Kingdom Come is a four part mini series for DC, it is good. However being the next elseworlds book for me to read straight off the heals of Red Son it was always going to have a steep mountain to climb. I feel as though the idea's are looked at in a rushed way and it would have been better as maybe a eight or even ten part miniseries.
This comic takes place 20 years in the future in the DC Universe, the hero's of old have retired from the world whilst a new bread of hero's emerge who care about showing their power and battling then protecting the innocent. A lot of the story is told from the point of view of a priest named Norman, who after the death of his friend who received visions can now see the future and the upcoming Armageddon. After giving a depression sermon about his lack of hope he is visited by the Spectre, part of the magically balance of the universe takes him alone to witness the upcoming Armageddon.
We find that Superman became disheartened with the public who embraced the 'hero' Magog who killed the Joker and was found not guilty. After his departure the other hero's of the Justice League also stepped down, which is where I first start to take issue with this book. This is a superman focused story and I understand that, I just find it frustrating that so many other hero's would be disheartened just by him leaving. I can't see WonderWoman willing to quit that easily. It should be noted that Batman is still active, having turned Gotham into something similar to a police state.
Magog in his carelessness while apprehending a villain causes the Midwest to be devastated by a nuclear explosion. From this the old superhero's return and force the new hero's to either submit or risk imprisonment. Again this rises similar issues of freedom that are explored in Red Son, granted this did do it before it but I think it was also weaker. When the hero's return the fear of the government that their power is too great, and Lex Luthor steps in to help create a war and protect mankind from the threat that mankind posses. There are a few intertwining stories, each with enough substance to them to be the focus of their own series, including Batman gathering his own league to stand against Superman's league, Captain Marvel facing off against Superman, WonderWoman being removed from her role as ambassador from Themyscira and her royal title as well. Again we find looking at too much in too short amount of time, things feel as though they are getting glanced over.
The ending is with the superhero's reads a little too much like the epilogue of Harry Potter to me, in order to compensate for the massive loss they make the 'happy ending' a bit too much. That said the ending of the observer of all of this, Father Norman is where the real heart of the story lies and his inclusion made the entire thing far stronger.
This is a good, strong story, and while there is sometimes too much going on for the reader to give full attention to the action it is still well worth a read, just don't read it straight off the heels of reading Red Son.
The elseworlds title is used for stories that for one reason or another cannot work in the continuity of the DC Universe. One spectacular such story features the story of Superman, if his rocket crashed in the Soviet Union rather than the heartland of the United States. Setting Superman up with a moral system that is eerily twisted from his normal views leaves a strange and unsettling taste in my mouth. In the best possible way. This is everything an elseworld title should be, it takes what we know about Superman and finds a new and insightful way of looking at it. As well as one of the best and most maddening endings which I wont spoil for you here.
With the strength of the man of steel behind him the Soviet Union wins the cold war, the survival of the United States is left solely to the arch enemy of Superman, Lex Luthor. Who they really do write well as his intelligence and ego as well as maddening obsession with Superman are all well intertwined into the proper running of the story. The largest focus of the three-part story is on the idea of where the line of safety and freedom should be drawn, how much of Superman's power should be used to keep us safe? There is an impressive 1984 vibe to this story, one of my favorite literary works of all time. The leader of the resistance against this government is none other than Batman. Those who are interested in who would win in a fight can finally have it answered... somewhat, I do not want to spoil it for you but suffice to say there is interference by an outside force.
A friend of mine described the ending of this mini-series as a massive troll, and I can see why that comes across. This series would have stood up on it's own merits with a more traditional ending so it shows the impact it has when I say that the ending is one of the most memorable things about it. You will be tearing your hair out over it and in my opinion it's just brilliant.
Not only worth a read well worth multiple reads.
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