Kingdom Come (comics)
Cover to the Absolute Kingdom Come hardcover edition (2006). Art by Alex Ross.
|Publication date||May – August 1996|
|Number of issues||4|
|Absolute edition||ISBN 1-4012-0768-5|
Kingdom Come is a four-issue comic book mini-series published in 1996 by DC Comics under their Elseworlds imprint. It was written by Mark Waid and Alex Ross and painted in gouache by Ross, who also developed the concept from an original idea. This Elseworlds story is set in a future that deals with a growing conflict between "traditional" superheroes, such as Superman, Wonder Woman, and the Justice League, and a growing population of largely amoral and dangerously irresponsible new vigilantes, in many cases the offspring of the traditional heroes. Between these two groups is Batman and his assembled team, who attempt to contain the escalating disaster, foil the machinations of Lex Luthor, and prevent a world-ending superhuman war.
- 1 Development
- 2 Plot
- 3 Characters
- 4 Appearances in mainstream continuity
- 5 Collected editions
- 6 Spin-offs
- 7 In other media
- 8 References
When comic book artist Alex Ross was working on Marvels, published in 1994, he decided to create a similar "grand opus" about characters from DC Comics. Ross wrote a 40-page handwritten outline of what would become Kingdom Come and pitched the idea to James Robinson as a project similar in scope to Watchmen (1986–1987) and Alan Moore's infamous "lost work" Twilight of the Superheroes. Ultimately, Ross teamed with writer Mark Waid, who was recommended by DC editors due to his strong familiarity with the history of DC superheroes.
||This section's plot summary may be too long or excessively detailed. (April 2012)|
In this Elseworlds story, for nearly a decade, members of the Justice League have abandoned their roles as superheroes after the rise and strong public support of a new superhero named Magog, who has no qualms about murdering in cold blood. In the ensuing decade, a newer generation of superpowered "metahumans" arise; these metahumans engage each other in destructive battles without true cause and with little distinction between "heroes" and "villains." The narrator, a minister named Norman McCay, receives apocalyptic visions of the future from a dying Wesley Dodds. The Spectre appears to McCay and recruits him to help pass judgment on the approaching superhuman apocalypse.
Second coming of Superman
Coaxed back into action by Wonder Woman, Superman decides to return to Metropolis and re-form the Justice League following the Kansas disaster to rein in the new breed of heroes. He manages to collect reformed "new heroes", such as Avia (Mr. Miracle and Big Barda's daughter) and former heroes, including Green Lantern, the Flash, Hawkman, and Dick Grayson (now known as Red Robin) among others, except for the Batman, one of the most prominent of the old guard. Superman makes a personal visit to the Batcave in hopes to sign up the world's most dangerous man, but the Batman refuses to join Superman's intervention, as Batman resents him for leaving the world ten years ago, abandoning the superheroes at the crucial point that the superhero population needed a role model the most. Batman also warns Superman that his idealist notions are outdated and that his interference will only exacerbate the world's problems, insisting that strategy and delicacy is required, not force. He interprets Superman's plan as an example of the strong exerting their will upon the weak, something which he will not be part of. In response to Superman's Justice League being a new piece on the chess board, Batman activates his network of agents that have been long in the making and is the equivalent to a large personal army, made up largely of the younger breed consisting of second and third generation heroes like Jade, daughter of the first Green Lantern, and Zatara, son of Zatanna and grandson of the first generation hero whose name he shares, while trusted veterans, such as Green Arrow and Blue Beetle, are chosen by Batman to be chief in command. Both Superman's army and Batman's army consist of non-powered and super-powered members.
Lex Luthor is still alive and well, and has organized the "Mankind Liberation Front". The MLF is primarily a group of Silver Age Justice League villains, including Batman foes Catwoman and the Riddler; Vandal Savage; King, leader of the Royal Flush Gang, as well as third generation villains, like Ra's al Ghul's successor, Ibn al Xu'ffasch, who is Bruce Wayne and Talia al Ghul's son. The MLF works to wrest control of the world away from the heroes.
Superman's Justice League gathers more captives than converts, and his prison (nicknamed "The Gulag") is filled to capacity almost as soon as it is built. Superman designates Scott Free, the former Mr. Miracle, as warden, aided by other heroes, including Big Barda and Captain Comet, and works to persuade the inmates that their methods are wrong-headed and dangerous, but his entreaties fall upon deaf ears. With hostile hero-villains like 666, Kabuki Kommando, and Von Bach locked up together, pressure builds. Meanwhile, Superman, urged on by Wonder Woman, reacts with increasing inflexibility towards the inappropriate behavior of the metahuman community. He learns that Wonder Woman's ardent militant stance may be influenced by her recent exile from Paradise Island: in the eyes of the Amazons, her mission to bring peace to the outside world has failed.
At first, Batman and his cadre of heroes seem to enter into an alliance with the MLF as a united front against the Justice League. Now aligned with the Batman, Luthor plans to exacerbate the conflict between the League and the inmates of the Gulag, where the ensuing chaos will afford Luthor an opportunity to seize power. As a master of espionage and deception, the Batman utilizes the Martian Manhunter to discover that an adult Billy Batson is under the villains' control after retiring from superheroics due to his inability to cope with the world's increasing brutality and being brainwashed by Luthor, who plays on Batson's fear that he may be as 'evil' as the other metahumans. Batson, who becomes Captain Marvel when he utters the word "Shazam!", is the one being capable of matching Superman's power.
When the Gulag's inmates riot, killing Captain Comet, Luthor unwittingly reveals to Batman how he intends to use the brain-washed Batson to break open the Gulag against the Justice League. Now having his answer, Batman's forces ambush Luthor and his conspirators. Although Luthor and the MLF are captured, Batman is unable to restrain the brain-washed Batson, who transforms into Marvel and flies to Kansas, carrying out the last order in his head: Open the Gulag and unleash chaos.
With the super-powered prisoners rioting out of control inside the Gulag and Wonder Woman leading the Justice League army to engage them and kill, Superman is confounded by how this escalation of events was brought on by himself. Thus he rushes at superspeed to the one man he knows has the answer and crashes through the ceiling into the Batcave. Superman debates heatedly with Batman, trying to make him recognize they may be facing the end of the world. Batman at first justifies inaction by saying the world would be better off if all the metahumans destroy each other. Superman rejects this notion, pointing out that if all human life is sacred, then logically, that includes superhuman life. Superman knows that Batman will act, because his entire crimefighting life is based upon the desire to prevent the loss of human life. Being slightly moved by Superman's sentiments, Batman tips Superman off with the information that Captain Marvel is under Luthor's control and is on the way to the Gulag.
Superman races to the Gulag, but upon arrival he is struck down by Captain Marvel who also causes a breach in the Gulag, freeing the population, thus inciting war between Wonder Woman's Justice League and the metahuman prisoners. The Spectre and Norman look on as Wonder Woman's League wages war with the prisoners and Superman is kept at bay by Captain Marvel.
