[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]
All descriptions, unless specifically noted otherwise, are done moving left to right and top to bottom within a panel or a page.
Dave Van Domelen notes that Superman, on the cover, is lit from above, which is how the central figures on the previous covers were shown. The rest of the cover is also lit from above, rather than below, which is unlike the previous covers. Superman is also looking down, like the Spectre and Captain Atom on the cover to issue 1 and the Batman on the cover to issue 2; this would seem to imply that Superman's role in the judgment to come will be somewhat similar to the Spectre's.
Ed Mathews points out that the covers of the four issues of Kingdom Come are each primarily done in one of the four colors used in the four color process used for periodicals: cyan (blue), magenta (red), yellow, and black.
As a number of people noted, the titles to all four issues are quotes from the opening to the old, black and white Superman television show.
Page 1 (159). A close-up version of Norman McCay's vision seen in issue 1, page 2. We see Alloy, King Crimson, Hawkman, Blue Devil II, Spartian (silhouetted on left, raising a spear), Wonder Woman, Superman, Atlas, Kongo, Captain Marvel and Red Arrow. The Waid/Ross Annotations also note "the green flame is The Green Lantern's and the earth is shattering beneath Superman and Captain Marvel's battle."
The quotation is the same quotation that began the series, in issue 1, page 1, from Revelation 8:5.
Page 2 (160).
From the top: Green Lantern, Kabuki Kommando, Iron Butterfly (legs/feet only), Hippieman (seated), Wing II, Jeepers (above and to the right of Ray II), Ray II, Rag Doll, Magog, Alloy; moving left, Fantom of the Fair, Marley (running), Killer Moth II (taking WW's spear in his shoulder), Stealth II; moving right, Donna Troy, Bulletman II, Phoebus, White, Black Manta II, Death's Head Moth (below Black Manta II), Demon Damsel; on ground level, from left, Aleea Strange (in flight, firing), Stripes (prone), Horny Toad, Bloodlust, Spade (on his side), Red Robin, Swastika, Blue (on all fours, spitting blood), Tokyo Rose, Jade Fox, Iron Bow, Wonder Woman, Stars (flying), and Black Mongul (silhouetted to the right of Wonder Woman).
Wing II is the Kingdom Come version of the GA hero (and sidekick to the Crimson Avenger) Wing. His appearance here completes the Seven Soldiers of Victory analogues.
The sketchbook for Captain Marvel, written by Mark Waid, says this about the Captain Marvel-Superman battle: "My inspiration for their fight, in fact, was Wally Wood's classic Mad magazine parody `Superduperman vs. Captain Marbles.'" Mr. Waid, that's just too cool.
The Kingdom Come Revelations supplement says this about Captain Marvel:
"My earliest concept was that of a showdown battle between Superman and Captain Marvel, which was mostly inspired by the classic Wally West art for Harvey Kurtzman's parody from Mad, Superduperman. Also I hung on the idea created by Gerry Conway in the Superman vs. Shazam! Limited Collector's Edition from the 70s, where Captain Marvel imagined that he could use the magic lightning that would normally hit him to strike Superman instead, and prey upon his weakness to magic. They never followed through on this concept but it stuck with me ever since.
"Another idea we had the chance to fulfill is that Marvel is just an adult version of Billy Batson (as C.C. Beck's art would strongly hint, as did that of almost everyone who followed him) and that eventually, he would grow up to be that same man. I presented Batson in the story mostly wearing a black tuxedo to harken back to an early 1940 story where the out-of-costume Captain Marvel (the only time I ever saw this happen) takes Sivana's daughter Beautia out on a date. With Marvel's costume I only added a couple of things beyond what Jerry Ordway has brought back (like the shirt flap and button), and those were to identify his belt as a true sash (which he did wear at one time) and to make all yellow-colored bits of the costume into gold.
"The character has been a longtime personal favorite of both Mark's and mine, and it's been one of my greatest desires in my career to add something to his presence as a preeminent superhero icon."
S.L. Post was the first to correctly guess that King Crimson was the Kingdom Come Crimson Avenger, based on the sun symbol, the yellow ridge on its head and the overall crimson color of the figure. Good call. "King Crimson" is also the name of a seminal progressive band from the 1970s.
Pages 4-5 (162-163). Norman McCay's plea to the Spectre to "Do something! For the love of God, make it stop!" and the Spectre's refusal to do so raise the troubling question as to why the Spectre can only punish, not prevent. Although I suppose this ties back into the age-old question of evil: if God can prevent evil, why doesn't S/He?
Panel 1: Norman McCay, The Flash (backdraft), Hawk II, King Marvel, Marley (blown off his feet), Spectre, Iron Butterfly, Dove III, Shade III, Phoebus, two Pepperguard, Phoebus, Fantom of the Fair, Mantis II (tackled by Avia), Avia, Alloy, King Crimson, Wing II (below King Crimson), N-I-L-8 (below Black Manta II), Death's-Head Moth, Black Manta II, The Green Lantern and Tornado.
That may be Madman, the alternative comic hero, just to the right of The Green Lantern's shield.
Panel 4: Starman VIII, Bulletgirl II, Brainiac's Daughter, The Ray II, Wonder Woman, Spectre & McCay, Red Robin, Tokyo Rose, Hourman III, Red Robin, Pepperguard (below Red Robin's leg), J'oan J'onzz (to the right of Tokyo Rose), Power Woman, White (silhouetted, below Power Woman), Bloodlust, Manotaur, Aleea Strange (legs and rear visible just below Manotaur's left arm), Bazooka Joe (behind Manotaur), Catwoman II, Trix, and Jade Fox.
The Waid/Ross Annotations note Red Robin "breaking the pelvic bone of Tokyo Rose."
Bazooka Joe is a new character.
Page 6 (164).
Panel 2: Vigilante IV, Midnight, Captain Marvel, Red Tornado II, Aquaman II, 666, Ibac, Stars, Thunder, Superman, and Red Tornado I (based on the helmet shape).
