Tuesday, January 10, 2012
Kingdom Come(DC,1996): Long back in Elseworld
I picked up a mini paperback of a DC book recently and realized it’s the opening part of Kingdom Come(the 4 parts are Never-Ending Battle, Up in the Sky, Truth and Justice & Strange Visitor). Taking it as a healthy omen, I went on to read the graphic novel. I could recognize the unique art by Alex Ross from Marvels and Daredevil/Spider Man. Mark Waid is the writer here, I remember him from DC’s JLA Tower of Babel & 52. Now for the style, termed as Gouache is definitely an eye-catcher and may influence your decision to pick up the book or not. I personally don’t mind it much (as much as complex visual styles of may be a Sandman or Arkham Asylum, which can tend to ‘distract’ the reader in a good way) and after some time into it, you start acknowledging its achievements. In KC, it was the spectacular shots, angular views of characters’ pov, and the overall grandeur it attributes to the events.
Norman McCay, the narrator, is a pastor fearing the apocalypse, thanks to the visions he has been having off late. McCay’s journey of the world as it fights with a global threat, superheroes vs the UN is what kicks the story off. Then there is Lex Luthor’s Man Liberation Front and its efforts to get Captain Marvel on board. The tone is uniquely mythological at once, and gripping whatwith the multiple character face-offs and arcs.
Like any other re-imagining, this one gives a clear priority to characterization, but the overriding themes here are superheroes as gods vs humanity, legitimization of superheroes, global crisis, political conferences, and religion for certain providing a certain mythological air to it all.
I must say I was a little disappointed towards the final part as there was certainly great potential in the way the book looks at Superman and Wonder Woman in their flesh and blood conversations, chemistry and relationship. So much is so beautifully unsaid that it feels a waste to divert your attention to the routine action finale.
Batman is a little less than a glorified prop and his legion looks unconvincing to ay the least.
On the whole, an essential comic book, but certainly flawed.
Character Origins from Kingdom Come
Kingdom Come Critical Analysis