Archive for Kingdom Come

Gog is Dead

Justice Society of America #22

The mask is off — Gog is seriously bad news. And the gloves are off — the entire Justice Society, including Gog’s former supporters, come together to put some serious hurt on the gigantic god. They even lop his head off! Not that he gets killed by that, but it does give the Kingdom Come Superman and Starman a chance to take Gog’s head to the “Source Wall” where the other gods of the Third World are entombed. You’d think that would be the end of the story, but Supes has Starman return him to his home dimension, where the rest of the “Kingdom Come” series plays out to its conclusion… and beyond, as we get some quick glances into the next thousand years of Superman’s story.

Verdict: Thumbs up. This was a really excellent conclusion to an extremely long storyarc. I think it should’ve been a great deal shorter, but I certainly can’t fault the ending. We also get some pretty Alex Ross art for the scenes set on “Earth-22”. And yes, the Justice Society gets to appear, too, and they have a lot of good story beats here as well. All around, a very, very good issue.

Top 10: Season Two #3

Lt. Peregrine’s husband goes off on an “origin weekend” — think of it as a “Promise Keepers” con-game for roleplaying super-people — and gets a lot more than he bargained for. The formerly hypercompetent Sung Li runs into serious trouble against the Red Ring Gang. And Duane Bodine and Pete Cheney barely manage to stop a wizard handing out magic words to superpowered stooges, but something weird happens to Cheney afterwards.

Verdict: Thumbs up. On one hand, I’m not real thrilled with the new emphasis on Peregrine’s husband, but the rest of this is really extremely awesome. Cheney is the same old dimwit, Sung Li is facing entirely unexpected challenges, Bodine is still the best and most level-headed cop on the force. And please pay special attention to the buffet at the origin weekend — funniest food jokes you’ll ever see in a police procedural comic.

Wonder Woman #27

Well, Wonder Woman has gotten completely stomped by the man-made god called Genocide — and she’s taken the Lasso of Truth, which she has the Secret Society surgically implant within her, making her even more powerful. Meanwhile, Sarge Steel has gone murderously insane, and the gods of Olympus have returned, which doesn’t mean anything good for the remaining Amazons.

Verdict: Ehh, not great, but not awful either. Genocide is an interesting opponent for Wondy, but Diana spends the entire issue moping around and looking defeated, which just isn’t a good look for her.

Atomic Robo: Dogs of War #5

The conculsion of this story starts out with Robo getting captured by the Nazis and turned into a power source for their newest super-weapon. He gets rescued by a Scottish commando with an outrageous accent, but has to spend the rest of the issue legless and later down another hand. Can Robo and the scotsman put an end to Skorzeny’s evil schemes?

Verdict: I’m gonna give it a thumbs down. The conclusion just felt a bit flat. And the scotsman was an interesting and amusing character, but this series felt a bit like the creators were throwing a bunch of different characters out there for brief guest-starring roles. For the big conclusion, we should’ve seen the Sparrow and the other previous guest stars, too.

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Gog Bless You

Justice Society of America #21

Gog wants to be worshiped, and though Magog, the former David Reid, is willing, the rest of the renegade Justice Society is understandably reluctant. The rest of the JSA arrives, and Sand reveals that Gog is in the process of rooting himself to the planet — if he stays on Earth even one day more, he stands a good chance of completely destroying the world. Gog reacts badly, and the rest of the JSA turns against him. There’s a lot of references to “Kingdom Come” from here on out — Alan Scott takes on the Green Lantern armor he did in the graphic novel, and Jay Garrick gets accelerated toward the Speed Force, causing his body to take on an appearance similar to the blurry “Kingdom Come” Flash. Gog also takes back the gifts he’d given to the team — Dr. Mid-Nite becomes blind again, Starman goes mad, Sand gets his nightmares back, Damage’s face gets destroyed again, and Citizen Steel, after rejecting Gog’s offer to let him feel sensations again, is instead cursed with terrible pain. Is there any way for the Justice Society to defeat a god?