Page 7 (165). As anticipated, Secretary General Wyrmwood is playing a somewhat major role, in this case, the nuking of the heroes, as was oft-anticipated on Rec.Arts.Comics.DC.Universe--hardly much of a surprise, of course, given his name. Dave Van Domelen usefully points out that Wormwood authorizes three bombs, and that the Biblical star called "wormwood" destroyed one-third of the Earth. Craig Kostelecky quotes Ross as saying that Wyrmwood was based visually on Director Skinner, from The X-Files.
Long-time comic fans are obviously meant to believe that the pilot standing at attention in panel 3 is a Blackhawk; the Blackhawks were crack pilots in World War Two comics, first in Military, then later in various DC comics after DC bought the rights to the character. This pilot may be the same Blackhawk that appeared in issue 2, page 26, panel 1. However, his crest has changed, and is no longer the recognizable Blackhawk symbol. This may have been a simple error on Ross' part, though. The Waid/Ross Annotations state that this is a Blackhawk pilot, so the change in the crest is likely a mistake.
Quite a few people seem to want to believe that the pilot is Tim Drake, the current Robin in DC continuity. The card set indicates that Tim Drake joined the CIA, though, and not the Blackhawks. And Mark Waid as said (perhaps in jest) that the pilot is the son of Chop-Chop, the Chinese member of the original Blackhawks.
As Scott B. Casteel caught, the lefthand man in panel 6 is a dead-ringer for Mark Waid. Elayne Wechsler-Chaput points out that the right-hand man is a lookalike for Dan Raspler. And Martha Thomases notes that between them is Pete Tomasi.
The Waid/Ross Annotations point out that the UN symbol "is a combo of the classic one and the old JLA shield."
Page 8 (166). Yeechang Lee notes that Secretary General Wyrmwood has a relatively small office, which is surprising, given the evident power of the "New United Nations." Yeechang Lee also notes the New UN's shield, which resembles the pre-Giffen JLA log (and for Scott Casteel the Superfriends symbol), Wyrmwood's family photo, and the "World's Best Dad" coffee mug.
Ed Mathews notes that Wyrmwood's speech on pages 7 and 8 is "close in flavor to the declaration of war that President Woodrow Wilson made re: WW1 against Germany. It is said that after he had his speech in front of Congress and was granted his `wish,' that he went back to his quarters and wept," in something of the same way that Wyrmwood reacts here.
Page 9 (167). McCay's statement, in panel 3, that "any instant now, there will be fatalities" seems somewhat curious to me, as in a fight of this sort, with unchecked superpowers, people would (I assume) be killed from the very beginning.
Panel 1: Superman, Buddha, Atlas, Hourman III, Golden Guardian, Starman VIII, Von Bach, "Wildcat III," Sandman IV, Bulletman II, Vigilante IV, Red Tornado I and J'oan J'onzz.
Immodesty and nitpicking are unbecoming, of course, in annotators as in anyone else, but...the Waid/Ross Annotations made a mistake here. They identify the silhouetted, tailed figure fighting Starman VIII as "Wildcat III"-- but Wildcat III is on Batman's side, and won't appear until page 10 (168). This figure has a tail, so it may be Catwoman II.
Panel 2: Powerman, Bazooka Joe, The Ray II, Kabrini, Human Bomb, Wonder Woman, Black Mongul, Hourman III, Von Bach and Sandman IV.
Panel 3: Kabrini, Human Bomb, Robotman III, Tusk, Power Woman and Manotaur.
Panel 4: The Flash (backdraft), Goblin Lord, Aquaman II, 666, Donna Troy, Kongo, Tiger II, Norman McCay, Cathedral, Horny Toad, Joker's Daughter II, Red Robin and Red Arrow.
Tiger II is the Kingdom Come version of Tiger, the heroic sidekick to the original Judomaster.
Ex1Machina notes that throughout this series Joker's Daughter II is always quite dour and serious--quite the change from her father, and another example of the generational-clash theme of Kingdom Come.
Page 10 (168). Enter the...cavalry?
Phantom Lady II, Black Canary III, Nuculoid, Lightning, Fate, Batwoman II & Ace II, Wildcat III, Steel, Menagerie, silhouetted figures within Fate's cloak, Dragon (silhouetted), Zatara II (silhouetted), Samurai (silhouetted), Condor, Batman, Bat-Knight, Tula, Obsidian, Dinah Queen, Flash IV, Nightstar, Bat-Knight, Red Hood, Oliver Queen, Green Lantern VI, Blue Beetle II, Creeper.
Among the many lovely touches of this series is the heroes emerging from Fate's cloak here.
This is our first good look at Blue Beetle II in his battle armor. The Sketchboard card has this to say about him:
Panel 1: In flight: Midnight, Nightstar, Shining Knight II, Green Lantern VI, Killer Moth II, Blue Beetle II, Red Tornado III. On ground: Vigilante IV, Horny Toad, Blue, Aquaman II, Golden Guardian, 666, Doc Smog (tucked under Flash IV's left arm), Flash IV, Spade (tucked under Flash IV's right arm), Kabuki Kommando, Atom-Smasher, Buddha, The Batman, Wildcat III (his foot), Bazooka Joe, and a Bat-Knight.
Panel 2: A Bat-Knight, Bazooka Joe, Dragon (silhouetted), Dinah Lance Queen, Oliver Queen, Samurai (silhouetted), Mysteryman, Red Hood, Goblin-Lord, another Bat-Knight, Golden Guardian and Vigilante IV (credit to Andrew Farrell for figuring these last two out).
Panel 3: The Batman, Von Bach (throwing a Pepperguard's head at Zatara II--Andrew Farrell & Chris Rednour identified that), Zatara II (in mid-air), Menagerie, Dragonknight, Phoebus.
