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Kingdom Come by Mark Waid

Kingdom Come (original 1997; edition 1997)

by Mark Waid (Writer)

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2,059485,808 (4.08)43
Kingdom Come, the critically acclaimed Elseworlds saga by Mark Waid and Alex Ross, has been combined into one volume, with a new introduction and additional material for this edition.
Title:Kingdom Come
Authors:Mark Waid
Info:DC Comics (1997), Paperback, 232 pages
Collections:Your library

Work details

Kingdom Come by Mark Waid (Writer) (1997)

  1. 40
    Marvels by Kurt Busiek (Death_By_Papercut)
    Death_By_Papercut: Great art by Alex Ross
  2. 30
    Watchmen #1 by Alan Moore (jpers36)
  3. 20
    Astro City Vol. 01: Life in the Big City by Kurt Busiek (FFortuna)
  4. 20
    Squadron Supreme by Mark Gruenwald (Marvel Omnibus) by Mark Gruenwald (artturnerjr)
    artturnerjr: Waid and Ross' graphic novel may be nicer to look at, but Gruenwald & co. were there first.
  5. 01
    Superman: For Tomorrow, Vol. 1 by Brian Azzarello (FFortuna)
    FFortuna: For Tomorrow tells the story of how a wonderful, naive, innocent Superman can become the wonderful, disillusioned, sometimes hardnosed Superman of Kingdom Come.

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Showing 1-5 of 46 (next | show all)
Great art and a complete story

There has always been a tonal conflict in DC comics. The power and capabilities of the heroes, and the tragedies they deal with, balance poorly next to the silliness of the world they inhabit. This series imagined how their heroics might go wrong, how that would play out, and what might be done. In many ways the world of DC comics ends with this story, and it is a really good ending. ( )
  wishanem | May 27, 2021 |
This is very self-consciously everything that many reviewers call it -- beautifully illustrated, challenging, deep, grim, heavy, important, insightful, layered, majestic, sophisticated, touching, and well-written (mostly). It's a lot more, too. Unfortunately, for all its great qualities, it simply isn't enough for me to regard it as highly as many other readers.

The motivations for the characters are very primary-colors: they only make sense if you accept the simplistic archetypes, mores, and sociopolitical conditions of comics circa 1970, which had been pretty thoroughly demolished in many mainstream comics during the 1980s. Where a few of the "big questions" raised by Chris Claremont's X-Men and Frank Miller's Dark Knight Returns storylines in the 1980s are largely just parts of the world in which those series existed, handled with some amount of subtlety and self-awareness, it took more than twenty years for Kingdom Come to attack a relatively small subset of those same concerns in a more heavy-handed, overt, somewhat ungraceful manner. Kingdom Come was the penetrating, unflinching examination of the super-hero condition and humanity's place in the super-hero world that comic books needed . . . in 1981. It was published in 2008.

What little was not addressed by the combination of Frank Miller, and the elephant in the room (Alan Moore's Watchmen), all at the same time, is incidentally covered by the The Death of Superman (via Doomsday: see the "great powers collide" artifice in this comparison, for instance) and Marvel's Civil War series (see the obvious and unimaginative retread of the soulless resurrection of a Great Power to dark ends, complete with thunder and lightning to shake the cosmos, as a key example in this comparison), though not particularly better in either of those than in Kingdom Come -- only sooner. In fact, the essence of the entire Kingdom Come tale centered around a retread of the trite, ham-handed, deeply disappointing ending of Civil War (where what stopped a war with pathetically underdeveloped moral horror in one sparked a war with naively realized caricatured, cartoonish, dare I say "comic book" simplistic moral conflict in the other), without which that Marvel crossover could have been a much more satisfying narrative.

Then, of course, there are the overexposed tropes of both traditional literature and comic book history -- the largely-detached observer providing ongoing exposition that keeps the events of the tale from becoming more visceral to the reader, the oversimplified grittiness of 1990s comic book trends as an eventual reaction to the oversimplified cleanness of pre-1980s comic book trends, the oversimplified morality-play 2000s comic book trends as an overreaction to the 1990s, and so on.