Batman's army arrives on site as an intervening third party, with Bruce Wayne leading them into battle wearing a flying warsuit of his own invention. Although Batman's forces aid the Justice League in quelling the riot, he also works to restrain the League from killing any metahuman. However he fails in this, as Wonder Woman kills Von Bach in the act of attempting to crush Zatara, one of Batman's force. This brings Batman into direct conflict with Wonder Woman.
As conditions worsen, United Nations Secretary General Wyrmwood authorizes the deployment of three tactical nuclear warheads, hardened against certain metahuman powers. While this action will destroy hero and villain alike, the U.N. feels it has no choice in the matter: if humanity is to survive, metahumanity must be destroyed.
An armored Batman and Wonder Woman clash in the middle of the warzone, taking to the skies where they see the incoming stealth bombers (piloted by the Blackhawk Squadron) delivering the nuclear bombs. Dropping their own conflict, they manage to stop two of the missiles but the third slips past.
Captain Marvel continues to batter Superman by screaming "Shazam!" repeatedly, calling down his magic lightning bolt but dodging before it hits, thus leaving Superman to bear its brunt. However, as Marvel says the name again, Superman grabs him and the lightning finds its mark; Marvel turns back into Billy Batson. Holding Batson's mouth shut, Superman tells Batson that he is going to stop the remaining bomb, and Batson must make an important choice: either stop Superman and allow the warhead to kill all the metahumans, or let Superman stop the bomb and allow the metahumans' war to engulf the world. Superman tells Batson he must be the one to make this decision, as he is the only one who lives in both worlds, that of normal humans (as Batson) and the metahuman community (as Marvel).
Superman releases him and flies off to stop the incoming bomb. Batson, his mind now clear of Luthor's influence, says the name, and turns into Captain Marvel. Flying up, he grabs Superman, flinging him back to the ground. He continues up and intercepts the missile, having found a third option. Captain Marvel shouts "Shazam!" three more times in rapid succession, and the lightning sets off the bomb prematurely, killing Batson in the process.
Despite Marvel's sacrifice, most of the metahumans are obliterated in the explosion, although some survive beneath a force field generated by Green Lantern and his daughter Jade, and others are teleported away at the last second by Fate. Superman, though outside the force field, is virtually unscathed, though he does not at this time realize there were any other survivors.
Giving in to his rage at the tremendous loss of life, Superman flies to the U.N. Building and threatens to bring it down atop the delegates as punishment for the massacre, and for reacting in such a fearful and cowardly way to the metahuman war. The surviving metahumans arrive, but Norman McCay is the one who talks him down, pointing out how his appearance and behavior are exactly the sort of reasons that normal humans fear the superpowered. Chastised and ashamed, Superman immediately ceases his rampage. He is handed Captain Marvel's cape, the only remnant of the hero, and tells the U.N. representatives that he will use his wisdom to guide, rather than lead, humankind. Superman ties Captain Marvel's cape to a flagpole and raises it among the flags of the member nations of the U.N., suggesting that this role of guidance will be more political and global in nature than the classic crime-busting vigilantism of the past.
In the aftermath of the metahuman civil war, the heroes actively strive to become fully integrated members of the communities they had previously tried to distance themselves from. Masks are abandoned. Wonder Woman's exile from Paradise Island ends, and she becomes an ambassador for super-humanity, taking the survivors of the Gulag to Paradise Island for rehabilitation.
Batman abandons his crusade and becomes a healer, opening his mansion as a hospital to care for those wounded by the destruction of Kansas and the ensuing violence. He also reconciles with both Dick Grayson/Red Robin, and his son Ibn al Xu'ffasch. Superman lashes himself to a giant plow and begins the arduous task of restoring the Midwestern farmlands, devastated in the Justice Battalion's attempt to capture the Parasite. He even comes to terms with his past as Clark Kent by accepting a pair of glasses from Wonder Woman, and shares a kiss with her before she returns to Paradise Island. It is a fitting parallel to the end of the generational conflict that started the war, as both men have come full circle in their lives and adopted the vocations of their fathers; Thomas Wayne, the doctor, and Jonathan Kent, the farmer.
Norman McCay resumes pastorship of his congregation, preaching a message of hope for humanity. Among the congregation is Jim Corrigan, the Spectre's human host. In the novelization, Clark Kent attends a sermon as well.
Collected edition additional scenes
The first additional scene takes place at the end of the second part of the series, when Superman visits Orion on Apokolips wanting his advice for what to do with the captive rogue metahumans. Orion tells Superman to look for Scott Free and Big Barda.
The second additional scene is an epilogue. At Planet Krypton, a theme restaurant owned by Michael Jon Carter, Clark Kent and Diana Prince intend to inform Bruce Wayne they are expecting a child, but Bruce deduces the news before they can tell him. Diana asks Bruce to serve as godfather and mentor to the child. He accepts after Clark states that he believes that Bruce will provide a balancing influence to the child, adding that in spite of their differences over the years he has always trusted Batman. Bruce then notices Norman and Jim Corrigan, discussing the restaurant's "Spectre Platter" (a mild concoction of spinach and cottage cheese), much to Corrigan's irritation that this is how he was to be remembered.
- Norman McCay: An elderly pastor who serves as the main protagonist, narrator and The Spectre's human guide as the events unfolded through the novel. After Wesley Dodds' death, Norman unwillingly inherits his late friend's precognition powers. Norman was designed by Alex Ross as a homage to his own father, Reverend Clark Norman Ross.
- The Spectre: The Agent of God's Wrath takes Norman through the events of a possible future to determine who is responsible for an impending apocalyptic event. However, his "faculties are not what they once were," and he needs a human perspective to properly judge events. Later on, he posits to the Quintessence that they only meet to prevent one another from intervening, not solving the problem anyway. In the same scene, Deadman mentions to Norman that Jim Corrigan had become further and further removed from humanity over time; pointing that, aside from his cloak, he is always naked (attitude similar to that of Doctor Manhattan from Watchmen). Norman succeded convincing him to try to see these events through his guide's human perspective. At the novelization's final panel, The Spectre is seen amongst Norman's congregation in his human form, as well as at Planet Krypton, visibly upset about the dish named after him.
Superman's Justice League
Many of the members of the re-formed Justice League are either old characters in new forms or brand new adoptions of old names. Partial list:
- Superman: Leader of the League. The silver templed Man of Steel is growing uneasy with the role of being a world leader during a time of extreme tension. Now he dons his "S" chest symbol shield and belt with a black backdrop rather than the original yellow, symbolizing that he is still in mourning not only because of Lois Lane´s assassination by the Joker, but his own stance regarding the superhuman issue and what the world is turning into. Due to a lifetime of absorbing yellow-solar radiation, he is more powerful than ever, and has even become resistant to kryptonite. His invulnerability is high enough to withstand the nuclear bomb at the Gulag; however he's still vulnerable to magic, but it is implied he may no longer be particularly vulnerable either after his battle with Captain Marvel.
- Wonder Woman: Superman's lieutenant. Slowly consumed by an inner rage directed at the state of the world and her exile from Paradise Island. Her fellow Amazons have deemed her mission to bring peace to "man's world" a failure. At the conclusion, she starts her love relationship with Superman, her royal station as Princess is restored but eschews the ambassadorial role of "Wonder Woman", leaving it to Cressida in the novelization.