Chris Rednour and Andrew Farrell (who seems to have good eyes for this sort of thing) note that Menagerie has turned into the Jabberwock, from Lewis Carroll's Alice through the Looking Glass. Given Ross' attention to detail, it would be no surprise if he took the original Tenniel illustration as his model. Michael Denton further points out that Menagerie's appearance here seems to exactly duplicate the version of the Jabberwock that appeared, once upon a time, on an episode of "The Muppet Show."
Page 12 (170).
Panel 1: Powerman, Mysteryman, Monkeeman (Andrew Farrell identified him), Zatara II, Von Bach, Pepperguard (broken and held aloft by Von Bach), Magog, Aquaman II, Donna Troy, Tula, Atom-Smasher, Marley, Monkeeman, Swastika, Pepperguard (head).
Von Bach: (in German) "You will be squashed like a bug!" (Translation courtesy Waid/Ross Annotations) As Rick Hodges points out, that's quite a thing for Von Bach to say, given that he's using a Pepperguard to do the squashing. Dirk Bansch and Sebastian Weinberg correct Waid/Ross' German and note that the correct sentence should be: "Du wirst wie eine Wanze zerquetscht werden!"
Sad to see Tula laying in to her father like that; her card description, as a "seafaring malcontent," may imply some sort of falling out between her and her father.
Panel 3: Tyrant-Tula, The Batman, Nuculoid, Batwoman II & Ace II, and Hawk II.
Panel 4: Zatara II, Bat-Knight, Von Bach, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern VI (obscured by Batman's "Diana?" word balloon), Batman.
Panel 5: 666, Joker's Daughter II, Atom-Smasher, Black Mongul, Kongo, Horny Toad, Red Tornado I, and Cathedral.
Interestingly, judging from the reaction of 666, Joker's Daughter II, and Somnambulist to Von Bach's death, Von Bach seems to have taken Magog's place (at least momentarily) as the symbolic leader of the bad new "heroes." And as Marilee and the Redheads pointed out, unlike many "bad guy" groups, there seems to be some genuine...if not affection, then certainly concern for Von Bach on the part of 666 et al, and rage at Von Bach's death. This was one of many little scenes that show that this new generation is not entirely devoid of affection, even if it is only for themselves.
Page 13 (171).
Panel 1: Stealth II (being roped by Wonder Woman), Creeper, Hourman III, Magog, N-I-L-8, 666, Starman VIII (in flight, to the left of Wonder Woman's "And we will finish..." word balloon), Obsidian, Hippieman, Hawkman, Wildcat III (tackling Hawkman from behind), Wonder Woman, Black Canary III (in flight), The Batman, Red Robin, Darkstar, Kongo, Shade III (prone behind Batman), Dove III (prone in front of Batman), Vigilante IV and Oliver Queen.
Magog's shocked look, seemingly at the amount of violence, is a nice foreshadowing of his change at the end of the novel.
Panel 2: One wonders exactly how Batman heard about Wonder Woman's fall from grace with the Amazons. Must be those contacts he spoke of in issue 2.
Panel 4: Fate, Catwoman II, Cossack, Joker's Daughter II, Wonder Woman, Samurai, Nightmaster, a Bat-Knight (silhouetted), Dragon, Pinwheel, Phantom Lady II and Bloodlust.
It's interesting that Wonder Woman, the product of a culture in which royalty is the dominant government, should choose "aristocratic" as an insult to lob at Batman. Granted, it fits him, but it is still somewhat jarring coming from her lips.
Page 14 (172).
Panel 1: Wonder Woman, Batman, Living Doll, Dragon.
Panel 2: Brainiac's Daughter, Vigilante IV, Stars, Blue Beetle II, King Crimson, Shining Knight II, Alloy, Wing II (above and to the right of Shining Knight II's head), Stripes, and Flash IV.
Panel 3: Steel II, Superman, King Marvel, Spy Smasher II, Captain Marvel, Lady Marvel, Bulletgirl II, Ibac (being hit from behind by Bulletgirl II), Trix, and Magog.
Panel 4: Mr. Scarlet, N-I-L-8 (both held inside the Green Lantern's green net), Dinah Lance Queen, Oliver Queen, Nuculoid, Nightstar, Iron Curtain, The Green Lantern and Green Lantern VI.
It's quite fitting that Green Lantern VI and Green Lantern I, father and daughter, are fighting side by side; differences between them seem to have been erased in the heat of battle.
Panel 5: Jade Fox (credit to Andrew Farrell for identifying her), Shining Knight II, Blue Beetle II, Death's-Head Moth (entering the panel from the left), Red Arrow, The Ray II, Condor, Red Hood, Nightstar, Huntress III (credit to Andrew Farrell and Chris Rednour for identifying her), Bulletman II, Red Robin, 666, Human Bomb, Phantom Lady III and Bloodlust (lying on her side).
Coincidentally (or perhaps not), Ross has shown the Condor and the Ray II battling here; both characters were created by the great Golden Age artist Lou Fine. And the original Phantom Lady and the Human Bomb were both members of the DC World War Two superhero group the Freedom Fighters, like the Condor and the Ray.
Page 15 (173). I suppose it would have been too much to hope for that Ross would have kept the original, charmingly-eccentric design of the Blackhawk fighter/bombers. The Revelations supplement says this about the Blackhawks planes:
Page 16 (174).
Panel 2: Starman VIII, Nuculoid, Captain Marvel, Superman, Tusk, Wildcat III, Blue Devil II, Golden Guardian, Robotman III.
Captain Marvel's use of the "Shazam!" lightning as an offensive weapon in this way is not new, exactly, but given Captain Marvel's usually genial nature, it is a rarely-seen move on Marvel's part. As Virgilio Velasco Jr. and Scott Casteel point out, Captain Marvel is using the speed of Mercury to move out of the way before the lightning can hit him, which would seem to be the way he was able to crack the gulag open at the end of issue 3 without turning into Billy Batson. Mike Sterling usefully notes that Captain Marvel came up with this tactic in the Superman vs. Shazam treasury edition from 1978: "If I shout the magic word, then zoom away at super-speed, the magic bolt will strike Superman instead of me! And since Superman is vulnerable to magic..."
