This was a four-issue limited series set in an alternate reality outside that of the mainstream DC Universe designated as Earth-22.
The setting for Kingdom Come took place some twenty years into the future of the year that it began publication. The older, more established super-heroes had gone into retirement, giving rise to a new generation of anti-heroes, who did not uphold the same noble values as their predecessors.
Mark Waid and Alex Ross wrote Kingdom Come as an indictment against the growing trend of violent anti-hero archetypes that had sprung out of the early 1990s.
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 centre 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. However 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 the Superman holograms trying to educate them about 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 working with Luthor, with Shazam pleading with his fellows for understanding regarding the boy. 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 has 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 will 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 judgement 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 them. Scared at the sight, Batson calls upon Shazam and soon vanishes.
At the Green Lantern satellite, Wonder Woman dresses herself in golden eagle armour 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 finally arrived.