- Red Robin: Dick Grayson, the original Robin. He has replaced his former mentor on the Justice League and is estranged from him. Was injured by 666 in the Gulag war and carried away by his daughter before the nuclear bomb blast. At the end of the story, he and Bruce reconcile the differences they had in the past while he is recovering and become friends again.
- The Flash: He is referred to as "Wallace West" in the novelization; Waid later confirmed this Flash to be Wally West in The Kingdom, although he wears Jay Garrick's helmet. After melding with the Speed Force, the Flash's molecules have become unstable and as a result, he is constantly in motion; this allows him to see every plane of existence, including ethereal planes. He is saved from the Gulag bombing by Jade's shields.
- Green Lantern: Ending his vigil among the stars, Alan Scott returns to Earth and joins Superman's crusade. He needs no power ring, having incorporated the lantern that fueled the ring into his armor and wields a ligth Longsword. His space station becomes the new Justice League Watchtower. At the conclusion of the miniseries, he becomes a UN charter member under the nation of "New Oa".
- Hawkman: Now a literal 'hawk-man', he has become a guardian of nature, though also referred to as an ecological terrorist. The story does not specify which version of Hawkman this is, apart from "combining the spirit of the old with the otherworldly flesh of the new", which suggests he is Carter Hall in the body of the post-Zero Hour Thanagarian "Hawkgod". He is killed in the nuclear blast.
- Power Woman: The former Power Girl and the League's enforcer. In the novelization, she is killed in the nuclear blast, just as Wonder Woman arrives in Kansas near the end of the original Kingdom Come, Superman is kneeling at an unidentified tombstone. In JSA v3 022, the tombstone is revealed to be that of Power Woman. The partially obscured engraving reads "KARA / KAREN STARR / POWER WOMAN", and this is followed by a single line of Kryptonian alphanumeric characters.
- The Ray: Son of the first Ray. He was one of the survivors of the Gulag battle after being teleported out of the fight by Fate. The Ray is responsible for removing the radiation from Kansas, twice, once after the Justice Battalion disaster and the second time after the Gulag bombing.
- Donna Troy: Seen wearing Amazon robes, it is possible the former Wonder Girl may have replaced her sister/mentor Wonder Woman as Paradise Island's ambassador to the world. She has also aged considerably compared to Diana: going slightly gray and putting on weight. In the novelization, she is killed in the nuclear blast.
- Red Arrow: The former Speedy and Arsenal is now following in the footsteps of his mentor, the Green Arrow, down to a mustache, goatee and exact copy of Green Arrow's costume, but in red. In the novelization, he is killed in the nuclear blast.
- Aquaman: Garth, the former Aqualad, inheritor of his mentor's mantle as Aquaman. He wears a variation of his 'Aqualad' costume, but sporting long pants and thick beard. In the novelization, he is killed in the nuclear blast.
- Robotman III: The former Cyborg; Victor Stone, now fully composed of liquid metal. Petrified by the nuclear blast.
- Atom Smasher: Godson to the original Atom. The name "Atom Smasher" was coined in Kingdom Come; during the time of the book's publishing he was still known as Nuklon.
- King Marvel: The adult, married Freddie Freeman and also father of the legitimate heir of the Power of Shazam. He and all his family were left behind on the satellite headquarters before the Gulag battle as reservists. Freddie is visually based on Elvis Presley, who was a fan of Captain Marvel Jr in real life, hence the name.
- Lady Marvel: Mary Batson-Freeman, Freddie's wife and mother of The Whiz.
- The Whiz: Freddie and Mary's teenage son, anointed as the legitimate heir of the Power of Shazam. He's seen for the first time in the novel defeated by Cathedral. Named after Whiz Comics, he was one of the earliest character designs created by Alex Ross. Due to his obvious designs he was originally named The Spider.
- Aleea Strange: Adam Strange's daughter, who has taken up her father's mantle. Killed in the nuclear blast
- Red Tornado I: A heavily armed Mathilda Hunkel. Reservist member.
- Cyclone: A female Red Tornado with wind-powers. Her identity as Maxine Hunkel is confirmed by Superman in Justice Society of America (vol. 3) #10.
- Tornado: Ulthoon, the original Tornado Champion. The sentient Rannian entity that was part of the robot Red Tornado II / John Smith. Desintegrated during the nuclear attack.
- Human Bomb: An explosion-causing metahuman. The collected edition calls him "the same combustible hero of old", implying this is Roy Lincoln.
- Midnight: The ghost of Dr. Charles McNider, appearing in the form of a dense, pitch-black smoke cloud wearing his former cowl.
- Captain Comet: Adam Blake. The mutant hero was chosen by Superman to be warden of the Gulag. He is killed in the prison riot when Von Bach; one of the inmates disciplined by him, snapped his back.
- Hourman: The successor of the first Hourman, not having his predecessor's time limit. In Justice Society of America (vol. 3) #22, one of the Gulag tombstones reveals this version of Hourman to be Rick Tyler.
- Sandman: The formerly Sandy, the Golden Boy. Sanderson Hawkins has taken up the mantle of Sandman after Wesley Dodds, his mentor, died. The collection edition mentions that "the sands of time have stood still" for him, implying agelessness.
- Living Doll: The daughter of Doll Man and Doll Girl.
- Bulletman and Bulletgirl: The successors of the original Golden Age duo.
- Golden Guardian: The second clone of Jim Harper, who took up his predecessor's role. Killed by the bomb blast.
- Starman: (The former) Star Boy from the Legion of Super Heroes. As revealed in Justice Society of America (vol 3) #2, he ends up on New Earth at the time of the bomb blast, and in fact was accidentally shunted to this universe (Earth-22) while time-traveling on a mission with the Legion of New Earth.
- Brainiac's Daughter: Brainiac's offspring and the ancestor of Brainiac 5. This character was inspired by the XTC song of the same name, and is visually based on the pre-Crisis Supergirl, who was object of Brainiac 5's unrequited love.
- Mister Miracle: Scott Free, designer and chief guard at the Gulag. He and his family survived the bombing through a boom tube, thanks to his uncanny foresight.
- Big Barda: Scott Free's wife, Avia's mother and guard at the Gulag. By the time she appeared on the novel, she had lost an eye.
- Power Man: The last of the once many Superman robots under a metahuman disguise.
The Batman's "Outsiders"
Bruce Wayne has formed a group of metahumans, similar to his Outsiders, many of which are second-generation heroes, to combat the Justice League and the Mankind Liberation Front. Playing upon the generational differences between the heroes, five of his heroes are children of the original Teen Titans, while most of the Titans have all sided with Superman. Partial list:
- The Batman: Since his identity was made public, The Batman no longer hides behind the carefree appearance of Bruce Wayne; as a result, Wayne Manor was destroyed by Two-Face and Bane. He is referred to as "The Batman" even in civilian guise. No longer the example of human perfection, he now requires an exoskeleton to move and an armored suit with a Xistera-like weapon and a flying belt replacing his former implements to continue his war on crime. Consequently, he transformed Gotham City into a police state, aided now by an army of large bat-like machines which patrol the streets, controlled only by him from his sealed-off Batcave. His distrust to both Superman's League and Luthor's MLF for making a better world leads him to form the Outsiders, feeling mankind should be able to make its own decisions and mistakes. In this novelization he resembled Gregory Peck.
