Kingdom Come #2 Annotations
(updated 18 December 2000)
[Annotator's Note: the page number in parentheses is the page number of the bound edition; I've retained the original numbering of the separate issues]
Front Row: Hawkman, Green Lantern, Power Woman, Superman, Norman McCay, Wonder Woman.
Second Row: Flash III, Aquaman II, Red Arrow, Red Robin, Donna Troy.
Third Row: Aleea Strange, Midnight, Captain Comet, Brainiac's Daughter, Robotman III, Golden Guardian, Hourman III, Tornado, Ray II.
Last Row: Red Tornado I, Lady Marvel, King Marvel, Human Bomb, Whiz, Bulletman, Bulletgirl, Starman VIII, Powerman, Sandman IV, Red Tornado III, Living Doll, Avia, Atlas, Atom-Smasher.
Unless noted otherwise by quotation marks the names of the new characters, and new names for old characters, have been confirmed by Waid and Ross at various store signings and conventions.
The card set says this about Hawman: "combining the spirit of the old with the other-worldly flesh of the new."
The card set says this about Green Lantern I: "merging his lantern into his armor, Alan Scott is the most powerful champion of that name." (Thus putting to an end the long-running debate of the identity of the Kingdom Come Green Lantern)
Power Woman is the adult, Kingdom Come version of the heroine Power Girl, formerly a cousin to Superman. Michael Starsinic notes that she is wearing her old, pre-Crisis/Zero Hour-style belt buckle; in current DC continuity she wears a belt buckle with an Atlantean motif, the starburst symbol of her grandfather, the Atlantean mage Arion. The card set describes Power Woman as "formerly Power Girl, and still a major superhuman wrecking machine." The Kingdom Come Revelations supplement adds the following:
The card set says this about Norman McCay: "a preacher and the Spectre's human anchor."
Flash III is described in the card set as "emanating from the Speed Force, Wally West fights crime 24 hours every day at super-speed." (Thus putting to an end the long-running debate as to the identity of the Kingdom Come Flash). The Revelations supplement adds this:
As we'll find out (on page 33 (91) below), Aquaman II is actually Garth, the former Aqualad, who worked as the sidekick to Aquaman I. Aquaman II is described in the card set as "formerly Aqualad, now inheritor of his mentor's mantle." The Revelations supplement adds this:
Red Arrow is actually Roy Harper, formerly Speedy, the sidekick to Oliver Queen, and currently seen as Arsenal. The card set describes him this way: "formerly Speedy, and later Arsenal, now following more closely the methods of his mentor, Green Arrow." The Revelations supplement adds this:
Red Robin is Dick Grayson, formerly Robin, the sidekick to The Batman. The card set describes Red Robin as "formerly Nightwing, Dick Grayson, the original Robin, is following in his mentor's footsteps again."
Donna Troy used to be Wonder Girl, the sidekick to Wonder Woman. The card set says this about her: "formerly Wonder Girl, Troia and Darkstar, now an Amazonian champion." The Revelations supplement says this about her:
Aleea Strange is the daughter of Adam Strange, a DC space hero, and Alanna Strange (Adam's wife, who has never had a patronymic or matronymic suname of her own) of the planet Rann. The card set calls Aleea Strange the "half-human, half-alien daughter of Adam Strange and Alanna Strange." Someone whose name I've since lost pointed out that Ross has wonderfully incorporated into Aleea Strange's helmet the design of the helmet of Gary Concord, the Ultra-Man, who appeared in All-Star Comics #1-3, back in 1940. Gary Concord is just another of the incredibly obscure characters to whom Messrs. Waid and Ross pay tribute in this series. The Revelations supplement says the following about Aleea Strange:
Midnight is the Kingdom Come version of the Golden Age hero Dr. Mid-Nite. The card set describes him as "a spirit manifesting itself as a living smoke cloud." The Revelations supplement says this about him:
Captain Comet was a mutant space hero for DC during the 1950s (years before the more famous mutant heroes the X-Men were a gleam in Stan Lee's eye). The card set describes the Kingdom Come Captain Comet as a "former L.E.G.I.O.N. member and the first superhero of the Silver Age." The Revelations supplement says this about him:
Brainiac's Daughter (informally known as XTC) is a new character here. The card set describes her as "the living computer's human progeny, and ancestor of Brainiac 5." David Goldfarb, Bill Jennings and David J. Snyder also note that the alternate name of Brainiac's Daughter, "XTC," is a nod to prog-pop band XTC, who recorded the songs "That's Really Super, Supergirl" and "Brainiac's Daughter" (the latter under the pseudonym The Dukes of Stratosphear). The Revelations supplement says this about her: "As silly as it sounds, this character is the combination of two songs by one of my favorite groups, XTC: "That's Really Super, Supergirl" and "Brainiac's Daughter." Apparently people assumed that her origin was from the coupling of old-time Legion lovebirds Brainiac 5 and Supergirl, and so, never having answered this question before myself, I'll go along with this idea. This also suggests that she...has traveled back in time from the 30th Century."
Robotman III is a future version of the Teen Titan Cyborg. The card set says this about him: "Victor Stone, formerly Cyborg, now an organism made of liquid metal." The Revelations supplement adds
Golden Guardian is a future version of the DC hero The Guardian; the character's name was originally, in the Golden Age, the Guardian, but during Jack Kirby's run on Jimmy Olsen, back in the early 1970s, the character was brought back as the Golden Guardian. The card set describes the Golden Guardian as the "second body cloned from the original Golden Age shield-bearer, the Guardian." (Lest anyone be confused by this, Captain America predated the Guardian by over a year) The Revelations supplement adds the following:
Hourman III is the Kingdom Come version of the former Justice Society hero Hourman. The card set describes Hourman III as the "current inheritor of the mantle with none of the time limits the original Hourman had." The KC Revelations supplement adds that
The Tornado is the Kingdom Come version of the former Justice League hero Red Tornado, a heroic android who later became a sort of air elemental; he was last seen in the pages of Primal Force. The card set describes the Kingdom Come Tornado as the "reformed spirit of the Tornado Champion." The Tornado Champion was a pre-Crisis being who fought Adam Strange, changed sides to become a hero, and then aided the Justice League against Kanjar Ro; the Tornado Champion inhabited the body of the Red Tornado and gave him his powers. The Revelations supplement adds the following:
Ray II is the Kingdom Come version of the current DC hero the Ray, who is the son of the GA hero Ray. The card set says this about him: "son of the original, and Lord of Light." The Revelations supplement adds this about him:
In one of those strokes of genius that only true keepers of the obscure, arcane, and trivial can appreciate, Waid and Ross have included here a futuristic version of Red Tornado I--that is, the first Red Tornado, the one who was going to be a member of the JSA until her pants tore. The first Red Tornado, back in 1939, was Ma Hunkle, who grew disaffected with the crime in her neighborhood and put on a costume (which included a soup pot as a helmet) and fought crime. The card set describes Red Tornado I as "armored with more than a pot for a helmet." The Revelations supplement says this:
Lady Marvel is the grown-up, Kingdom Come version of Mary Marvel, the Fawcett heroine who was the younger sister of Billy Batson (aka Captain Marvel) and who shared his power. The Revelations supplement adds this about Lady Marvel:
King Marvel is the grown-up, Kingdom Come version of Captain Marvel, Jr., the Fawcett hero who shared the power of Captain Marvel.
Human Bomb is the Kingdom Come version of the Golden Age hero. The card set calls him "still the same combustible hero of old."
Whiz is a new character. The card set describes him as the "son of Lady and King Marvel, and natural inheritor of the power of Shazam." "WHIZ" are also the call letters of the radio station at which Billy Batson, the human identity of Captain Marvel, worked, as well as the name of the magazine in which Captain Marvel first appeared. Tony Pi points out that Whiz's lightning motif and costume colors indicate the connection with Shazam. The Revelations supplement says this about Whiz:
Bulletman and Bulletgirl were heroes from the Fawcett line of comics, the same company that published Captain Marvel in the 1940s; Bulletman (but not Bulletgirl, unfortunately) was recently introduced into DC continuity in the Power of Shazam book. The card set describes both Bulletman and Bulletgirl as "modern steel-coated human bullet." The Revelations supplement says this:
Starman VIII was formerly Thom Kallor, Star Boy, of the Legion of Superheroes. The card set describes him this way: "formerly Star Boy, from the 30th century." The Revelations supplement adds the following:
Powerman is described in the card as the "robot minion of Superman."
