Kingdom Come Review
Writer: Mark Waid
Artist: Alex Ross
Publisher: DC Comics
In his Fortress of Solitude, Superman has re-created the Kent farm and has cut himself off from the rest of the World. He and his contemporaries have been rejected by a society who now favours the new generation of more aggressive heroes led by the impressive Magog. Wonderwoman is still around and visits the Fortress of Solitude occasionally. An aging Batman still fights crime in Gotham using the vast resources at his disposal. However the new heroes prove to be too brutal and after a catastrophic battle in Kansas, the devastation brings Superman and his pals out of retirement. Have they still got what it takes to contain the tide of superpowered violence? Is Superman a match for Magog? Why is Batman teaming up with Lex Luthor? And why is Captain Marvel (Shazam) hanging out with the baddies?
The art of Alex Ross is truly a joy to behold and he has indeed served up a visual feast. His gouache painted artwork is ultra-realistic – if you squint you’d think they were photographs. To see super-heroes depicted in this way is refreshing. The pages of this graphic novel deserve to be viewed over and over again in the same way that a person would view their favourite wall paintings over and over again. I also enjoyed the fact that there was a cast of thousands – a super hero extravaganza, all of my favourite DC heroes and more were present. It was also fascinating to see how the heroes had changed over the preceding decade. Batman is now white-haired, relies on an exoskeleton and an army of robot sentinels. Robin has become more Batman-like and now sports a black cowl instead of a simple eye mask.
The decision to tell the story from the viewpoint of a couple of third person characters (pastor Norman McCay and The Spectre) added an extra depth to the story but it also left me slightly detached from the proceedings. I would have preferred to right in the thick of things observing events directly but that may be a purely personal preference.
The messages I received from this story are that heroes have a responsibility to serve society (even when that society has rejected them) and that there is a line that must not be crossed: a hero must not kill.
The story progresses at a good pace, at no point did I feel that events were dragging and there are some good twists and turns. The climax packs a suitably powerful punch and there’s a smile inducing surprise in the epilogue.
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