- Ted Kord: One of Batman's three lieutenants, now wearing a Blue Beetle armored battle suit powered by the mystical scarab that gave Dan Garret his powers. Kord is killed in the nuclear blast (the Black Racer is seen behind him just beforehand).
- Oliver Queen: Batman's lieutenant, he has married his long-time love Dinah Lance, and the two had a daughter. His appearance is very similar to that he showed in The Dark Knight Returns. At Titans Tower, he persuaded some of the young heroes willing to follow Superman to change their minds and support The Batman's cause. He was killed in the nuclear blast, his skeleton can be seen directly to the left of Superman, cradling his wife's corpse.
- Dinah Queen: Batman's lieutenant. The former Black Canary now sports short gray hair, dresses herself in a practical, manly fashion and wields a crossbow after adopting her husband's crime-fighting ways. She was among the fatalities in the Gulag battle after she was accidentally shot in the head by Trix. She dies in her husband's arms during the blast.
- Black Canary: Olivia Queen, daughter of Oliver and Dinah. Her appearance resembles that her mother used to sport, except for a headgear with a red vision-enhancer lens on her left eye, a wrist-mounted crossbow and a thigh quiver.
- J'onn J'onzz: The former Martian Manhunter. After become a shell of his former self, he can control his powers no longer. Trying to touch all humanity's mind at once, he could not handle the torrents of hate, love, anger, sadness and joy, shattering his spirit as result. He now maintains a permanent non-corporeal human form and does not participate in any super heroics until Batman persuades him to help one last time. He is seen a few pages later in the Justice League headquarters, but it is unconfirmed if J'onn himself participated in the Gulag battle. His presumed daughter's body; in a variation of his classic costume, is seen lying on the ground during the final battle at the Gulag.
- Kid Flash: Iris West, daughter of Wally. According to the novel, she was among those killed by the nuclear blast. However, she appears in The Kingdom, as well as in The Flash:"Chain Lightning" due to Hypertime.
- Green Lantern: Jennie-Lynn Hayden; the former Jade, daughter of Alan Scott. Took up the mantle of Green Lantern after Kyle Rayner. She has all the powers of a Green Lantern not needing ring, nor power source either. She saved her father and many more characters from the Gulag bombing with a ligth shield. In Justice Society of America (vol. 3) #22, she is shown 20 years later attending Batman's funeral,scorted by a young man wearing a Green Lantern Corps ring. In the novelization, she resembled the actress Linda Hamilton.
- Obsidian: Todd Rice, son of Alan Scott and brother to Jennie-Lynn. He manipulates shadows and darkness. His appearance resembles that of the pulp mystery man The Shadow.
- Tula: A seafaring malcontent. Daughter of Garth and the late Debbie Perkins. In the novelization, she is killed in the nuclear blast.
- Fate: The wizard Nabu is now able to channel his consciousness through the Helmet, cloak and amulet without the need for a host body. His primary role in the Gulag battle was using the Cloak as a teleporter - first he transported Batman's entire team to the Gulag battle and then saves several heroes from the nuclear blast by 'swallowing' them with the Cloak during the battle.
- Ralph Dibny: The former Elongated Man, Ralph is contorted out of shape. It is presumed that he did not participate in the final battle at the Gulag - in Justice Society of America (vol. 3) #22, he is shown 20 years later attending Batman's funeral.
- The Creeper: Though he has aged, he is still the insane screwball he was when he was young, apparently quitting to his Jack Ryder personality for good. In the novelization he resembles Alice Cooper, switches sides several times during the Gulag battle, and died in the nuclear blast.
- Menagerie: The former Beast Boy, Garfield Logan. His power is now limited to imaginary, mythical and fearsome creatures, but leaving him unable to recover his past human form.
- Lightning: Daughter of the late Black Lightning and sister of Thunder, resembling a golden, female version of the genie owned by her brother.
- Wildcat: A man-panther "with the spirit of the first Wildcat". Later on, DC's main continuity introduced a character resembling this incarnation named Tom Bronson; son of Ted Grant.
- Steel: After Superman went into seclusion, John Henry Irons switched his devotion to Batman. He now wears an armor with Batman´s logo and motifs and wields an iron bat-shaped battle axe.
- Mr. Scarlet: A carefree bright red devil of a man known for hanging out at Titans Tower bar with Matrix, the new Joker's Daughter, and the new Thunder.
- Spy Smasher: An independent "combat-equipped, post-Cold War operative with somewhat of a nomadic status".
- Phantom Lady: Now literally a phantom of the original Sandra Knight, who resembles Bettie Page.
- Zatara: The teenage son of the late Zatanna and John Constantine, grandson of Giovanni Zatara. Besides being a magician, he inherited his father's ability to see the dead. In the novel, he was so horrified by the nuclear blast that he was unable to escape.
- Darkstar: Son of Donna Troy and Terry Long, who has taken his mother's place as Earth's Darkstar.
- Huntress: An African superheroine based on the Golden Age Huntress Paula Brooks.
- Red Hood: Lian Harper, daughter of Red Arrow and the mercenary Cheshire.
- Ace: An alien Bat-Hound, the giant winged steed of the Fourth World Batwoman.
- Batwoman: A Batman admirer from the Fourth World and member of The Batmen Of Many Nations
- Black Mongul: Possibly an offspring of Vandal Savage and member of The Batmen Of Many Nations, the Champion of Mongolia.
- Condor: Last inheritor of Black Condor's mantle, now apparently member of The Batmen Of Many Nations.
- Cossack: A member of The Batmen Of Many Nations, the Champion of Russia.
- Dragon: A member of The Batmen Of Many Nations, the Champion of China.
- Samurai: A member of The Batmen Of Many Nations, the Champion of Japan.
- Bat-Knights: Batman's robotic guardians of Gotham City, each of which resembles a cross between a Batmobile and a Mecha. At least two of them were sent into the Gulag battle until they were destroyed during battle. At the end of the graphic novel, they are painted white and used as air filtration units when Wayne Manor is turned into a hospital/hospice.
Luthor's Mankind Liberation Front
Since Superman's departure ten years ago, Luthor and the MLF have been conducting events behind the scenes in an attempt to destroy metahumans and rule the world at last.
- Lex Luthor: The MLF's leader. Goes into mad fits whenever mention is made of Superman. He ends up being put to work in Wayne Manor, tending to victims of the Gulag battle. In the additional epilogue, Batman says he had twice caught Luthor sneaking into the Batcave to hack the computer
- Captain Marvel: Luthor's brainwashed houseboy and the last step in his plan for destroying Superman and the League. The now-adult Billy Batson is physically indistinguishable from his Captain Marvel form, and for most of the story, Luthor's compatriots believe that it is Captain Marvel who attends Luthor's needs, when in fact it is an all-too-vulnerable Batson. Coincidentally, Batson's brainwashing is the result of bio-engineered worms (resembling real-life versions of Mr. Mind) created by his deceased old enemy Sivana. Killed by deliberately setting off the nuclear bomb prematurely over Ground Zero.