The Waid/Ross Annotations note "the body-wired pilot climbing out of (the) wreckage of the Tusk armor."
Page 17 (175).
Panel 2: Fate, Darkstar, Ray II, Condor, Bat-Knight, Cathedral (getting thumped by the Bat-Knight), Magog, Nightstar, Red Robin.
Nightstar's grief over her father's wounds is still another of the nice touches in this issue. Mark Bernstein notes that Nightstar's pose and facial expression seem to be taken directly from the famous photo of the weeping protester at the Kent State University killings.
Panel 3: Lightning, Tornado, Black Mongul (using his sword against the Bat-Knight), Killer Moth II, Horny Toad, Flash IV, Flash III, and Thunder (credit to Andrew Farrell for correcting my error here).
Note Flash IV's concern for her fallen father.
Panel 4: Monkeeman, Dinah Lance Queen, Hourman III (fighting Trix), Trix, Red Hood, Tokyo Rose, Oliver Queen, Aquaman II, Red Arrow, Green Lantern VI, Nuculoid, Green Lantern I, and Mr. Scarlet.
As the Redheads got but I somehow missed in my first few readings, Trix has just shot and killed Dinah Queen in this panel.
This panel shows several conflicting loyalties at work: Oliver Queen shooting at Green Lantern I and having shot him a couple of times already; Green Lantern VI (formerly with Batman's group) moving to protect her father against Oliver Queen; Red Arrow moving to stop Oliver Queen, his "father." (Virgilio Velasco Jr. points out that Roy Harper was Oliver Queen's legal ward, rather than his adoptive father, as I originally wrote).
Scott Casteel points out that the Green Lantern I is being hurt by the wooden arrows of Oliver Queen; Alan Scott's traditional weakness was wood, which was the only material his ring could not affect.
Panel 5: Black Canary III, Nowhere Man, Trix's head (as Andrew Farrell and Dave Van Domelen pointed out, clearing up my confusion over what that thing was), Nightstar, Red Robin, Batwoman II & Ace II (kudos to Jacquelyn Koh Lian Ngee for clearing this one up for me), Catwoman II, Oliver Queen, Dinah Lance Queen, Red Arrow, Red Hood.
Still another nice touch is Nightstar flying the hors-de-combat Red Robin out of harm's way, as is the reaction of the extended Queen clan to Dinah's death.
Panel 6: As Marilee Stephens points out, the smile on Captain Marvel's face seems to say that he sees what's going on almost as a game.
Page 19 (177). This is nit-picking, of course, but those fighter/bombers are probably going at a good clip, at least a couple of hundred miles an hour. All Wonder Woman and Batman should have been able to do is wave to them as they shot by.
Yeechang Lee usefully points out the resemblance of the bombs to the post-Crisis rocket that brought the baby Kal-el to Earth. As Scott Casteel points out, there is symbolic irony at work here: "the object that brought the first superhuman to earth would be the last thing that removes (i.e. kills) every last superhuman on earth."
The pseudo-Blackhawk symbol which was seen on the pilot's jacket on page 7 (165) is visible on the top of the plane in panels 1 and 2.
Although I continue to doubt that the pilot is Tim Drake, his whisper begging forgiveness would be more poignant if it was Tim Drake who was bombing his adoptive father, the Batman, as well as many of his former friends from when he, Drake, was Robin.
Page 20 (178). As Scott Casteel points out, Superman uses his own speed to grab Captain Marvel and move him into the path of the lightning, to revert him back to Billy Batson.
Page 22 (180).
Panel 1: Blue Devil II, Powerman, Mysteryman, Nuculoid, Spartian, Blue, Shining Knight II, Aleea Strange, Pepperguard, King Kull, Zatara II, Buddha, White, Snapper Carr, Kongo, Red, Phoebus, a Bat-Knight, Darkstar, Fantom of the Fair, Dragon, Power Woman, a Bat-Knight, Mr. Mulch, Mantis II, Catwoman II.
Other side of the fire, in the lower right (below panel 4): Vigilante IV, Brainiac's Daughter, Midnight, J'oan J'onzz.
Gutter area, in the upper/lower right (behind panels 3 & 5): Tornado, female Thanagarian, Blue Beetle II, Black Manta II, Goblin-Lord, Bulletman II, Oliver Queen, Red Hood, Pinwheel & Hawkman.
Page 23 (181).
Panel 3: Catwoman II, Menagerie, Golden Guardian, Buddha, Superman, Billy Batson.
As Chris Rednour points out, Menagerie here has turned into Tars Tarkas, the mighty four-armed green-skinned Martian warrior and friend to John Carter in Edgar Rice Burroughs' John Carter series.
Page 24 (182).
Panel 1: A Bat-Knight, Bulletman II, Lady Marvel, Stealth II, Marley, Blue Beetle II, King Marvel (below and to the right of Blue Beetle II), Atom-Smasher, Superman, King Crimson, Alloy, Hawkman, Steel II, Phantom Lady III, Black Manta II, Red Tornado III, Obsidian, Green Lantern I, Green Lantern VI, Hawk II and Iron Bow.
Panel 2: Green Lantern VI, Green Lantern I, Flash III, Flash IV (who, as the Waid/Ross Annotations point out, just deposited her father inside of Green Lantern VI's protective shield), Magog (doing the same for Trix, as the Waid/Ross Annotations point out), Trix (who the Waid/Ross Annotations point out is reattaching her head), Avia, Creeper, Obsidian, The Cossack, Swastika (getting cut by Cossack), Norman McCay, Von Bach's body, Salamander, Manotaur, Sandman IV, Atom-Smasher, a Bat-Knight, Flash IV, Bill Batson, Superman, Tula (thanks to Andrew Farrell for clearing up her identity here), Donna Troy & a Monkeeman.
