Kingdom Come

DC's Kingdom Come is a creative tale of an alternate future in which traditional superheroes such as Superman and the Justice League are seen as "out of touch", incapable of protecting humanity. With an alarming rise in reckless superhuman activity, new age "heroes" have lost sight of the values that they are expected to uphold in protecting humans. With the arrival of a heavenly being known as the Spectre, it is presumed that the conflict will lead to Armageddon and leave only one group of survivors, humans, or superheroes. Factions break out, being led by heroes and humans such as Batman, Superman, Lex Luthor, and the United Nations. As the conflict continues to mount, the Justice League fails in an attempt to contain all the unruly heroes. As the battle escalates, consuming everything around them, humanity decides to take the situation into their own hands by nuking the fight, killing the heroes and taking back control. Superman is unable to stop the nuke in time, and it appears everyone but him is dead. Outraged he flies to the U.N. building determined to bring it down on their heads. However it is revealed that not all were killed and he makes the choice to re-establish order between humanity and their protectors.

Kingdom Come is written by award winning writer Mark Waid. Waid first began his career in comics in the mid-80's. He has worked with both Marvel and DC comics, writing many "one shot" story arcs and even creating characters such as Impulse and Onslaught. In 1996, he teamed up with Alex Ross to create the story Kingdom Come, covering the future of the dc universe. Waid seems to always have been a fan of comics and has worked with many different studios. He claims that the comics he read as a young man are the blueprints for what he writes today.

Identity

One important theme in Kingdom Come is identity. Superman was confronted by the new "Man of Tomorrow" Magog, who claimed Superman was too old school to keep the country safe. After killing the Joker and being put on trial, Magog was released and Superman exiled himself for years. With his parents and Lois dead of age, Superman had lost who he was, and lived excluded from society. Although he would not admit it, he was afraid. While the narrator of the story observes this broken version of Superman, the Spectre states, "he was always afraid of the symbol that he is". He was afraid that Magog would fail to protect his people, but what scared him more is the question of whether or not they were right. Is he too old fashion? Does he play by rules that are too outdated and are no longer important? Without him, the rest of the league dispersed and took separate routes to hold onto what values they could. But, everything began to break down with the exile of Superman.

Human Achievement

Perhaps the most important theme in this graphic novel is the idea of human achievement. Throughout comic history, heroes are meant not only to protect people, but inspire them. A hero protects those who can't protect themselves, and a good hero will inspire them to take action. That is what makes heroes like Superman and Batman so popular. They inspire us to better ourselves and do what we can to eventually, hopefully, not need them. But in Kingdom Come, the question arises of whether or not our golden heroes inspired human achievement, or belittled it. In the story, people have not only looked for Superman to come to their aid, they expected it. The Justice League became gods to humanity that we could count on to intervene when we made a mistake. We no longer took our own action. Instead, we relied on the actions of these 'gods' to fix the world for us. And so, our society rolled over as a reckless superhero community took control of our planet. There is a powerful scene where the narrator is caught between the crossfire of these new heroes. He criticizes their recklessness and does what he can to protect a young girl. As he shields her he says," they are challenged, but unopposed. They are, after all, our protectors."

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