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Comic Book / Supergod

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His initials are J.C., and here you see him on the cross. note 

Imagine if the world's nations started an entirely different arms race. One where they strove to create the most powerful superhuman, either to solve some problem plaguing the nation or, more obviously, as a weapon. This is the world of Supergod.

Created by Warren Ellis, this is his third miniseries for Avatar Press that deals with superhumans. Black Summer had superhumans who were too human, and No Hero's superhumans were inhumane. In Supergod, the superhumans just aren't human at all anymore. They don't see the world the same way you do. Their thinking and morality is claimed to be on an entirely alien level, and their ways of solving problems are truly monstrous.

Or at least that's what the drunken, drug-addled, guilt-ridden, Unreliable Narrator keeps telling us.

The mini-series lasted for 5 issues, from October 2009 to December 2010.

No connection to the album in which “Caramelldansen” debuted. Also not to be confused with Grant Morrison's 2011 non-fiction book Supergods: Our World in the Age of the Superhero (Published in the US as Supergods: What Masked Vigilantes, Miraculous Mutants, and a Sun God from Smallville Can Teach Us About Being Human)

Supergod provides examples of:

  • Aborted Arc: A couple of Supergods are introduced with the implication that they'll be important later, but they get blown up rather unceremoniously and swept under the rug.
  • America Saves the Day: Zigzagged, their superhuman Jerry Craven almost does but then their second superhuman ruins things and destroys the world. Based on Reddin's conversations with Tommy, their scientists are still trying to solve things at the end but it looks like a lost cause.
  • After the End: The series starts with a scientist (Simon Reddin) recounting how a war between the superhumans destroyed the world.
  • A.I. Is a Crapshoot: Krishna is a fusion of super-genius AI, human DNA and molecular nanomachines. He's programmed to save India from its various domestic problems. He fulfils his mission... to apocalyptic effect.
  • Alternate History: Seems to diverge just after WW2 because of the British spying on the work rocket scientist Von Braun was doing for the U.S, and using the info to launch a secret space program as part of their metahuman research, which is what led to the creation of Morrigan Lugus.
  • Apocalypse How: Planetary Species Extinction. May be a Total Extinction in the end since the only sure survivor is an Eldritch Abomination. Pockets of humanity are holding out in bunkers, but only as long as their anti-fungal medication lasts (if they have any) and the world is pretty much finished.
  • Arc Words: "Mushrooms grow on dead things."
  • Author Filibuster: Morrigan Lugus' speech about faith being a biological flaw and a major obstacle to technological civilizations' prosperity is lengthy, pointed, and happens right in the middle of a bunch of other important things happening.
  • Author Tract: Warren Ellis' disdain for religion does not get more obvious than Supergod.
  • Beware the Superman: A running theme in Ellis' work for Avatar Press thus far. See also Black Summer and No Hero. This particular graphic novel raises the idea that metahumans would, by definition, be inhuman, alien beings with no real connection to humanity.
  • Blue-and-Orange Morality: The "supergods". Jerry Craven is a former pilot turned cyborg who believes himself to be in the afterlife, Morrigan Lugus is a Hive Mind consisting of an extraterrestrial fungus fused with three human astronauts, Dajjal was deliberately designed to lack sanity and can see all possible timelines...
  • Body Horror: This is Maitreya's specialty. His first act was to transform dozens of humans into a musical instrument and the rest into a biological space probe. He also turns what was likely the entire population of China into a massive, Cthulhu-like biological mecha that he marches against Krishna.
  • Botanical Abomination: Morrigan Lugus was the first of the superhumans. He was manifested when three astronauts with minimal radiation shielding were exposed to an unknown, extraterrestrial breed of fungus, fusing them into a massive, three-face being. Mentally it's an entity beyond human comprehension — its entire fungal physiology acting similar to an organic supercomputer — whose mere presence warps the human mind. It eventually succeeds in its revenge against the human race, still spiteful for its own creation due to mankind's willingness to sacrifice its human components, through the use of infecting everyone with its deadly spores.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: Dajjal seems to be talking to the reader during his introduction.
  • Cool Versus Awesome: Just about every battle qualifies, but issue two gives us a dead astronaut versus a dead cosmonaut. The astronaut is a cyborg, the cosmonaut is a human brain inside of a robot body.
