There’s no denying that the comic industry from the very late 80s to early 90s is something people try to forget about. With huge guns, heroes which were indistinguishable from the villains, complete removal of the “no kill” policy, a severe artistic licence with physiology and bad writing it was a mess. While I’ll be the first to defend those which were genuinely good, there was no denying there was little in terms of quality storytelling. The end result of this was Kingdom Come which served as a savage denouncement and deconstruction of the characters of this Dark Age. One which was surprisingly even handed despite everything.
The story is of a dark near future in which things have gone horribly wrong. Superman and many of the classic heroes have disappeared, fading away into seclusion allowing for a newer much more violent generation to rise without the guidance of their elders. Turning on one another after they have seemingly exterminated all supervillains, without any care for who gets caught in the crossfire. After an engagement in Kansas wipes out everything living there, Superman is forced out of retirement determined to safeguarding the world once more.The first thing toreally credit here is that absolutely everything driven by characterisationclicks into place. Usually with Elseworlds or big events there’s the problem inwhich you need to have someone act out of character or like an idiot to get theball rolling (Civil War anyone?) butin this everything works. Events like having Superman leave due to the publicembracing the ideals he has decried for decades is something which feelsentirely in character and why the public would support them is understandable.After all if you had a killer clown repeatedly breaking out of a mental asylumeach week, killing hundreds only to be put back inside again, wouldn’t yousupport the person who permentatly took him down? Even when the story goes sofar to have the president order a nuclear strike dropped on a battle, it’sclearly a hard choice he does not want to make and never manages to demonisethe government itself for this act. Something remarkable considering just howmany big names die in that blast.