[[quoteright:300:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/Absolutekingdom.jpg]]
[[caption-width-right:300:''[[LoadsAndLoadsOfCharacters Pretty awesome]]''.]]

->''"According to the word of God, the meek would someday inherit the earth. Someday. [[BewareTheSuperman But God never accounted for the mighty.]]"''
-->-- '''Norman [=McCay=]'''

A DCUniverse and {{Elseworld}}s [[ComicBook graphic novel]], published in 1996. Written by Creator/MarkWaid and beautifully painted by Alex Ross, ''Kingdom Come'' depicts a dystopian future in which Franchise/{{Superman}} has retired due to the public's preference for heroes who will use lethal force. The [[TheSilverAgeOfComicBooks Silver Age]] superheroes followed him, in some cases retiring completely, in others sticking to their own small areas.

Until a tragedy strikes in Kansas. The death of CaptainAtom causes a nuclear explosion which destroys most of the Midwest of the USA. This loosens the last bounds of restraint among the new generation of metahumans, who begin to fight one another with abandon. Superman returns, reassembles the Justice League and tries to take back control, with dire consequences.

Through it all, a simple pastor named Norman [=McCay=] is guided by apocalyptic imagery drawn from the Literature/BookOfRevelation and by TheSpectre. He must decide the fate of humanity - whether to allow the metahumans to be killed en masse and save the rest of humanity, or to allow them to survive, but doom the world.

This series was followed by ''ComicBook/TheKingdom'', which introduces the concept of Hypertime by having the Kingdom Come future superheroes fight alongside their present-day mainstream continuity counterparts, and ''Thy Kingdom Come''.

See also ComicBook/{{Justice}}, a similar miniseries also painted by Alex Ross that attempts to [[{{Reconstruction}} reconstruct]] TheGoldenAgeOfComicBooks and TheSilverAgeOfComicBooks after this series [[{{Deconstruction}} deconstructed]] TheDarkAgeOfComicBooks.

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!!This book provides examples of the following tropes:

* AbsurdlySharpBlade: Franchise/WonderWoman's Sword of Hephaestus. It can even cut Superman - it's remarked that it's because magic is one of the few things that Supes isn't invulnerable to.
* AbstractApotheosis: One of the least noted {{Repower}}, yet one of the most insane, is the one which took its toll on TheFlash (said to be [[InformedAttribute Wally West]]); in this continuity Wally became the AnthropomorphicPersonification of the Speed Force, becoming a force in perpetual motion, attaining ''[[PhysicalGod omnipresence]]'' by running ''that'' fast.
** Oddly enough, he doesn't seem able to use his newfound omnipresence to any actual use, especially in the ending where it might have been REALLY useful. The only possible explanation is either he's not as Omnipresent as theorized, or he is now bound by complex rules that govern the Divine Entities preventing them from exercising their own choice outside their jurisdiction.
** BlessedWithSuck: Wally achieving godhood had its sacrifices; as noted above he is in perpetual motion, he can't stop moving ''ever'', the times where he seems to be still is just Wally moving in a short space while circling through... well, ''everywhere'' else at the same time, basically an illusion. Also it forces him to cut ties with everyone he knows; since now he basically lives in another reality altogether, no one can keep up with him to even communicate with the guy, Superman is the ''only'' one who can talk with Wally, and that by processing what Wally says some time after the actual conversation.
* AlmostKiss: Superman and Wonder Woman before the league announce they found Magog.
* ActorAllusion: In a one-panel cameo, SelfDemonstrating/TheJoker looks just like Jack Nicholson in the Tim Burton Batman movie.
** This is a general rule for all Alex Ross publications that feature The Joker
* AmazonianBeauty: Power Woman is PowerGirl when depicted as muscular UpToEleven.
* AntiClimax: The anticipated fight between Superman and Magog [[spoiler:never happens because of the latter's VillainousBreakdown]].
-->'''Magog:''' Your fault... you bastard. The world changed... but you wouldn't. So they chose me. They chose the man who would kill over the man who wouldn't... and now they're dead. A million ghosts. Punish me. Lock me away. Kill me. Just make the ghosts go away.
** [[spoiler: Wouldn't have been much of a fight anyway as Magog lashes out and Superman just takes it, more surprised than hurt. It's in keeping with the relative power levels of DarkAge characters versus SilverAge ones.]]
