now feeling betrayed, Wayne tells his assembled team of superhumans to strike, instantly stopping most of Luthor's team, while Luthor attempts to escape, only to be confronted by an army of activated Batknights. Wayne now tries to reason with Batson as he himself flees, only to accidentally cause a flask of worms to break and cover him with worms. Scared at the sight, Batson calls upon Shazam and soon vanishes.
At the Green Lantern satellite, Wonder Woman dresses herself in golden eagle armor and girds her magical sword to her waist as Superman tries to reason with her on how to deal with the rioters. Then suddenly news comes from Green Lantern: the prisoners are now starting to breach the walls, and they have killed Captain Comet. Angered at the loss, Wonder Woman leads a team to go to the "Gulag" and force the prisoners to surrender or else. Seeing that she cannot get Superman to see that her way of dealing with the superhumans may be the right way, Wonder Woman gives him a farewell kiss before she departs.
At that, Superman races to Bruce Wayne's Batcave in a last-ditch effort to have his friend and former ally join him in his cause. All Wayne can tell Superman is that Captain Marvel has been brainwashed and is now heading for the "Gulag" to burst it wide open.
Superman races as fast as possible to reach the "Gulag" before Captain Marvel gets there, but it is too late. Lightning strikes the dome, allowing its residents to spill out to engage the Justice League team in an all-out battle. Superman himself is knocked out of the sky as Captain Marvel now engages him in a one-on-one confrontation.
Norman McCay sees that Armageddon has arrived.
Appearing in "Up in the Sky"
- The Silent Cavalry
- Aquagirl (First appearance)
- Batwoman & Ace
- Black Canary
- Bruce Wayne
- The Creeper
- Darkstar (First appearance)
- Dinah Lance
- Doctor Fate
- Huntress (First appearance)
- Ibn al Xu'ffasch
- John Jones (First appearance)
- Kid Flash (First appearance)
- Mister Scarlet
- Oliver Queen
- Phantom Lady
- Ralph Dibny
- Red Hood
- Spy Smasher
- Steel (First appearance)
- Theodore Kord
- Justice League
- Aleea Strange
- Atlas (First appearance)
- Atom Smasher
- Big Barda
- Brainiac's Daughter
- Bulletgirl (First appearance)
- Captain Comet (Dies)
- Doctor Mid-Nite
- Donna Troy
- Golden Guardian
- Green Lantern
- Human Bomb
- King Marvel
- Living Doll (First appearance)
- Powerman (First appearance)
- Power Woman
- Queen Marvel
- Red Arrow
- Red Robin
- Red Tornado I (First appearance)
- Red Tornado II
- Scott Free
- The Ray
- Tornado Champion
- Wonder Woman
- Gulag inmates
- Mankind Liberation Front
- Captain Nazi
- Mister Atom
- Gulag inmates
- "April Fool"
- "Goblin Lord"
- This issue is reprinted in the Kingdom Come trade paperback, hardcover edition and Absolute slipcase edition.
- Translation of Von Bach's German dialogue as follows: "Shchweinhund!" ("pig-dog"), "Kein drohung Kosmonaut!" ("No threat, Kosmonaut!"), "Ich werde disen kerl töten!" ("I will kill that guy.")
- Translation of Kabuki Kommando's Japanese dialogue as follows: "He's heavier than he looks.", "Don't get mad at me...get mad at him!"
- Superman's reformation center, the "Gulag", resembles a modified version of the Legion of Doom's Hall Of Doom from the Challenge Of The Superfriends cartoon show.
- Analogs of Columbia and Riff Raff from The Rocky Horror Picture Show appear in this story as superbeings in the "Gulag".
- The Hippieman inmate is visually based on Glenn Carnagey, who is a longtime friend to Alex Ross.
- The people in Billy Batson's horrific viewing are the Monster Society of Evil (Mr. Atom, Captain Nazi, Mr. Scarlet, Black Adam, and Sivana) attacking Fawcett City and bedeviling Mister Scarlet, Bulletman, and Spy Smasher, while the people lying dead are the Marvel Family: Fat Billy Batson, Freddy Freeman, Jr., young Billy Batson, Uncle Dudley, Hill Billy Batson, and Mary Batson, who is holding on to a doll of Hoppy the Marvel Bunny.
- Luthor's form of torture upon Billy Batson combines elements from both Khan Noonian Singh's use of Ceti Alpha eel slugs in Star Trek II: The Wrath Of Khan and the forced viewings of gruesome ultra-violent acts in A Clockwork Orange.
- Luthor's command center is heavily reminiscent of the War Room in Dr. Strangelove.
- During the League meeting prior to their assault on the Gulag, there are superhero versions of the American pop/rock band The Monkees and robot versions of Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (which according to Kingdom Come / Revelations are called the "Pepperguard".).
- Bat-Mite briefly appears on the Bat-Computer's screen in page 40, panel 3.
- Superman's appeal to Bruce to join him and become "the world's finest team" is a reference to World's Finest Comic, in which Superman and Batman regularly teamed up.
- Bruce's bemused reaction to finding Superman already gone while in the middle of a conversation is an amusing reference to the many times that Batman has disappeared during a conversation and left Commissioner Gordon, and other characters, talking to himself.
- Kingdom Come Recommended Reading
- Kingdom Come (Volume 1) - collected in Kingdom Come
- The Kingdom (Volume 1) - storyline The Kingdom collected in The Kingdom
- Thy Kingdom Come - collected in Justice Society of America: Thy Kingdom Come, Part One and Part Two and Part Three
- Justice Society of America (Volume 3) #9 - JSA #17
- Justice Society of America Annual (Volume 3) #1
- Justice Society of America (Volume 3) #18 - JSA #20
- Justice Society of America Kingdom Come Special Superman #1
- Justice Society of America Kingdom Come Special Magog #1
- Justice Society of America Kingdom Come Special: The Kingdom #1
- Justice Society of America (Volume 3) #21 - JSA #22
- Titans: Who is Troia?
- Justice League: Generation Lost (Volume 1) - storyline Justice League: Generation Lost collected in Justice League: Generation Lost Vol. 1 and Vol. 2
Links and References
|Kingdom Come Continuity Storyline/Crossover|
Kingdom Come was a four-issue limited series published in 1996 under DC's Elseworlds imprint. Like all Elseworlds, this series was set in an alternate reality outside that of the mainstream DC Universe (in this case, Earth-96/Earth-22/Earth 22). However, several elements and characters were later introduced in the mainstream universe.