- Vandal Savage: The only willing member of the MLF with any powers to speak of: immortality. In the novelization, Spectre expresses deep annoyance at the fact that Savage's immortality prevents him from administering justice on him. Savage, like Luthor, assists with victims of the nuclear fallout - in the additional epilogue, Batman praises Savage for his extensive healing experience.
- Ibn al Xu'ffasch: The son of Batman and Talia al Ghul, the heir to Ra's al Ghul's criminal organization, and used as a mole to infiltrate Luthor's MLF. His role is not fully revealed until the third issue (p. 144 in the graphic novel), when he is standing among the Outsiders just before Zatara teleports Batman to the Batcave. In Arabic, his name means "son of the bat". Justice Society of America (vol. 3) #22 shows him at Batman's funeral 20 years later, married to Nightstar with two children: a daughter and a son.
- Selina Kyle: The only female member of the MLF. According to the novelization, she becomes wealthy from running a cosmetics corporation. Her attraction with cats is still evident as she is shown talking with the man-panther Wildcat just before the MLF are taken down by Batman's team. Justice Society of America (vol. 3) #22 shows her at Batman's funeral 20 years later, turned away crying.
- Edward Nigma: Is part of the group only as a courtesy to Selina (the novelization calls him one of Selina's "accessories"), he tends to get under Luthor's skin. At the end he is seen sitting next to Selina in Wayne Manor, taking care of a victim of the Gulag battle.
- Lord Naga: A cult leader better known as Kobra. Naga indicates that some of the rogue metahumans are former super-villains rebranded by the MLF.
- King of Spades: Joseph Carny, leader of the Royal Flush Gang and the MLF's newest member. An immortal like Savage.
- Red, White, and Blue: Three heavily armed terrorists. They are actually androids under Luthor's control who are used as spies in the Gulag.
Magog's Justice Battalion
Magog and his followers who are violent vigilantes who deal out "justice" in the form of death to anyone who commits a crime.
- Magog: Ironically referred to as the new 'Man of Tomorrow'. He and Alloy were the only survivors of the Battalion, and at least partially responsible for the destruction of Kansas, for which Magog later seeks forgiveness. Turned into a repentive inmate at the Gulag and does not fight in the Gulag battle. Instead, he is seen carrying injured heroes to Jade's protective shields. At the end of the novel, Magog lives on Paradise Island and is seen disciplining Swastika, having finally seen the need for self-restraint. In the novelization, he matures to the point of becoming a Dean of Students there. Acoording to Alex Ross, Magog is named after a biblical character, represents the golden calf, the scar rounding his right blind eye is also symbolical, but most important; Magog represents "everything we (Ross and Waid) hate in modern superhero design", being based on Marvel Comics' Cable, and his creator Rob Liefeld.
- Alloy: The combined form of the Metal Men and member of Magog's Justice Battalion. Along with Magog, he is the only survivor of the Kansas disaster. He later joins to the Justice League. He ended up melted by the U.N. nuclear strike.
- Captain Atom: Member of Magog's Justice Battalion. His death / detonation at the hands of Parasite and the following irradiation of Kansas caused Superman's return to action.
- Judomaster: Member of Magog's Justice Battalion. She is killed with the other members when Captain Atom exploded.
- Nightshade: Member of Magog's Justice Battalion. She is killed when Captain Atom exploded.
- Peacemaker: Member of Magog's Justice Battalion, his armor is reminiscent of that worn by Boba Fett. Killed when Captain Atom detonates.
- Thunderbolt: A member of Magog's Justice Battalion, killed when Captain Atom exploded. This version of Peter Cannon's costume is an homage to the Lev Gleason's Daredevil, from the Golden Age of comics. Alex Ross admitted that he chose the design "just as an excuse to draw it".
Characters with heroic legacies
Some of the metahumans and human warriors involed are inheritors in one way or another from passed heroes. Not all amongst this new generation were willing to uphold the legacy resting on their shoulders.
- Nightstar: Mar´i Grayson, daughter of Red Robin and the deceased Starfire. Having inherited her mother's powers, decides not to join her father in the Justice League and chooses to be an Outsider better. Effectively Batman's adoptive granddaughter, she becomes very close to his natural son Ibn al Xu'ffasch. Survived the nuclear blast because; even though they were on opposite sides, she flew her father away after he was injured in the fight. Justice Society of America (vol. 2) #22 shows her 20 years later at Batman's funeral, married to Ibn with two kids.
- Avia Free: Daughter of Mister Miracle and Big Barda. She inherited her mother's battle armor, but sporting her father's colors. Even though Nightstar was her closest friend, she decided to follow her parents' ideals and joined Superman's Justice League as guard in the Gulag.
- Thunder: Son of the late Black Lightning, brother of Lightning and the new owner of the mischievous genie Yz. He can shoot electric bolts from his fingers and his eyes sparkle constantly. He joins later to Justice League and survived the Gulag battle shielded from the nuclear blast by Jade, he is seen afterwards on Paradise Island. In Justice Society of America (vol. 2) #22, he is shown at Batman's funeral 20 years later, not having grown any bigger nor older.
- Manotaur: A minotaur-like metahuman with a Rannian armor and set of weapons. He survives the Gulag battle after being shielded from the nuclear blast by Jade. In the novelization he even becomes teacher at Paradise Island, a fitting fate for "one whose ancestors bedeviled the Amazons long ago."
- Stars: An african-american kid; possibly related to Stripes, wearing a pilot jacket, aviator glasses, american flag bandana, and a t-shirt with an inverted American flag, he owned the cosmic rod in conjunction with the cosmic converter belt. Died in the nuclear blast.
- Stripes: An african-american man equipped with various military accoutrements such as automatic weaponry, knives and Kevlar padding. He claimed that his generetion was the only one willing to get rid of deadly threats to the world like Eclipso and Ra's al Ghul. Died in the nuclear blast.
- Mr. Terrific: The successor of Terry Sloane and Michael Holt's legacies wielding oversized guns, a force field generator, shoulder pads and somoe other military accouterments. He still sported the "Fair Play" logo, but has since lost sight of its true and original meanings since he was seen figthing aside the robot NIL-8 and Joker's Daughter. Died in the nuclear blast.
- Phoebus: The Earth's newest fire elemental after Firestorm. He joined to Justice League after a brief figth against them, fought at the Gulag riot and burned into the ground by the nuclear blast. According to Alex Ross, Phoebus and Nucloid were some of the earliest characters he created, when he was eleven years old.
- Nucloid: An elastic nuclear-powered hero whose circulatory system glows with a fluorescent "black light" effect through his costume, that resembles that Ralph Dinby worn while in Justice League. He joined to the League in the wake of the Kansas disaster. Died calcinated after the Gulag bombing.
