Superman of Earth-22

The "Kingdom Come" Superman + The Phantom Stranger of Earth-22

Created by Mark Waid and Alex Ross

NAME + ALIASES:
Kal-El aka Clark Kent

KNOWN RELATIVES:
Lois Lane (wife, deceased), Diana (Wonder Woman, wife), Jonathan Kent II (The Stranger, son), unnamed children and descendants

GROUP AFFILIATIONS:
Justice League of America (Earth-22), Justice Society of America (Earth-0)

FIRST APPEARANCE:
Kingdom Come #1 (1996)

The Phantom Stranger of Earth-22

NAME + ALIASES:
Jonathan Kent II

KNOWN RELATIVES:
Kal-El (Superman, father), Diana (Wonder Woman, mother), unnamed siblings

GROUP AFFILIATIONS:
The Quintessence

FIRST APPEARANCE:
As Phantom Stranger: Kingdom Come #3 (1996)
As Jonathan: The Kingdom #1 (1996)

History

With Lois in her last moments. From JSA Kingdom Come Special: Superman #1 (2009); art by Alex Ross.
Superman comes out of retirement. From Kingdom Come #1 (1996); art by Alex Ross.

Kingdom Come was originally produced under DC Comics' "Elseworlds" banner, which meant that it was outside of its mainstream continuity. It was set about 20 years into the hypothetical future. After the success of this mini-series, DC produced a sequel called "The Kingdom" in 1999. The premise of this event was that the Kingdom Come world might be the future of the DC Universe. At this time, the DC Universe was limited to one sole timeline; all parallel worlds were collapsed into one by the Crisis on Infinite Earths. To allow for variations, The Kingdom #2 introduced the concept of Hypertime. Instead of parallel worlds, there were parallel timelines which sometimes intersected. Eventually the idea of parallel Earths proved too popular and the DC multiverse was recreated in 2005's Infinite Crisis. After this, the Kingdom Come world was designated Earth-22, an official parallel Earth.

The Superman of this world was Kal-El, and lived an early life that seems much the same as that of his mainstream counterpart (officially, on Earth-0). Earth-22 had similarities to Earth-2, which was the home of DC's Golden Age heroes. Its super-heroes had been active longer than on Earth-0. Its elders included the trinity of Superman, Wonder Woman, Batman, and Alan Scott as Green Lantern. By this time, most senior heroes of the Justice League (there was no Justice Society) had retired and there was a whole new generation of heroes carrying on their legacies.

Superman and his wife, Lois Lane, had no children. Lois was killed when her skull was crushed by the Joker in an attack on the Daily Planet building. Before she died, Superman spoke to her one last time and her last words were, "Don't lose... Clark." That day, he abandoned his identity as Clark Kent. At the Joker's trial, a powerful new antihero called Magog appeared and then killed the Joker. (JSA Kingdom Come Special: Superman) Superman was horrified but the public actually rallied around Magog. Magog had spurred a shift in attitudes toward the role of super-heroes. Instead of fighting against the tide, Superman retreated from public life.

At some point, Star Boy arrived from the 31st century (of Earth-0). On Earth-22 he became Starman. (Kingdom Come #2) Starman was one of the first to join Superman when he was coaxed out of retirement by Wonder Woman. Super-humans had become careless and in Superman's former home of Kansas, Captain Atom was torn apart by the Parasite; the explosion destroyed most of the state. Superman restarted the Justice League and began a crusade to clean up metahuman violence. (#1) Superman rescued one survivor from Kansas, a boy named William Matthews. Unseen, William was secretly being groomed for power by a cadre of supernatural entities called the Quintessence (Zeus, the Phantom Stranger, Shazam, Ganthet, and Highfather). (New Year's Evil: Gog #1)

