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Kingdom Come Paperback – October 1, 1997
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Top Customer Reviews
This is a gorgeous graphic novel with a very interesting premise and fun extras. I think this would appeal to young and old comic book fans, or anyone wanting to see a classic in the graphic novel format. Sweet.
Although Mark Waid is the writer here, the genius of Kingdom Come belongs really to artist Alex Ross, who came to DC with a proposal for the story and the broad outlines already in his head. Waid was writing at the height of his powers, while still doing a seminal run on DC's Flash, where he had earned genuine superstar writing status. Ross' genius was in suggesting a story that was both forward looking and a commentary on the state of the comics industry at the time. Kingdom Come is arguably the series that truly put the nails in the 'grim and gritty' wave of the previous decade, although the story is fairly dark in and of itself. Waid's contribution was also pretty significant however, in tying what were fairly loose ideas into an intricate and very coherent narrative that pulls the reader in and never lets go. The team works well together here to craft an exceptional story, the significance or influence of which, neither men are likely to replicate in the latter parts of their careers unfortunately. (It's unlikely Ross will ever do something on that scale again, at least, not on his own, and Waid's powers have been waning of late; his most recent writing often being too 'clever' for its own good, and is also less natural, or is more "constructed" than his best writing - see any Flash issue or trades by Mark Waid set before Flash #120 or so.)
The story concerns the return of a Man of Steel who has been in self-imposed exile, to a world which has moved on dramatically since he last frequented it. Populated by superpowered beings who epitomize the phrase "power without responsibility," Superman's re-emergence in a not too distant future, sets off a chain of events that lead to tragedy on an epic scale. Principally a love letter to a version of Superman that DC had disowned up to that point, the story also focuses a fair degree on an aged Batman and ageless Wonder woman. Dense, lyrical, mythical, epic and beautiful all at once, Kingdom Come is a tale dealing with power, responsibilty, loss, alienation, what happens when different philosophies collide, and yes, hope.
If there are any criticisms of the work, most are fairly minor in my view and easily dimissed. For example, some have argued that the multitude of new characters aren't sufficiently fleshed out to make you care enough. That's like going to an indian restaurant and complaining there are no burgers. These people completely miss the point. Kingdom Come isn't about the multitude of characters in the background, and the writer and artist waste no time on them, because they're intended to be a direct commentary on the multitudes of interchangeable/nameless/forgettable characters the comic industry was throwing up in the late 80's, early 90s, specially after Image launched. More significant problems are that issue one of the story is a little weak in comparison to the remaining three, as it is almost exclusively set up. Had Waid and Ross been doing it now, I doubt they might have taken the slightly decompressed approach they took originally for that issue. Finally, Batman was pretty obnoxious ever since Frank Miller put his hands on him, and the Batman written here is a fairly logical extension of the obnoxious, dislikeable Batman DC was enamored with at that period in the 90s. But other than a cynical and somewhat stupid/unfortunate historical tension with Superman, Waid and Ross never really provide a compelling, convincing argument as to why Bruce adopts the role of obstructionist here. It doesn't ruin the story in any serious way or affect your enjoyment as a reader too much, but it's a niggling irritation if, like me, you like the Batman and think, 'being difficult' doesn't do the character justice.
As for format, this volume of Kingdom Come actually bucks the trend by being a superior printing to the original trade paperback. The cover here is one of Ross' most beautiful and striking images created for the series, which is saying a lot considering the number of beautiful images Ross created in the story and for its promotion. Whereas the previous cover was a bit cluttered and somewhat clumsily staged, Ross' cover here is a beautiful emerald green projection of the mythical, epic nature of the confrontation contained in the pages of the actual story, for three reasons. First, because the location of Green Lantern's satellite plays a central role in the story, second because it highlights Superman's new Justice League, which sets off the central conflict in the story, and most importantly because it is yet another wonderful example of Ross' superb Superman. If ever there was a fictional character and an artist who were meant to be together, it's Ross and Superman. The artist's take on the character is always amazing. Ross clearly enjoys painting him and he renders the Man of Steel with love, but always as an imposing, powerful, and compelling fictional character that demands your respect and must be taken seriously. This first printing is also a steal because it contains a 'gatefold' cover, meaning that the cover is front, back, and an extra foldout, for a larger image. Amazon seems to only have an early pencil version here, but one of the customer images shows more clearly what the actual volume will look like. Whatever the case, it's a striking image that, more than ten years on after the initial release, reaffirms why Kingdom Come is one of the best pieces of graphic fiction ever produced by anyone, anywhere.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
That's how this story starts and in his absence and the disbanding of the justice league a new breed of heroes have emerged...Read more
Interesting but I'm lost. While the story is about those superheros fighting on the side of good with ethics and values fighting against...Read more