Panel 4: Norman McCay, a Thanagarian, Blue Devil II, Blue Beetle II, and Fate.
Page 25 (183).
Panel 4: Superman, Magog, Tokyo Rose, Manotaur, Blue Devil II, Wildcat III, Bill Batson, Norman McCay.
Magog's efforts in attempting to help his fellow metahumans in this issue are an understated effective way of showing Magog trying to change and grow. Jacquelyn Koh Lian Ngee sees Magog as stunned by the carnage surrounding him, and helping to save lives when he can, rather than throw himself into the free-for-all. Jack Grimes notes that Magog has given up his "golden calf idol" head gear at this point--more symbolism.
Page 26 (184). Some have questioned how Captain Marvel could have caught up to Superman so quickly. Cap does have the The Speed of Mercury at his disposal, after all. And, as S.L. Post points out, Superman's vulnerability to magic rendered him particularly vulnerable to Captain Marvel's lightning bolts; while Superman may be faster than Cap normally, at this point in the story he's probably weaker, and slower, than Captain Marvel.
Page 27 (185). Red Hood & Red Arrow; Flash IV; Blue Beetle II & Black Racer (uh-oh); Avia, Scott Free, & Big Barda (opening a Boom Tube to take Scott to safety--according to the Waid/Ross Annotations they do in fact escape); Dinah Lance Queen, Oliver Queen & Black Canary III; Stripes (thanks to Andrew Farrell for figuring out who that was), 666 & Creeper; Power Woman & Darkstar; Wildcat III; Tula & Donna Troy; Hawkman; a very sober and somber-looking Magog, pulling Tokyo Rose to safety & Green Lantern VI; Zatara II; Captain Marvel.
The weeping Oliver Queen embracing the sadly dead Dinah Lance, as their crying daughter looks on, is another very nice touch in this series full of wonderful artistic flourishes.
Dave Van Domelen notes that Captain Marvel said "Shazam!" three times in the last panel, thereby insuring his own death, as the bomb will explode while he is in the form of Billy Batson.
Page 29 (187). As Andrew Farrell noted (correcting my original impression), panel 5 would seem to be the source of Norman McCay's vision in issue 1, page 45, panel 2.
Page 30 (188). The Waid/Ross Annotations list the dead as the following: a Bat-Knight, Robotman III ("liquid metal hardened into stone"), Black Mongul, Red Arrow, Red Hood, Black Canary III, Oliver & Dinah Queen, King Crimson, Alloy ("mostly melted away"), Stealth II, Nuculoid, Superman (alive, obviously), Catwoman II, Atom-Smasher, Aleea Strange, a Bat-Knight, Creeper, 666, Phoebus ("burned into the ground"), Blue Beetle II, Sandman IV, Blue Devil II, Bulletman II, Wildcat III, and Golden Guardian.
Page 31 (189).
Panel 5: Spectre & McCay, Buddha, Bulletgirl II, Manotaur, The Flash, Trix, Fate, The Ray II, Joker's Daughter II, Swastika, Magog, Green Lantern I, Green Lantern VI, Thunder, Vigilante IV and Hawkman.
Page 32 (190).
Panel 3: Flash III, Trix, Fate, Joker's Daughter II (silhouetted), Ray II, Green Lantern I, Green Lantern VI, Magog (helping Green Lantern VI to her feet), Thunder.
Jack Grimes points out that Flash III is probably looking for his daughter, Flash IV.
This is the second time Magog has survived an atomic explosion.
The expressions of the Ray II and Thunder in panel 3 are a reminder that even battle-hardened superbeings can be shocked by carnage of a sufficient scope.
Note the entrance hole made by Superman in the UN's building in panel 5.
Page 33 (191). Virgilio Velasco Jr. and Leo Castillo point out that the Filipino text is done in "rather poor grammar. Presumably, it should read `Nandito na ang sira ulo! Papatayin niya tayo!' In English, this means `The lunatic is already here! (or "Here comes the madman!") He's going to kill us!'" Steve Gustafson notes that the translated Greek is "My God! He's going to kill us all!" and the French is "Run! Run for your lives!"
Page 34 (192). Scott B. Casteel points out that McCay reaches Superman's human side by calling him "Clark," the name that Superman had been ignoring and denying throughout the entire series.
Page 35 (193). McCay's speech here about Superman's wisdom and judgment is, I think, a reaction by Waid/Ross to the judgment of some (many, perhaps?) of the younger generation of readers that Superman is a "big blue Boy Scout," and as such not worthy of the reader's respect. Waid/Ross, through McCay, are reminding these historically-ignorant readers why Superman, more than any other superhero (with the arguable exception of The Batman), is an iconic figure, with a great deal of symbolism invested in him.
Page 36 (194). Three more nice artistic touches are Green Lantern VI's power, in panel 2, seeming to staunch the neck wound of Swastika (thanks to Jonathan Woodward and Jack Grimes for correcting me here), Green Lantern's arm in a glowing-green sling, and Joker's Daughter ducking under Fate's cloak as she emerges into the UN building.
Page 195. According to the Waid/Ross Annotations, crowd members include "William Moulton Marston...Harry Peter...Jerry Siegel...Joe Shuster...Martin Nodell, Bob Kane...Bill Finger."
William Moulton Marston created Wonder Woman. Harry Peter was Wonder Woman's original artist. Siegel and Shuster created Superman. Martin Nodell created the Green Lantern. Kane and Finger created the Batman. Their presence here, at the end of the age and the potential beginning of a new age or end of all superhero ages, is quite fitting.
Page 38 (196). An understated, but effective, touch on page 37 and here is the unmasking of Batman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern I, and the Ray, which is a nice, symbolic way of reinforcing Superman's words.
Rob St. Martin interestingly notes:
when the heroes all unmask themselves in front of the U.N. Building, in the last three panels you see the Spectre - who has until this moment always floated above McKay - lower himself to the ground and walk off with McKay. More symbolism of god-like heroes joining earth-bound humanity, perhaps?Yeechang Lee points out that the flag to the right of Marvel's cape is the state (country?) flag of Puerto Rico.