The Justice League created a new prison called the Gulag and swiftly filled it with rogues. (#2) The Gulag's inmates revolted and before Superman's group could take control, the United Nations dropped a nuclear bomb the prison. Captain Marvel forced the bomb to detonate above the ground, but scores of heroes and villains were killed just the same. The force of this blast activated Starman's uniform and triggered a transuniversal jump. Both Starman and Superman were transported to Earth-0 (but to different points in time). Starman settled in Opal City and joined the Justice Society. Superman emerged on Earth-0 when the Justice Society was fighting to stop a building from exploding. Starman used his gravity powers and created a black hole, and the anomaly brought Superman through from Earth-22. (Kingdom Come #3-4, Justice Society of America v.3 #9, 22)

Superman survives the holocaust at the Gulag. From Kingdom Come #4 (1996); art by Alex Ross.

Thy Kingdom Come

The Man of Steel was greatly disoriented. He believed that his Earth had been destroyed and that—again—he was a sole survivor. His arrival drew the attention of the Justice League, who had joined the JSA in keeping tabs on a new potential threat. On this world, a version of Earth-22's Magog called Gog had begun a murderous campaign. Superman effectively joined the Justice Society and helped investigating the killings. (#10-11) NOTE: Kingdom Come was intended to be set about twenty years in the future. So when Superman crossed over to Earth-0, he also traveled back in time.

Kal-El was a great comfort to Power Girl, who was reeling from the loss of her cousin, the Superman of Earth-Two. (He had only recently reappeared, then died. [Infinite Crisis #1-7]) (#11) As Gog continued his killing spree (#12), Superman spoke to his younger counterpart about his battles with Gog. He surmised that Gog's nightmarish visions might actually be glimpses of the tragedies on Earth-22. Gog's trail led to the Congo, where they discovered his source of power—the original Gog, a fallen god of the Third World. (#13) (NOTE: These characters are not linked to their counterparts on Earth-22.)

Superman and the JSA tracked Gog to Africa (#14) but were unprepared for this original Gog's revival. But instead of attacking them, the old god destroyed his acolyte, Gog, instead. (#15) Gog explained how he was the lone dissenter in an apocalyptic war. He fell to Earth, lay dormant, and was eventually discovered by William Matthews, who took Gog's name. Gog's energies drove Matthews mad with visions of the multiverse. Now renewed, Gog hoped to win over the population of Earth and set out doing "good deeds." (#16) As Gog marched across Africa, he amassed followers and proclaimed himself the planet's protector. He granted miraculous wishes to many JSA members and eventually asked his followers to worship him. But when Gog sensed a war, he rampaged against the aggressors. (#17)

Meeting of the Supermen in Metropolis. From JSA Kingdom Come Special: Superman #1 (2009); art by Alex Ross.

The situation in Africa divided the JSA, some of whom sympathized with Gog's point of view. One of their members, Lance Corp. David Reid was killed in an ambush Gog resurrected him as Magog. (#18)

In the midst of this, Superman found some down time. He told Cyclone about his past, and sought out Earth-0's Norman McCay, a minister who was his confidant back on Earth-22. En route, Superman panicked when the Daily Planet was attacked, fearing a repeat of his past. He met Lois Lane and she later visited him at JSA headquarters. (JSA Kingdom Come Special: Superman)

The combined might of the Justice Society uprooted Gog from the Earth. (Justice Society of America v.3 #21) They severed Gog's head and then Starman and Superman took it to the Source Wall, an inescapable prison. Afterwards, Starman opened a portal and sent Superman home to Earth-22. He returned at the exact moment of his departure, in the ashen remains of the Gulag. (#22)

Back Home (The Kingdom)

Madness gripped Superman as he sped to the United Nations with the intent to destroy them. Before the damage was done, he was stopped by heroes who'd survived the bomb (inside Green Lantern's force field). These survivors agreed to work together with the world's governments to solve their problems. (Kingdom Come #4)

Batman learns of Kal and Diana's pregnancy. From the Kingdom Come Collected Edition (1996); art by Alex Ross.

