Kingdom Come by Mark Waid

details
TITLE: Kingdom Come.
WRITER(S): Mark Waid.
Artist(S): Alex Ross.
Colourist(s): Alex Ross.
Letterer: Alex Ross & Todd Klein.
PUBLISHER
DC COMICS.

FORMAT: Paperback.
RELEASE DATE: May 7th, 2019 (first published August 1996).
PAGES: 392.
GENRE(S): COMICS, SCIENCE-FICTION.
ISBN13: 9781401290962.

MY OVERALL RATING: ★★★★★.

thoughts

If there is one thing that heroes are for, it is to inspire the people and the upcoming generations by being the voice of reason, truth, and justice. Not only do they tend to speak the maxims of life that humans should abide by, they also display concrete actions that present unquestionable proof of their moral and ethical values as beings who are the living embodiment of Good. Their exemplary behaviour becomes a norm that is difficult to ignore, a psychological pressure on the conscious of individuals to strive to be their best, and one that is even more difficult to ignore when these heroes possess abilities that places them on the same pedestal as Gods. How else are they to be perceived if not Gods of a reality in which nothing seems impossible? But what happens if these heroes are not there to inspire, to guide, and to judge? Winner of multiple Eisner and Harvey Awards, legendary writer Mark Waid and superstar painter Alex Ross join forces to delivers the quintessential classic masterpiece known as Kingdom Come.

What is Kingdom Come about? This Elseworlds story presents a future where the legendary heroes of the DC Universe, from Aquaman to Superman, have retired from their days of heroism when mankind has grown accustomed to the killing ways of superhero Magog. This lack of reluctance towards the act of taking the life of those pursuing criminal behaviours made way to a new generation of superpowered metahumans who have completely lost their moral compass. Unable to distinguish right from wrong, their recklessness leads to violent confrontations while mortals cower in fear as they abandon their freedom to those capable of stripping them of life in the blink of an eye. By following an omniscient narrator, a pastor named Norman McCay, and his spiritual guide the Spectre, the story exposes a terrible tragedy that will surge the rebirth of the Justice League led by Superman himself but the world is not ready for the reform that he will lead them into as a conflict in ideologies will bring the world to the brink of apocalypse.

They have left humanity to its own fate.

– Mark Waid

With the narrator serving as a human vessel for the reader through a tale of judgment and redemption, the story quickly takes the form of a legendary prophecy imbued in a theological and political exploration of humanity. Clearly distinguishing superpowered beings from mortal creatures and establishing the distinctive hierarchical differences between one and the other, the story is an in-depth analysis of power and morality, as well as their overlapping necessities that allow a society to strive towards peace, success, and progress. The stark contrast between the Old and New Guardians also accentuates the generational conflict in terms of faith, belief, and hope. The absence of the latter is at the core of the narrative and paves the way towards the clash of ideologies that fuels the two camps of vigilantes in this story. This is where this graphic novel obtains its absolute relevance in its quest to deliver a cautionary tale that seeks to inspire hope regarding the future of mankind.

In a world where the mightiest of heroes are unable to see the consequences of their actions, where they do not take any form of responsibility to the decisions they make, it becomes trivial to ponder the nature of their actions and to distinguish good from evil. This is where the freedom of choice and the judgment of the Other are but a luxury accessible to those with power. And power is something that painter Alex Ross phenomenally illustrates in his characters with what might be one of the greatest displays of artistic talent in the comic book industry. With his unique and stylish character designs, he conveys incredible and godly features to every single character while also capturing powerful emotions with a single stroke of a brush. The epic scale he perfectly attributes to this four-issue miniseries couldn’t have been more suitable to this twilight of Gods that relentlessly takes your breath away from panel to panel.

Kingdom Come is an indisputable and unprecedented masterpiece exquisitely portraying a devastating future where the finalities of war and peace are brought upon humanity through questionable means.


EXHIBITA
THANK YOU TO PENGUIN RANDOM HOUSE CANADA FOR SENDING ME A COPY FOR REVIEW!

exhibitb
During the Arrowverse Crisis of Infinite Earths crossover event, fans were able to witness their first glimpse at some live-action adaptation of the Kingdom Come story in the form of a Kingdom Come Superman played by Brandon Routh and a Kingdom Come Batman played by Kevin Conroy! Above we get an out-of-context glimpse into what was one of the most exciting moments of the event!

Banner1

INSTAGRAMFACEBOOKGOODREADSTWITTER – OUTLOOK

34 comments

  • Omg I can feel your love pouring out for this one. I mean, check out the graphics too! If that’s not an amazing work of art, I don’t know what is! Makes me want to get my hands on this too!

    Liked by 2 people

  • Holy shazbots, that little video was awesome!!!! I was not a fan of Routh in Superman Returns, but he plays that little scene exquisitely! Color me impressed.

    As for the book, I have vague memories of reading it but have no record of it, so it must have been when it first came out. I think I just found my comic for July 😀 Now, have you read the sequel “The Kingdom” as well, or do you plan on it? I don’t think I ever read that, so I’ll probably read it too and make a complete go of the storyline. Thanks! Always nice when something slots in for the future so nicely.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I knew you’d find it particularly nice for a TV-universe that usually has some really sub-par episodes/acting/cinematography! Routh actually plays The Atom in the Arrowverse and this whole Crisis event allowed him to play the Kingdom Come version of Superman and I can tell you, I wish he could’ve had a whole episode/movie in that role!