I'm glad I read Kingdom Come. I enjoyed it. It's just almost thirty years too late to be the great book many reviewers describe. The American mainstream super-hero comic book genre grows up . . . again and again and again, because it keeps returning to its infancy. Lately, it seems to grow up less, but more often.

This comes across as a very negative review, but I gave it three stars, which Goodreads identifies as meaning that I enjoyed it. I'll say it one more time: I did enjoy it. Most of this review is simply a clarification of why I did not enjoy it nearly as much as most reviewers.
( )
  apotheon | Dec 14, 2020 |
I’ve read it again after many years, and this is still my all time favorite DC Universe story. ( )
  DPinSvezia | Nov 9, 2020 |
Starring Tom Hanks?
Think heavy-handed Christian mythology, WWII, Dockers-wearing-heroes...
actually, maybe add a 70-something Clint Eastwood to the roster as well.

Still enjoyable, if not eye-rollingly simplified good & evil drama.
Incredibly good art.
Great flow in storytelling.
By the way? I loved Deadman's little cameo. More of that please...

( )
  runningbeardbooks | Sep 29, 2020 |
This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission

Title: Kingdom Come
Series: Elseworlds
Author: Mark Wade
Artist: Alex Ross
Rating: 1 of 5 Stars
Genre: Graphic Novel
Pages: 232
Words: 23K


From Wikipedia

In this Elseworlds story, Superman and the Justice League abandon their roles as superheroes after the rise and strong public support of a superhero named Magog, who has no qualms about killing—notably the Joker, on his way to trial for the mass murder of the Daily Planet staff, including Lois Lane. In the ensuing years, a newer generation of superpowered metahumans arise; they engage each other in destructive battles with little distinction between "heroes" and "villains." The narrator, a minister named Norman McCay, receives apocalyptic visions of the future from a dying Wesley Dodds. The Spectre appears to McCay and recruits him to help pass judgment on the approaching superhuman apocalypse.

An attack on the Parasite, led by Magog, goes awry when Parasite tears open Captain Atom. As a result, much of the American Midwest is irradiated, killing millions and destroying a large portion of the United States's food production. Coaxed back into action by Wonder Woman, Superman returns to Metropolis and re-forms the Justice League.

He recruits new heroes along with older ones. The most prominent exception is the Batman, who resents Superman for leaving the world 10 years ago. Batman warns Superman that his idealist notions are outdated and his interference will only exacerbate the world's problems, insisting that strategy is required, not force. In response to Superman's Justice League, Batman activates his network of agents called the "Outsiders", made up largely of the younger second and third-generation heroes, while trusted veterans, such as Green Arrow and Blue Beetle, are chosen as lieutenants. Lex Luthor has organized the "Mankind Liberation Front". The MLF is secretly a group of Golden Age villains, including Catwoman, the Riddler, and Vandal Savage, as well as third-generation villains like Ra's al Ghul's successor, Ibn al Xu'ffasch, who is Bruce Wayne and Talia al Ghul's son. The MLF works to take control of the world from the heroes.

Superman's Justice League gathers more captives than converts, and his prison (nicknamed "the Gulag") is filled to capacity almost as soon as it is built. Superman works to persuade the inmates that their methods are wrong-headed and dangerous, but his entreaties fall upon deaf ears. With hostile heroes and villains locked up together, pressure builds. Meanwhile, Superman learns that Wonder Woman's ardent militant stance may be influenced by her recent exile from Paradise Island: in the eyes of the Amazons, her mission to bring peace to the outside world has failed, and she has thus been stripped of her royalty. Batman and his Outsiders seem to enter into an alliance with the MLF as a united front against the Justice League. Luthor plans to exacerbate the conflict between the League and the inmates of the Gulag; the ensuing chaos will afford Luthor an opportunity to seize power. Batman uses the Martian Manhunter to discover that an adult Billy Batson is under Luthor's control. Batson, as Captain Marvel, is the only metahuman capable of matching Superman's power. When the Gulag's inmates riot and kill Captain Comet, Luthor unwittingly reveals to Batman he intends to use the brainwashed Batson to break open the Gulag. Batman's forces ambush Luthor and his conspirators, but they are unable to restrain Batson, who transforms into Marvel and flies off. While Wonder Woman leads the Justice League to the superhuman prison riot, Superman confronts Batman. Batman tries to justify inaction, saying the world would be better off if all the metahumans destroyed each other. Superman points out that if all human life is sacred, then logically that includes superhuman life. Superman knows that Batman will act, because his entire crimefighting life is based upon the desire to prevent the loss of human life.