Verdict: Thumbs up. Good characterization really helps carry this one home. Nate Heywood rejecting Gog is a great moment, as is David Reid realizing just how bad Gog really is. The final chapter of this one comes up next — it should’ve been several issues shorter, but I’m glad the story is finally picking up now.

Final Crisis #5

And speaking of trying to beat gods, Darkseid and the evil gods of the Fourth World are on the verge of taking over everything. Granny Goodness, in the body of the Alpha Lantern Kraken, tries to steal the Central Power Battery on Oa, Wonder Woman is leading Batwoman, Catwoman, and Giganta as the new Female Furies, Mister Miracle and is still alive, Frankenstein is quoting John Milton, Mary Marvel takes down Captain Marvel and Black Adam, Mr. Talky Tawny shows up with a jetpack, the banished Monitor gets superpowered, a Rubik’s Cube gets solved unusually quickly, Lex Luthor is forced to serve Libra’s will, and the people of Earth become Darkseid’s slaves.

Verdict: I think I’ll give this a thumbs up. Lots of mad, bad, dangerous ideas getting flung around here.

Hellboy: The Wild Hunt #1

Hellboy is summoned from a house in Italy where he was rooming with a couple of old dead ladies to England, where he is offered the opportunity to participate in the Wild Hunt, a periodic quest by British noblemen to destroy giants before they become too powerful or cause too much trouble. But does the Wild Hunt hold potential for even more fear and treachery than Hellboy can handle?

Verdict: Thumbs up. A great betrayal and a great cliffhanger. This one is going to be a lot of fun.

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Praise Gog

Justice Society of America: Kingdom Come Special: The Kingdom

Again, whoaaa there, DC, let’s try to get those titles a little under control, a’ight? Less is more, ya know?

The blessings of Gog are showing their downsides more and more. Sand is able to sleep through the night, but he’s lost his predictive dreams that let him prevent murders. Dr. Mid-Nite has his regular sight back, but he’s lost his special sensory abilities that made him such a great doctor. Starman is sane, but he’s really unhappy about that. Damage is handsome again, but his vanity and egotism have gone out of control. And Citizen Steel hasn’t been granted his wish yet of being able to hug his nieces and nephews again — and I hope he doesn’t, ’cause all of the other wishes haven’t really turned out well.

What else? Stargirl and Atom-Smasher give Damage a stern talking-to, which he completely disregards. Cyclone is wearing a witch hat now, which seems a little goofy but still kinda cool. Starman has a new and fairly unpleasant job. Sand learns that Gog’s presence on Earth has a pretty darn good chance of destroying the planet. And Gog craves what all gods crave.

Verdict: Thumbs up, mainly because it finally feels like the story is moving forward. This storyline has gone on way, way too long, and I hope they get it wrapped up very soon, and with as few characters needlessly killed as possible.

Captain America #44

Bucky’s past as the Winter Soldier, a brainwashed Soviet agent, are coming back to haunt him. Batroc the Leaper is causing trouble, and a mysterious Chinese villain appears to have Bucky’s number.

Verdict: Thumbs down. I like the way they’re handling Batroc as something other than a buffoon, but right now, this is an espionage comic, and most espionage comics just don’t interest me.

The Brave and the Bold #19

The Phantom Stranger brings Hal Jordan to a private hospital that’s housing a bunch of children who were deformed during a drug trial. One of the children has begun writing in a wide variety of languages, many of them completely alien, many of them telling about far-distant catastrophes and galactic disasters. GL and the Stranger travel to Sector 3897 to assist the Green Lantern there with cleanup from a disaster that destroyed a city. It soon becomes clear that the disaster was caused by magic — magic connected to the deformed children on Earth, according to the Stranger.

Verdict: Thumbs up. Green Lantern and the Phantom Stranger aren’t the most obvious team that pops to mind, but they do seem to go together fairly well. I also like the details of the planet GL and the Stranger visit — very strange, very alien, ver much unlike Earth. And the cliffhanger at the end is excellent — I am eagerly awaiting the next issue of this one.

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No Superman is an Island


Justice Society of America: Kingdom Come Special: Superman #1

Oy, DC, what’s with those mile-long titles?!

