Reviewer: Mathan Erhardt
Story Title: The Road to Hell
Written by: Mark Waid
Penciled by: Jerry Ordway
Inked by: Dennis Janke
Lettered by: Chris Eliopoulos
Colored by: John Kalisz
Editor: Dan Raspler
Publisher: DC Comics (duh!)
Usually with my Retro Reviews, I try to go off the beaten path and dig up a gem from the past or an obscure comic that most haven’t read, or have forgotten years ago. But I decided to make a relevant Retro review this time around. Since Kingdom Come appears to be playing a role in Superman’s new direction next year, I figured now would be a good time to check out Gog.
The issue begins in the aftermath of the destruction of Kansas (as shown in Kingdom Come.) Superman finds a sole survivor of the incident, a small child. The Quintessence then charges the Phantom Stranger with bestowing that child with the information and ability to prevent Kansas’ destruction. We fast forward years and we see the boy, William, a devout worshiper of Superman.
While being interviewed by a reporter William explains his faith, and how he came to be. Afterward, Clark stops by William’s house of worship to explain that he isn’t worthy of worship, and to try to set William straight. It is Clark’s admission of guilt that causes William to doubt his faith and the reason for his existence.
At that point, the Phantom Stranger bestows William with his gift from the Quintessence. William sees events that lead to the destruction of Kansas, and gains incredible power. As a result, William recreates himself as Gog. Based on Superman’s rejection of his worship, and his interpretation of history, William decides to destroy Superman.
Waid transformed a throw away one-shot into an amazing story. We witness the birth of a character only hinted at in Kingdom Come. The story is tragic and poignant. And while it is firmly set in the Kingdom Come reality, it is clear that this issue will impact the DCU in the near future.
Ordway and Janke make a fantastic team. Their work compliments each other perfectly. It is beautiful and detailed. The future looks wonderful. The Church looks amazing and William’s transformation is very frightening. It you ever wondered how a dead Kryptonian looks read this issue.