After his re-emergence, Superman and Wonder Woman became romantically involved. It's not known whether they married, but when Diana became pregnant with their first child, they asked Batman to be the child's godfather. They hoped that his perspective would ground the super-powered child. (Kingdom Come TPB) Ten years later, Kal and Diana had four children. (Justice Society of America v.3 #22)

Ten years after Superman returned to Earth-22, Kal-El is father two four children with Wonder Woman. From JSA Kingdom Come Special: Superman #1 (2009); art by Alex Ross.
The Quintessence. From Kingdom Come #3 (1996); art by Alex Ross.
Kal and Diana's son, Jonathan is revealed as the Phantom Stranger of Earth-22. From The Kingdom #2 (1999); art by Mike Zeck and John Beatty.

In 2040, the Quintessence's plan for young William Matthews (the survivor of the Kansas cataclysm) was enacted. William had established a church that deified the Man of Steel, and Superman asked Matthews to cease. William's faith was shaken, just as the Quintessence granted him "immeasurable knowledge and immense power"—equal to or greater than Superman's. The power made him unbalanced and Matthews crafted a new mission. As Gog he would kill Superman repeatedly, making periodic stops as he traveled back through time. (New Year's Evil: Gog #1)

The Quintessence's intent was to accelerate the original destruction of Kansas, which would shake the world's faith and heroes and lead to an earlier downfall. For various reasons, the members of the Quintessence thought they would also benefit from the tragedy happening sooner. They were horrified by Gog's actions. Gog's march backwards through time was halted in 2031, as the Justice League was present to guard Superman on the day of his son's birth. Superman survived but Gog kidnapped the infant Jonathan Kent and leapt backwards in time. Despite warnings from the Linear Men, Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman pursued Gog to rescue Jonathan. (The Kingdom #1)

Gog went to a time prior to the destruction of Kansas, near Smallville. He was armed with kryptonite and abducted Captain Atom to began his plan to cause an earlier blast. When Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman caught up to him, they found their younger selves already on the scene. The two Supermen subdued Gog but the infant Jonathan faded from existence. It seemed they had prevented their own future from happening. Rip Hunter took them and retreated to the Planet Krypton restaurant. But even a Phantom Zone projector and other weapons failed to stop Gog. A blast from his staff ripped a hole in the fabric of space/time. Rip Hunter explained that the universe was composed of Hypertime—parallel timelines that occasionally intersected. Superman learned that his future was still intact and his son was still alive. The infant was returned to his parents by the Phantom Stranger: who stood revealed as the adult Jonathan Kent! Before they returned to their respective "kingdoms," the heroes charged the Quintessence with redeeming William Matthews. (#2)

Their super-powers granted Superman and Wonder Woman remarkable longevity. They bore witness to the Earth's flooding 200 years hence. One thousand years later, their descendants Superboy and Supergirl were members of the Legion of Super-Heroes. (Justice Society of America v.3 #22)

Since the restructuring of the DC Universe in 2010 (the New 52), Earth-22 has not been shown.

Notes

In The Kingdom #1 (Feb. 1999), the Phantom Stranger was explicitly named and it's clear that he is the same person who is later revealed as Superman and Wonder Woman's son, Jonathan Kent. Still it's odd that Wonder Woman made the comment "I thought you were the Phantom Stranger, but ... Do I know you?" The writer of The Kingdom (Mark Waid) presented this character in a fairly unambiguous fashion, so despite Wonder Woman's comment, this profile assumes that Jonathan Kent is indeed the Phantom Stranger of Earth-22.

+ Powers

The Earth-22 Superman's powers are the same as his mainstream counterpart. He possesses super-strength, invulnerability, flight, heat and x-ray vision, enhanced senses and freezing breath.

Appearances + References

» FEATURED APPEARANCES:  

  • JSA Kingdom Come Special: The Kingdom #1
  • JSA Kingdom Come Special: Magog #1
  • JSA Kingdom Come Special: Superman #1
  • Justice Society of America v.3 #9–22
  • The Kingdom #1
  • New Year's Evil: Gog #1

» SERIES:

  • Kingdom Come, 4-issue limited series (1996–97)