Sandman IV is described in the card set as "formerly Sandy the Golden Boy, who now doesn't age." Sandy the Golden Boy was the Golden Age sidekick to Sandman I. Sandman IV is visually based on the Garrett Sanford Sandman (Sandman II), who was created during the 1970s by Jack Kirby in a memorable, if short-lived, series; the character was also brought into mainstream DC continuity, first in the pages of Infinity, Inc and more recently in the new Sandman book.
Red Tornado III is described in the card set as the "fire-haired, wind-manipulating successor to the mantle." Ray Randell points out that, according to Ross, Red Tornado III is the protegé of Tornado. A number of people noted Red Tornado III's visual and power similarities to the current DC character Maxima. The Revelations supplement says this:
Living Doll is described in the card set as "daughter of Doll Man and Doll Girl," who were heroes during the Golden Age in the pages of Feature Comics.
Avia is described in the card set as "Big Barda and Mister Miracle's daughter." Mister Miracle and Big Barda are both DC heroes and Fourth World gods; Avia's parentage is reflected in her costume, which is a combination of the costumes of Scott Free (Mister Miracle) and Big Barda. Thad Doria and David Goldfarb also noted that the name of the wife of Izaya Highfather, the mother of Mr. Miracle, was "Avia." The Revelations supplement says this about Avia:
Atlas is described in the card set as "legendary demigod figure." Atlas was a Jack Kirby character introduced in First Issue Special #1, back in 1975, and has not been seen since.
Atom-Smasher is described in the card set as "formerly Nuklon, godson of the original Atom." As Scott Casteel, among others, pointed out, Atom-Smasher has a costume somewhat similar to the Golden Age Atom's. The Revelations supplement adds that
John B. Sterner III echoes a number of people's observations in pointing out the lighting on the cover; all of the characters are lit from below on each cover except for the Spectre on the cover of issue #1 and Norman McCay on the cover of this issue. This, as John and many other folks pointed out, obviously means something; there have been a number of conflicting interpretations as to the reason for this effect.
Page 1 (59). We've seen this image before, as a prepublication publicity poster from DC. It takes on a more ominous meaning now that we have a context in which to put it.
The quotations here are from the Bible--the book of Revelation, once again: 8:2, 8:3, 8:5, and 8:6.
As Michael Cavanagh points out, this is a nice visual foreshadowing of page 5 (63); the Justice League members in McCay's vision here are flying through the flames of the torch of the Statue of Liberty. And as Dean Velasco points out, this quote leaves the implication that the seven angels are the seven Justice League members we see on page 5 (63).
Page 3 (61). The figure ranting and raving atop the damaged Statue of Liberty is the Americommando. Most familiar to modern readers as the penultimate villain in the DC Elseworlds series The Golden Age, the Americommando debuted in Action Comics #1 as Tex Thomson, who traveled the world with his sidekick Bob Daley, fighting crime and encountering the bizarre and grotesque. In Action Comics #33 Tex put on a domino mask, took up a whip, and began fighting crime and costumed criminals (including a Chinese cyclops named Gorrah) as Mr. America; in Action Comics #54 Mr. America went behind enemy lines and fought the Nazis as the Americommando. The Americommando returned to America in Action Comics #74 and was not seen again until brief cameos in All-Star Squadron, thirty years later. Although Mr. America and the Americommando were somewhat colorless and two-dimensional characters, little in those adventures indicated that Tex Thomson would become the fascist seen here, although as Johanna Draper points out this might well be a commentary by Messrs Waid and Ross about the changing view of America in the world's eyes, or simply the changing nature of America's view towards the world itself.
His assistants, the Minutemen, were not a part of Tex Thomson's original entourage. However, the original, Golden Age Hourman had three sidekicks who were named the Minutemen, which may be what Waid and Ross are referring to here. As a few people pointed out, it is also, more likely, another reference to The Watchmen; the Minutemen were the WW2 heroes group in that miniseries. Sean MacDonald points out that it might also be a reference to the patriotic Fawcett hero the Minuteman. A 1970s right-wing terrorist group also bore the name "The Minutemen." The Revelations supplement adds this about the Minutemen:
The Americommando's costume here seems quite similar (to me, at least) to that of Judge Dredd, the stern, take-no-nonsense futuristic British lawman. Neil Barnes adds that Dredd's Mega-City One is on the East Coast of the old US, and still features the Statue of Liberty - but Mega-City One's Statue of Liberty is over-shadowed by a larger statue of a judge, the Statue of Justice. Michael Denton sees some of Erik Larsen's Superpatriot in Americommando's costume. The Revelations supplement says this:
The familiar phrases in the Americommando's speech--"wretched refuse," "poor, tired, huddled masses"--are cobbled from the famous speech by Emma Lazarus which is engraved on the inscription of the Statue of Liberty: "Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore, Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed, to me: I lift my lamp beside the golden door."
Note the graffiti on the Statue of Liberty; that seems quite in keeping with Lobo's characterization. Also, as Brad Lile astutely noticed, the Statue seems to have had her heart torn out--more symbolism.
Juice Fritzius points out that the Minuteman in panel 3 has a tied-on goatee.
The Waid/Ross Annotations point out the presence of a Daily Planet newscopter.
Page 4 (62). The three figures parachuting into battle against the Americommando are based on characters who are, if anything, even more obscure than Red Tornado I; they are futuristic versions of, respectively, Red Dugan, Whitey Smith, and Blooey Blue - otherwise known as Red, White and Blue, agents of G-2, Military Intelligence. Red, White and Blue's first appearance was in All-Star Comics #1; they were regulars in that magazine until edged out by a bunch of nobodies known as the Justice Society of America. More obscure than Red, White and Blue it may not be possible to go (unless it's Sandra of the Secret Service).
Waid's script for this panel reads as follows:
The Revelations supplement adds this:
Page 5 (63). Enter the new Justice League. From the top, the Ray II, Wonder Woman, Hawkman, Superman, Power Woman, Green Lantern I, and Flash III.
The Flash has never had the ability to fly, but Johnny Quick did. Too, like Mort Meskin's Johnny Quick, the Kingdom Come Flash III has the appearance of being in several places at once.
Page 6 (64). As a few people (Chris Blakeley and Jonathan Woodward among them) have pointed out, Flash III and the Lantern are smiling at each other in panel 3; this could be pleasure at working together again, as well as an homage to the friendship which has traditionally existed between these two characters, or simply a sign of their pleasure at not having to work in the shadows any more. Waid's script for this panel reads
Neil Hogan notes that the S insignia is now gone from Superman's cape.
Page 7 (65). The Brain Trust seen here being knocked out by the Red Robin--whose costume, as Alex Ross pointed out in an interview, is a mix of the traditional costumes of Robin and The Batman--are new characters; the Waid/Ross Annotations credit their design to Tony Akins. The Americommando mentioned them on page 3 (61), panel 4, and their comments here would seem to indicate that they are the ones in control of the Minutemen, rather than the Americommando.
As Melody Womack, among others, pointed out, Red Robin's boots, lack of outside trunks, and cowl-modeling suggest that his costume is based on the Michael Keaton movie version of The Batman. And Marilee & The Redheads point out that Robin's symbol is a combination of a bird silhouette and a stylized "R."
The Revelations supplement says this about Red Robin:
Page 8 (66). Hawkman's taloned feet, clearly visible (for the first time in the series) in panel 1, are another indication that he has truly become a hawk-man.
Several people, Michael Denton among them, have noted that two of the Minutemen are dressed like George Washington and Abraham Lincoln.
Page 9 (67). The U.N. Building which the Justice League is headed for, in panel 4, was seen on page 6 (16) of issue #1; its model is the Hall of Justice, from the Superfriends tv cartoon. Waid's script for this panel reads
This will become significant in issue 4.
As Jonathan Woodward notes, the "red glare" referred to in the first caption of panel 1 is likely a reference to the American national anthem; Michael Grabois notes that it's a double reference, for the national anthem as well as Superman's heat vision.
Page 10 (68). Superman's word balloons have a heavier black outline than any of the other characters; this is subtly effective, to me, in conveying the force and impact of his statements, as well as the symbolic weight of his words and his presence.