Moved by Superman's sentiments, Batman tells Superman that Captain Marvel is under Luthor's control and is on the way to the Gulag. Superman races to the Gulag, but upon arrival is struck down by Captain Marvel. The Gulag is breached, freeing the population, and inciting war between Wonder Woman's Justice League and the metahuman prisoners. The Spectre and Norman look on as Wonder Woman's League engages with the prisoners and Superman is kept at bay by Captain Marvel. Batman's army arrives on site as an intervening third party. Batman is unable to stop Wonder Woman from killing the supervillain Von Bach, which increases the fury of the riot.

As conditions worsen, United Nations Secretary General Wyrmwood authorizes the deployment of three tactical nuclear warheads, hardened against metahuman powers. In the middle of their fight, Batman and Wonder Woman see the incoming stealth bombers piloted by the Blackhawk Squadron. They break off fighting and manage to stop two bombs, but miss the third. Captain Marvel uses his magic lightning bolt as a weapon against Superman. Superman manages to grab Marvel and allow the bolt to transform him into Billy. Holding Batson's mouth shut, Superman tells him he is going to stop the remaining bomb, and Batson must make a choice: either stop Superman and allow the warhead to kill all the metahumans, or let Superman stop the bomb and allow the metahumans' war to engulf the world. Superman tells Batson he must be the one to make this decision, as he is the only one who lives in both worlds: a man (as Batson) and a god (as Marvel). Batson, his mind now clear of Luthor's influence, turns back into Captain Marvel. He flings Superman to the ground and flies after the missile. Marvel intercepts the missile and shouts "Shazam!" three times in rapid succession, detonating the bomb prematurely, and killing Batson in the process.

Despite Marvel's sacrifice, most of the metahumans are obliterated in the explosion. Superman is unharmed, but does not realize that there are any other survivors. Enraged at the tremendous loss of life, Superman flies to the U.N. Building and threatens to bring it down atop the delegates as punishment for the massacre. The surviving metahumans arrive, but McCay is the one who talks him down, pointing out how his appearance and behavior are exactly the sort of reasons that normal humans fear the superpowered. Superman immediately ceases his rampage. He is handed Captain Marvel's cape, and tells the U.N. that he will use his wisdom to guide, rather than lead, humankind. Superman ties Captain Marvel's cape to a flagpole and raises it among the flags of the member nations of the U.N., suggesting that this role of guidance will be more political and global in nature than the classic crime-busting vigilantism of the past.[6] In the epilogue, the heroes strive to become fully integrated members of the communities. Wonder Woman's exile from Paradise Island ends, and she becomes an ambassador for super-humanity, taking the survivors of the Gulag to Paradise Island for rehabilitation. Batman abandons his crusade and becomes a healer, rebuilding his mansion as a hospital to care for those wounded by the destruction of the Gulag. He reconciles with both Dick Grayson/Red Robin and his son, Ibn al Xu'ffasch. Superman begins the task of restoring the Midwestern farmlands devastated in Magog's attempt to capture the Parasite. He comes to terms with his past as Clark Kent by accepting a pair of glasses from Wonder Woman, and shares a kiss with her before she returns to Paradise Island. Norman McCay resumes pastorship of his congregation, preaching a message of hope for humanity. Among the congregation is Jim Corrigan, the Spectre's human host.

