A Look at Kingdom Come
If you have read past articles of Bugger Off you would know that I have a man crush on both artist Alex Ross and writer Mark Waid. Well it only makes sense that I am a HUGE fan of their 1996 collaboration with DC Comics entitled Kingdom Come.
Kingdom Come’s story begins some 20 years into the future of the DC Universe. Our story is told by Minister Norman McCay. The reader learns that Reverend McCay was a close friend of Wesley Dodds…..the original Sandman. Apparently Wesley is having futuristic visions of a dark world that Norman attributes to senility. Once Wesley passes away his nightmarish visions are now transferred to Norman. These visions show a younger, undisciplined group of “heroes” with no regard for life basically doing whatever they want to do unchecked, causing death and destruction wherever they go. Thinking that he, too, has gone insane The Spectre appears before Norman and takes him to witness the upcoming superhero apocalypse and assist him to pass judgment on the wicked.
On their “astral” trip The Spectre and Norman come across an older Superman who appears to be in seclusion. Wonder Woman arrives and asks him for his help. An altercation occurred 10 years ago between Superman and a new, lethal hero named Magog that forced him into retirement. Wonder Woman tells Superman that Magog is out of control and begs him to do something about it. Superman then watches a news reel showing Magog and his Justice Battalion beating up a surrendering Parasite. Things take a DRASTIC change for the worse when Captain Atom attempts to get in another punch. The Parasite, trying to defend himself, touches Captain Atom and splits him open — causing a nuclear bomb to detonate! All of Kansas was destroyed along with parts of the surrounding states as well and over 1 million people lost their lives. Superman declines to help and walks away. The Spectre and Norman’s trip continues encountering heroes from yesteryear… The Flash, Hawkman, Green Lantern, and Batman! (Who has Gotham under total control with the help of several large Batmobile-like robots!)
Our 2 journeymen now find themselves watching a battle between these new, younger heroes in the middle of innocent bystanders. With no regard for life the battle ensues…..until Superman appears and ends the altercation. Norman and The Spectre now bear witness to Superman’s recruitment drive, garnering the strength and power of fellow heroes Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, The Flash, Power Woman, The Ray, Hawkman, and Red Robin. Superman then holds a press conference outside the U.N. Building where he tells everyone that he has returned to teach these immature, younger heroes the meaning of truth and justice! (Much to the chagrin of the members of the U.N.) One hero that won’t help Superman is Batman. Batman is still angry at Superman for deserting them over 10 years ago, leaving the rest of the heroes to deal with all super powered problems. It appears that Batman has his own agenda, one that involves Lex Luthor and his Mankind Liberation Front…..to conduct events behind the scenes in an attempt to destroy metahumans and have humans rule the world at last!
As time passes Superman recruits more and more heroes but comes across the problem of what to do with the “heroes” that won’t convert to his ideals. After being denied permission to build a super villain prison system in Atlantis by Aquaman, Superman travels to the worn-torn planet Apokolips seeking knowledge from it’s ruler Orion. He suggests that Superman take Mr. Miracle and Big Barda to help with his prison idea. Superman and the newly reformed Justice League then build a prison, (which is really cool looking. It looks like the hideout that the Legion of Doom used in the old Super Friends cartoons.), in the middle of the recently destroyed Kansas. During this time the Justice League finds Magog, who has been missing since the Kansas incident!
What happens when Superman confronts Magog? What happened between these 2 men 10 years ago that would cause the Man Of Steel to go into seclusion? Who can stop the combined forces of Batman’s Outsiders and Lex Luthor’s Mankind Liberation Front? Is Batman a bad guy now? Who or what is Lex’s ace in the hole? What happens when the Justice League locks up several of the world’s worst criminals in one place? What answers do the U.N. have? Is that a nuclear bomb? Who lives? Who dies? What does the world do when Superman goes mad? Who becomes parents and who becomes a Godparent?
This story has it all! Great writing. Great artwork. Great characters. Mark Waid and Alex Ross have made a story here that stands the test of time. Anyone who is older can understand that the younger generation is always more obnoxious than the last one, more reckless. Heroes like Superman and his beliefs become watered down over time. Everyone is always looking for a faster, better, more efficient way of doing things. This story also introduces several characters that are the children of many of the current DC heroes — which would be difficult for some but not these 2 mad scientists. Alex Ross even made his own father the main character Norman McCay. Ross’ artwork is nothing short of breathtaking. Knowing that these people don’t exist (or maybe you don’t know SORRY!) Mr. Ross’ work puts you in the story. It’s almost as if the characters are real! Mark Waid’s writing is phenomenal. His interpretations of what these characters would be like 10 years in the future are dead-on-accurate! This story is to the Justice League what Days of Future Past was to the X-Men. A side note: If this story interests you buy the Absolute Kingdom Come hardcover edition so you can read A TON of bonus material and see several sketches of our beloved characters.