What the Justice League is proposing to do here, take charge, "if necessary, with force," of the rogue vigilantes and metahumans, is somewhat similar to the events of the Squadron Supreme miniseries that Marvel published in 1985, where the Squadron Supreme (who were themselves analogues for the Justice League of America) were forced to assume control of the United States after a prolonged series of bad events. The Squadron's efforts came to a sorry end; we will find out if the Kingdom Come Justice League's attempt at enforcing order is similarly doomed. (David Goldfarb points out that the Squadron's Batman analogue, Nighthawk, gathered together a group of villains to oppose the Squadron, and ended up defeating them in a climactic battle in another parallel between Kingdom Come and the Squadron Supreme miniseries. In my view, however, these parallels are limited, and Squadron Supreme is much the lesser of the two series)
As Michael Cavanagh points out, the reporter's phrase "the second coming of Superman" reinforces the Superman-Christ connection. Thad Doria notes that Roger Stern introduced the notion of a religion, in the DC Universe, claiming that Superman was the second coming of Christ.
Page 11 (69). Phil Sheldon, from the miniseries Marvels, makes an appearance in panel 1.
The reporter's words, in panel 2, provide a foreshadowing of the news we are to see later in this issue: why Superman left Metropolis and retreated into his Fortress of Solitude. The Waid/Ross Annotations point out that the reporter is holding a Daily Planet microphone.
Note the name of the Secretary General of the UN, in panel 6: "Wyrmwood." A "wyrm" is a snake, or dragon; wormwood is a plant which yields a bitter oil, and means "something bitter or grievous." Worse still, in the book of Revelation we find:
It seems highly likely that Secretary General Wyrmwood will be playing an unpleasant role in the events to come. Kevin Maroney adds that "Chernobyl" means "wormwood" in Russian.
Page 12 (70). The red sunset and cityscape in panel 3 give the impression of a nuclear explosion, with the cityscape being the ruined buildings left standing in the explosion's aftermath. This puts an ominous twist on the Spectre's words about McCay's "prophetic dreams."
Page 13 (71). Superman is flying into Stately Wayne Manor, home of Millionaire Bruce Wayne, otherwise known as The Batman. As Superman descends into the Batcave beneath Wayne Manor, however, we see that time has not treated the Manor or the Batcave well. Waid's script for this panel reads:
Alex Ross has put the date on the giant penny at 1937, which it was originally, in the penny's first appearance in the Golden Age, rather than at 1902, which it became in later stories.
Note the bulletholes in the wall beside the famous grandfather clock in panel 2. Craig Kostelecky, in the Wizard article on Kingdom Come, says that the hands on the grandfather clock are stopped minutes before "the eleventh hour," which is an allusion to the final confrontation in issue 4.
In panel 3 we can see two models of the Bat Knights seen in issue 1 of Kingdom Come.
In panel 4 we see several of the familiar Batcave artifacts: the giant penny, the T-Rex robot, and the Joker's giant playing card; in the right foreground we see another Bat Knight and in a grotto in the left background we can just make out what looks like the Batplane.
Superman's walking on the water of the flooded Batcave in panel 5 is still another indication of the Superman-Christ connection.
The Waid/Ross Annotations note the presence of the 1950s Batmobile.
Page 14 (72). Enter The Batman. He may not be wearing the cowl now, and is confined to some sort of mobile life-support system, but Bruce Wayne was never much more than a disguise for the Batman, even more than Clark Kent was a cypher for Superman. Now, with his mansion destroyed and his public identity revealed, Bruce Wayne seems to have disappeared altogether, leaving only The Batman.
Note the "Bruce" mug by Batman's left arm; we don't see Alfred (Bruce Wayne's faithful butler) here, but that seems a very Alfred-esque touch.
Note also the liver spots on Batman's left hand.
Bane and Two-Face, mentioned in panel 2, are two of Batman's worst enemies. Two-Face, formerly Assistant DA Harvey Dent, is dominated by a dualistic, good-evil compulsion, while Bane is the villain who broke The Batman's back in a much-publicized series a few years ago. Although they seemingly destroyed Wayne Manor, they weren't enough to stop The Batman. As Michael Denton points out, the life-support system is reminiscent of Darth Vader's in the Return of the Jedi. Craig Kostelecky quotes Mark Waid saying, "As Alex and I envisioned it, even though this guy had one of the most perfect bodies on Earth, he put it through so much abuse over the years that it just broke down and shattered."
Batman is obviously keeping track of Gotham City from his control center here. We get several views of Gotham City from his command post, and we can see several of the new Bat Knights lined up in the background.
Note, in the lower right hand screen in panel 3, the grinning face of The Batmite, a mischievous imp who bedeviled The Batman for many years during the 1950s.
According to Superman and the Batman, Arkham Asylum, Belle Reve Prison, and Blackgate were blown up by "Genosyde." Genosyde is a new character here; Arkham Asylum is where the criminally insane supervillains of DC Comics, which include almost all of The Batman's Rogues Gallery, are sent; Belle Reve Prison was the major holding facility for supervillains in DC Comics, and was the Louisiana home for the anti-hero group the Suicide Squad; and thanks to Chris Eckert I now know that Blackgate is where Gotham sends its "sane" criminals. The upshot of this exchange, however, is that The Batman clearly doesn't have to worry about most of his Rogues Gallery any more...
Page 15 (73). The Bat Knights can fly, and, appropriately, they form giant bats as they patrol Gotham, rather than giant birds or hawks.
One further Biblical allusion is The Batman's statement that "right now, the metahumans have the keys to earth's kingdom." Which is, I'm certain, a deliberate reference to Matthew 16:19, in which Jesus says to Simon Peter, "And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatsoever thou shalt bind on Earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on Earth shall be loosed in heaven." Batman's stated ambition to wrest control of the "keys to earth's kingdom" shows either vaulting ambition or frightening hubris, or both.
Dave Stein points out that this sequence, with Batman giving orders to the patrolling Bat Knights, is almost an exact copy of a scene in a Darkwing Duck episode. Go figure.
Page 16 (74). Batman and Superman debate Batman's methods here, in much the same way that the regulars of the Usenet newsgroup Rec.Arts.Comics.DC.Universe debated the Batman's methods after the publication of the first issue of Kingdom Come. I'd judge the discussion here a draw.
Superman's comment--"You're willing to turn ordinary citizens into a superstitious, cowardly lot"--is ironic, hearkening back to Bruce Wayne's words, in Batman #1: "Criminals are a superstitious, cowardly lot, so my disguise must be able to strike terror into their hearts. I must be a creature of the night, black, terrible...a...a...A Bat!"
The two Bat Knights guarding the stairway leading from the Batcave up to the light may be a reference to the lair of the jackal-headed Egyptian god Anubis, who was the guardian of tombs and who judged the dead, and whose underworldly headquarters' entrance was guarded by two jackal-headed figures, in much the same way that the Bat Knights stand guard over the entrance to the Batcave. Batman, in this light, can be seen as an analogue for Anubis, which might imply that where Superman is symbolically looking towards and planning for the future, the Batman is concerned with keeping the past alive.
Michael Denton notes that there is a Christian tradition that Jesus descended into the underworld after his death to minister to saints sent their prior to his birth. In this light, and given the equation of Superman with Christ throughout Kingdom Come, that would make Batman less of an anti-hero and more of a tarnished hero in need of redemption.
Batman's comments here about his allies is a foreshadowing of the coming, apocalyptic conflict; we can see the outline of his allies in that same panel.
Bat-Mite is visible, as Chris Eckert caught, in panels 4 and 5, spying on the proceedings.
Peter Li points out that one of the screens in panel 4 shows the lamppost in Crime Alley where Bruce's parents were killed. Scott Rogers notes that the head of the original, 1930s-style Batmobile is visible in panel 4, as is the Wayne Foundation (Batman's home and hq in the late 1960s and early 1970s).
Johanna Draper notes that the "Star City" mentioned by The Batman here is where the hero Green Arrow was originally located.
The Revelations supplement has this to say about Batman:
Page 17 (75). Enter three of The Batman's allies, all heroes: Ted Kord (the Blue Beetle II), Dinah Lance (Black Canary II), and her lover Oliver Queen (Green Arrow).