Matthew Daly points out that the end of the quote in panel 5 of page 5 (15) of issue 1--"Behold, I shew you a mystery, we shall not sleep, but we shall all be changed..."--is "But we shall all be changed in a flash." This omission may be coincidental on Waid's part, but if not it is yet another Biblical parallel to the events of Kingdom Come.
Page 39 (197). Another page of very nice touches: the exchanged glances of Selina and Bruce; the King gently helping a victim; Lord Naga pushing a mop (how the mighty have fallen, indeed), Ibn al-Xu'ffasch being affected at having a patient die in front of him, and Batman's comforting hand on his shoulder; Luthor emptying the bedpans (credit to Mark Coale and Mario Di Giacomo for catching this); and the laugh-out-loud moment of Bruce's gibe at Luthor.
Yeechang Lee, among others, points out that al-Xu'ffasch is not wearing a prison collar, unlike the other MLF members, which might imply that he was working with his father all along. Kevin L. Gilbert points out that there seems to be some sort of hierarchy among the MLF members based on the severity of their past crimes; King, Selina and Nygma, who are basically just thieves, get relatively light duties, while Luthor and Naga--murdering, world-conquering types--get the more demeaning work.
The symbolic change in the color of the Bat-Knights and Bruce's t-shirt is, of course, obvious, yet well-done nonetheless. As a few folks pointed out, Batman's new colors are the same shades used by the International Red Cross.
Jose De Leon and Leo Castillo point out that there is a nice symbolism/irony in the ruins of Wayne Manor being rebuilt into a hospital, given that Thomas Wayne (Bruce's father) was a prominent physician.
Page 40 (198). The reconciliations here are very nice and quite fitting.
Rick Hodges and someone whose name I didn't get (sorry) point out that the Amazon wearing the black bathing suit in panel 3 is wearing the same outfit that Wonder Woman wore in the original contest to determine which Amazon would leave Paradise Island as Wonder Woman. Steve Gustafson notes that "the dark-skinned figure on the far left of the....coronation scene is probably meant to be Philippus, the commander of the Amazon guard."
Red Robin's crest, clearly visible here, is interestingly similar to the pseudo-Blackhawk crest (seen on page 7, among others). This similarity may be just coincidental, though.
Page 41 (199). Magog's chastising of Swastika is another nice touch. Ross has this to say about Magog on the card set:
The presence of men on Paradise Island would seem to imply that the traditional, pre-Crisis restriction against men on Paradise Island (if a man set foot on Paradise Island, the Amazons would lose their powers) has been done away with.
Albert Tsuei notes that Ragnarok, in Norse mythology, was supposed to consume the old gods, leaving only a few survivors who would lead and beget the new generation of kinder and gentler gods, which seems to fit right in with the end of Kingdom Come.
Note that we finally get a name for the Lantern's "Emerald City," New Oa--which, as Jack Grimes (among others) wonders, may be where the superbeings are now residing. Or perhaps, as a few others remarked (sorry, I missed your names), superbeings are now living on Paradise Island.
The Waid/Ross Annotations point out that Alan Scott is sitting beside Martin Nodell and is wearing his GA ring on his left hand (as he did originally) and that he cufflinks shaped like the Silver Age Green Lantern's lantern.
Ex1Machina points out that Joker's Daughter II has undergone a drastic makeup change, with a tear now tattooed beneath her eye. This in turn might be a reference to the modern tradition of female gang members bearing a tattoo teardrop for each loved one who has died; it may be that Joker's Daughter II felt that way towards Von Bach, which would put her reaction on page 12, panel 5 in a somewhat different light.
One wonders what the Amazons have to say to Manotaur's appearance; such a blatantly mythological beast, and one with unpleasant cultural/symbolic connotations for the ancient Greeks (and presumably/especially the Amazons), would no doubt cause quite a stir.
Page 42 (200). Again, more parallels between Magog and Superman; Superman is, in essence, trying to "fix" Kansas by himself, just as Magog was in issue 2. In this case, though, Superman is doing it right. As Sam Lysinger points out, Superman is back where he started: in a farm setting, with Krypto, working alone, with Wonder Woman visiting him. However, unlike before, Superman (now Clark) has reconnected with humanity, (and his Kansas roots, as Mark Bernstein notes), and is on a real farm, rather than in his Fortress of Solitude.
Good to see Krypto again, too.
Page 43 (201). Mark Bernstein also points out that the image of the plow seems to be a reference to the Biblical "beat your swords into plowshares." Perhaps the plow is made out of the remnants of the Gulag?
Page 202. The KC Revelations segment says this about our first glimpse of Jim Corrigan:
The Waid/Ross Annotations point out that Lynette Ross, the real life model for Ellen (the late wife of Norman McCay) is sitting beside Jim Corrigan.
Page 205. This epilogue is very satisfying on several levels, as well as being (for me) a surprise.
It may just be me, but it seems that Planet Krypton, while still merchandising the hell out of DC's icons, is doing it in a slightly more respectful way, as if even they were sobered by the events in Kansas.
Panel 1: We see the cover to Whiz Comics #1 on the far left; that was the first appearance of Captain Marvel. The long-haired Superman waiter is a clear reference to the long-haired version of Superman, with what Victor Wong sees as the features of the tv Superman (from Lois & Clark) Dean Cain. The other waiters are dressed as Wonder Woman (circa 1941, as the Waid/Ross Annotations point out) and Supergirl. The cook behind the counter is dressed as J'onn J'onzz, the Martian Manhunter.