* AntiHero: Magog and his cronies are these. A large part of the book hinges on the difference between antiheroes and traditional heroes, to the point where the whole thing can be seen as a metaphor for TheDarkAgeOfComicBooks with the rise of the NinetiesAntiHero and the decline in popularity of the [[TheSilverAgeOfComicBooks Silver Age]] super heroes and the coinciding loss of morality in comics, and the eventual need to bring those ideals back. It also explores the differences between anti-heroes and villains. [[spoiler: That difference is what breaks Magog in the end.]]
* ArmorPiercingQuestion: Edward Nygma, who is now Selina Kyle's lover - though "boy toy" is a better description - loves to do this, highlighted by asking Lex what he plans to do about Superman. It's the only time Lex is completely out of control.
** In the {{Novelization}}, when Wonder Woman is questioned by the Amazons about her actions during the crisis, she states that Paradise Island had become too insular.
--->'''Diana:''' For example, who among you has actually met a living soul who does not live on this Island?
--->A few hands went up among the four- or fivescore assembled sisters. Even they went down when everyone realized what their former princess meant by "living".
* AssholeVictim: Joker, at the hands of Magog.
* AsTheGoodBookSays: All over the place. Quotations from the Literature/BookOfRevelation bookend at least two chapters, and biblical apocalyptic imagery is heavily used throughout.
* TheAtoner: [[spoiler:Magog]].
** Unlike the other residents of the Gulag, Magog is the only rogue superhero to ''walk up to the gate'' and ''knock'' - and ''patiently'' waits for someone to come out. What follows is both humorous and touching in the {{Novelization}}:
--->Eventually Comet walked up behind Magog in the shadow of the Gulag. Magog turned and smiled lightly, putting his helmet and energy spear on the ground as the older man approached.
--->“We’ve not met,” Comet said. “I’m Adam Blake,” and he extended a hand.
--->“I’m Magog”, the caller said. He extended his own hand to take Comet’s, the first-time someone had shaken his hand in years, he thought. “I need a place to think. I need a place out of the sun. I understand that this is the village of the damned. I understand that this is a place where I might be welcome.”
--->“Yes,” Comet said. “Come in. We’ll find you a room.”
*** In the comic, Magog can be seen in his room, crying.
* BadassBeard: Aquaman, and how.
* BadassGrandpa: Batman is so old and battered he needs machines to help him walk, but he's still as sharp as ever, able to execute a classic BatmanGambit and then has the guts to punch Captain Marvel.
** It's stated that Batman in this future basically abandoned the Bruce Wayne "personality" altogether.
** Again, Aquaman. Even ''Superman'' treats him with kid gloves.
* BadassNormal: Oliver Queen. Played up in the {{novelization}}.
** Also, Batman. See BadassGrandpa entry above.
* BadGuyBar: [[ComicBook/TeenTitans Titans Tower]] has become one of these. Though granted, it's more of a NinetiesAntiHero Bar.
* BatmanGambit: Batman is a major character. Is anyone surprised?
* BeCarefulWhatYouWishFor: The current status quo came about partly because regular civilians rejected the traditional heroes, [[ThouShaltNotKill who wouldn't kill]] their enemies no matter what, and demanded heroes who would kill. They got what they wanted, and millions died for it.
* BerserkButton: In the climax, Superman [[spoiler:is driven to the point of nearly destroying the UN when the humano-centrists kill most of the supers, despite Captain Marvel's HeroicSacrifice to stop it, using a nuclear bomb.]]
* BewareTheSuperman: Boy, is he pissed after the climax!
** In general, the series focuses on both the catastrophic damage and the morale-depleting effects that having entire races of godlike beings positioned so far above humanity that they can essentially do whatever they want without consequence can have. Although the younger generation of anti-heroes are the most obvious example of this, the story takes pains to point out that the older, more traditional generation aren't without blame either.
* BigNo: Wonder Woman after Captain Comet is killed.
* BlindIdiotTranslation: The scene where [[spoiler:Superman attempts to destroy the UN building and kill everyone inside]] results in this due to the multinational nature of the organization. For example, the Filipino delegate says "PAPATAYIN SIYA ANG ULO!". The intent appears to be "He's going to collapse the roof!". What it actually translates as is "He's going to kill the head!"
** ''"Nandiyan na ang siva ulo! Papatay in niya ulo!"'' translates closer to "There is (or 'here comes') (the face of) death! He has death in his head (or "on his mind")!"
