I haven’t read Kingdom Come in many years, so I figured it was time to see how well it holds up.
Exceptionally well, judging from the first issue. Mark Waid wrote it and Alex Ross painted it, so that was a pretty safe bet.
It’s set in the DC Universe’s possible future, in which the younger generation is running amok without understanding the true meaning of super-heroism. The Justice League generation is all either retired or focused solely on their respective home turfs. And we view it all through the eyes of an ordinary preacher, whom the Spectre has recruited as his human anchor.
This is, first and foremost, a Superman story, and one of the great Superman stories. In this world, Superman has been gone for ten years, and the void is tremendous. We see the importance of his ideals in their absence. It feels especially relevant these days, since Superman has been largely missing from his own movies—well, the last two have had a grim fellow who looks like him, but that’s about it.
This Superman isn’t exactly a happy sort either. He’s a Superman who’s lost his way and needs to get himself—and the world—back on track. As contradictory as it sounds, he’s out of character in a way that demonstrates a superb understanding of his character. At this point, how he got there and how he recovers isn’t fully apparent.
And I have to praise Ross’s art, of course. The level of detail is phenomenal—far beyond the capabilities of mere mortal comics. (That’s no slight against any other artist. It’s the benefits of the painted medium combined with Ross’s mastery of his craft.) So much care has gone into countless character designs and set designs—look at all the Easter eggs in the Planet Krypton diner, or the tiny skull in the Spectre’s eye, and how Superman’s presence instantly evokes a sense of grandeur.
I’m going to take this series one issue at a time, one day at a time. It’s worth the attention.
Writer: Mark Waid
Artist: Alex Ross
Publisher: DC Comics
How to Read It: back issues; Comixology; included in Kingdom Come (TPB)
Appropriate For: ages 12 and up