As eighteenth century poet and artist William Blake once wrote: "Where mercy, love, and pity dwell, there God is dwelling too." The three sensations commented on by Blake are prevalent with the 2008 graphic novel Kingdom Come and 2006 book The Road, but arguably the most interesting is the Christian concept of mercy within the story. The term 'mercy' comes from the Latin word 'merces' or 'merced' which translates as 'reward,' according to an online dictionary the contemporary meaning of the term: "compassionate or kindly forbearance shown toward an offender, an enemy, or other person in one's power; compassion, pity, or benevolence." It is my belief that through the expression of mercy, humanity cannot only better understand God, but their fellow humans as well and help achieve ulimate redemption with the divine.
In the story Kingdom Come, the superheroes of old such as Superman, Green Lantern, and the Flash are living in a type of self imposed exile after a disastrous nuclear accident in Kansas state. When Superman and the other heroes come back to stop the new breed of heroes, meta-humans, who are doing more harm than good, the threat of the end of the Earth looms overhead. The climax of the graphic novel comes when the Gulag, the prison built to house the non-cooperating meta-humans, has been destroyed. As the old superheroes clash with the escaped meta-humans, Superman battles Captain Marvel who has been brainwashed by Lex Luthor and has turned against his former allies and friends.
As the fighting rages on, another threat heads steadily closer to the sight of the small-scale war: a nuclear missile that was launched by the United Nations in response to the Gulag prison break. Superman recognizes two apparent choices in the situation: either spare the superheroes and slay the nearby humans, or allow the superheroes to parish and the humans are saved. Superman leaves the ultimate decision up to Captain Marvel; Superman feels as though he has no right to make that call for a number of reasons, but most notably because he is not human, whereas Captain Marvel is not only a human, but a superhero as well. Marvel chooses neither option. Instead, he intercepts the missile as far away from the battlefield as possible before taking the brunt of the explosion himself.
The theme of mercy comes into play after the detonation of the missile; when the smoke from the impact of the explosion clears, all of the superheroes have been seemingly vaporized. Superman, devastated by the loss of life and literally seeing red, flies to the UN headquarters in order to seek vengeance. The rage of Superman was certainly not blind. He had the insight to weld the doors of the building shut so no one within the structure would survive when he collapsed the roof. Just as Superman was about to bring the house down, the narrator of the novel, pastor Norman McCay, who had served as an almost silent observer of all the events that had taken place, attempts to reason...