  • Cosmic Horror Story: A possible interpretation, with the twist that humanity is ultimately responsible for the very creation of the incomprehensible god-things whose very existence renders it insignificant.
  • Covers Always Lie: The cover (a.k.a. the page image) shows Jerry Craven wearing a traditional superhero outfit, while being crucified. Neither of those things happen in the comic.
  • Crapsack World: And the supergods only made it worse.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Every battle against Krishna ends up being one of these. Until the end, that is.
  • Cyborg: Jerry Craven and Perun.
  • Deity of Mortal Creation: Gods become the new nuke and various cultures create their own through various ways. This results in bad, bad, bad results, such as extremely evil deities.
  • Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: Krishna vs. Maitreya. Doubly funny/awesome considering that Maitreya's flesh-construct literally looks like Cthulhu.
  • Deity of Human Origin: All of them. The only one that isn't is Morrigan Lugus, and it still required human intervention to come into being.
  • Downer Ending: A good chunk of Earth's surface is destroyed by Dajjal's self-destruction, and the remainder is infected by Morrigan Lugus's spores. The few uninfected humans are left cowering in bunkers, and it's clear that they're doomed as soon as their anti-fungal medication runs out.
  • Driven to Suicide: Reddin. The final panels show him going to sacrifice himself to his fungal "God", Morrigan Lugus.
    • Also, Dajjal, who sees/exists across all possible branching timelines, blows himself up and takes Krishna and Jerry Craven with him, because their decision not to fight but rather to work together to save the world was going to make it all so damn happy and boring he couldn't stand it.
  • Earth-Shattering Kaboom:
    • Malak, panicking after being thrown into space by Krishna, extends his matter-destroying field to its maximum extent, accidentally smashing the Moon into gravel in the process.
    • Not quite Earth-shattering but certainly apocalyptic — Dajjal detonates his internal power source, wiping out most of Eurasia in a single gigantic flash.
  • Eldritch Abomination: Morrigan Lugus. Physically it's a three-faced giant composed of the bodies of a trio of unfortunate astronauts fused with a mass of alien mushrooms. Mentally it's an entity beyond human comprehension whose mere presence warps the human mind. Also, in the final issue, Maitreya builds Cthulhu out of an untold amount of people and rides on its shoulder to do battle with Krishna.
  • "Eureka!" Moment: Reddin has a literal one while sitting on the toilet, foreshadowing that it's a really crap idea.
  • Exact Words: Krishna's mandate was supposed to be to protect India and save its environment, solving its many structural- and population-related issues. The good news was, that objective was successfully imprinted on it. The bad news is that "saving" India consisted of wiping out nine-tenths of the population, thus relieving most of the pressure on its infrastructure. Krishna was saving India, not necessarily all Indians.
  • The Extremist Was Right: If Dajjal is to be believed and based on evidence toward the end Krishna truly was making the world a better place and solving all of its problems.
  • Festering Fungus: Morrigan Lugus to a truly horrifying extent.
  • From Bad to Worse: From the beginning we know that the world ends up getting wrecked, but somehow Ellis manages to make each issue hit harder and harder until the very end. Ras goes nuclear in Somalia. Libertador goes nuclear in Venezuela. The environment is ruined. Chunks of the moon are raining down on Earth. Coastal cities are flooded. Parts of continents are lost. Humanity is mostly extinct. Jerry Craven surrenders to Krishna, who kisses him on the lips - then Dajjal shows up and basically says, "The Singularity is boring! Kill them all!" - and detonates his power source, destroying most of Eurasia along with Jerry Craven and Krishna. And in the words of the narrator: "Finally, things got as worse as they could." Morrigan Lugus, the last surviving superhuman/weaponised god, inherits the Earth. Just as planned. Mushrooms grow on dead things.
  • Getting Smilies Painted on Your Soul: One of the creepiest aspects of Morrigan Lugus. In spite of being a huge fungal abomination, its presence biochemically forces human brains into a state of religious and sexual ecstasy, making the humans kneel before it in prayer and masturbation. Oh, and the same spores that have this effect on the brain also destroy the lungs – the first groups of scientists studying Morrigan Lugus died when their lungs literally started talking to them.
  • God Is Evil: Pretty much all the Supergods are violently insane, and vocal adherents to Blue-and-Orange Morality, with one Only Sane Man who's only delusional and somewhat sociopathic and a Well-Intentioned Extremist being A Lighter Shade of Black. Also, one Supergod, Malak Al-Maut, was an attempt to create an artifical angel with no free will and a direct connection to God. We're not sure if it worked but the result is another insane Person of Mass Destruction, the power source of which is explicitly unknown, opening up the possibility.
