Best Shots Extra: Kingdom Come Special: The Kingdom

Best Shots Extra: The Kingdom

Justice Society of America | Kingdom Come Special: The Kingdom

Written by: Geoff Johns

Art by: Fernando Pasarin

Published by: DC Comics

The Kingdom is the third one-shot spinning out of the pages of Justice Society setting up the epic and thematic sequel to DC’s “Kingdom Come” miniseries. (Question: if they are all linked, are they really “one-shots?”)

In case you missed the past two looks we’ve given this series, here’s how things are shaping up:

A god, Gog, from the Third World has awoken in the DCU. Having slept right through the Fourth World (that would be the Kirbyverse currently being detonated in the pages of Final Crisis), Gog wastes no time in traipsing across the land, bestowing “gifts” and dispensing divine justice. In so doing, he has cleaved the Justice Society in two, splitting the group between those who believe Gog’s mission is one of sweetness and light and those who wonder what the price tag will be.

Since I warned you last time that this will all end in tears, it’s not really a spoiler to reveal that things go off the rails in this penultimate chapter. It’s also not a shock that this book is the best written of the trio. In fact, of all the books in this slim series, this is the only one that could be considered essential to figuring out what’s going on.

With this issue, Johns is finally wrapping up the strands of a story that dates back to the first issue of the title. As Mark Waid and Alex Ross did in Kingdom Come, Johns is exploring group psychology, just using superheroes instead of ordinary humans. Where the question at the heart of “Kingdom Come” was: What happens when the young outstrip their elders and their society?; in the “Kingdom,” Johns’ question is a bit more subtle: What happens when a school collapses?

Johns has uncanny timing. Kingdom Come dropped in the go-go 90s, where young turks ruled. In these no-go oughts, the fall-out of that the Justice Society is confronting, is, as they used to say in those Kirby books, “ripped from the headlines.” The JSA — like all of us — are finding out that nothing is for free, particularly not “gods” bearing gifts.

Now, if this also reminds you of another superhero school’s soap operatics — the X-Men, particularly under Grant Morrison’s stewardship— I believe that’s intentional. Johns has made his career out of refiguring old heroes for the 21st century, so it makes sense that he would try and move the young B-listers to that same place of tension. Just as Morrison did at Marvel, Johns is trying to shake up the kids, moving them away from cardboard cutouts and “legacy” clones, into being full-fledged characters.

Fernando Pasarin’s art is greatly helped by Hi-Fi’s colouring, and works well on this issue, with one (literally) killer panel on the last page. I still find his faces too blocky for my taste, and I don’t think he’s real good at drawing younger characters, but he does a mean Gog, in both senses of the word.

One hint for folks who enjoy spoilers: I’d keep an eye on Starman’s new job… especially in light of an event coming up in Johns’ other books. If my guess is correct, some readers may soon have the sense they’ve seen this all before.

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