- Shining Knight: A silver, winged armor clad hero from the future scorted by his gigantic, fully robotic "Dragonknight", both died in the nuclear blast. He was transplanted to the past; in contrast to the original Sir Justin and his flying steed "Winged Victory", who were heralds from the medieval past to the present.
- Vigilante: A cyborg cowboy with a machine gun arm arrested by the League for wrecking havoc. Died in the nuclear blast.
- King Crimson: A gigantic, red demon with the black and yellow bullet wound symbol donned by Lee Travis on its chest, died in the nuclear blast.
- Blue Devil: A big winged indigo-skinned demon from Hell, possibly related to Daniel Cassidy. Died in the nuclear blast.
- Demon Damsel: A winged mischievous young she-devil and would-be Legionnaire, died in the nuclear blast.
Several future warriors had virtually no regard for human life. Many of them were killed in the Gulag battle, but most have already made their mark in the world as monsters. Listed below are the major, supporting, or otherwise notable characters.
- Parasite: Contrary to his usual persona, Parasite is portrayed as an unstable villain with severe short-term memory loss problems, and a coward. He literally "splitted the Atom" when he makes contact with Captain Atom, causing a super-nuclear explosion that destroys Kansas.
- 666: A gothic looking man/machine hybrid with little respect for the heroes of the past and is one of the major prisoners inside of the gulag. 666 battles other metahumans not for justice, but for sport. Visually based on Brian Azzarello. In the novelization, he is killed in the nuclear blast.
- Joker's Daughter: A riot girl and one of the many followers of the Joker's style. This one has no relation to the other four Harlequins, Duela Dent, or Harley Quinn. She was seen figthing along the robot NIL-8 and Mr. Terrific and ended as one of the survivors of the Gulag Battle after being teleported away by Fate. Later on she lived on Paradise Island with most of the other survivors. Modeled after Scary Godmother's writer Jill Thompson.
- NIL-8: A superpowered Killbot with oversized guns resembling Metallo that was seen figthing along Joker's Daughter and Mr. Terrific, whose name is a homophone for "annihilate". Dismantled by Superman.
- Tusk: A Japanese purple elephant-like Mecha. Dismantled by Robotman III in the final battle.
- Trix: Now a morphing biomechanism and vigilante, she was among the many imprisoned in the Gulag and during the ensuing breakout shot accidentally Dinah Queen in the head. She was saved from the U.N. nuclear bombing by Magog and Jade, becoming later a reformed resident and student at Paradise Island. At some point in the future, she removed her biomechanic armor. According to Alex Ross, her appearance is modeled after the design aesthetic of H.R. Giger.
- Catwoman: The armored metahuman successor to Selina Kyle, this one might be more feline than the original.
- The Americommando: Leader of the Minutemen. A far right-wing militia man wearing an armor reminiscent of Judge Dredd´s with the shredded remains of Mr. America's magic carpet as cape. His design was intended as example of "overblown modern superhero design aesthetics". Barry Crain provided the artwork.
- The Minutemen: A group of savage, jingoistic patriots who started killing the huddled masses of immigrants near the Statue of Liberty, all of them wearing american icons for masks such as the Mount Rushmore's heads. The Americommando and his Minutemen were controlled by the mysterious "Brain Trust", all of them were captured by the Justice League.
- Von Bach: A Yugoslavian would-be dictator who speaks in German. He was imprisoned in the Gulag for killing opponents who had already surrendered. After being humiliated by Captain Comet during his incarceration, he made him the first fatality of the riot by breaking his back. He was killed by Wonder Woman during the Gulag battle to stop him from killing Zatara. Von Bach is modeled after Milan Fras, the singer of the Slovenian music group Laibach.
- Germ-Man: A Nazi-esque biological warfare expert, associate of Von Bach, captured by the Justice League.
- Pinwheel: A gigantic sadomasochistic metahuman clad entirely in biker's leather fashion, long riding boots, a biker cap and a silver helmet. Associate of Von Bach, captured by the Justice League.
- Swastika: An American militia man and anarchist. Suffered a major throat wound caused by Cossack during the Gulag battle, survived the nuclear blast after he is saved by Magog and Jade. He is last seen on Paradise Island getting disciplined by Magog.
- Insect Queen: A literally human-size bee-like insect with human female head. She was amongst the various inmates at the Gulag. Her fate was left unknown.
- Tokyo Rose: A Japanese martial arts assassin. She survives the nuclear blast when she is saved by Magog and Jade, ending up wheelchair-bound after battling Red Robin at the Gulag.
- Shiva the Destroyer: A blue-skinned, four-armed Indian metahuman resembling the Hindu god of the same name. Died in the nuclear blast.
- Cathedral: A British metahuman wearing armor styled after a gothic church. Died in the nuclear blast.
- Stealth: A gold-armored female metahuman who can fly at great speed and cloak her presence. Died in the nuclear blast.
- Buddha: An enormous sumo-themed metahuman wearing a cracked Budai mask. Died in the nuclear blast.
- Kabuki Kommando: The Fourth World's greatest champion at the time. Captured by the Justice League and imprisoned at the Gulag, subsequently killed in the nuclear bombing. According to Alex Ross, he intended the character as a tribute to the work of Jack Kirby, "if Kirby had ever got into a Japanese period".
- Wesley Dodds: The former Mystery Man known as The Sandman is plagued with visions of the impending apocalyptic battle between the various factions of metahumans and the human heroes. On his deathbed, he relates his visions interpreted through the passages from the Book of Revelations to Norman.
- King Orin: Arthur Curry has given up the mantle of Aquaman and dedicated himself fully to his role as monarch of Atlantis, his appearance hearkening to King Arthur. The identity of his queen was Dolphin. He is approached by Wonder Woman to use the oceans as the location of the Gulag, but refuses to accept any more of the surface-world's problems despite his support of Garth's new role as Aquaman.
- Boston Brand: He has lost or foregone his normal appearance, and appears as a skeleton wearing his tattered old uniform. He is never identified as "Deadman", and simply introduces himself as Boston. He explains to Norman that none of the Quintessence will get involved because the situation most of the times turns for the worse, using Zeus' intervention with Troy as an example.
- The Quintessence was formed by Ganthet, Highfather, The Phantom Stranger, Shazam and Zeus. Beings so all-mighty that just one of them could stop the impending apocalipse immediately, but fearing their interloping might cause an even bigger disaster, decided all at once to watch one another for not to intervene.
- Orion: Orion appears in the collected edition of KC, in pages Ross added to the collection. Orion has killed his father Darkseid and taken his place as ruler of Apokolips. His frustration at this leads him to resemble his Father in both appearance and demeanor. He attempted to bring democracy to Apokolips, but was unanimously elected by the fearful slave-minded lowlies. In the novelization, Orion hints that he recruited Jimmy Carter, Desmond Tutu and Mikhail Gorbachev to help him run a fair election, but failed.
- A white dog, an orange cat, a monkey, and a white horse appear on Superman's Fortress of Solitude farm as an homage to the Legion of Super-Pets.
