""The Kingdom: The Road to Hell"": The Quintessence watch in a flashback to the time in Kingdom Come when Kansas was destroyed, that Superman found a young boy among the radiated ruins and brought him to safety. They decide that he shall be their agent. Four of
Appearing in "The Kingdom: The Road to Hell"
- Ganthet (Kingdom Come)
- Highfather (Kingdom Come)
- Phantom Stranger (Kingdom Come)
- Shazam (Kingdom Come)
- Superman (Kingdom Come)
- Zeus (Kingdom Come)
- Gog (Kingdom Come)
- Seven-sealed scroll
Synopsis for "The Kingdom: The Road to Hell"
The Quintessence watch in a flashback to the time in Kingdom Come when Kansas was destroyed, that Superman found a young boy among the radiated ruins and brought him to safety. They decide that he shall be their agent. Four of its members give Phantom Stranger a scroll that shall be given to their agent, at the time when he becomes a young man.
It is the year 2040. The young boy William is now a young man who works as a faith healer, believing himself to be a chosen disciple of Superman, whom he claims is a god above equal and far above reproach. He has even built a church for worshiping Superman and tells the Daily Planet reporter that he believes Superman caused the Kansas nuclear destruction as a test to weed out "false prophets", meaning superheroes that had a rather nihilistic approach to fighting criminals and other threats. William believes that Superman has given him a "gospel" to preach, contained in his message, "There is a right and a wrong in the universe, and that distinction is not hard to make. Do right by all."
After the reporter leaves and William kneels at the altar in his church to pray to his deity, Superman enters to visit him, telling the faith healer that the Kansas disaster wasn't his will at all, but rather was his fault, that he did not stop the heroes that caused it with their reckless fight, and asks for the young man's forgiveness. His faith shattered, Williams burns his church and goes about the street asking questions about why Superman is even here. As if to answer them, the Phantom Stranger appears unto William with a seven-sealed scroll that he is to open. The instant William opens it, he is consumed by flames and sees random visions of people and events, then finds himself remade into a powerful warrior with an energy spear. The Phantom Stranger reveals to William that he is now given power to change the course of history so that the Kansas disaster does not even happen. But before Phantom Stranger can tell him what to do, William vanishes.
As Superman is busy helping to assemble the first trans-Atlantic bridge from Metropolis to London, William reappears in his new form unto the Man of Steel. As Superman greets him with a smile, William responds by burning the Kryptonian into a smoldering corpse, flinging his body into a bridge support and marking it with the S-shield symbol. William now believes that Superman is Satan incarnate and now decides to go on a killing rampage throughout time to cleanse the universe of Superman's "evil".
As the Quintessence watches their agent, the Phantom Stranger sees something has gone amiss: their creation of William as their agent has made him mad with rage against Superman, and instead of seeking to prevent the Kansas disaster from happening, he is actually planning to accelerate it (to make it happen sooner). Which, as the Oan Guardian Ganthet among the Quintessence reveals, is exactly their purpose for him.
- Story appears in The Kingdom collected edition.
- First appearance of Gog. He appears next in The Kingdom #1.
- Some of the things seen in William's visions during his "baptism of fire" include:
- Kal-El's birthing matrix blasting off from Krypton from John Byrne's Man Of Steel.
- Captain Comet watching the stars over a city skyline.
- Billy Batson peddling papers on the street.
- Orion using his strength to break free of a gigantic hand.
- Nightwing and Starfire embracing.
- Lex Luthor breaking Dr. Sivana's neck.
- Lois Lane falling dead on top of Daily Planet papers as a victim of the Joker.
- The death of Bruce Wayne's parents.
- Wally West as the Flash scolding a young child.
- Princess Diana of Paradise Island given her tiara at the start of her mission as ambassador.
- A tearful eye seeing a devastated wasteland, presumably after the Kansas disaster in Kingdom Come.
- Ra's al Ghul lifting up his newborn grandson.
- Lex Luthor watching Superman's heat vision being deflected from the Hyperdome due to its being turned red.
- Captain Atom in four of his incarnations: two from his Earth-Four period, the one from his post-Crisis New Earth reintroduction, and the one from Kingdom Come.
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