** In the climactic battle, when Von Bach is ready to kill Zatara, he says "Du wurst wie eine wanze zerquetscht!!" He's supposed to say "You'll be squashed like a bug!", but to that effect, he should have said ''Du wirst'' ("You will") instead of ''Du Wurst'' ("You sausage").
*** Justified in the novelization which reveals that Von Bach is a poser who likes German affectations but is not German.
* BrainwashedAndCrazy: Billy Batson, thanks to LexLuthor.
* BroughtToYouByTheLetterS: Well, this is the DCU after all...
** But still, look for a cameo by our old pal Marvin from ''{{Superfriends}}'', who still wears a shirt emblazoned with the letter "M".
* CallingTheOldManOut: All of the original Teen Titans' children are on the side of the anti-heroes in defiance of their parents.
** ShoutOut: They're called [[BatmanAndTheOutsiders Batman's Outsiders]].
* CallToAgriculture: After retirement, Clark Kent is living in an artificial farm.
* TheCameo: ''Many,'' especially in the bar scene-- keep an eye out for [[ComicBook/{{Watchmen}} Rorschach]]. Examples include:
** [[spoiler: FatAlbert and the gang.]]
** [[spoiler: Creator/MontyPython]]
** [[spoiler: Music/TheBeatles]]
** [[spoiler: Watchmen]]
** [[spoiler: Krypto the Super Dog and Comet the Super Horse]]
** [[spoiler: TheVillagePeople]]
** [[spoiler: Columbia and Riff Raff from RockyHorrorPictureShow]]
** [[spoiler: Spider Man, Captain America and Thor]]
* CaptainErsatz: Many:
** Magog himself is based on Cable, with elements of other RobLiefeld characters such as Shatterstar. According to Ross, the original intent was to make him "look like everything we hate in modern superhero design." Modern in this case meaning NinetiesAntiHero. The golden horned helmet and cybernetics were also meant to imply he was a "golden calf", going with the biblical motifs of the series. Though Ross also stated that he found himself liking some of the design in the end.
** Tusk, a robot in the first fight scene is visually based on Z'gok-E from Anime/MobileSuitGundam.
** Americommando is visually based on JudgeDredd, with a hint of [[ComicBook/{{Watchmen}} The Comedian]].
** Tokyo Rose takes some visual hints from Chun-Li of StreetFighter, although with a more Japanese tone to it (obviously).
** An Unnamed background character in the Gulag is visually similar to VideoGame/DukeNukem.
** Several background characters are based on bands and musicians, including {{Bjork}}, Music/TheBeatles, TheMonkees, TheVillagePeople, and King Marvel is visually very similar to an older ElvisPresley. This is a recursive ShoutOut - Elvis based his famous stage costume on Captain Marvel, Jr., his favorite superhero.
** An unnamed background character in the Gulag is a dead ringer for Music/DavidBowie as [[Film/{{Labyrinth}} the Goblin King]], [[MemeticMutation Package and all.]]
** Peacemaker's costume is very much modeled after [[StarWars Boba Fett]].
** A female-shaped robot from the Gulag scene, looks a lot like the robot Maria from Fritz Lang's Film/{{Metropolis}}. (This is actually a MythologyGag to a pre-existing CaptainErsatz; Mekanique originally appeared in ''All-Star Squadron'', where didn't look as much like Maria, but was created by a scientist called Rotwang.)
* CanonImmigrant: The version of Superman introduced in Kingdom Come was later incorporated into the main [=DC=] continuity and interacted with the Justice Society. The Kingdom Come-verse is officially Earth-22 of the post-''InfiniteCrisis'' multiverse.
** Versions of a number of ComicBook/KingdomCome characters also ended up in the Main DCU's JSA, including Atom Smasher, Cyclone, and even Magog himself.
** Alloy showed up in in ''WesternAnimation/BatmanTheBraveAndTheBold''. Then again, the Metal Men combining is just too good an idea not to use...
*** ''[[JusticeLeagueInternational Justice League: Generation Lost]]'', which had a major subplot having to do with the events of ''Kingdom Come'', actually ''did'' use it.
** In a reversal of this, Rorschach shows up twice in the bar scene... at one point talking to the character he's an {{Expy}} of, The Question.
* ChewingTheScenery: Many of the voice actors in the audio adaption.
* ComicBookFantasyCasting: Bruce Wayne's appearance is partially based on Gregory Peck. This is a nod to the much lauded Batman Year One comic book by Dave Mazucchelli and FrankMiller.
