Monday, November 2, 2009

My Favorite Comic Storylines: Kingdom Come



Totalitarian vision of a dystopic future


Imagine a future where a new generation of super-heroes conduct themselves no better than super-villains. Imagine a future where the line between good and evil is blurred beyond distinction. Imagine a future where the old guard is pushed aside, and chaos reigns supreme. Imagine a future where an aging preacher's prophetic visions can lead to the world's apocalyptic destruction or its ultimate salvation.

Mark Waid and Alex Ross' chef-d'oeuvre moves forward 20 years from the present, into the time where Superman and his colleagues have either turned their backs at the world or operate under the cloak of subterfuge. In their stead, a new generation of super-heroes emerge, more violent and heavy-handed than their predecessors ever were. Wonder Woman coaxes a tragedy-laden Superman out of retirement to lead the restoration of peace and order throughout the world. Slowly, with the help of their now-aged colleagues and protegees, they keep the new batch of super-heroes and super villains in line by literally muscling their way through.

Unfortunately, their totalitarian approach is viewed with much suspicion by both non-powered colleagues and villains. The faction led by Batman insists that the methodology of Superman's Justice League is no different than what he is battling against. Luthor and his cohorts, on the other hand, prepare to counter the Justice League with their most formidable weapon: a Mr. Mind-controlled Captain Marvel.

The great battle meets head-on as Luthor unleashes Captain Marvel on the Gulag, the fort where the Justice League has incarcerated the super-villains. In the escalating melee, the head of the United Nations decides to aim a nuclear warhead to obliterate the meta-humans --- heroes and villains alike --- once and for all. It is only through the valiant self-sacrifice of Captain Marvel that some meta-humans survive the outcome of the great holocaust.

An enraged Superman returns to the United Nations, followed the surviving meta-humans. He is then made to realize the complex situation of masked crusading: that they cannot live in the world and live above and apart from it. In the ensuing epilogue, poignant scenes are depicted on how they fully integrate themselves as members of a kinder and better human/meta-human society.

The Kingdom Come whole saga  is complex, rich, and multi-layered in its approach to narration. Waid frames it within the perspective of Norman McCay, an aging minister plagued with prophetic visions of a catastrophic future. He is guided through the story by the Specter, who acts both as a commentator and judge to the unfolding events. But the Biblical allusions do not stop with the avenging angel imagery. The entire narrative is replete with Biblical references, specifically to those of the Book of Revelations. It's hard press to miss the symbolism of Superman as the militant Messiah, the savior who shall bring war in order to make peace.

Equally stupendous is Ross' contribution to the series.  His painted artwork gives a stunning feel to the series' visual design. Each panel was of photo-realistic quality; reading through series is akin to viewing a very gorgeous album.  It was my first encounter with Alex Ross' work, and I've been a fan ever since.

All in all, the series is certainly a worthwhile read, both  as a comic book series and as a literary work of fiction.  It most surely will stand the test of time because of the relevant themes and situations presented.  Perhaps this what really classic comic story lines are: they still remain pertinent to the reader's experience years after they were written.

24 comments:

  1. ah this one i have! finally something i've read. one of the best dc stories i've had.

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  2. NOSEBLEEEEEEEEED!!! But well-written, obviously from an avid fan of comic books!

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  3. Engel: at last, you've read a classic! ;)

    Bon: here's the tissue ahahahaha

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  4. ternie, pabasa! di ako makarelate eh, hehehe.

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  5. next story please. avengers fan here. :)

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  6. Max: sure sure. malakas ka sa akin ;)

    Ash: haymishyu sobra! yeah, lalabas yung jla/avanegers soon :D

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  7. I'm with ash. I'm a Marvel boy myself.

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  8. Rude: i'm thinking of a classic marvel storyline ;)

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  9. shout-outs to dc fan! marvel is so gay even disney bought it, hehehe!

    wv: grabi

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  10. Rude: johnny storm isdatchu?

    i'll do my kung fu kicks on you ala mantis! lolz

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  11. I don't have to read your blog to actually know your thoughts about this amazing book

    I can't even begin how to describe my amazement over this one

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  12. WHO HATH VILE THY SACRED LORE?!?

    haha... peace stan-bro :)

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  13. Heidi Klum's T-frontNovember 3, 2009 at 7:08 PM

    somebody called an EB of disney fans?

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  14. Ash: let me make it more explcit.

    marvel sucks. and not in a good way.

    make mine dc.

    apir, john stan! hahahahha

    Heidi: ay, come as your favorite disney princess! panalo! lolz

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  15. Xyian: di ba?!!

    Btw, ano ka, marvel like ash and rude, or dc, like stan and me?

    you'd better have the right answer!

    hahahahhaha

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  16. sorry pero love ko both, kung nakita mo lang collections ko before haaay I love indies too

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  17. It was allusive alright. The use of Gulag was something outside the Bible though.

    Nice read. It was really evident that you were a fanboy. :D

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  18. X: but i still am a fan! hehehehe

    yeah, but the gulag is a nice nod to the soviet imagery of totalitarianism.

    thanks for leaving a comment and following me. do feel free to do a read around my other entries! :)

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  19. corny ka diyan ternie, e love ko both eh

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  20. kase mga God-like powers yung sa DC kaya gusto ko sa Marvel naman mga probs at issues ng mga characters ay nakakarelate ako

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