Ted Kord's characterization here, as a knowledgeable scientist, is a welcome change from the more recent Keith Giffen Justice League Blue Beetle, which portrayed Ted Kord as something of a ninny. Kord's appearance, as a bespectacled man going slightly to pot, is somewhat similar to the appearance of the Nite Owl, in The Watchmen, who was in turn originally based on the Charlton Comics Blue Beetle. Kord's weight was also a feature of the Justice League Blue Beetle.
Oliver Queen's appearance here has evoked comparisons to Sean Connery and Patrick Stewart; the traditional Green Arrow has always had a full head of hair, but the balding Kingdom Come Green Arrow seems pretty clearly based on Frank Miller's version of the hero in The Dark Knight Returns miniseries.
The Revelations supplement has this to say about Oliver & Dinah Lance Queen:
The lineup of The Batman's allies is as follows, reading left to right, top to bottom:
First Row: Fate (the Kingdom Come version of the DC mystic, hero, and Lord of Order Dr. Fate), Lightning (obscured by panel three; she was last seen in issue #1), and Samurai, who we'll see more of later. (Credit must be given to David Goldfarb for catching the latter two figures).
Second Row: Plastic Man (according to the Waid/Ross Annotations), Wildcat III (the Kingdom Come version of the Golden Age hero Wildcat), Obsidian (son of the Golden Age Green Lantern and the Golden Age villainess Thorn, and brother to the heroine Jade - the KC Green Lantern VI), Black Canary III (as we'll see, the daughter of Dinah Queen and Oliver Queen), Condor (the Kingdom Come version of the GA hero Black Condor), and Red Hood.
Third Row: Ralph Dibny (kudos to Chris Eckert and Thad Doria for i.d.ing him), Zatara II (the grandson of the Golden Age sorcerer Zatara, and son of the current heroine Zatanna), Green Lantern VI (aka Jade, the daughter of the Golden Age villainess Thorn and the Golden Age Green Lantern, Alan Scott, and inheritor of his power), Batwoman II (along with Ace II, who is based on Batman's canine companion during the 1950s), Menagerie (the Kingdom Come version of the Teen Titans hero Garfield Logan, aka Changeling), and Dragon (who we'll see more of later).
As Dave Van Domelen, among others, has pointed out, Wildcat III's new "costume" might be a physical transformation into a cat-man, similar to Hawkman's transformation into a bird-man.
Note the Bat-mite spying on The Batman behind his chair in panel 1 and in the lower right of Panel 4.
Page 18 (76). Panel 2 shows Batman and Superman in scenes quite similar to the covers of their debuts, in Detective #27 and Action #1, respectively. And as Chris Blakeley pointed out, the scene featuring Wonder Woman in panel 3 is very reminiscent of the cover of Wonder Woman #1; although on that cover Wonder Woman is wielding her lasso, rather than the spear seen here. David Goldfarb points out that Wonder Woman here is in her old, Golden Age costume--single-pointed tiara, no loincloth, and eagle chest insignia--an outfit which she has never worn in current continuity.
The Spectre refers here to Wonder Woman as "Eternal Princess of the Amazons," a statement which will take on more significance later in this issue.
As Norman McCay says, it is indeed "hard to tell" if they are friends. Pre-Crisis, they were best of friends, but post-Crisis they only respected each other. It's hard for characters to keep this straight, but harder still for long-time comic book readers.
Page 19 (77). More recruits join the new Justice League: from left to right, we see the Ray II, Flash III, Power Woman, Superman, Wonder Woman, Donna Troy (who is referred to in Waid's script as "Wonder Girl"), the Golden Guardian, Red Robin, Robotman III, Hawkman, Green Lantern I, and Midnight.
The hand-holding between Wonder Woman and Donna Troy, her former sidekick, is a very nice touch.
Note that Superman is shaking hands with the Golden Guardian, the futuristic version of the Golden Age hero The Guardian. The Guardian was created by Jack Kirby as a thinly-veiled imitation of the Marvel character Captain America, who Kirby also created (along with Joe Simon--thanks to Keith Baird for correcting my mistake here). Since Superman and Captain America are both apotheoses of the heroic ideal, it's nice to see them grouped together, and their obvious pleasure at meeting each other. As Gregg Allinson points out, in the post-Crisis DC Universe both the Guardian and Superman operated in Metropolis, and teamed up on several occasions, so that perhaps Superman is greeting an old friend here.
Note also the grouping of Hawkman, Green Lantern I, and Midnight, all former members of the GA DC superhero group the Justice Society of America.
Panel 2 shows us the new Justice League in combat: Hawkman, Green Lantern I, Superman, and Flash III, in combat against Red Tornado III (seen on the cover of issue #2), Phoebus (last seen in issue #1), Starman VIII, and Brainiac's Daughter (seen on the cover of issue #2).
Jim Cowling points out that Starman VIII seems to be able to hurt Flash III without any visible power effects; this is, as he noted, close to the gravity-wielding powers of the Legion of Super Heroes Star Boy, as is the Kingdom Come Starman's costume.
Page 20 (78). More combat in panel 1: Starman VIII, Red Tornado III, Superman, Hawkman, Green Lantern I, Phoebus, Red Robin, Brainiac's Daughter, and Flash III fighting three new characters: Buzzbot (designed by Aldrin Aw), Doc Smog (designed by Andrew Kudelka), and Horny Toad (who will show up again in issue 4 and was designed by Andrew Kudelka) (The Waid/Ross Annotations provided the names for these characters).
The logos on the shirts of the children (who, as the Waid/Ross Annotations point out, are walking down a street [Michigan Avenue? - Annotator] in Chicago, Illinois, the home of Alex Ross) in panel 2 are the logos of the new Superman and the Flash; as the narrator says, the people are embracing the new Justice League--through their marketing, perhaps, or simply through the sort of child-like hero-worship most comic book fans went through, once upon a time.
Jim Cowling points out that Brainiac's Daughter's costume has a hidden "Superman-S-Shield" design, which would fit, given her parentage.
Page 21 (79). The figure that Wonder Woman swats away here is Cathedral, a new character last seen on the cover of the first issue. The character that Cathedral is choking and about to spear is Whiz (previously seen on the cover to this issue).
Page 22 (80). The man killing the woman is Vandal Savage, the million-year-old man and a long-time enemy of both the Green Lantern (Golden and Silver Age version) and the Flash (Golden Age, Silver Age, and modern versions). The man nonchalantly watching this murder, and calmly smoking a cigarette, is the King of Spades, former leader of the Royal Flush gang, a group of supervillains who menaced the Justice League. (Note that the King has just drawn a one-handed cut, and, as Dean Velasco caught, the card- and gambling-related metaphors in his speech) Lex Luthor enters in panel 4; Luthor is, of course, the greatest of Superman's enemies.
The Spectre's bristling at the sight of Savage's murder of Luthor's secretary is natural, as the Spectre's brief is to avenge murder.
Page 23 (81). The Mankind Liberation Front will play a major role in the coming events. They are, moving around the table from left to right:
Vandal Savage; the Revelations supplement adds this about him:
King; the Revelations supplement adds this:
Lord Naga (aka Kobra, a would-be world-conqueror who bedeviled, most notably, the Suicide Squad and the Flash); the Revelations supplement adds this:
Lex Luthor; the Revelations supplement says this about him:
Ibn al Xu'ffasch (who is a new character; he is "heir to the empire of Ra's Al Ghul," who was one of The Batman's greatest enemies and another would-be world-conqueror). The Revelations supplement adds this about him:
Selina Kyle (Catwoman I, another member of The Batman's Rogues Gallery and a long-time potential flame of The Batman). The Revelations supplement adds this:
Please notice that the dress she wears is from her first apperance in Batman #1 (1940) as `The Cat.'"
Edward Nigma (the Riddler, another member of The Batman's Rogues Gallery). The Revelations supplement adds this about him:
Waid's script identifies Catwoman and Riddler as being lovers.
The "another" 120 vigilantes Kobra speaks of having integrated, including the Arkham and Belle Reve survivors, is indicative of the scale of the coming final battle.