* ContinuityLockout: Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Lex Luthor and Norman [=McCay=] are the only characters you can get a handle on if you've never read a DC book before. Other than that, a character is lucky if they get a single indentifiable trait. You are never sure of which Green Lantern (unless you know that it's the one who is the father of Jade and Obsidian, and that's a stretch) or which Flash is depicted. The ludicrously huge supporting cast on the other hand, you need a lot of foreknowledge to make them anything other than interchangeable. Not really a problem until the battle scenes, where the unprepared have their work cut out for them working out who's on what team. But special note goes to [[ComicBook/{{Shazam}} Captain Marvel]], whom we only see in this story after he became Luthor's pawn and his heroic past is merely alluded to.
** The collected editions list the vast majority of characters that appear in the comic, but of course, ''not all of them.''
** Also, NaiveNewcomer Norman [=McKay=] is only familiar with the big names that most of the audience would know so his traveling companion, the Spectre, can work some exposition into the dialog.
* CoolOldGuy: Norman [=McCay=]. One of the failures of ''The Kingdom'' was [[PutOnABus putting him on a bus]]. Elderly Bruce Wayne is no slouch either, and someone reading it today would be pleasantly reminded in some ways of Bruce's portrayal in WesternAnimation/BatmanBeyond a few years later.
* CruelMercy
* DarkAgeOfSupernames: The new generation of anti-heroes-villains names.
* DeconReconSwitch: Deconstructs the Dark Age, reconstructs the Silver Age.
* DeconstructionCrossover: For the sake of exploring the moral and philosophical differences between the [[TheSilverAgeOfComicBooks Silver Age]] and [[TheDarkAgeOfComicBooks Dark Age]] ideals of hero. Although it's generally considered primarily a deconstruction of the latter, the former don't escape unscathed either.
* DeconstructorFleet
* DemBones: Deadman is considerably more skeletal than usual when he shows up
* DeusExNukina: [[spoiler: Subverted in that Captain Marvel destroys it with his magic lightning, so that a few metahumans might still live.]]
* DisproportionateRetribution: Savage kills a secretary because she didn't put two sugars in his cofee.
* DoingItForTheArt
* {{Eagleland}}: Since the book is essentially a gigantic CrisisCrossover, there are a number of old-tyme DC heroes and their replacements or counterparts with patriotic themes representing the Type 1s, but as the second act starts, Americommando and the Minutemen start going on a violent rampage against "the wretched refuse" of immigrants... though, they are being mind-controlled at the time.
* {{Elseworld}}: One of the best.
* EnemyMine: Batman and Lex Luthor.
--> '''Luthor''': If I'd known a common enemy could bring us together, I'd have invented one years ago. This must be killing you.
* EverybodysDeadDave: What Norman [=McCay=]'s visions tell him will happen. In the end [[spoiler:not ''quite'' everybody dies, but the final battle gets a massive nuke dropped on it. Only a few survive]].
* {{Expy}}: Magog is one of Cable, meant to symbolize everything wrong with TheDarkAgeOfComicBooks.
* FunWithAcronyms: [=NIL8=]. Say each letter and number individually.
* GenreRelaunch: Of Silver Age era super hero comics.
* GoingCritical: Captain Atom.
* GreenLanternRing: The obvious, in that there are a number of the various green lanterns around, but also Captain Marvel's use of his own magical lightning, as mentioned on the page.
* HeelFaceTurn. [[spoiler: Magog. Also, to some degree, Captain Marvel; also, most if not all of the survivors of the nuke realize that they cannot continue being unaccountable for their actions and superpowers to the general population they're supposed to be protecting, so they willingly give up their secret identities]].
* HeroicRROD. Wonder Woman. Examined closer in the {{novelization}}.
* HeroicSacrifice: [[spoiler: Captain Marvel. Also, the Blackhawk jet fighters who were to deliver the nukes. According to the {{Novelization}}, they weren't expected to survive the blasts.]]
** Alloy (which was a ''literal'' amalgam of the MetalMen) protects Magog from dying from a nuclear blast. Magog wasn't ''completely'' protected, as he shows signs of radiation sickness.
** In the Novelization, Lois Lane. She stalls The Joker long enough for Superman to arrive and bring him to justice. Part of the reason that Superman abandoned humanity was that Magog made Lois' act a SenselessSacrifice.