My Thoughts:

Where do I start? I liked the idea and the presentation.

But the damnably perverted and shallow philosophy absolutely killed this for me. I knew this wasn't going to go well right from the introduction by Elliot Maggin when he starts talking about us all being modern gods and how he takes inspiration from Gandhi saying he would be a Hindu, Muslim, Jew, Christian or Buddhist, the idea being that he would do anything to advance his generic ideals even to the profanation of the very religions he's claiming to want to represent.

Then we get the main narrator, a Christian pastor. Unfortunately, this “pastor” is of the
God is just a name and simply represents a higher power to help us become better” variety. He's not a Christian, he's a Unitarian. Not once was the name of Christ mentioned. Even during the many, many, MANY out of context quotes from the book of Revelation (which by the way is the Revelation of Jesus Christ) God as a Force was what was shoved down the readers' throats. I am finding that the older I get, the less patience I have for misrepresentations of Christianity. I'm not talking about differences of opinion of a hard to interpret Scripture, but blatant misuses of Scripture to forward a storyline while claiming TO represent Christianity. Sadly, most of these misrepresentations come from real life people doing the misrepresentation. Can anyone say Jim Bakker or Joel Osteen?

Next, you have Superman, Batman and Wonderwoman. All are portrayed as having been broken by the events of a new world. One thing that really stuck out was the various stances shown on superheroes taking lives. Superman and Batman are known for their stance on not taking lives. It is one of the defining characteristics of who they are. The authors here use that and the new heroes willingness to take lives at the drop of a hat. Unfortunately, killing, for any reason, even by the lawful authorities is show as something evil. One of the villains, Magog, killed the Joker in the past and that is portrayed on the same level as him killing Captain Atom and pretty much nuking the American midwest and killing MILLIONS of people. Things are just not that simplistic and I HATE when something serious is portrayed so unreasonably. This got into Message Territory instead of good story telling.

Then the ending. Everyone pretty much just agrees to get along. Pollyana much? I mean, the whole freaking story wouldn't have happened if the characters had acted in the beginning like they did at the end. But there was no real mechanism to propel their changes.

Everything, from beginning to end, got my goat. This was an Elseworlds story that could have been great, could have been fantastic but completely failed in its execution and was completely bogged down by Message Politics.

You know what is really funny though? I read a review of this on another site where the person went off the rails because they were convinced this was all right wing politics, because it featured a “Christian” main character, had Superman, Batman and Wonderwomen as the good guys. They also claimed it was pro-gun, pro-life and pro-death sentence. Oh, oh, they also stated that from this they figured Wade was a Republican and thus this was a complete piece of garbage. Isn't that awesome? I have no idea how they came to the conclusions they did but it made me do a little happy dance inside. Call me sick, but seeing someone else being miserable just made my day.

Just so you can get an alternate take, ie, a more positive one, feel free to visit's Lashaan Review.

★☆☆☆☆ ( )
  BookstoogeLT | Jul 6, 2020 |
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» Add other authors (9 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Waid, MarkWriterprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Ross, AlexIllustratormain authorall editionsconfirmed
Klein, Toddsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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The Greatest Super-Hero Epic of Tomorrow!
Dedicated to Christopher Reeve who makes us believe that a man can fly.
To Brian Augustyn, who hired me when no one else would, without whom today I would be asking not, "What will the Flash do this month?" but rather, "Would you like fries with that?" - MARK WAID
For my father, Clark Norman Ross, the real McCay and the true inspiration for all of Kingdom Come. - ALEX ROSS
First words
There were voices... and thunderings and lightnings... and an earthquake.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
This is the entry for the standard collection of Kingdom Come. Please do not combine with single issues, the Absolute Edition, the prose (text) adaptation or the audio book version. Thanks.
Publisher's editors
Original language
Canonical DDC/MDS

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Wikipedia in English (2)

Kingdom Come, the critically acclaimed Elseworlds saga by Mark Waid and Alex Ross, has been combined into one volume, with a new introduction and additional material for this edition.

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