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A Work Of Craft, A Work Of Love
It is worth noting, before this review begins, that mine is not a youth defined by the Silver Age of comic books. As time has marched on, authors who did are now adults, now mature and reasoned craftsmen in the field. And it is to these men that The Dark Age Of Comic Books was a scar, an open and terrible transition away from what it was that they loved about comic books. And it is to these men that I pen this respectful disagreement.

Kingdom Come is a love letter to the 1970s comic books. It borders on the self-satisfied, almost smug in its quiet professing that Superman, the classic icon, choosing to remain unchanged since the 1950s was not his failing, but rather, the failing of the rest of the world for choosing to change. It stands proud and says, implicitly, that the 1950s Superman never had to make a hard moral decision, and this is what makes him a moral man, a moral bastion.

There are a lot of things about the Dark Age that were bad, that were juvenile and immature. Kingdom Come decries them, holds them up in their ugly glory, then strikes them down, strikes them down again, and strikes them down a third time. Kingdom Come is an amazing comic book. As a narrative unto itself, it is good; it is the work of amazing amounts of effort, and a creative, clever mind that could cram it full of Shout Out after Shout Out. It expands interestingly on dynamics between characters, worn in time and wearied by years. It reconstructs the genre, trying to pull the older, classic comics into the modern era - and it is definitely a work that those who suffered through the Dark Ages will appreciate, as a return to something simpler, without being something simplistic.

As a work to me as a reader, however, Kingdom Come has the unaware air of a forty year old man who lived through the seventies sneering at 'moral decay' of the youth. Without dwelling on it, I think Kingdom Come is a great comic. A comic book every comic fan should read, just like Watchmen. Like seminal works of classic literature, it is important, to me, that every comic fan should read this comic... and be able to form their own opinions on whether it's good, or bad.

So please. If you're curious... give it a read. And maybe you'll find a comic book you love, and will want to own. And maybe you'll just find something that makes you think about your genre all over again.
Personally, one of the things that both thrilled me and frustrated me about Kingdom Come is its sparseness as a story and the fact that it leaves you wanting so much more. The sheer volume of characters introduced, each with their own fascinating story to tell but few ever getting to tell them, is incredible.
comment #3688 EponymousKid 2nd Aug 10
Absolutely. It's trying to do a lot in a little space. I mean, I had a real hard time grappling with Billy Batson - if they'd been able to give him more attention, it might have been less 'wait, what, him? Who?'
comment #3701 TalenLee 2nd Aug 10
Thanks to the Internet and T.V. and whatnot, as a sixteen year old reading this as one of the first comics I've picked up- It blew me away. I had completely underestimated the depth that comics can go to, in many ways, more powerful than if I had watched the same thing as a cartoon or live action movie. It was powerful. Not to mention I'm religious and was amazed at how this comic stuck to God and the Bible for sources of inspiration, when many media outlets are slowly disintegrating our "Old American Values". Thank you, DC, for writing this comic. Of course, being a new comic reader, there were plenty of stories I felt I missed, but that couldn't exactly be helped. Like the previous, comics, I wished it was just longer.
comment #3833 captainhersheybar 9th Aug 10
I strongly disagree, Kingdom Come killed the so called "Dark Age" and thus killed my childhood. Alex Ross is a hack, Small name big ego, and his artwork is filled with bulging crotch shots of the male characters and uncanny valley for the faces.
comment #4520 72.38.78.3 22nd Sep 10
I have some major problems with Kingdom Come. While yes it does have beautiful art and a well written story it over all is just a hatred of things that were not exactly the same as what Alex Ross had when he was a kid this is most notciable with some of the main characters.

At the time of writing Wally West was the Flash and Barry Allen was dead (of course now he's back) instead of using the new Flash as the character he makes some never explained living Speedforce flash thats supposed to be all of the Flashes as one being.

Hal Jordan was evil and killing the Green Lantern Corps, Kyle Rayner had taken over as Earth's Green Lantern. So for Kingdom Come Kyle gets put on a never explained bus and we get the Golden Age Green Lantern who for no explained reason now lives in space despite his adventures being Earth based.

I understand that there was a lot wrong with comics in the 90s but that doesn't give him an excuse to derail characters into something they weren't and shove aside well thought out non Grimdark creations of an entire generation.
comment #4526 Darkblade 23rd Sep 10
The Nineties Antihero is nothing but a hatred of all things Silver Age. Anything wrong with the Tropes of the Silver Age was already being addressed by the Bronze Age, when the Dark Age came along and decided to define itself by exaggerated physiques, even more ridiculous costumes, overwhelming violence that was in its own way every bit as unrealistic as the Silver Age. It was as excessively dark as the Silver Age was excessively naive but at least the Silver Age can say it tried for something positive. Alex can hardly be faulted for having a knee jerk reaction to that.

As to your specific points:

While the story proper never makes it clear, the collected edition and the sequel established that the living speedforce blur is Wally. It dovetails on his then recent Terminal Velocity storyline where he made that connection with the force (that story having been written by Mark Waid who wrote the actual script for this series.) Waid was writing Wally. The fanboys would have assumed at the time that the blur was Wally.

Hal's evil turn was a massive derailing of his character that the fans were still raw about when the story was published. When Ross turned in his story proposal, Kyle had been around less than a year. The evil turn of a Silver Age hero and his replacement by a Younger And Hipper Lantern were textbook reaction to a current popular trends of the Dark Age. Many such fad characters fail quickly and I'm sure Ross didn't want his story cluttered by too many characters that didn't yet have proven staying power. Wally at least had been the mainstream Flash for nearly a decade already and had a long history as Kid Flash before that.

As for Alan Scott being in space 1) He had long since had a connection established with the Green Lantern Corps 2) both the League and the GL Corp were defunct in this future someone had to guard space, at least that's the way he'd justify it, and it would allow him to withdraw from the world as most of the old guard did. The common theme of heroes of all stripes in this story was that they were in some way out of touch with the world, whether due to being too caught up in their battles with their fellow morally ambiguous contemporaries, or due to putting themselves above it all, or simply retreating to some fantastic haven.
comment #6633 gibberingtroper 27th Feb 11
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