* HeroInsurance. Explained in the {{Novelization}}, in which heroes tend to be impoverished and unaccountable. Auto insurance makes it impossible to own a car, damaged public property goes unrepaired (like the Statue of Liberty), and so forth.
* HiddenDepths: Magog. He's a WellIntentionedExtremist, but he quickly becomes TheAtoner. For example, he's the only character who goes to The Gulag to simply introspect, spending his time in his room doing nothing but thinking (and crying). By the end, he's learned his lesson and has become a true hero (and teacher).
* ImpaledWithExtremePrejudice: [[spoiler: Von Bach, meet the Sword of Hephaestus. From behind.]]
* JokerImmunity: Averted. In fact, averting this is what pushes Superman into retirement.
* KarmaHoudini: It's a little unsatisfying that Swastika is among the few to survive the nuke. Yes, technically he doesn't do much notable bad stuff, but on the other hand he's a flagrant neo-Nazi with a swastika tattooed across his entire body. Of course, killing him off just because the audience dislikes him would be rather missing the point of the story. According to the {{Novelization}}, Swastika has no Nazi ideals at all; it's Von Bach who is the neo-Fascist. Guess [[ImpaledWithExtremePrejudice what happens]] to ''him''?
** Vandal Savage, as viewed by The Spectre. The Spectre would do ''anything'' to punish Savage - except for the fact ''Savage is immortal'', and out of Spectre's purview. Savage ends up [[spoiler: helping Bruce Wayne in his clinic, showing his knowledge of medicine picked up over a millennial lifetime]].
* KickTheDog: All over the place.
* KillThePoor: A brief scene sees one AntiHero, The Americommando, and his cronies declare war on meager immigrants, claiming "the poor, tired, huddled masses camping on our shores, begging citizenship" are the biggest foreign threat to the United States after the disaster in Kansas, though it's suggested that he's under MindControl.
* KnightTemplar: Wonder Woman crosses the line.
* LargeHam: {{Lampshaded}} when Vandal Savage [[KickTheDog Kicks The Dog]].
* LaserGuidedKarma: [[spoiler:LexLuthor and his "Mankind Liberation Front" (a collection of Silver Age villains) attempted to exploit the metahuman war and TakeOverTheWorld. They end up being forced to work by Franchise/{{Batman}} in his makeshift hospital for the casualties of the civil war.]]
-->[[spoiler:'''Batman:''' [[WhosLaughingNow Shazam.]]]]
-->[[spoiler:'''Lex:''' Shut up.]]
** Though, to the MLF's credit, they're more than willing to help. Savage, for example, uses his extensive medical knowledge to help with burn victims. Ibn also helps, but he's the only one without a restraining collar [[spoiler: since he's a mole.]]
* LegacyCharacter: Again, all over the place. Its setting is helpful in allowing such characters to see a lot of use. They really come to the fore in the sequel, though.
* LiteraryAllusionTitle: Not only ''ComicBook/KingdomCome'' itself a literary allusion (to either Matthew 6:10 or Luke 11:2 from the Bible), but each chapter title ('Strange Visitor', 'Truth and Justice', 'Up in the Sky' and 'Never-Ending Battle') is an allusion to the classic {{Superman}} introduction.
* LoadsAndLoadsOfCharacters: We've got the original "[[TheSilverAgeOfComicBooks Silver Age]]" DCU heroes, their children, the rogue antiheroes, the former supervillains, and a number of ordinary "humans" (mostly politicians). So much work was put into creating a gigantic cast of superheroes that it almost works against the book's favour, as you have to seriously do your homework on the appendices to work out who people are a lot of the time, doubly so in the battle scenes.
* ManlyTears: In the {{Novelization}}, Bruce and Dick hug and sob - the first time in decades for Bruce.
* TheMole: [[spoiler:Franchise/{{Batman}} refuses to rejoin Superman, and instead he and his "Outsiders" infiltrate LexLuthor's "Mankind Liberation Front" and stop them from exploiting the metahuman civil war for their own ends.]]
** [[spoiler: Ibn al Xuffasch is the actual mole in the MLF. Bruce suspected Ibn was his biological son, but it wasn't confirmed til the very end.]]
* MonsterModesty: Many characters due to the large cast but most notably the Spectre who wears nothing but a single cape and Hawkman, who is now a humanoid bird and wears very little.
* MoreThanMindControl: [[spoiler:Billy Batson]]
** The mind control bugs also appear in Alex Ross' and Doug Braitwaithe's ''Justice''. Both instances show that they're a technology stolen from Shazam's Dr. Sivana.