The Waid/Ross Annotations note that Elliot S. Maggin and Mort Weisinger are working in the kitchen, and that the late Mark Gruenwald is on the left of the J'onn J'onzz waiter. (Thanks to Victor Wong for correcting my mistakes here)
Panel 2: We see the Batman tv show Batgirl (looking here much like Yvonne Craig, the actress who played Batgirl on the tv show) reading 1a copy of Young Love (the Waid/Ross Annotations point out the issue is #105, from 1973; I'm unaware of what significance, if any, that particular issue has). Near the Batgirl clerk we see various DC paraphernalia.
The Waid/Ross Annotations point out that the t-shirts are from Graphitti Designs (the folks who helped produce the KC slipcover); that above the kiosk are the corporate logos of Graphitti Designs, DC Comics and Warner Brothers; and that on the shelf are the "old 1970s rag dolls of Super Baby, Bat-Mite, and Wonder Tot.'"
Panel 3. On the wall we see one of the old Challengers of the Unknown costumes, the Bat-Ship (from the tv show), Jonni DC, and the old 1970s DC Comics Logo. The Waid/Ross Annotations point out the presence of Bob Kahan, from DC editorial, sitting in the lower right.
Panel 4. The stripe on the table looks very familiar. That's Alex Ross in the booth to the right of Wonder Woman. The salt and pepper shakers are in the form of Bulletman and Bulletgirl. The ashtray is in the form of the helmet of Flash I (Jay Garrick).
The Waid/Ross Annotations also point out a "Whirly Bat coat rack" behind Clark and a 1960s costume from the Blackhawks villain The Listener.
Page 206. The League of Assassins was an old enemy of the Batman, led by Ra's al-Ghul (Ib'n al-Xuffasch's grandfather); the backstory here is that the League found Xuffasch and raised him to succeed Ra's, which is why he needs to overcome his brainwashing. Batman's allusion to the "counseling" that Ib'n is receiving from Nightstar seems to imply that we may yet see another generation of heroes and of Batmen.
Batman being a caffeine addict, of course, shouldn't be any surprise; nor should Clark's preference for milk.
Panel 1. We see the case of kryptonite (green, red, gold, blue, white and jewel), as well as the Dial H for Hero dial. On the menu we see: the Silver Age Flash offering "fast special;" Gin Gold Soda (the elixir that originally gave Ralph Dibny, the Elongated Man, his stretching abilities); the Silver Age Green Lantern, Hal Jordan; and Superman's mischievous enemy, Mr. Mxyzptlk (spelled here in Silver Age spelling) offering mozzarella sticks.
The Waid/Ross Annotations note that Hal Jordan's pose here is taken from his debut in Showcase #22, and that he is "green-lighting" other specials (a pun I should have seen coming 40 pages away). The Annotations also note that Batman's pose is taken from the cover of Detective Comics #38, when Robin debuted.
Panel 2. The Waid/Ross Annotations point out Batman looking (somewhat dubiously) at the Whirly-Bat.
Panel 3. In the vacuum tube we see the preserved corpse of DC's western anti-hero Jonah Hex, which is how he remains in current DC Continuity. However, his garb is not his traditional Confederate uniform, but instead something closer to the costume of a Singing Cowboy, the antithesis of what Hex stood for. The Waid/Ross Annotations point out the presence of Amy Schmetterling, from DC licensing, in the panel as well.
Panel 5. We see a picture of the Victor Buono character "King Tut" from the 1960s Batman tv show (a character who never appeared in the comic books). We also see the flashbulb Batarang. The waiter is dressed like the Silver Age Aquaman.
The Waid/Ross Annotations point out the presence, at the tables behind Diana et al, of E. Nelson Bridwell (long time DC creator & Superman authority), Bruce Timm, Paul Dini, Sol Harrison and Curt Swan (the Superman artist). The Annotations also point out that the ketchup is the Warner Brothers brand.
Page 207. Clark's spit-curl (with his glasses, the only real visual disguise he had) has returned.
Panel 1. Batman dubiously examines the Bulletman & Bulletgirl salt-and-pepper shakers. His distaste for them, and for Planet Krypton, is obvious here, and quite in-character for him.
Panel 2. In the background we see the wheelchair of the Chief (paralyzed leader of the Doom Patrol) and a "Cosmic Treadmill" ride; the Cosmic Treadmill was a device the Silver Age Flash used to travel through time.
Panel 3. We see on the next table over a drink in a Chemo glass; Chemo was the sentient-toxic-waste enemy of the Metal Men.
The Waid/Ross Annotations point out the presence, at the next table over, of DC employees Shira Levine, David Vinson, Bob Wayne (who occasionally posts on RACDCU), and Maureen McTigue.
Panel 4. Bruce's coffee mug is in the shape of the Green Lantern's Lantern.
The Waid/Ross Annotations note: the presence of Maura Healy (Ross' lawyer), Chantal d'Aulnis (DC vp of licensed publications), and Jay Kogan (DC legal affairs); the Flash's insignia on a glass and the Shazam glass from a 1970s Pizza Hut giveaway; and the swizzle sticks in Clark's mug are in the shape of Green Arrow's boxing glove and boomerang arrows.
Page 208. More intertextual fun.
Panel 1. Note Batman's reaction to the waiter dressed as the Robin from The Dark Knight Returns. We also see Robin's Batcycle in the background. The Waid/Ross Annotations point out the presence of the 1950s Flying Batcave.
Panel 2. The Power Girl chicken sandwich would have to be a breast cut; reportedly she was drawn, early on, with increasingly large breasts, as a way for the artist to see if anyone was paying attention. Power Girl has always been among the more buxom of characters. The "Dial H for Hoagie" is a reference to the hero Dial H for Hero (whose dial we saw on page 206, panel 1). The "Giant Turtle Soup" is a reference to Jimmy Olsen's incarnation as Turtle Olsen.
The Waid/Ross Annotations note that the waitress is carrying an hourglass in the style of the Golden Age DC hero Hourman.
Panel 3. We see a poster for two Superman serials from 1940s: Superman in Scotland Yard and Superman and the Jungle Devil. The "Starro the Casserole" refers to Starro, an old JLA starfish villain.
