Armageddon is coming. Which side is the Justice League on?

General Information

Title: Kingdom Come

Author: Mark Waid

Illustrator: Alex Ross

Original Publication Date: Expanded 1997 reprint of material first
published in 1996.

ISBN: 1-56389-330-4

Cover Price: $14.95 US, $24.95 Can

Buy from: Amazon.com
or Amazon.ca

Premise

About a generation into the future, the current heroes of the DC
Universe have been deposed for a more brutal variety. The
heroes of
old decide this is unacceptable, and the regular humans decide
they
tire of the super-human impact over their daily lives.

High Point

“You sound as if you have a plan.”

Low Point

What happened to the pair that stopped the first two missiles? In
any
other issue, they’d have reached the third in time, too.

The Scores

There have been a few comics that blur the line between heroes
and
villains, but this one does it in a more chilling fashion. This isn’t
The Watchmen, it’s a story where all heroes start to
become
distortions of what they should be. It’s an interesting setup, but
the ending feels a bit like just another Secret Wars, Inifinity
Gauntlet, etc. with all of the world’s heroes fighting each other
every step of the way. I give the originality 4 out of
6,
for a good concept with typical execution.

The artwork is fully painted by Alex Ross. He can
make these
characters look real without looking any less majestic. Thier
uniforms look like cloth rather than body paint, and the details
packed into their faces make them look human, aged, and worn,
as the
heroes would be. The man’s an amazing artist. I really wish his
work
could be done more quickly, allowing him to do interiors more
often.
I give the artwork 6 out of 6.

The story is well formed, even if it can get a bit
formulaic. I give it 4 out of 6.



The characterization is excellent. The expressions
on their
faces matches thier attitudes perfectly. They respond to their
circumstances in entirely believable ways. (Batman’s dealings
with
the MLF spring to mind.) These are completely plausible and
understandable actions for the characters involved. I give it 5
out
of 6.

The emotional response this produced was not bad.
I enjoyed
it, and I certainly wanted to read it in one sitting, but the periodic
confusion I felt from the wealth of characters one needs
familiarity
with was irritating. There wasn’t much room for it in the story, but
the TPB version certainly could have included a quick primer to
the
players in its bonus material. (Naming the characters on the
cover
plates wasn’t quite enough.) I give it 4 out of 6.

The flow was excellent. Alex Ross can capture
motion in
paintings that others
seem to struggle with. I give it 5 out of 6.

Overall, it’s a good read, and one I’d recommend,
but it
doesn’t change the world. I prefer Mark Waid’s material when
he’s having fun with
the
stories. I give it 4 out of 6.

In total, Kingdom Come receives 32 out of 42.

Additional Notes and Comments

Someone told me that this was a good TPB to read to become
familiar
with the DC Universe. That person was wrong. While it’s true
that
only a passing familiarity with Superman, Wonder Woman,
Batman, Lex
Luthor, the Spectre and Captain Marvel is needed to understand
the
story, those of us with question about Green Lantern, the Flash,
Green
Arrow, and other characters will not find those answers here. It’s
loaded with cameos and new characters, but very little
explanation for
any of them. While it’s probably a tremendously rewarding read
to
those who know these characters, the rest of us are missing out
on a
lot. (I think DC would benefit greatly from the introduction of a
line like Marvel’s Essentials. The Archives are just too
expensive
for the casual fan to consider, as far as I’m concerned. I’m
surprised that some of the devoted fans can still afford them.)