Anyway, this comic marks a first for former Lubbock resident Alex Ross, who gets credited with illustrating and writing this. The plot focuses on the Kingdom Come Superman, who’s gotten trapped on Earth-1. He’s still haunted by memories of his time on his old Earth. He’s nervous because he thinks he sees the tragedy of his own world being recreated on the new one, what with the birth of Magog. He thinks he’s discovered the disaster that killed off the Daily Planet on his world, but luckily, it’s just a garden-variety trap (and an uncommonly unsuccessful one, too). He has a chat with our world’s version of Norman McCay. And he also has a chat with our version of Lois Lane about how his wife back home really died. And he worries that he’s cursed — Krypton was destroyed and his version of Earth was apparently destroyed, so is this Earth doomed as well, just from his presence?

Verdict: Thumbs up. The story is fine — not pure genius, but a good, solid story. The artwork is interesting for all the right reasons. We get some of Ross’s legendarily awesome paintings, but we also get treated to his somewhat more traditional pencils. He even inks his own work. And painted or pencilled, Ross still draws the best dadgummed Superman ever.


Secret Six #3

The Secret Six (well, right now, they’re the Secret Five, plus Tarantula, who’s more of a hostage) are on the run, trying to locate the mysterious card Tarantula stole. And they’re being stalked by supervillains, including Bolt and Cheetah, who want to steal the card and kill them all as messily as possible. And the insanely creepy Junior is still lurking out there.

Verdict: Thumbs up. Junior is really, really insanely creepy. Nicola Scott’s artwork is gorgeous and fun. And the secret of the card is pretty sweet — no wonder everyone’s so desperate to get it…

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The Rise of Magog

Justice Society of America #18

Well, he’s right there on the cover, isn’t he, so it’s not like this is a big spoiler — Magog, from the “Kingdom Come” series, has his big origin in this issue. Who is he? That’s a spoiler for a bit further down in this paragraph, so be warned, a’ight? Anyway, Gog has discovered that humans make war on each other, and he’s not happy about that at all. The JSA try to disarm the bad guys and keep them from taking hostages or killing anyone else, but Gog takes the villains out of the picture without killing them — he turns them into trees. Of course, that pretty much kills their consciousness and minds, so there’s not much difference, is there? Elsewhere, Citizen Steel is desperate to get his Gog-granted cure, Damage is enjoying his newly-repaired face, Hawkman is bloodthirstier than normal, and Power Girl is trying to find some allies in the weirdly hostile Earth-2. Oh, and David Reid, FDR’s grandson, gets hit with a rocket shell and killed. But with Gog around, that’s hardly likely to be permanent — and Gog likes improving people, too, maybe with a few cyber-enhancements and metal horns…

Verdict: I’m gonna thumbs-down it. This is getting stretched out more and more and more, and it’s way past time to start wrapping this up. I’m also not thrilled with taking a perfectly good character like David Reid and revamping him into the Kingdom Come Magog.

Fantastic Four: True Story #2

The Fantastic Four manage to save Elinor, Marianne, and Margaret, from Jane Austen’s “Sense and Sensibility,” from hordes of demons, but the team learns that, here in the world of fiction, their own imaginations can alter the characters — Johnny accidentally starts Marianne talking in computer-jargon l33t-speak — and the fictional characters’ imaginations can alter them, too! Ben Grimm manages to save everyone, but the Dashwoods start re-imagining him as a heroic soldier of their own time period. So the FF, realizing they need some more allies, go visiting “Ivanhoe,” “Kubla Khan,” “Last of the Mohicans,” and “Frankenstein.” But the demons have other stories they can dig through, too, looking for their own villainous allies…

Verdict: Thumbs up. A bit confusing here and there, but I’m enjoying the ride so far.