- Planet Krypton, the super hero memorabilia restaurant shows it's maître d' dressed as Hal Jordan wearing the ring on the wrong hand. Inside are found a waiter dressed as Barry Allen and a waitress in Robin costume who is an homage to Carrie Kelly from Dark Knight Returns (being herself who serves Bruce, Clark, and Diana in the epilogue). At the bar, an aged Bea is asking to talk to the owner, the stuffed corpse of Jonah Hex is in exhibition and the multi-screen is showing images of Sugar and Spike. The creators themselves (Waid and Ross) can be seen in the epilogue arguing at a table, Stan Lee also has a cameo on the same scene. The final panel includes the New Fun Comics #1 *(1935) cover, the first ever DC Comic, hanging on a wall.
- On a scene where The Spectre reveals different realms on their continuity to McCay (such as Paradise Island and Atlantis), a 30th century landscape shows the full Legion of Super-Heroes roster leaded by Superboy and Supergirl.
- One of Jimmy Olsen's super hero iterations (Turtle Boy) is seen on the big screen in Times Square as McCay is walking around.
- The Gotham street gang surrounded by the Bat-Knights are loosely based on Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids.
- Icelandic pop-singer Björk appears in the crowd after Superman saves the cable car. Posters of her can be seen near to the place where the first Rouge metahumans battle is witnessed by Norman McCay.
- Bat-Mite, one of Batman's biggest fans from the 1950s appears on various screens in the Bat-Cave's computer.
- Phil Sheldon from Ross' Marvels appears at the JLA's news conference in the second issue and in the epilogue.
- The Titans Tower nightclub scene from the second issue has cameo appearances by Vril Dox, Solomon Grundy (as a bouncer), Zan of the Wonder Twins (as a waiter), a fat balding Lobo, Plastic Man, Shadow Lass, Marvin (from Super Friends), Icicle, Captain Boomerang, an African-American Lady Blackhawk, OMAC, Tawny the Tiger, Ultra the Multi-Alien, Chameleon Boy, The Shadow, Rorschach (breaking someone's finger) and Ambush Bug. The Question, Sherlock Holmes and Swamp Thing (in a trench coat and hat) are gathered at a table together. Weather Wizard and Captain Cold are also bartenders and their photo can be seen behind them with the rest of the rogues and several other pop culture figures such as Steve Miller's Joker, Tommy Walker scorted by The Acid Queen, Spock and the Village People.
- The two jailers from Life of Brian appear in the extended scene with Scott Free in chapter 2 of the graphic novel.
- The Monkees and robotic versions of Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band appear in the third issue as members of the Justice League, seen in the JLA headquarters before the final battle. Several of the Monkees and Sgt Pepper robots are killed/destroyed in the final battle.
- Seen charging the Gulag prior to the final battle Marvel Comics´ Spider-Man, Thor, Doctor Strange and Captain America are barely-visible.
- Two rogue metahumans in the third issue, April Fool and Goblyn Lord, were inspired by Columbia and Riff Raff respectively from The Rocky Horror Picture Show.
- Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster (Superman's creators) are seen in the congregation of McCay's church, directly in front of Jim Corrigan. Seated next to Norman in the epilogue is also Uncle Sam from Ross's Vertigo mini-series.
- Various DC staff and creators (as of 1996) make cameo appearances throughout the series, mostly as bystanders.
Appearances in mainstream continuity
Due to the popularity of the series, Mark Waid and Alex Ross began to plot a sequel/prequel titled The Kingdom. Alex Ross' original intent was for Gog to be an alien, twice the size of a human, from the planet Urgrund that split into two and created Apokolips and New Genesis, and that Magog would be the grown son of Superman and Wonder Woman who would be mentored by Gog. Waid and Ross disagreed on several concepts and Ross decided to leave the project.
Without Ross' involvement, Waid continued the story in the New Year's Evil: Gog one-shot. The Kingdom mini-series soon followed, featuring a two-part series and several one-shots focusing on specific characters. The series was used to present Grant Morrison's Hypertime concept.
Thy Kingdom Come
The final issue of 52 reveals that Earth-22 is the designation of the Kingdom Come alternate universe.
In Justice Society of America (vol. 3), a new Starman appears wearing a costume identical to that of the Starman from the Kingdom Come series. It is soon revealed that this individual is indeed the Starman from Kingdom Come, and that he is also Thom Kallor, a native of the planet Xanthu and member of the Legion of Super-Heroes in the 30th and 31st centuries. Due to a time travel error, Starman traveled to Earth-22 before arriving in 21st century New Earth.
The "Thy Kingdom Come" story arc of the Justice Society of America title features the involvement of Alex Ross, as well as the appearance of the Kingdom Come Superman. Seeing the connection between Gog of New Earth and Magog of Earth-22, Superman-22 and the JSA seek to prevent New Earth from going the way of his own world by stopping Gog in his crusade to rid the world of false gods, and before he can choose a successor one day in Magog. The JSA is split in their opinions on Gog; some believe he is truly a benevolent god, while others are suspicious of his true intentions. To prove himself, Gog heals certain JSA members such as Starman, Doctor Mid-Nite, and Damage, and he resurrects Lance from the dead to make him his successor, Magog.
Soon, the JSA learns that Gog is forming a parasitic relationship with the planet Earth where, if he remains long enough, the planet will not be able to survive without him. All of the heroes turn on Gog, and he takes back the gifts he had given them, but he is still defeated. They remove his head, and Superman-22 and Starman take it to the Source Wall. Starman, whose costume has the power to transport people throughout the Multiverse, sends Superman back to Earth-22. He arrives in time to see the carnage caused by Captain Marvel detonating the bomb. The events of Kingdom Come continue from there and conclude in its entirety, except that it ends with several scenes depicting Superman and Wonder Woman's life as a couple and the legacy Superman leaves to his Earth.
Alex Ross states that this story is not intended as a sequel to Kingdom Come as that would negate the purpose of the original story.
Justice League: Generation Lost
A major subplot of Judd Winick and Keith Giffen's 2010 maxi-series, Justice League: Generation Lost concerns the events of Kingdom Come. The story sees Maxwell Lord being tasked by the Entity with killing Magog before he can inadvertently trigger an apocalyptic war between Earth's superhumans, which ultimately brings Magog and Lord into conflict with Justice League International. To drive the point home, the Entity shows Lord a series of visions taken directly from Kingdom Come, including Magog and the Justice Battalion attacking Parasite. Lord eventually succeeds in arranging Magog's demise, and his life is returned by the Entity.
During the first arc of the Superman/Batman series written by Jeph Loeb, the Kingdom Come Superman appears via a Boom Tube in the Batcave with the intent to kill Clark Kent, because according to him, Clark is responsible for the destruction of the Earth before Kingdom Come Superman suddenly vanishes while being distracted by Batman calling him "Clark". It is eventually revealed that this Superman came from a future in which a kryptonite meteorite crashed to the Earth.
Later, due to a burst of energy quantum Captain Atom arrives in this future. He appears in a devastated Kansas (an homage to the Kingdom Come series) although Superman states the entire planet is in the same condition. Captain Atom returns to the present and uses a robot made by Toyman to destroy the giant meteorite of kryptonite, preventing this future to come true.