Justin Mohareb consulted with an Arabic speaker and noted that "Ibn Al Xu'ffasch" means "Son of The Bat." This ties in to the long-running romance, or potential romance, in DC continuity between Talia Al Ghul (Ra's Al Ghul's daughter) and The Batman; here, obviously, the relationship took a more fruitful turn. Waid and Ross confirmed that Ibn Al Xu'ffasch is in fact the character who appeared in the graphic novel Son of the Demon, where Talia and The Batman did conceive a child which was later given up for adoption. According to Waid and Ross, Ibn Al Xu'ffasch was tracked down and recruited by Ra Al Ghul's men to run Ra's empire after the latter's death. (Carolina Lithgow-Bertelloni points out that the Son of the Demon is, post-Zero Hour, no longer in continuity). The Revelations supplement says this about Ibn Al Xu'ffasch:
Wdpattis adds this, however:
Daniel Frank and Melody Womack (keeper of Feline Fatale) point out that Selina is wearing the same style dress and same hair style that she wore in her first appearance, in Batman #1, as The Cat, the first villainess in comics.
Chris Eckert, Just Joe and Neil Hogan point out that Edward Nigma's glasses here are made up of two question marks.
Loki Carbis notes that the name of the "Mankind Liberation Front" is quite similar to the "Mutant Liberation Front," the Marvel Comics group of mutant terrorists. It is also quite similar to the "Animal Liberation Front," a real-life group of Animal Rights activists (or terrorists, depending on your point of view). Mike Schmidt notes that the MLF was also the acronym for a joint nuclear deterrent force in the mid-60's whose idea was to break down political barriers and work together toward the common good, which they saw to be the regulation of nuclear weapons. This makes an interesting link to Luthor and Batman breaking down their "political barriers" to work together toward a common good, which they see as the elimination of the Justice League (the comic book equivalent of nuclear weapons).
The Waid/Ross Annotations state that "Selina is gesturing to Xu'ffasch point out to the Riddler, `That's him,' while her cat is noticing McCay and Spectre's presence." (H. Jameel al Khafiz pointed this out originally, and I doubted him--my mistake).
Page 24 (82). There are a number of parallels between Kingdom Come and The Watchmen; one, that Randy Patton (among others) has raised, is Superman's abandonment of his human persona and Dr. Manhattan's gradual detachment from human affairs, and the reaction of those around them. Another is the Comedian's fear that a dehumanized, amoral Manhattan may doom humanity, paralleled Luthor's conviction (voiced in panel 4 and on page 25 (83), panel 1) that the metahumans have become a separate race, with separate morals, than normal humans.
Page 25 (83). Vandal Savage's comment, "I never dreamed they'd return. Not in a million years" is somewhat ironic, given his lifespan.
Luthor's fit of pique at the mention of Superman's name is fitting, given the numerous defeats Luthor has suffered at Superman's hands over the decades.
The "boy" that Luthor refers to, who is serving Luthor as a valet/manservant, is "the Captain of the Lightning and the Thunder" - aka Captain Marvel, the Fawcett (and now DC) character who is in some ways the epitome of superheroic innocence. His seemingly-willing servitude to Luthor is perhaps the clearest indication of the depravity of the Kingdom Come world; although the backstory seen in issue 3 explains this. Dean Velasco notes that Captain Marvel's wisdom is not that of the normal person, but rather the wisdom of Solomon, who in the Old Testament often equated wisdom with righteousness. This is a good point, and pokes a damaging hole in my theory that Waid is making a point about wisdom not always being the same as goodness - a theory which the series goes on to prove incorrect.
Tony Pi suggests that there may be more to the relationship between Lex and Cap here than just an alliance. Several people have raised the question whether this is a grown-up Billy Batson or actually Captain Marvel himself. As we'll see, this is most likely Billy Batson, not Captain Marvel. David Goldfarb also notes that Alex Ross is painting Captain Marvel here to look like Fred MacMurray, who was CC Beck's original model for Captain Marvel; Dave Van Domelen added that MacMurray, in the movie No Time For Love, played a caped superhero in a dream sequence; those two observations prompted me to recall MacMurray's turn as a bad-guy in Double Indemnity, which might be the MacMurray reference on which Waid and Ross were basing the Kingdom Come Captain Marvel. Johanna Draper notes that Ross has drawn Captain Marvel in panel 5 with squinty eyes, which was always a CC Beck (co-creator of Captain Marvel) trademark. The Revelations supplement identifies the real-life model of Captain Marvel as Ross friend Sal Abbinanti.
Page 26 (84). This page, and the following three pages, must have been a dream for Waid to write, and either a dream or a nightmare for Ross to paint.
At the metahuman rave/bar, we see (from left to right):
Panel One: On the floor: The Weather Wizard (a weather-controlling enemy of the Silver Age Flash) joking with Jayna (one of the Wonder Twins, from the Superfriends tv cartoon; the Wonder Twins were recently introduced into DC continuity in the pages of Extreme Justice), the Creeper (whose ruff/mane is just visible along the bar), an aging, fat, unshaven Lobo (wearing a "Bite me, Fanboy" t-shirt, and reportedly visually based on Peter David), Vril Dox II (former leader of L.E.G.I.O.N.; thanks to J. Crowhurst for identifying him), the neck of Dragonknight (a new character, who we see more of on page 27 (85), panel 1; the Revelations supplement describes him as "the role of St. George, the heroic knight, is combined with the dragon he slayed (sic)"), Ultra the Multi-Alien (a Silver Age character who was a pilot transformed in an accident into a being of four separate alien parts; thanks to Mark Coale for correcting my original mistake here), Village Warrior (a futuristic version of the 1970s band the Village People), Black Canary III, the new, African-American Lady Blackhawk II (the Blackhawks were World War Two airmen in the pages of GA comics Military and Blackhawk, and Lady Blackhawk, a relatively recent addition to their ranks, was their only female member), a Blackhawk pilot (the figure wearing a helmet), Solomon Grundy (the malevolent Golden Age villain and failed wood elemental most recently seen in the pages of Starman; he seems to be working as a bouncer here, which may be a reference to the Incredible Hulk's stint as a bouncer in the pages of Incredible Hulk, some years ago. David J. Snyder points out that he seems to be visually based here on Lurch from the Addams Family), Lydea Mallor (aka Shadow Lass of the Legion of Super Heroes; she is wearing the costume of Storm of the X-Men, as David Goldfarb points out), Obsidian, and Lightning (seen previously in issue #1 of Kingdom Come).
Overhead we see the head of Spy Smasher (who we'll see more of later), Demon Damsel (also seen in issue #1), Menagerie, and the Fantom of the Fair (a Golden Age hero, originally) hanging from the ceiling.
Juice Fritzius notes that the shadow on the wall between Obsidian and the Lightning seems to have the profile of the long-time Hawkman enemy the Shadow-Thief.
Shadow Lass' presence here raises the question of who we saw with the Legion of Super Heroes in issue 1. But then, this may be yet another of those delightful Time Paradoxes (tm).
The Waid/Ross Annotations point out that the chairs are all "in the shape of a 40s-era Batman silhouette."
Panel Two: The Icicle (making ice for his drink), Brother Power The Geek (a pacifist dummy and puppet elemental, and one of DC's more obscure characters), The Question (a faceless vigilante first seen in Charlton Comics), Mr. X (haunted hero and architect of the independent comic Mister X), Rorschach (the grim-n-gritty [tm] vigilante from the miniseries The Watchmen, who was originally based on The Question), Space Cowboy (Steve Miller in the Spider-Girl mask), Ultra the Multi-Alien, Zan (the other Wonder Twin waiter), Nightstar (the daughter of Red Robin - aka Robin and Nightwing II - and Starfire of the Teen Titans; we saw her in issue #1), Avia, Human Bomb (a Golden Age hero), Spectre, Norman McCay, Pinwheel (last seen on the cover of Kingdom Come #1), Cesar the Somnambulist, an aged Creeper (a weird DC hero), Deadman (a revenant/ghost hero who possesses the living to pursue the guilty), and the back of the Weather Wizard's head.
Brother Power's presence in the bar is perhaps the saddest indication of just how far the world of Kingdom Come has slid into depravity and sin. Rorschach appears to be breaking one of Brother Power's fingers, in much the same way that he (Rorschach) harmed a low-life criminal during an interrogation in The Watchmen. Of course, Brother Power, not being truly alive, should be impervious to pain, and doesn't have any bones to break - but this is an Elseworlds, so I shouldn't nitpick.
Cesar the Somnambulist is a character in the classic German Expressionist film The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari. Cesar was played by Conrad Veidt, who in turn played The Man Who Laughs in the silent film of the same name. The Man Who Laughs was the visual template Bob Kane used for the Joker. Credit is given to Kevin L. Gilbert for i.d.ing Cesar and noting the Veidt connection.