      I think this one would be quite good with you. The themes explored, the ideas presented, everything makes it more than just a generic tale of superheroes being superheroes. There might be a couple of ideas that will, however, make you a tiny bit mad, based on what I know of you hahahah But I am overly excited that you will be giving this one a try soon! I’ll be curious to see what you’ll have to say about it.

      I haven’t read The Kingdom actually and didn’t plan on it for the near future, especially since Alex Ross didn’t work on those. I’ll probably try hunting them down just to “complete” the story but I believe Kingdom Come is a fantastic stand-alone story with a beginning and an end. Look forward to hearing your thoughts on this on in the future! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  • It was so long ago I read this I don’t recall any details, but I do remember enjoying it. How can you go wrong with the creative team behind it? This is one of those cases, though, where even if the writing was sub-par (which it wasn’t) I’d still seek it out just for the amazing Alex Ross artwork.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I can only recommend a re-read of this gem. Like you mention here, the creative team, and Alex Ross alone, makes this a MUST! I’m hunting down another one of his legendary projects (keeping it a secret if you don’t already know of it) for a future review too! 😀

      Like

  • I love dipping into an Elseworld tale every now and then. They are usually just pure fun.

    This one sounds fantastic and that cover is pure brilliance.

    Does Batman feature? Perhaps Batman Beyond style Batman seeing as how they’ve all retired?

    Liked by 1 person

  • High praise indeed Lashaan! I actually have this and New Frontier next in my digital queue, wasn’t sure which one to read first but I think it’s going to have to be Kingdom Come based on this review. I’ve heard so much about it over the years and been pretty lax in getting to it, Mark Waid can be a bit hit and miss for me but this sounds like a really good concept and story. Plus, Alex Ross – his work on Marvels was phenomenal and I’m confident it’s just as astonishing here.

    I didn’t see any of the crisis Arrow-verse episodes, I was interested in seeing Brandon Routh back in the suit though but the whole thing ended up passing me by.

    Liked by 1 person

    • My first encounter of Ross’s work was with Marvels too (I need to hunt down a copy so I can reread and share a review at some point). I have been keeping Kingdom Come in the background for a long time now but I just KNEW that it was going to blow my mind and it didn’t disappoint. I think you’ll GREATLY appreciate too. I would personally recommend this one over New Frontier first too. This one is very short too, for example. In this edition I reviewed, over half the graphic novel is commentary on the various character designs, afterthoughts, cover art and what not. It’s a true gem for collectors like you and me. Of course. Of all editions out there, I’d probably just recommend the Absolute edition too hahaha

      Oh snap, for real? I thought you got around to them. I binged hard to catch up on all the episodes of each series just to be on time for the Crisis event (I stopped watching the CW shows ever since though). It was actually pretty good, with some hiccups and twists that obviously don’t follow the comics but the cameos and Easter eggs made it worth it for long-time DC fans!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yeah, the main reason I didn’t catch it is because there wasn’t a UK outlet for Batwoman at the time so although the other instalments were going to be aired I knew the Batwoman episode was going to be missing so didn’t bother! The whole crisis event though is however getting a DVD and no doubt digital release so I’ll probably get to it eventually.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Ahhh, I see. Thanks for the insight. Honestly, there’s nothing to rush about here. There’s plenty of other non-CW content that should be prioritized over this hahah

          Did you see the latest trailers for Deathstroke (they ended up turning it into a movie instead of a TV series!) and Superman: Man of Tomorrow (such a fascinating visual style to go with, sort of like Archer). Can’t wait for them to come out!

          Liked by 1 person

          • I did, I’m mostly interested in Superman: Man of Tomorrow and quite like what I’ve seen in terms of the animation style. I’m not a huge fan of Lobo though, don’t mind him as such but depends how he’s utilised (i.e. the extremely goofy approach in Superman: The Animated Series irked me a little).

            I wonder if Man of Tomorrow is set to be the start of a new DCU animation continuity as everything was brought to a close with JL Dark: Apokolips War?

            Liked by 1 person

  • YAAAY!!! I love Ross’s comics, and Kingdom Come is pure brilliance – as is Marvels! Glad you are as smitten with this as I am 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hahahahaha I was actually really looking forward to your thoughts on this one and I’m glad to see that we’re on the same page for this. It has all the power dynamic talk that you often pinpoint because of your particular lenses! 😉 I need to get my hands on a nice edition of Marvels to share my thoughts on that gem too someday soon! Thank you for reading, Ola! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  • Excuse me for having to bring this up, but I wonder why they still lack diversity in their gallery of super heroes. True, I don’t know the whole universe of it. You’re well versed in the subject. What do you think?

    Liked by 1 person

    • No worries, Karina. There is plenty of diversity among DC heroes, especially today. As a reference, the first black comic book superhero is Black Panther (Marvel) back in the 1960s. For the Kingdom Come story though, a lot of the main heroes are the Justice League heroes and most of them aren’t culturally diverse, which is normal but of all the heroes presented in this story, many aren’t human too.

      Liked by 1 person

Submit a comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s