Thursday, February 10, 2011

Kingdom Come - Review

The Villains of Tomorrow are the Heroes of Today!

Written by Mark Waid and illustrated by Alex Ross, Kingdom Come is the story of DC's greatest heroes fighting to stop the metahuman menace that spawns from the "heroes of tomorrow." Heroes who have no interest in stopping civilian casualties, and care more about their image and amount of damage they can cause. After putting himself in exile for years, Superman returns in order to try and bring justice and heroics back to the world, reuniting the original Justice League.

The story is a cautionary tale of what can happen to superheroes if they begin to think of themselves as gods, and how important it is for them to hang on to their basic humanity if they're going to defend the rest of it. The thought of Superman thinking that he doesn't belong in the world anymore is a pretty shocking one, but his reasons for banishing himself from society are justified when the reader reaches the shocking revelations.

As far as a cast of characters goes, this one is massive. Every DC heavy hitter and B-lister is in attendance, as well as their yet to be born offspring that patrols the future. All of the original heroes are in the front lines of the battle, including Batman, Green Lantern (Alan Scott), Wonder Woman, and The Flash (a speed force culmination of everyone who ever shared the name). They try desperately to try and educate the heroes of tomorrow on their methods of protecting the people, but, in the end, it's half of Earth's heroes against the other. Superman leads one side, while Captain Marvel leads the other, twisted after having been under Lex Luthor's control for decades.

Ultimately the story is an incredible look at a DC future that could of have been, where old friendships have faded, and new hatred as arisen. The artwork by Alex Ross is jaw-dropping, imploring his signature painted style, making the characters look more real than they ever have.

Though first time readers would do well to read up on all of the characters that make up the titanic cast of Kingdom Come, the story is put together well enough that a person can go in blind and just enjoy their knowledge of Batman and Superman.

Superman is also another part of this story that I really enjoyed. I usually stay away from most Superman stories, because I feel that he's often represented as being too powerful. By this time in his life, kryptonite won't even affect him, as Luthor puts it, "he's at the height of his invulnerability." The thing that makes him a relatable character in this scenario, is that he's trying merely to stop everyone from fighting, and taking all of the blame on himself, as most of us do in our everyday lives when faced with forces beyond our control.

This wouldn't be a book for people just getting into comics, but for someone who has loved these characters for a long time, or just wants an alternate history story with some of the biggest battles to ever grace panels on a page, this collection is perfect.

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