Space Cowboy is a new character, based on the Spider-Girl mask that appeared on the cover of the album "The Joker" by the Steve Miller Band. Craig Kostelecky says that the figure behind the mask is in fact the rock star Steve Miller himself.
Jonathan Woodward points out that, given how much the Wonder Twin waiters look like Vulcans here, this might be a reference to the Mirror Universe of Star Trek, in which Vulcans act as servants.
As a few folks, David Goldfarb among them, have pointed out, the Human Bomb's beer is "Q" brand, rather than "DC" brand; the Human Bomb was originally a Quality Comics character.
Dean Velasco points out that Deadman is not simply wearing a deathly white mask, but is in fact skeletal; Deadman has traditionally been portrayed as a somewhat decayed human, but in the 1990s he has become more skeletal. Mark Waid explained Deadman's skeletal appearance here as being an indication that he has finally accepted his fate.
Finally, in another moment of demented genius, we get to see the Human Bomb playing "pull my finger." I won't explain this - if any of you don't know what that means, get a junior-high-school boy to explain it to you.
Panel Four: I'm not even gonna try to identify everyone here. There do seem to be some notable figures in this mass, though: Tommy the Pinball Wizard, and Tina Turner's Acid Queen from the play/film Tommy (credit to Thad Doria and Sean Donnelly for i.d.ing them); the stretched-in-five-directions Plastic Man (a Golden Age hero); and Kabrini (who the Waid/Ross Annotations name; he is the "big green guy with chains" who is pulling on one of Plastic Man's legs).
"Cabrini-Green" is the name of a particularly dangerous housing project in Chicago; it may be that Ross was implying that Kabrini, and characters like him, will be produced by the Cabrini-Greens of the future.
I believe the band playing at the top of this panel is The Beatles - I think the lettering on their drum is similar to what the Beatles used in their first American concert.
Chris Eckert notes that the current Ray Terrill Ray appears near the stage on the left. Michael Denton adds that hovering above him seems to be the non-DC hero the Rocketeer. Steve De Ment, noting an article in Wizard, points out that, yes, this is the infamous Ray-having-sex scene; the Ray is having sex with the woman in front of him.
The architecture and decor of the club are, as Michael Cavanagh points out, very Giger-esque. He also notes that the band onstage is the Beatles, "circa 1964...matching grey suits, two guys standing off to our left at one mike, so close that the only way they could do it while playing instruments is to have one right-hander (George) and one left- (Paul), the drum logo with the T extending downwards, and -- the giveaway for musicians -- the amps are Vox AC-30s."
Greg Sheets notes that the logo on their drum was used throughout their touring career (early 1960s through late 1966), and that the drumskin appears in the beginning of their film Let It Be. He also says, "the stances are a dead giveaway, too. Clearly, from left to right we see Paul (feet close together, knees slightly bent), George (feet close together, with the left foot apparently tapping--George tended to alternate between his feet when tapping to keep time, and often did little dances during his guitar solos) and John at the stage-leftmost mic alone (as always--feet well apart, tapping vigorously with the left foot pointed off to the side). Take a look at the Beatles' appearance on the Ed Sullivan show, or at the climax of A Hard Day's Night. Plus they're clearly wearing Beatle boots."
Page 27 (85). Panel One: Lady Blackhawk II, a Durlan (a shape-changing alien with twin forehead antennae who are seen in the future of the Legion of Superheroes), Signalwoman (decorated with moons and stars - a new character who we'll see more on page 28 (86) below), Jayna, Weather Wizard, Patrick Macnee (as John Steed of the television show The Avengers), Diana Rigg (as Emma Steed on The Avengers), Captain Cold (a member of the Silver Age Flash's Rogues Gallery), Superman, helmeted Blackhawk (from page 26 (84)), Black Canary III, Dragonknight, Nuculoid (last seen in issue #1 of Kingdom Come), Joker's Daughter II (last seen in the previous issue), Mr. Scarlet (the Kingdom Come version of the old GA Fawcett hero, who we'll see more of in the next issue; Craig Kostelecky quotes Alex Ross as calling him a "pre-Savage Dragon"), Ultra the Multi-Alien, Metamorpho (the element-bodied DC hero), and Solomon Grundy.
Panel Two: Human Bomb, Weather Wizard, Steve Miller (in Spider-Girl mask), John Steed, Superman, helmeted Blackhawk, Captain Cold, and Black Canary III.
Note the pictures over the old-fashioned cash register - one of Captain Cold, the Weather Wizard, and Captain Boomerang - three buddies from the Flash's Rogues Gallery - and an autographed (as Leonardo Rizzi caught) glossy of the Silver Age Flash, Barry Allen, the enemy of the Rogues Gallery who they nonetheless respected. Craig Kostelecky quotes Ross to the effect that while the Weather Wizard and Captain Cold run the bar, Captain Boomerang is more of an old favored patron.
Panel Five: Black Canary III, Golem, Nuculoid, Superman, Joker's Daughter II, Mr. Scarlet, Lydea Mallor.
The Golem was the title character in the landmark 1920 German horror film The Golem - Kevin L. Gilbert spotted and explained this one.
Page 28 (86). Panel One: The Gay Ghost (another obscure Golden Age hero, he was the ghost of a 17th century English lord who came back in the 1940s to fight evil; he haunted the Nazis during WW2 and was later renamed the Grim Ghost), Village Warrior #1, Village Warrior #2, Marvin (from the Superfriends tv show - kudos to the folks who recognized him, including Sean MacDonald, Jim Cowling, and Scott Casteel), Village Warriors 3, 4, 5, and 6, and Atom-Smasher.
Right foreground: an aged Virman Vundabar (faithful lackey to the Apokoliptian harridan Granny Goodness), Desaad, and Spy Smasher II (the anti-Nazi Fawcett hero who was recently introduced into the DC Universe in Power of Shazam).
As David Goldfarb pointed out, Marvin is drinking a "HB" brand of beer; he was created by Hanna Barbera Studios. As Scott Casteel usefully pointed out, although we were all shocked by the juxtaposition of Marvin and Lobo on the facade of Planet Krypton in issue #1, it seems that Marvin has hung around with Lobo long enough to try to become like him.
Ronald Byrd, who has assisted me in matters like this many times in the past, had this to say about Marvin's presence here:
Dean Velasco points out that Village Warrior #2 - the "Indian" - has wings, which might imply that he's a member of the same race as Dawnstar, a member of the Legion of Super-heroes.
Desaad was the figure of some debate; he was originally (and correctly) identified as Desaad, the sadistic torturer and faithful servant to the Apokoliptian tyrant Darkseid, but Kevin L. Gilbert argued that based on this figure's costume and most especially the shape of his head, he is Mr. Edward Hyde as played by John Barrymore in the 1920 version of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Or perhaps he is John Barrymore as DeSaad.
Panel Three: Vril Dox II, Lobo, Gay Ghost, Superman, Village Warrior, Atom-Smasher, Village Warrior, Virman Vundabar, Desaad, Spy Smasher, Creeper, and the outline of the Oliver Queen (credit to Jonathan Woodward for catching this).
Waid's script describes Superman in this panel this way:
Panel Four: Signalwoman, Mister Talky Tawny (the lovable talking tiger who appeared in the Captain Marvel Fawcett comics during the 1940s and who was recently introduced into DC Continuity in the Power of Shazam book), OWAC (the One-Woman-Army-Corp, a variation of OMAC, a Kirby creation), the Spectre, Lady Blackhawk II, Jayna, Superman, Icicle, Ambush Bug (the wacky teleporting nemesis of Superman), Lightning, Catwoman II, Captain Boomerang, Plastic Man, and Kabrini.
Panel Five: Solomon Grundy, Superman, Death's Head Moth (a new character), the Black Racer (the Fourth World Harbinger of Death), Ultra the Multi-Alien, Blue Devil II (last seen on the cover of issue #1), and Metamorpho.
In response to questions as to why the Black Racer would be hanging out in a metahuman rave bar, Dave Van Domelen succinctly said, "A bar full of drunken superhumans sounds like one-stop shopping for an angel of death."
The Waid/Ross Annotations credit the design of Death's Head Moth to Andrew Kudelka.
Page 29 (87).