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Sinners in the Hands of an Angry Gog


Justice Society of America #13

While the JSA’s new members are moving into the team’s headquarters, the new Mr. America and the rest of the Justice Society are tracking a serial killer called the Heartbreak Slayer who targets people who claim to be gods and tears out their hearts. Mr. America has found out his name: Gog. Sound familiar? The Kingdom Come Superman fought a bad guy named Magog, and in the regular DCU, a villain named Gog tried to poison Superman with Kryptonite. Kingdom Come Supes goes to talk with Regular DCU Supes (Ya know what? There’s at least one too many Supermen in this comic), and they end up preventing Gog from killing the Greek demigod (and occasional nemesis of Wonder Woman) Hercules. Herc puts up a fight, and by the time they’ve got him knocked out, Gog has managed to teleport away.

Verdict: Thumbs up, with some concerns. Like I said, there are way too many Supermen running around this joint, which is probably a symptom of the Too-Many-Characters-itis that this comic already suffers from. On the other hand, I love Jakeem Thunder’s introduction to Lightning and her dad, Black Lightning. I also enjoyed Kingdom Come Superman’s reaction to seeing Lois Lane — his version of Lois was killed by the Joker years ago, and he just about loses it.

In other words, the characterizations in this book are great, if only there weren’t so many characters that we never had time to get to know any of the characters…

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Holiday Gift Bag: Ross-apalooza

We’re running short of shopping time before Christmas, so this’ll be our last look at the gift bag for the season. If you’ve got a comics fan on your shopping list, there’s a pretty good chance they already own these next two comics… but if they don’t have ’em yet, it’s a fairly sure bet that they want them.

Alex Ross, a comic-book painter who actually grew up here in Lubbock, has produced a lot of great comics, but these are some of his best.



Ross exploded onto the comics scene in 1994 with “Marvels,” which focused on a newspaper photographer named Phil Sheldon and his views of Marvel’s superheroes. The comic, written by Kurt Busiek, let Sheldon take a front row seat at battles between the Sub-Mariner and the Human Torch, at the Fantastic Four’s epic battle against Galactus, and at the death of Spider-Man’s girlfriend Gwen Stacy.

Sheldon is a bit of a hero-worshipper — he’s constantly frustrated by the cynical view most citizens have of superheroes. In the Marvel Universe, superheroes are celebrities, and they get a lot of celebrity media coverage. One week, everyone loves the Fantastic Four and loves the fairy-tale wedding of Reed Richards and Sue Storm — the next week, everyone hates ’em and thinks they made up the battle against Galactus to boost their Q-ratings. Sheldon sees the heroes, a bit unrealistically, as the greatest, most noble people in the world, and public reaction to heroes drives him up the wall. But he’s also dead terrified of mutants, and in the best chapter of the book, he has to confront his own prejudices about mutants when his daughters meet and befriend a mutant on the run.

The artwork Ross produced was certainly a revelation for folks used to normal comic book art. There’s no painted-on spandex here — the clothing is realistically rendered, with wrinkles, folds, and everything. Faces are just gorgeous, expressive and realistic. And the lighting — Ross understands light sources, and some of his most beautiful paintings — the Silver Surfer reflecting blasts of fire, mutant-hunting Sentinels hovering over a city at night, Dr. Octopus sitting in a dim jail cell — are so striking solely because he uses lighting effectively and dramatically.

“Marvels” is available in softcover — you should be able to pick it up at your friendly neighborhood comic shop or at your average chain bookstore for about twenty bucks.


Kingdom Come

After “Marvels,” DC really wanted to get Ross on board for a miniseries of their own. So they got him to collaborate with Mark Wait to produce 1996’s “Kingdom Come.” Where “Marvels” was rooted in Marvel’s early comics, “Kingdom Come” focused on a possible apocalyptic future for DC’s heroes. About 20 years in the future, Superman and other superheroes retire as more violent heroes start to take over. The Spectre, foreseeing the end of the world coming soon, takes Norman McCay, a minister (based on Ross’s own father), as his human anchor to help him view the final days and render his judgment.

Just about everyone in the DCU gets some major changes — Batman has to wear an exoskeleton to move, the Flash is a constantly moving blur, Hawkman is a bird-human hybrid, Captain Marvel has been brainwashed by Lex Luthor, etc., etc. The forces are divided between multiple different factions, including Superman’s Justice League, the new violent superheroes, Lex Luthor’s Mankind Liberation Front, and a few others. Every step, no matter how well intentioned, moves everyone closer to the metahuman war prophesied to destroy the world.