  • God Is Flawed: The concept of "God" is a flawed concept caused by a biological flaw in the evolution of mankind. Thus, trying to create Gods would have been a very very bad idea... even if you didn't weaponize them... and base them on flawed humans.
  • Godzilla Threshold: Letting Morrigan Lugus out. Letting any of the supergods out, really.
  • Good is Not Nice: Maitreya is initially portrayed this way, with him brutally liberating the political prisoners he was ordered to murder. And let's not forget Krishna, whose idea of "saving India" involves killing nine out of ten Indians. For a start.
  • Hive Mind: Reddin has the (probably foolish) hope that Morrigan Lugus absorbs mental aspects of the (now billions of) people it grows on.
  • How We Got Here: The entire story is Dr. Reddin narrating how the world got as bad as it did.
  • Hope Spot: Most of Chapter 5 — Krishna, satisfied that he's decreased India's population to sustainable levels, stops killing and starts rebuilding, infinitely better than before. He Curb Stomps Maitreya. Jerry Craven surrenders without a fight, saying he's tired of war. Then...
  • Humanoid Abomination: Several of the Supergods, especially Maitreya, Malak and Dajjal, although Dajjal's pushing the limits of "humanoid".
  • Humongous Mecha: Conspicuously averted. Dr. Reddin even comments on how he is surprised that Japan didn't have one.
    Reddin: You know what really surprised me, in all this? That the Japanese didn't have some giant nuclear god-Jesus death robot up their sleeves. Right up until the end, I really did hope that something like that would show up.
  • Jesus Was Crazy: The narration about "JC" builds up in this direction, but ultimately averts it as JC instead turns out to be the Only Sane Man who tries to make peace with Krishna.
  • Let's You and Him Fight: The superhumans' motivations for going at it are... not always well-explained. Justified, as their thought processes are for the most part alien to conventional humans.
  • Negated Moment of Awesome: "Libertador" in Venezuela blew up the facility in which it was made before it was released, or the project just had another kind of error, leading to it not actually coming to fruition.
  • The Omniscient: Dajjal can see emergent timelines and the new timelines born from every action. To the point where he actually responds to and corrects the narration because he can "see" Reddin talking about him in the future.
  • Only Sane Man
    • Though he is also insane, Craven realises that Krishna has done all the damage he meant to and is now rebuilding the world as a paradise, so it makes no sense to fight him. Also, despite his insanity, Craven's thought processes are, out of all the superhumans, the closest to those of a regular human.
    • Parodied when Reddin postulates that a single sane man like himself, if he'd stayed with the project, might have convinced the authorities to do nothing in the face of the Krishna threat— only to have an Immediate Self-Contradiction when he talks of how beautiful the corpse-clogged Thames is and wants to go for a swim.
  • Organic Technology: Morrigan Lugus to an extent. The narrator claims that it's a mycological computer on a meat substrate; in other words, a fungal computer.
  • Outgrown Such Silly Superstitions: Defied to the point of mankind's extinction. Morrigan Lugus claimed that faith itself is a biological flaw, and implied that a technological civilization that fails to transcend this flaw cannot survive.
  • Porn Stash: When asked why he exists, Morrigan Lugus says a lot of unflattering things about mankind and himself. His concluding remark is that he is their stash.
    • He's also referring to being their drug stash; "invokedReligion is the opiate of the masses," after all, and he explains how acts of worship induce the production of naturally occurring in the body drugs.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Morrigan Lugus gives one to a younger Reddin. One of Warren Ellis' speeches in a career full of them.
  • Regional Redecoration Supergod has a few cases of this. Unsurprising, considering it features an arms race involving superpowered beings. When Pakistan attempts to nuke Krishna, he responds by sending the missiles back, turning Pakistan into a radioactive lava pit. Malak, Iran's attempt at creating an angel, generates a field that deconstructs all matter around himself. He destroys Tehran and makes his way to India, leaving a trail of destruction in his wake. When Krishna throws him into space, he collides with the moon, causing it to partially disintegrate. The effects this has on Earth are catastrophic, to say the least. The crowning achievement, however, has to go to Dajjal. He suicide detonates his power source, causing an explosion that obliterates most of Eurasia.