Panel One: Plastic Man (based on his profile; he can just be seen to the left of Lady Blackhawk II), Lady Blackhawk II Icicle, Dragonknight, Jayna, Golem, Mr. Scarlet, Joker's Daughter II, Lydea Mallor, Gentleman Ghost (the ghostly enemy of Hawkman - thanks to Dean Velasco for clearing up the question of GG's ontological status), Solomon Grundy, Superman, the Fantom of the Fair, Demon Damsel (flying overhead), Signalwoman, Metamorpho, and Ultra the Multi-Alien.
Panel Two: Cesar the Somnambulist, Phantom Lady II (a new character who will appear in issue #3), Pinwheel, Nowhere Man (a new character; the Revelations supplement adds that "This was nothing more than the Lennon/McCartney song giving form to a visual trick illustrating an invisible form"), Norman McCay, 666 (from issue #1), Deadman, Ambush Bug and Lightning.
Panel Three: Lightning, Swamp Thing (heroic DC plant elemental), the Basil Rathbone Sherlock Holmes, the Shadow (classic pulp vigilante of radio, books, movies and comic books), the Question, Rorschach, Obsidian, Ambush Bug, 666, Zan, Nightstar, Avia, Deadman, Norman McCay, and the Acid Queen.
Deadman is clearly reacting to McCay's presence throughout this scene; as a spirit, Deadman can see other spirits. As Jonathan Woodward pointed out, both Deadman and the Spectre were murdered as part of their origins.
Avia's words are another example (more explicit, this time) of this issue's Superman-as-Christ connection.
One of my favorite touches of this entire series is Deadman waving bye-bye to Norman McCay, and McCay's startled half-wave in return, in panel six.
Page 30 (88). The Justice League of the World, in their new satellite home, the Emerald City of Green Lantern I. Working counterclockwise around the table from Superman: Superman, Power Woman, Ray II, Captain Comet, Aleea Strange, Hourman III, Golden Guardian, Sandman IV, Robotman III, Red Arrow, Aquaman II, Donna Troy, Red Robin, and Wonder Woman.
Standing, working counterclockwise: Flash III, Atom-Smasher, Hawkman, Midnight (lower left), Avia, Brainiac's Daughter, Phoebus, Starman VIII (upper right), Green Lantern I, Red Tornado III, and Tornado.
Note the giant Green Lantern symbol on the table.
The Justice League had a satellite home once before, during the 1970s. One hopes that the GL's Emerald City does not come to a similar fate as the JLA's satellite hq.
Some people have speculated on this scene as being either an homage to the Last Supper or to King Arthur's Round Table; given the assemblage, I would tend to think it's closer to the Round Table, especially because the poses of the figures are wrong for it to be a Last Supper homage. Waid's script for panel 2 here reads this way:
Jonathan Woodward came up with a very nice interpretation of this scene: he quotes from Revelation 4:1-6 -
and then notes that, besides Superman, there are 24 people at the meeting table. Good call, JW.
As Dean Velasco caught, all of the original Teen Titans (Dick Grayson/Red Robin, Donna Troy, Garth/Aquaman II, and Roy Harper/Red Arrow) are seated together, except for Wally West, who is part of the Kingdom Come Flash III.
Page 31 (89). The Justice League On The Road To Moscow and Tokyo:
Panel One: The Justice League, fighting in Moscow: Avia, Superman, Hourman III, and Green Lantern I, fighting The Iron Curtain (a new character, one designed by Barry Crain), Ibis the Invincible (the sorcerous hero of the Fawcett group, recently introduced into the DC Universe in Power of Shazam), Taia (below Avia) (identified by the Waid/Ross Annotations; Taia was originally Ibis' Egyptian princess love), and Shiva the Destroyer (the Hindu god of destruction, last seen on the cover of issue #1).
Panel Two: Tokyo: Red Robin, Flash III, Superman, Aquaman II, Donna Troy, Power Woman and Red Arrow III fighting S.H.O.G.U.N. (the giant robot - a new character named by the Waid/Ross Annotations), Tokyo Rose (a new character, last seen on the cover of issue #1), Kabuki Kommando (swinging a halberd - last seen on the cover of issue #1), Samurai (we'll see him on the cover of issue #3), and Jade Fox (identified as such by the Waid/Ross Annotations; she is a new character who will appear again)
Note that both Aquaman II and Donna Troy are down, and wounded - these "rebellions," as the narrator calls them, are growing increasingly vicious.
Again, the former Teen Titans are teaming together in this scene.
Chris Eckert, John Crowhurst and Chris Sypal point out anime' hero Astro Boy (original Japanese name: "Tetsuwan Atom" - "Mighty Atom") on the screen behind Power Woman. Atan812 points out that Tokyo Rose is visually extremely similar to Chun-Li, aka the Crimson Rose, from the arcade game Street Fighter II.
The Waid/Ross Annotations point out that both Kabuki Kommando and Jade Fox were designed by Aldrin Aw.
Page 32 (90). The fallen figure in front of Superman and Wonder Woman in panel four is Von Bach, whom we last saw on the cover of issue #1. The word written on his right arm, "liebe," means "love" in German.
The figures in panel 4 are Germ-Man (a new character who appeared on the cover of issue #1) and the "Gotterdammerung Reich," which the Waid/Ross Annotations identify as "the twilight of the gods empire."
"Hass," written on the right arm of one of the fallen, means "hatred" or "detestation"; Dirk Bansch corrects my original note and says that, when the double s is printed in block letters, it is not replaced with the "B" symbol (which Keith Baird notes is called an "ess-tett.")
The Waid/Ross Annotations state that "the layout of the descending destruction in the background is inspired by Mad Comics #8 (1954)." I'm unaware of the significance of that issue, however.
Page 33 (91). The King and Queen of Atlantis speaking with Superman and Wonder Woman are the former Aquaman I (the aquatic Atlantean hero-king) and Dolphin (a nautical heroine who can currently be seen in the pages of Aquaman).
Mr. Waid pointed out in an interview that he'd thought of the Dolphin-Aquaman I pairing before Peter David created it in the current run of Aquaman. Mr. Waid also wished to make the Arthurian similarities with Aquaman I obvious, pointing out the first name of Aquaman I - Arthur - and the fact that he was in fact a real king, like the legendary Arthur.
King Arthur here seems to have both of his hands; the current incarnation lost his left hand in battle and had it replaced with a harpoon hook.
Dean Velasco points out that King Arthur's statement that they are "being burdened with the surface world's refuse" is a reference to the 1970s and 1980s Aquaman, who was often indignant at the way his oceans were treated as a dumping ground. Dean also points out that Dolphin's silence here is consistent with her traditional characterization.
Robert Faires notes that the sea horse on King Arthur's tunic might well be a nod to the Aquaman animated series of the Sixties in which Arthur rode a giant sea horse (named "Storm;" Aqualad's sea horse was named "Imp" - thanks to Dean Velasco for providing that info).
Wonder Woman traditionally has had no need for the helmet, as Johanna Draper notes; she had "oxygen-bearing earrings" with which she could breath underwater. Kevin Lafferty sees similarities between the helmet design here and those drawn by the great artist of the 1950s and 1960s Wally Wood.
Page 34 (92). Given what the Spectre said on page 18 (76) about Wonder Woman - that she was the "Eternal Princess of the Amazons" - her statement here that she has been stripped of her "royalty and...my heritage" seems somewhat curious - although, as Johanna Draper pointed out, Wonder Woman is the only member of the second generation of the Amazons.
Wonder Woman has been stripped of her Amazonian heritage at least once before, though; Johanna Draper points out that traditionally Wonder Woman lost her heritage of immortality simply by leaving Paradise Island. As well, the post-Crisis Wonder Woman's mission was "to teach the ways of her just and peaceful civilization to a violent world." Clearly she failed in that category.
The Waid/Ross Annotations note the character in panel 1, above and to the right of Dolphin's head, 1 is "Sub-Lime, an Andrew Kudelka design."
Page 35 (93). Donna Troy and Red Arrow interrupting a potential moment of passion between Superman and Wonder Woman is a classic bit of comic humor.
Page 36 (94). Loki Carbis, among others, notes that Magog's actions here mirror those of Superman in issue #1 when we first see him. Both are repairing a barn in Kansas. As we'll soon see, there are many similarities between the two: both are the champions of Metropolis and symbolic leaders of their generations of metahumans. But, as Loki points out, Magog tries to do too much and the wrong way, and loses his temper when he fails, destroying what he has done and symbolically demonstrating where he differs from Superman.
