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Title: The Kingdom
Author: Mark Wade
Rating: 1 of 5 Stars
Genre: Graphic Novel
20 years after the events of Kingdom Come, a survivor of the Kansas disaster is granted power by four members of the Quintessence (Shazam, Ganthet, Zeus, and Izaya Highfather), who dub him Gog. The power drives him mad, and he takes out his anger on Superman, killing him and carving his “S” shield on the ground. He then travels a day backward in time and kills him again…and again. A shadowed figure vaguely resembling the Phantom Stranger, the fifth Quintessence member, opposes this action, as Gog now intends to accelerate the Kansas Holocaust, but the other four are prepared to let things unfold; Shazam hopes that Captain Marvel will no longer have to die, Ganthet hopes that Green Lantern will avert the catastrophe and become more renowned than Superman, Zeus hopes that the ancient gods may be ‘worshiped’ once more as Earth seeks something to believe in, and Highfather feels that a new war may fracture Earth in a manner similar to New Genesis and Apokolips.
As Gog travels closer to the modern DC Universe, the Linear Men panic when they see that their ordered index of time is unraveling; Superman is dead in the 21st century, yet alive in the 853rd, and their instruments register no error. When Rip Hunter, acting upon the orders of the shadowed figure, tries to stop Gog from killing Superman on the day his and Wonder Woman’s child is born (that being a day when ‘anything seemed possible’), Gog manages to steal the infant (named Jonathan), whom he plans to raise and name Magog (in issue #2, this was revealed to be a red herring. The child did not grow up to become Magog; instead, he became the shadowed figure, whose true identity is then revealed to be Hyperman, a Hypertime-traveling superhero wearing a costume based on the costumes of his parents and his godfather, Batman).
Although the other Linear Men object to the idea of the heroes of that time travelling back to defeat Gog, Rip Hunter recruits Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman from the Kingdom Come era to stop Gog in 1998, the heroes concluding that, since innocent people will die if they do or do not take action, they will take the heroic option and go back despite the apparent loss of their own reality by having them interfere in their own pasts in such a manner. Four young heroes-Kid Flash, Offspring, Nightstar, and Ibn al Xu’ffasch-come together to try stopping Gog on their own, and are recruited by Rip Hunter to assist in his plan. When Jonathan is seemingly erased from existence soon after being rescued, Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman team up with their ‘past selves’ and battle Gog to a final confrontation in a “Planet Krypton” restaurant outside of reality, where they use various weapons gathered from across Hypertime against Gog. During the fight, the future Wonder Woman reveals to the Superman of the present why Gog is after him, and Superman vows that the timeline of Kingdom Come will never happen in his universe, as he strikes back at Gog, finishing the battle once and for all. As the heroes return to their proper places in time, Hyperman reveals himself, assuring the future heroes that his infant self actually hid himself within the stream of Hypertime upon being rescued from Gog, and Rip Hunter explains the existence of timelines, so the Kingdom Come reality still exists, but it will no longer be the future of the DC Universe.
Well, after my experience with Kingdom Come you’d think I’d have learned my lesson. I guess I’m either really stupid, a glutton for punishment, a Completist or A Genius the Likes of Which the World has Never Yet Seen. I’ll leave it up to you to pick the, ahem, correct interpretation.
While I had none of the problems from the previous comic, I had a whole new bunch to contend with. This was not an actual miniseries by one writer and artist. It was bookended by The Kingdom and then had a bunch of new DC titles that were all #1’s in the middle, and all were the children of other superheroes. Considering this was in ’98, that was at the tail end of the Comic Boom in the 90’s and it was easy to tell that DC was trying to get some more comics into circulation and grab what cash they could. I don’t think it was considered an Elseworlds story until after the fact. None of the titles took off, nor did they deserve to.
The art was also atrocious. Well, maybe not atrocious, but pretty sad. With each book being a different title, obviously the artists changed and hence the artwork, but it never improved,it was all uniformly junk. The only exception I noticed was the Kid Flash comic. That seemed pretty sleek.
The story could have been interesting. Gog, the main villain, looked just like Magog, the villain from Kingdom Come. He was trying to kill all the possible Supermen throughout all of time. Now doesn’t that sound like it has a ton of potential? Sadly, it was all wasted as the intervening comics were just as much about trying to introduce the new kids on the block as they were about advancing the storyline. Plus, it dealt with a multiverse and ever since the New52 I feel like DC over uses the reset/reboot button way too often. So my bitterness about the new direction of DC bled over into this older story. Surprise!
Kingdom Come I found abhorrent. The Kingdom was simply a bore.