In a follow-up to this story, Captain Atom: Armageddon, the titular Captain Atom finds himself in the WildStorm universe and in another homage to Kingdom Come, his appearance mysteriously changes to that of his Earth-22 counterpart.
A boxed-set of the four individual issues was packaged in a die-cut cardboard sleeve with a Skybox trading card, part of a short-lived experimental program to package comics for resale at Toys R Us and other mass market retailers.
The original trade paperback collected the entire series along with twelve additional pages by Ross, including the epilogue. Promotional artwork and sketches of the major characters were also included. The trade was also printed as a hardback (without dustjacket) by Graphitti Designs.
A separate deluxe, slip-cased two-volume hardback edition, also co-published by DC and Graphitti Designs added a second volume (entitled Revelations) to the text, containing further sketches and developmental artwork from Ross, showing the development of the character designs and the storyline.
Elliot S. Maggin wrote the novelization which was published by Warner Aspect as a hardback, and (in limited numbers) a slip-cased, signed edition. It fleshes out characters such as Magog, the world leaders, and the Batman/Ib'n connection. The book contains four new color pages by Ross, as well as four black and white sketches of the major players.
A 1998 special from Wizard magazine contained the original proposal for the series by Ross, providing notes on what was changed and why. Ross' comments on The Kingdom were also included.
DC released an Absolute Kingdom Come hardcover edition in 2006. It collected the entire series in a significantly larger page format, along with interviews with Waid and Ross, character artwork, sketches and a complete annotation for the series.
Hachette Audio released an audio dramatization of the story, adapted from the novelization, featuring the voice talent of Mike Mearian, Don Peoples, Garet Scott, John Cunningham, Kent Broadhurst, Jeff David, Chuck Cooper, Harry Goz, Barbara Rosenblat, Craig Zakarian, Mike Arkin, Bob Lydiard, Peter Newman, Birgit Darby, Mark Finley, Igot Goldin, Macintyre Dixon, and Chloe Patellis, along with the guest voices of Dennis O'Neil, Mark Waid, Mike Carlin, Dan Raspler, Charles Kochman, Peter Tomasi, Greg Ross, Janet Harney, Elisabeth Vincentelli. The music for the audio version was composed by John Bauers.
The Comicology Kingdom Come Companion
In January 1999, Harbor Press published the first (special) issue of their comics magazine Comicology. The 272-page Comicology: Kingdom Come Companion, edited by Brian Lamken, focused heavily on Kingdom Come, featuring an A-Z of almost everything with extensive illustrations by Ross and various other commentary on the mini-series. It was the subject of a swift cease-and-desist notice from DC, objecting that the volume "constitute[d] an unauthorized derivative work that infringe[d] upon [DC's] copyrights, violates [their] trademark rights, and misappropriates [their] good will." Lamken acquiesced to the recall, despite protesting that DC had prior knowledge of the project. It is likely that the similarities between the material contained in the Revelations volume (available only with the purchase of the considerably-more-expensive Graphitti/DC two-volume set) contributed to the recall of the Comicology volume. The recall made the Companion arguably the most difficult Kingdom Come item to find.
In 1996, Fleer/Skybox released a set of trading cards based on Kingdom Come, entitled Kingdom Come eXtra. Alongside the 50 basic cards, featuring art by Ross and text by Waid, there are 15 "sketchboard" cards, 3 "Kingdom Classics" (featuring Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman in iconic poses), 6 "Alex Ross Original" cards, and some rarer autograph cards.
DC Direct (The exclusive collectibles division of DC Comics) has produced 3 waves of action figures based on Kingdom Come's artwork. The first wave of figures included Superman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern and Hawkman. The second wave included Batman, Red Robin, Captain Marvel and Kid Flash. The last wave included Magog, Flash, Armored Wonder Woman and Deadman. An exclusive figure of Red Arrow was released through ToyFare magazine. DC Direct also released several other characters through their Elseworlds toylines. These figures included The Spectre, Norman McCay, Jade, Nightstar, Aquaman and Blue Beetle. An updated version of Kingdom Come Superman was released in JSA series2 which was based on the covers that Alex Ross worked on.
Jay-Z Kingdom Come album
After hip hop icon Jay-Z retired in 2003 he made a come back in 2006 after many people felt that the mainstream hip hop genre was dying or dead altogether. Jay-Z's production engineer Young Guru, an avid comic book fan, told him about the plot of Kingdom Come and how an aged Superman came out of retirement to show and inspire the newest generation of super heroes how it is to be a true hero. Inspired by this, Jay-Z named his 2006 comeback album Kingdom Come, which sold more albums in the first week than any of his previous eight albums before it. In the song "Kingdom Come" on the album, he makes references to Superman, Clark Kent, Batman, the Bat-Signal and Spider-Man.
In other media
Although Kingdom Come has not been directly adapted to other media, certain elements or material depicted in its issues have been taken as inspiration for scenes created for adaptations of other DC Comics properties existing in the mainstream continuity, such as the following:
- In Justice League Unlimited, in the episode "Clash", the scenes depicting the climax of the battle between Superman and Captain Marvel, are directly inspired by the same event in Kingdom Come.
- Batman has made a habit of suddenly disappearing during a dialogue, and his interlocutor then discovers he or she has been left talking alone. This also happens in Kingdom Come, only this time, it's Batman who suffers it, when Superman suddenly disappears, to what Batman replies "So that's what that feels like". In Christopher Nolan's film The Dark Knight Rises, an identical scene takes place, only that instead of Superman, it is Catwoman who leaves Batman talking to himself, uttering exactly the same line. In the animated film Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox, a variation of the scene also happens, with Barry Allen leaving Flashpoint Batman talking to himself. Upon discovering that, the latter remarks "So I'm finally on the other end of that trick."
- Bruce Timm's design for the aged Bruce Wayne's likeness in Batman Beyond is consistent with his appearance in Kingdom Come, which in turn was inspired by Gregory Peck's likeness.
- In the episode "Triumvirate of Terror!" of Batman: Brave and the Bold, the last scene is set 50 years in the future. The aged versions of Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman bear visual similarities to how they were depicted in Kingdom Come. This especially applies to Batman who wears an exoskeleton as he did in Kingdom Come; as well as a hovering black wheelchair that transforms into an armored suit similar to the one he wore in the last part of the mini-series.
- Ross, Alex (May 10, 2006). "Alex Ross: Inside the Artist's Gallery". Wizard Entertainment. Archived from the original on September 30, 2007. Retrieved August 3, 2007.
- Kingdom Come #1 (May 1996)
- Kingdom Come #2 (June 1996)
- Kingdom Come #3 (July 1996)
- Kingdom Come #4 (August 1996)
- Dundy, Elaine (2004). Elvis and Gladys. University Press of Mississippi. p. 69-70
- Ross, Alex (November 2005). Mythology: The DC Comics Art of Alex Ross. Pantheon. ISBN 978-0-375-71462-7.
- Justice Society of America: Kingdom Come Special - Superman (January 2009). p. 25.
- "Harbor Press calls an end to Comicology’s coverage of Kingdom Come". Sequential Tart. Retrieved January 12, 2008.
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