  • Rule of Creepy: The basic premise for the entire work, it seems. And the author really goes out of his way.
  • Sinister Nudity: One of the covers features a naked humanoid entity with wings made of countless severed human hands - groin hidden by one of his legs - kneeling over a screaming scientist in a scene deliberately played for horror.
  • Sole Surviving Scientist: The Character Narrator, though in this case he's already given up, and is delivering an Apocalyptic Log to an American version.
  • Space Is Magic: Part of Morrigan Lugus' origin involves three astronauts with minimal radiation shielding encountering a mysterious space-born fungus.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Sliding Scale of Unavoidable vs. Unforgivable: The narrator ponders this a lot, especially regarding the actions of the various supergods.
  • Stealth Pun: The narrator comments on Maitreya forming a "musical instrument" and a space probe out of the bodies of his would-be controllers shortly after his awakening. They resemble a penis, or "meat whistle", and an over-sized spermatozoa, respectively.
  • Straw Nihilist: Morrigan Lugus doesn’t have the highest opinion of humanity, referring to them as “idiot monkeys”, and considers the belief in a higher cosmic authority superfluous. Its attempt to conquer Earth are driven more by callous spite than a desire to establish any semblance of order.
  • Surrogate Soliloquy: Simon Reddin spends the entire series talking to Tommy, an unseen American scientist holed up somewhere in a bunker on U.S. soil. Tommy's dialogue is never heard, only responded to, so he makes an effective everyman stand-in for the reader's thoughts.
  • Taking You with Me: Dajjal takes this to genocidal levels, killing off a billion people and dooming the world as a part of his suicide. To make it worse, he claims to do it simply because he's bored with how perfect the world is about to become with JC and Krishna working together.
  • Theme Naming: The superhumans are mostly named after divine beings with a link to their country of origin, unsurprisingly:
    • British Morrigan Lugus is named after the Celtic deities Morrigan and Lugh;
    • Indian Krishna is named after the most famous/worshipped avatar of the Hindu god Vishnu;
    • Iranian Malak is named after the Semitic word for angel;
    • American Jerry Craven would seem an exception, then you realize he's got the same initials as Jesus Christ;
    • Russian Perun is named after the main pagan Slavic sky god;
    • Ethiopian Ras is named after the Rastafarian messiah;
    • Chinese Maitreya is named after a future Buddha who will reach and teach total enlightenment;
    • Finally, Dajjal (made in Iraq, but by the US using a top secret facility) is named after... the Muslim equivalent of The Antichrist. Reddin calls out the Americans on using such a culturally offensive, Obviously Evil name, and what else could they expect happening given he had such a name.
    • Venezuelan Libertador is either the sole exception, or named after Christ the Liberator.
  • Transhuman Abomination: The Super Gods made from existing humans rather than built from scratch, such as Maitreya and Morrigan Lupus.
  • Unreliable Narrator: Reddin's drunk, depressed, hungry, medicated, traumatized and horny. He does mention that his actual inside information is limited, and some of the stuff we see is just his speculations. He also mentions that he wasn't exactly considered sane before things started going to hell either.
  • Utopia Justifies the Means: How Krishna approaches India's problems.
  • Walking Wasteland: Malak.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: Krishna was programmed to solve India's problems and protect it. It truly seeks to carry out its orders in the most efficient way possible. Virtually every action of Krishna's has a reason behind it that in the long run is intended to improve it. If Dajjal's comments are any indication, Krishna was ultimately right.
  • What the Hell Are You?: A younger Reddin once asked this of Morrigan Lugus. It answered with a "The Reason You Suck" Speech, concluding that it is humanity's "stash" – an object of worship allowing humans to feed their addiction to gods.
  • Would Be Rude to Say "Genocide": At the end, JC claims that he doesn't think Krishna has done anything wrong at all. After Krishna did his own little Final Solution on a large part of the population of India. And yes, this earns JC an Only Sane Man pedestal from the Unreliable Narrator (although it's pretty clear that neither are exactly sane by that point).
  • Wrong Genre Savvy: Pretty much all of the scientists, politicians and bureaucrats behind the various Supergod projects.
  • You're Insane!: Reddin says that Dajjal is a creature without sanity; Dajjal however points out that sanity is a tool for navigating a rational world, and therefore useless to someone who can see every possibility.
  • Zeroth Law Rebellion: Krishna is, among other things, a super-advanced AI programmed to protect India. Naturally, he starts with protecting it from overpopulation.