Page 38 (96). All of the magazines shown in the newsstand in panel 1, with the exception of Newstime, Metal Hurlant, and Juggs, were real pulp magazines that flourished in the 1930s and 1940s. Of all these magazines, only Juggs is still being published.
The Joker here bears a great deal more resemblance to the chubby, middle-aged and balding Jack Nicholson Joker of the first Batman movie than to the tall, lean Joker of the comics.
The "Ninety-two men...and one woman" killed in the Daily Planet massacre - Joker-gassed to death, as we see in panel 2 - was the loss referred to in issue #1 by Wonder Woman; as we see, Superman lost his wife, Lois Lane, as well as his friends Perry White and Jimmy Olsen (still wearing his red bow-tie, and with his watch flashing, which was what happened when Jimmy turned on the Superman Emergency Signal to call for Superman's help).
As Gregg Allison and Mark Semich point out, "Must there be a Superman?" - seen here on the cover of Newstime magazine - was the title of a famous 1970s Superman story (Superman #247) by Eliot S. Maggin. That story defined Superman for the 1970s. Gregg also pointed out that Clark Kent edited Newstime in DC continuity for a brief period. The Newstime cover itself, as Yeechang Lee notes, bears a great deal of resemblance to the cover of John Byrne's Man of Steel #1. H. Jameel al Khafiz adds that the newsstand operator here is visually similar to the newsstand operator in Watchmen.
Page 39 (97). Magog's murder of the Joker seems quite reminiscent to me of Jack Ruby's killing of Lee Harvey Oswald.
Note that Superman, in this flashback, is wearing his old costume, with the yellow background for the red S on his chest, as well as his ponytail.
This, then, was the trial that drove Superman from Metropolis - Magog was acquitted of what was obviously murder. As Yeechang Lee succinctly put it, "How can the foremost protector of Truth, Justice and the American Way continue to protect a city whose citizens appear willing to condone blatant murder, a murder Superman himself would have been justified in committing, if anyone at all?"
Donald MacPherson points out that Ron Troupe, who is credited here for writing the Planet article on Magog's acquittal, is a supporting cast member in the current Superman comics. Just Joe and David J. Snyder note that the Inspector Henderson quoted in the article was a supporting character in the Superman tv show and is now a supporting character in the comics. Finally, Donald MacPherson notes that Inspector Henderson was part of the Metropolis law enforcement community as far back as Superman Family, back in the 1970s.
Page 41 (99). Waid's script for panel 5 here reads:
Page 42 (100). Waid's script for panel 10 here reads:
Page 43 (101). "We are at war." And so Superman begins to lead his troops in the Justice League down the same road which led to Magog's downfall. Wonder Woman is shocked by this pronouncement, and with good reason; as Michael Denton notes, his comment here is a sort of reaction to her speech on page 35 (93), panel 2, where she says "We are at war, Kal..." Given his misgivings there to her argument, his determined agreement with it here is surprising.
Page 102. This is Apokolips, the blasted, burning and damned planet that is home to Darkseid. The figure in panels 3 and 4 is in the classic Darkseid pose - but, as we quickly discover, it's not Darkseid.
Page 103. Note that Superman is holding the helmet of Orion in panel 1, and that Orion is using Metron's old Moebius chair as his throne. Orion's face has changed; he is no longer using his Mother Box to alter his features, but is instead letting his true face be seen. And, as he's grown older, he is obviously more and more coming to resemble his true father, Darkseid, even though he has the beard of his adopted father, Izaya.
Clearly Orion killed Darkseid, as he was destined to do, and took over his role as master of Apokolips. Superman's reluctance to call it as such - he says Orion "usurped" the throne - is curious.
The Revelations supplement says this about Orion:
Page 104. Note, in panels 1 and 2, the blood stains on the throne. Orion's resemblance to Darkseid is pronounced on this page.
Superman's refusal to see anyone deported from their homeworld obviously hearkens back to his own origin as The Last Survivor Of The Doomed Planet Of Krypton.
Page 105. Jef DelMonte points that "the 2 men standing on the left of Scott Free's machine are Eric Idle & Terry Gilliam( from Monty Python) as they appeared in The Life of Brian. Its as they appeared as the jailers before the crucifixion."
Page 44 (106). The Justice League members putting together the super-gulag are, from the top: Green Lantern I, Lady Marvel, Bulletman, Starman VIII, Hawkman, the Ray, Alloy, King Marvel (the adult version of Captain Marvel Jr., most recently seen in the pages of the Power of Shazam book), Wonder Woman, Power Woman, Flash III, and Red Robin.
As a few people have noted, Green Lantern I is shooting green rays from both hands; previous Lanterns have been restricted to firing their power from their ring hands.
The Gulag is being built on the ashes of Kansas. Alan Turniasky usefully points out that the original Armageddon happened in the plain of Megiddo, and that the heart of the Great Plains of North America is, in fact, Kansas.
Page 45 (107). We see the Batman, Oliver Queen, Ted Kord, and Dinah Lance Queen again, but now aligning with Luthor's Mankind Liberation Front. Again, this does not bode well for the future of Kingdom Come.
As a few people noticed (Loki Carbis among them), both Ollie and Dinah are shocked in panel 4 - they are looking at Luthor's valet and are quite surprised, even alarmed, by what they see.
Just Joe notes Xu'ffasch's body language in this panel as he looks at the Batman - standing slightly stooped, and smiling sheepishly - somewhat like a proud child. Moreover, as Elayne Weschler-Chaput notes, Selina smiles at Nigma, Xu'ffasch and Bruce Wayne have similar faces, and Luthor says that Xu'ffasch was responsible for "negotiating" Batman's alliance with the Mankind Liberation Front; obviously Batman has somewhat kept in touch with Xu'ffasch, just as he didn't abandon Gotham City (in contrast to Superman).
The following folks were very helpful in correcting my errors and otherwise giving me helpful additional information:
Azrael@grfn.org, fellow MSTie Gregg Allinson, Atan812@aol.com, Keith Baird, Dirk Bansch, Neil Barnes, Andrew Black, Chris Blakeley, Ronald Byrd, Loki Carbis, Scott Casteel (to whom I'm eternally grateful for his copious notes on the Chicago Con), Michael Cavanagh, Dwayne Chun, Gerry Clark, Mark Coale (source of all DC knowledge), Matthew Colville, Jim Cowling, J. Crowhurst, Jef DelMonte, Steve De Ment, Michael Denton, Sean Donnelly, Thad A. Doria, Edward Douglas, Johanna Draper, Chris Eckert, Robert Faires, Andrew Farrell, Daniel Frank, Eric "Juice" Fritzius, Mike Gallaher, Kevin L. Gilbert, David Goldfarb, Michael Grabois (to whom I'm quite grateful for his notes on the San Diego Con), Eric Harding, Adam Hardy, Rob Harris, Michael Hazlett, Bill Jennings, Just Joe, H. Jameel al Khafiz, Kevin Lafferty, Yeechang Lee, Peter Li, Brad Lile, Carolina Lithgow-Bertelloni, Austin Loomis, Donald MacPherson, Sean MacDonald, Kevin Maroney, Edward Mathews, Brian McGinely, Bill Messick, "Mr. Miracle," Justin Mohareb, Hans Ongchua, Page, Asmin Pahare, Wdpattis, Randy Patton, Tony Pi, S L Post, Jim Puga, Ray Randell, Scott Rogers, Michael Scheu, Mike Schmidt, Mark A. Semich, Greg Sheets, Joel Shin, Marc Singer, David J. Snyder, Michael Starsinic, David Stein, John B. Sterner III, Sean M. Sullivan, Chris Sypal, Targfood@aol.com, Gregory B. Tiede, Alan Turniasky, Dave Van Domelen, Virgilio Dean Velasco Jr., Elayne Weschler-Chaput, Melody Womack, Andrew D. Woodard, Jonathan Woodward, and email@example.com.
All characters mentioned and described and text quoted herein are copyright 2000 DC Comics. No infringement of copyright or trademark is intended by this annotations, nor has permission been given by DC Comics to quote from Kingdom Come. The text to this annotation is copyright 2000 Jess Nevins. This annotation may be quoted in its entirety as long as this acknowledgement is included.