Review: JSA: Kingdom Come Special – Superman

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Can’t let it die, can you?

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The readership seems to be divided on the return of the Earth-22 Superman.  Some are in favor of the continuing adventures of the Kingdom Come storyline, even though the original follow up series tanked, while others are content with reliving the glory days in Absolute Editions.  With the return of Magog, and E22 Superman, is DC trying to repeat the events from one universe to the other?

kcsuperman1cover.jpgWho would have guessed old people could be so emo.  E22 Superman has been moping about the Justice Society Hall since his return, reluctant to get involved in everything that is going on, because A) he’s the last of his universe, and B) he’s upset about the events that are unfolding on Earth Prime.

Is it just me, or is E22 Superman a bit confused?  He’s claiming he’s the sole survivor of his universe, yet Starman is hanging out in the same room.  Talk about snubbing one of your friends… geesh.

When Cyclone asks what happens, he’s a tad reluctant to tell the story, but when he does, we discover that E22 Superman never reached the final chapter of the story we know so well.  Instead it was the nuclear blast that brought him to Earth Prime. He never had the chance to take his anger out on the United Nations, and he didn’t come to his senses when he was talked down by Norman McCay.

E22 Superman does remember his first encounter with McCay, so Cyclone suggests E22 Superman look on the NSA/JSA database to see if an Earth Prime Norman McCay exists, as he might be able to give him some guidance.  The thought of a JSA/NSA database that contains information about everyone in the planet is a bit disturbing, don’t you think?

More than anything, E22 Superman is upset over the loss of his wife, who died when the Joker attacked the Daily Planet of his Universe.  Throughout the remainder of the issue, we see a similar attack on the Daily Planet as a means of drawing Superman out.  It’s all set up by Lex Luthor, and even though the attack backfires, it does cause E22 Superman to become even more mopey.  Through a conversation with Lois Lane, Superman does recount the real story of how his Lois died.  There’s even a great line when Lois asks him why he doesn’t go by Clark anymore, to which he replies, “Clark died the day she died, and he will never return.”

This one-shot is written and illustrated by Alex Ross.  If you’re going to do a follow up to the follow up, then he’s the guy to mastermind it.  While I like finding out more about the Kingdom Come universe, and the missing chapter on the attack on the Daily Planet, I’m ultimately let down by the story.  Like many one-shots and tie-ins we’ve seen released by DC this year, this could have been told in the pages of JSA as a continuation of the Gog/Magog story.  Instead, this tale is rather open ended with E22’s closing remarks, and sets us up for two other one-shot issues set to release over the next couple of weeks; JSA: Magog #1 and JSA: The Kingdom #1.  Yes, more Kingdom Come stories that could probably be told in the pages of JSA.

While I haven’t read the other two issues yet, I have a feeling all three of these stories could have been merged together into an 80-page giant JSA Annual.   As a one-shot, don’t expect to find a whole lot of extra pages.  The story itself is 23 pages, while the rest of the issue is filled with pencil sketches, and annotations by Ross.  This is nice content, but to add it in and charge $3.99 for content that would have cost $2.99 had it been part of the regular JSA series is off-putting.

I always like Alex Ross’ art and layouts, and when he writes his own stories everything comes together nicely.  I’m not sure we really need more Kingdom Come stories at this point, as everything that needed to be said seems to have already been done over a decade ago.  As much as I like the issue, the cost and fact this could have been part of a JSA Annual are huge letdowns.  I’m giving JSA: Kingdom Come Special – Superman 3 out of 5 Stars.

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38/38