* ANaziByAnyOtherName: WordOfGod says the character of Von Bach comes from stories from TheGoldenAgeOfComicBooks where superheroes would fight Hitler, or thinly veiled Hitler CaptainErsatz dictators. He even speaks in German, and is covered in tattoos of far right German symbols.
** And the fact that the design for Swastika, whose tattoos form a giant swastika across his entire body, was originally designed as Von Bach, confirms this.
* NeckSnap: Vandal Savage, one-handed. [[KickTheDog "I said TWO sugars!"]]
* NewsMonopoly: Superman sees multiple reports of the Kansas disaster in the Fortress of Solitude.
* NinetiesAntiHero: Numerous characters, primary and secondary. And since Mark Waid and Alex Ross are [[TheGoldenAgeOfComicBooks Golden Age]][=/=][[TheSilverAgeOfComicBooks Silver Age]] fans, they push the NinetiesAntiHero to the logical maximum: a bunch of superpowered gangs fighting each other because they killed all the supervillains and have nothing better to do, personified by Magog.
* NoEndorHolocaust: Averted, big time. The damage these heroes do are far-reaching and visceral.
* NotSoDifferent: Orion to {{Darkseid}}, to Superman's disappointment.
* {{Novelization}}: Creator/ElliotSMaggin's novel is arguably better than the miniseries.
** it doesn't have Alex Ross' gorgeous art, though.
* OhCrap: Norman's reaction to Superman's return, which initially seemed like a CrowningMomentOfAwesome but he realized was [[OnceMoreWithClarity a key part of his vision of armageddon]].
-->'''Norman:''' He had not turned his back at us. He stands in the sky... faith '''rewarded'''. He is returned... and-- ''(vision of screaming Superman, which changes Norman's mood and reaction)'' --dear God. The threat of '''Armageddon''' hasn't ended. It's just '''begun'''...
** The moment when Superman learns from Batman [[spoiler: that Captain Marvel has been brainwashed and unaccounted for; and oh, ''it doesn't end well'':]] [[http://26.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_lewgh4eOPy1qa9wgxo1_500.jpg "Armageddon has arrived."]]
* OnceMoreWithClarity: One of Norman's first visions is a dim, shadowed glimpse of a muscular man on his knees, screaming in a smoke-filled landscape. Apparently it's part of the looming apocalypse. At this point Superman is now bearded and cut off from the world. Over the course of the first act, he sees Superman and the Justice League return to work. He's exulting in their first public heroism like the {{Innocent Bystander}}s, until he has the vision again (or just remembers it) and it's clearly Superman in his current form. Superman's return hasn't prevented the apocalypse at all, it's a necessary step towards the end.
* OrderVersusChaos
* PersonOfMassDestruction: "What's he--? Oh, my '''God'''! The Parasite has '''split Captain Atom open!''' '''[[KilledMidSentence HE'S SPLIT HIM OPE--]]'''"
* PetTheDog: Magog saving Tokyo Rose from a nuclear blast. "Rosie, hold onto your spandex..."
* PokeInTheThirdEye: Norman is merely an invisible spectator for most of the story, but the Flash demonstrates that he's not completely undetectable.
* PoweredArmour: Franchise/{{Batman}} needs an exoskeleton to move about, he's so battered from 60-odd years of superheroing. When he goes into combat, he does it in flying power armour. A number of other characters do as well.
* {{Reconstruction}}: Of everything that was great about the Golden and Silver Ages, to the degree that the publication of ''Kingdom Come'' has been retrospectively labeled the end of the Dark Age.
* RedEyesTakeWarning. Superman is none too pleased after the nuke is detonated.
* {{Repower}}: Lots of the Golden Agers get big power boosts as Waid draws their abilities to the logical conclusion. Especially TheFlash, who has become one with the Speed Force and now exists as a living blur in constant, never-ending motion.
** Superman's power level in general is boosted and he becomes immune to kryptonite due to all those years soaking up the sun.
*** In the {{Novelization}}, in the end Superman becomes immune to ''magic'' because he realizes its fundamental paradox.
** Alan Scott (a Green Lantern) has fused his power battery into his chest.
*** Unlike Superman, however, he still retains his original weakness - [[WeaksauceWeakness to wood]]. While he's effectively invincible otherwise, [[GreenArrow Oliver Queen]] is able to punch right through his PoweredArmor with regular arrows. [[spoiler: On the other hand, Alan Scott survives the nuke while Oliver Queen doesn't.]]
