Publisher/s: DC Comics
Genre: Super-hero, alternative
Author/s: Alex Ross, Mark Waid
Artist/s: Alex Ross
No. of Issues: 4
Vintage: August 2003 – May 1996 – August 1996
The Plot | Set in the year 2020, where Superman and his ilk have been succeeded by an amoral, nihilistic and reckless class of super-hero. The new generation of metahuman has a faint regard for human life often resulting in mass casualties and collateral damage during battles, spending more time fighting amongst themselves as opposed to serving the public trust. When a terrible disaster gains the attention of the recluse Superman, he sets off to stop the new generation of hero, giving them the option to either follow his ideals of Truth, Justice and the American way, or be placed into a prison nicknamed ‘The Gulag‘ in order to be reformed.
The Good | Kingdom Come falls under the Elseworlds imprint, and as such it falls outside the company’s canon much like the Marvel Comics counterpart – What If…?, the difference being that Elseworlds tales have completely self-contained continuities, having no bearing on the canon, merely using the familiar characters of the DC universe. I’ve always liked alternative story-lines and what if scenarios (Superman: Red Son being one of my all-time favourites) and Kingdom Come doesn’t disappoint in the slightest.
Written by Alex Ross and Mark Waid, Ross independently pitched the idea of Kingdom Come to writer James Robinson with the idea that the project would be of similar scope to Alan Moore’s Watchmen, but ultimately teamed up with fellow writer Mark Waid. To top it all off, Kingdom Come is beautifully illustrated by Ross himself, with each and every panel painted in gouache. The trademark style of Alex Ross, wonderfully accentuates the subject matter, and with around 230 pages, the quality and attention to detail of the artwork is mesmerizing. Needless to say, the storyline is intricate and therefore approached from multiple angles that eventually intertwine as the story progresses. It’s interesting to see how the character of Superman is tested as he struggles to uphold his ideals in a world where the modern super-hero is just as dangerous to the public as the villains are. Superman’s plight becomes compounded when his closest allies are willing to do anything in order to stop their foes, even if it means killing.
The Bad | Kingdom Come is quite a masterpiece of super-hero fiction, so there isn’t anything negative to say about Ross and Waid’s work. Bringing all the heroes together never seems contrived, as each character has a role to play in this masterfully crafted story.
To Conclude | Alex Ross has been one of my favourite artists for a long time now, and Kingdom Come reasserts that, with beautiful artwork and a brilliant storyline I’d highly recommend tracking down a copy if you like your comics with an alternative spin. An Absolute Edition of Kingdom Come will be made available on Amazon as from January 31, 2012. Highly recommended.
Grade | A