Panel 5. In the upper left of the panel we see Quisp, the SA sidekick of Aquaman. We also see, hanging from the ceiling, Wonder Woman's invisible plane (from the Super Friends, as the Waid/Ross Annotations point out) and the square planet of the Bizarros. Hanging on the wall is Starro (reffed in panel 3).
The Waid/Ross Annotations note the presence of Ken Sanzel & Laura Strohl, Amy Schmetterling and Patricia Jeres.
Page 209. It is interesting to me that, of all the MLF members, Batman mentions Vandal Savage as pulling his weight. He has always seemed one of the least reformable of villains.
Panel 1. The waiter behind Bruce is wearing the costume of the Silver Age Flash. Bruce seems to be handling a Hawkman figure--perhaps a sugar dispenser?
Panel 2. The Waid/Ross Annotations note the presence of Ann Ivan (DC direct sales) and Rich Marlow (DC retailer rep) behind Bruce et al.
Panel 5. The Waid/Ross Annotations note the presence, behind Clark, of Despero's chessboard, from Justice League of America #1, and a model of the key to Superman's Fortress of Solitude.
Panel 6. Typical of Bruce, "the world's greatest detective," to figure out Diana's surprise before she had the opportunity to announce it.
Page 210. In panel 3 the waiter is wearing Captain Marvel's costume; the Waid/Ross Annotations point out that the waiter is Nick Bertozzi (DC direct sales).
Panel 4. Looks like Diana gets to surprise Bruce after all.
With this epilogue, the Spectre's choice of the word "Ragnarok," back in issue 3 (page 2 (112)) becomes clear. Just as in the original Norse myths, an apocalyptic struggle has ended with the deaths of almost all of the gods, leaving a man and a woman to sire a new race of gods.
Panel 5. The salt shaker on the booth to the right of Bruce seems to be in the shape of the Penguin.
The Waid/Ross Annotations note the presence, in the booth behind Diana et al, of Alex Ross "screaming at" Dan Raspler and Mark Waid, and the presence of David Vinson and Charles Kochman (DC editor of licensed publications, last seen getting shot in issue #1).
Panel 6. This may be the only time we ever see Batman referring--with obvious regret--to his record as a parent (long enmity with Dick Grayson, he got Jason Todd killed, and Tim Drake went off to the CIA).
In the cabinet on the wall we see two of the Green Lantern's lanterns, Superman's Phantom Zone projector, and the Bottled City of Kandor. The Waid/Ross Annotations note the presence of a slice of Superboy's giant cake for Smallville.
The Waid/Ross Annotations note the presence of a promo poster of the 1970s Superman film, and Jenette Kahn (DC President), Julie Shwartz (DC legend), Paul Levitz, Scott Sonneborn, Mike McAvennie, Rob Simpson, Martha Thomases (a regular on RACDCU), peter Tomasi, Steve Korte, and Charles Kochman.
Page 211. Awwww....
Panel 2. The Waid/Ross Annotations point out the presence of Rich Markow, Vince Letterio, David Vinson and Shira Levine.
Panel 3. We see Despero's chessboard again. The Waid/Ross Annotations point out that the only piece missing is the Flash, who was playing the chess game with Despero.
Panel 6. We see a waiter dressed as the Silver Age Green Lantern (the same waiter from issue 1, perhaps), the old JLA satellite, a Blackhawks plane, and a Beppo the Super Monkey doll. The Waid/Ross Annotations add that the Blackhawks' plane is the SF-SF1, that the turtle doll is Super-Turtle, and that at the table to the right of Bruce is Laurie Kerr, Scott Nybakken, Mike Carlin and Maureen McTigue.
Page 212. A very nice and fitting end and beginning, I think.
Panel 2. Note Plastic Man's head; he was, as implied earlier, the table off of which Bruce, Clark and Diana were eating.
Panel 4. The headgear in the cabinet behind Jim Corrigan & Norman McCay are the Golden Age Hawkman's helmet, Sargon the Sorcerer's turban, and Sgt. Rock's helmet. The Waid/Ross Annotations add the presence of the helmet of the hero of DC's `Mazing Man and DC WW1 anti-hero Enemy Ace's headgear.
Victor Wong points out that two other Alex Ross-handled characters are visible here: Phil Sheldon, from Marvels, to Corrigan's right, and Uncle Sam, from Uncle Sam, to McCay's left.
Panel 5. To the left we see the equipment of the Golden Age Sandman (seen dying in issue 1) and on the right we see the covers of Whiz #1 and More Fun #1, which the Waid/Ross Annotations point out is the first comic book DC ever published.
A very nice job, Misters Waid and Ross. Thanks for the ride.
Thanks for various notes, corrections, contributions, and good thoughts to:
Dirk Bansch, Sam Bell, Mark Bernstein, Christopher Bird, Jason Borelli, Jim Caldwell, Scott B. Casteel, Mark Coale, Jon Crowhurst, Michael Denton, Mario DiGiacomo, Eric Dittman, Ex1Machina, Andrew Farrell, Kevin L. Gilbert, Jack Grimes, Chris Gumprich, Steve Gustafson, Mike Hazlett, Jim Heath, "Henway the Barbarian," Rick Hodges, Paul.Kaczmarek, William S. Kartalopoulos, David Knott, "Krypto," Yeechang Lee, Tim Lehnerer, Sam Lysinger, Sean MacDonald, Tracy Mallon, Edward Mathews, Brian McGinley, Gabriel A. Neeb, Jacquelyn Koh Lian Ngee, Joe Pacheco, S. L. Post, Christoper J. Rednour, Heath Rosenbaum, Rob St. Martin, David J. Snyder, Marilee Stephens and the Redheads, David W. Stepp, Alex Tam, David Telesca, Martha Thomases, Albert Tsuei, Dave Van Domelen, Virgilio 'Dean' B. Velasco Jr., Elayne Wechsler-Chaput, Sebastian Weinberg, and Victor Wong.
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