** Batman uses powered armor and keeps his city safe with robotic drones.
*** This one overlaps with DisabilitySuperpower: Batman has taken so many beatings over the years, his body has said "so long" and pretty much given up. He is dependent on an exoskeleton to be able to ''walk'', and covering that in armor wasn't a big step.
** Doctor Mid-Nite (now called simply "Midnight"), who once used smoke bombs, now exists as a living smoke cloud that fills out his costume's cape.
** Garfield Logan -- once called "Beast Boy" and "Changeling", now called "Menagerie" -- can only shapeshift into fictitious creatures, such as the Jabberwock from Lewis Carroll's ''Through the Looking Glass''.
** Doctor Fate, now called Fate V, is now merely the helmet and cape, having gained sentience from the many hosts it has used.
* SanitySlippage: [[spoiler: Billy Batson]]. The Creeper went from being insane to completely bonkers.
* SecondComing: Superman's return from his self-imposed exile to deal with Magog and his generation of heroes was first seen as this by [=McCay=]. However, [[spoiler:the visions [=McCay=] has seen reveal that Superman's presence would catalyze the coming doom, not avert it.]]
* SecondLove: WonderWoman gradually becomes this for Superman over the course of the story.
* SecretIdentityIdentity: The revelation of Bruce Wayne being Batman leads to Wayne Manor being wrecked by Two Face and Bane, and Bruce, of course, no longer keeping up the pretense. Superman also drops the Clark identity. Indeed the ending shows ''all'' the surviving supers de-masking, and seems to be showing the end of the SecretIdentityIdentity for this universe.
* SherlockScan: Batman does this to Diana to find out that [[spoiler:she is pregnant.]]
** May be Averted: one of the last few panels shows a curious bug-like device.
* ShoutOut: Full of them. Shouts out to, among others, ''ComicBook/{{Watchmen}}'' and numerous Golden and Silver age comics. Most of them are explained in the Absolute Kingdom Come hardcover edition. This comic has the ''Fantom of the Fair'' and ''Powerman'' in it, for chrissakes.
** An early panel shows [[ComicBook/{{Watchmen}} Hollis Mason's autobiography]] in a shop window.
*** "Who watches the Watchmen?"
** And ''Kingdom Come'' has been subject to a frankly ridiculous amount of Shouts Out from the main DCU ever since. ''So'' many elements were just taken directly from this.
*** Keep an eye out for the superpowered VillagePeople.
**** And [[{{Marvels}} Phil Sheldon]] at the end.
**** And Von Bach's headdress is based on the one worn by [[{{Laibach}} Milan Fras]].
**** And [[RockyHorrorPictureShow Columbia from Rocky Horror]].
**** And [[SteveMillerBand Steve Miller]] in his Spider Queen mask at the bar playing a pull-my-finger game with the Human Bomb. [[spoiler:He gets exploded.]]
*** Fat Albert and his gang [[spoiler: arrested by Batman's robot drones]].
**** Speaking of, Batman's robot drones are inspired by ''{{Patlabor}}''.
***** And speaking of Batman himself, the arms and upper torso of the armor he wears does resemble Franchise/RoboCop.
*** The cybernetically enhanced son of [[ComicBook/AstroCity Jack-in-the-box]] shows up among the anti-heroes.
*** The Title Card for TenchiMuyo shows up as graffiti early on.
*** During a metahuman fight in Tokyo, Manga/AstroBoy can be seen on a building.
*** Along with Phil Sheldon, a brief glimpse of Ross's Uncle Sam can be seen at the end.
*** One of the rogue metahumans, Trix, was clearly designed based on Creator/HRGiger's artwork. She's described as "a morphing biomechanism" and is one of the few survivors of the Gulag.
*** The [[PuppeteerParasite mind-controlling worms]] Luthor uses on Billy Batson, [[{{Squick}} via ear]], can be viewed as a nod to ''Film/StarTrekIITheWrathOfKhan'', and to Cap. Marvel's villain Mister Mind (or said worms may really be offshoots/offspring of Mind himself).
* ShownTheirWork
* ShutUpKirk: When Superman expresses concern about Wonder Woman's sword, she snaps back that not everyone has heat vision.
* StealthHiBye: Clark pulls this on Bruce. "So ''that's'' what that feels like."
