Ripe Reviews: Kingdom Come by Mark Waid and Alex Ross

Posted: May 6, 2010 by silvertomatoproductions in Comics, Comics Reviews, Tomato Surprise

Hey, guys!

Tomato here, with my first post here on The Scratch Pad! Now, I’m sure you’ve got tons of questions as to why The Comic Book Panel ended so soon, or even what this blog is. I’ve got good news and bad news.  The good news? I’ll answer all of those questions and more soon, especially because they’re part of a larger thing in comics that really needs addressing. The bad news, though, is that those answers will have to wait until next week. Why?

Well…

IT’S MY BIRTHDAY!!!!!! Let’s celebrate below the cut!

I hope I don’t get too nostalgic here. I’m think the other guys will prod me with a sharp stick if I do. I’m pretty sure that was in the contract somewhere. Regardless, let’s take a little trip down memory lane, shall we?

Those of you who stalk me on a regular basis will know how much of a literature nerd I am. I’m an obsessive reader, and the desk in my room is always covered in a smattering of comics, books, and technology. I think the surface of my desk could count as an endangered species. So, luck would have it about two years ago, when I was in a Barnes and Noble with, coincidentally, birthday money to spend, and wheeled past the comic shelves, only to slowly back up.

There were comic shelves? Like, whole shelves? With comics in them? That you could buy? In book form?

At the risk of sounding too dramatic, it was then that the collective muse of comics materialized in front of me, promptly slapping me across the face for being such a freakin’ idiot. But, it wasn’t that simple. Good things are never simple. I knew that I wanted a comic, sure, but there were what seemed like a trillion comics tucked into every square inch of my new-found magical shelves. What to choose? What if I choose something horrible, boring, or confusing? I had no idea who half of these writers were, or who the strange new people plastered on the covers were. And then, it happened.

Cloaked in an eerie green light, gargantuan in stature, and staring directly at me, was the most beautiful, majestic, and awe-inspiring picture of Superman that I’d ever seen. Birthed from dense, canvas-like grease paint, Kal-El, Last Son of Krypton was sizing me up with a callous and unforgiving gaze, defying me not to read this strange book.

And I did. For under ten dollars, this comic was in my hands, spread across

my desk for my eyes to soak in.

I finished it in three days. On the first day, it was strange and new. On the second, it was mystifying. On the third, it padlocked me in iron chains to the glory that was comics, and never let go. But, enough with the nostalgia. Let’s review this comic!

If there’s one word that I’d use to describe Kingdom Come, it would be rifts. Rifts between past and present, God and man, young and old. As time goes on,  these rifts get wider, for better or for worse, and things change.

Things definitely change for Superman, our protagonist, as he abandons Earth after a traumatic experience too scary to spoil. Earth, in turn, abandons him, along with all of the other classic superheroes we’ve grown to love, such as Wonder Woman and Green Lantern. The age of God-like heroes, ready to save anyone and everyone, is over, and a new breed of hero has begun. But this new breed of hero isn’t necessarily kind-hearted or good. To make matters worse, some old villains are ready to worm their way out of the woodwork for one last hurrah. Oh, and did I mention the world is on the very brink of a nuclear war?

In a world that needs heroes more than ever, the good ones are broken, beaten, and grief-stricken, and the rest are corrupt liars and killers. But, there may still be hope. The kingdom can be rebuilt. That’s the great juxtaposition of Kingdom Come. Are heroes perfect? Are heroes necessary? What makes a hero? More importantly, do heroes even exist? And if they do, what do they mean to us, the normal people?

This is not a cover. This is interior art. And you get more than 100 pages of it.

Did I mention the art is absolutely gorgeous? Every page is an Alex Ross masterpiece, and even when a scene is just two people talking, the art looks like it came out of the Renaissance or something. The art is very photo-realistic, but never jarring enough to get in the way of the overall story.

If there’s one qualm I have about Kingdom Come, it’s that, upon a second read, I realized that it’s a bit inaccessible to new readers. When I first read it, there were a few scenes that were slightly confusing to me. However, the main plot-line is easy to follow,  and any small bit of confusion you may have is instantly evaporated once you turn the page, and certainly not enough to spoil the masterpiece that is Kingdom Come.

I hope you enjoyed this little flashback to the good times. As a birthday present, in the comments, I’d like everyone to share comic-related memories of their own! Also, my mom’s birthday is tomorrow, and I’m sure she’d love some birthday greetings!

Join me next week as I explain why The Comic Book Panel died, and try to contain myself as I rant about the current stupidity of the Big Two comic companies when it comes to technology.

See you then!

Tomato

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