“Marvels” is the book with the stronger emotional impact, but “Kingdom Come” is all about epic, world-shattering action. I always find myself comparing it to epic, big-budget, widescreen action movies.

“Kingdom Come” is also available in softcover. It’ll set you back about 15 bones.

And if you’d like something a bit more traditionally Christmasy, you might try to track this next one down.


Superman: Peace on Earth

This is an oversized coffee-table book about Superman trying, with only limited success, to feed all the hungry people in the world. It’s basically a great big, lushly painted Christmas card. Unfortunately, it’s out of print right now, so there’s not much of a chance of you being able to buy this one before the holidays are over.

If you can find ’em, go pick ’em up.

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Kingdom Coming Back?


Justice Society of America #10

The Justice Society is rocked by the appearance of a new, older version of Superman. He’s a dead-ringer for Power Girl’s dead cousin from Earth-2, but he is in fact from Mark Waid and Alex Ross’ very popular “Kingdom Come” comic from a decade or so ago, which Starman identifies as Earth-22. The JSA are well and truly freaked out about him and lock him in their board room, fearing he’s some sort of evil duplicate. Supes and Obsidian have a heart-to-heart, then Supes busts out to go rescue a girl trying to commit suicide.

Verdict: Thumbs up. I’m still not sure that I like the idea of dragging “Kingdom Come” even this close to DC’s continuity, I do like Supes’ characterization a lot. It’s also nice to see Obsidian again, since he hadn’t done more than make single-panel appearances since this series re-launched. Also very awesome: Superman’s flashbacks to his home universe are lushly painted by Alex Ross himself.


Blue Beetle #20

This is a crossover with the Sinestro Corps War storyline going on over in the Green Lantern comics. One of the Sinestro Corps rings decides that Christopher Smith — thuggish biker, mentor to Jaime Reyes, and the former hero named Peacekeeper — should be the next member of the Sinestros, because he’s unknowingly carrying one of the scarabs created by the evil alien empire called the Reach. So Jaime’s stuck trying to fight off someone with all his powers plus the powers of the yellow power rings. Brik, one of the Green Lanterns, shows up to help, but they’re still getting skunked. Is there any way to beat both the scarab and the ring to save the man trapped inside?

The fact is that sales for this comic are way low — like “imminent cancellation” low. But DC knows they’ve got a great character here, and they don’t want to give up on the book — hence, you’ve got Beetle joining the Teen Titans and a crossover with DC’s very popular Sinestro Corps crossover here. Not sure this one is going to do the job — heck, we only get a brief glimpse of Jaime’s family and friends, and his supporting cast are just about the best thing about the comic. Still, “Blue Beetle” is one of DC’s very best comics, and I do hope that you — yes, you — will go pick up a few issues.

Verdict: Thumbs up. Even when it’s not at its best, this comic is very, very good.


Countdown to Mystery #2

In the feature story, the new Dr. Fate battles a demon on the mortal plane and in hell, and in his civilian guise as the homeless Kent Nelson, he gets a job picking up trash at a cheap motel. In the backup story, Darkseid tells Eclipso that it was actually created by the Lord of Apokolips, not by God, and Plastic Man goes off the deep end, attacking his son and teaming up with Woozy Winks to commit crimes.

Verdict: Thumbs down. Thumbs way, way down. The Dr. Fate story is fine, but there are no depths to my loathing of the Plastic Man story. Turning Plas into a supervillain is bad enough — and more than enough to earn the creators my undying hatred from now ’til the heat death of the universe — but revamping Woozy Winks from addled but good-natured doofus to hardened criminal? That’s the thing that really makes me mad. It’s everything that disgusts me about DC’s recent trends of embracing darkness and violence, and just disrespecting their characters and the artists who originally created them. It’s a stupid and self-destructive business strategy, as far as I’m concerned.

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