** Played straight at the end, when Clark muses how it was possible that Bruce is able to sneak up on them at a restaurant, even with his superhearing and X-Ray vision.
* StepfordSmiler: Captain Marvel, both as Billy and as Cap. It unnerves everyone.
* StrongerWithAge: Superman, who is not vulnerable to Kryptonite anymore. But magic can still harm him. [[spoiler: In the {{Novelization}}, at the end not even magic can harm him, and that Hephaestus' sword can't injure him. Why? He discovered the paradox of magic.]]
* TakeUpMySword: In the {{Novelization}}, The Spectre says that he had come for The Sandman, but when he died, the Sandman passed on the visions to Norman so he could deal with the upcoming Apocalypse himself.
* [[TalkingTheMonsterToDeath Talking The Monster Down]]: Of the non-lethal, Talking The BewareTheSuperman Down variety.
* ThrowAwayCountry: Kansas, and parts of the surrounding states. ''Twice!''
* TheVoiceless: A lot of characters have no speaking parts, but two really stand out - Hawkman, who (according to WordOfGod) is mute, since he's very anthropomorphised, and TheFlash, who was (again according to WordOfGod) only meant to be audible to Superman, but ended up simply without speaking lines.
* TurnOutLikeHisFather: [[spoiler:Orion ends up as the ruler of Apokolips after defeating Darkseid for good.]]
* UnresolvedSexualTension: Superman and Wonder Woman. Eventually gets resolved.
* UnstoppableRage: Subverted. [[spoiler:After the nuke, Reverend [=McCay=] manages to talk Superman down from destroying the United Nations building and killing everyone inside.]]
* ValuesDissonance: [invoked] Used in-story. It's problems with values dissonance that cause Superman to retire in the first place because he cannot reconcile his values with those of the younger generation of heroes and, more importantly, the public that supports them.
* VillainousBreakdown: [[spoiler: Magog. He goes down without Superman touching him. He just collapses to his knees at the weight of the guilt of the destruction of Kansas.]]
-->'''[[spoiler: Magog]]:''' They chose the hero who would kill over the hero who wouldn't. And now they're dead. A million ghosts. Punish me. Lock me away. Kill me. Just make the ghosts go away.
** The fact that he's an AntiHero instead of a true villain no doubt contributes to this. He really was trying to be a hero and do the right thing, and he genuinely cares about all the innocents who suffered for his recklessness.
** Luthor also has a mild one part way through the story; for most of it, he's smug and in control, but when one of his confederates raises the question of whether he's concerned about Superman's return his immediate response is to violently scream that Superman will not get near him before he calms down.
* WeaksauceWeakness: Though he may have benefited from the aforementioned {{Repower}}, Alan Scott and his constructs are still vulnerable to wood. Explains why Oliver Queen was able to put so many arrows in him during the final battle.
* WellIntentionedExtremist: Magog.
* WhatIsThisThingYouCallLove: In the {{Novelization}}, Spectre is baffled by Superman and Wonder Woman's relationship. Norman explains that theirs is a relationship of maturity: he needs an independent woman, or he needs no one else, and she needs a strong man, or she needs no one else. Spectre notes that Norman's experience as a minister is exactly what he lacks, having been separated so long from his mortal life, and no longer can comprehend human relationships. At the end, Norman is teaching Spectre to be Jim Corrigan again.
* WhatTheHellHero:
** Batman to Wonder Woman [[spoiler: when she kills Von Bach]].
** Norm [=McCay=] to Spectre [[spoiler: when it seems the Spectre is going to allow Superman to wreak his revenge on the United Nations]].
* WildCard: The only reason Batman bothered to infiltrate the MLF was due to Billy, whom he dubbed a "wild card" - for good reason.
* WhyCouldntYouBeDifferent: This was the public's complaint about Superman, who's too "old-fashioned" and wouldn't "get with the times".
* XanatosSpeedChess: While the whole world burns with the question of what to do with the superhumans, the "Mankind Liberation Front" (led by LexLuthor and his gang of Silver Age villains) are plotting to exploit the events to wrest all power from the superhumans. [[spoiler:For this reason Lex manipulated Billy Batson to do his bidding. Not if Batman has anything to say about it.]]
** Luthor even states that Superman's unexpected return accelerated his plans.
* XtremeKoolLetterz: The younger "Dark Age" style heroes have names like "Genosyde."

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''"They won't forgive you for this, Clark. Forgive yourself."''