It is the early years of the Twenty-First Century. Without the guidance and values long championed by the old guard -- Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman -- a younger generation of super heroes is ravaging the world. But when the Man of Steel returns from self-imposed exile, his very presence could be the catalyst that pushes us all into Armageddon. Seen through the eyes of Norman McCay, an aging minister who embarks on a disturbing odyssey of revelation with an angel known as the Spectre to guide him, "Kingdom Come" is the story of what defines a hero in a world spinning inexorably out of control...of the heroes who adapted to that changing world, and those who couldn't...of personal battles fought with inner demons, and the final war that would determine the fate of our planet.
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It's hard to imagine the comic book medium translated into audio. After listening to KINGDOM COME, I can hear why. The 1996 mini-series from DC Comics was poignant and well written, with fully painted artwork by Alex Ross. In contrast, this dramatization is often hokey and stilted. The story, set in the early years of the twenty-first century, tells of a world in which the classic super-heroes--Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, etc.--have all retired. In their absence, not-so-heroic "meta-humans" are wreaking havoc on the planet. The old heroes band together to set things right before it's too late. This dramatization is elaborately produced with a full cast and sound effects, but too many scenes have a hollow, echo-chamber feel, as though recorded in a fish bowl. S.E.S. (c)AudioFile, Portland, MaineFrom Kirkus Reviews:
Based on a popular 1996 DC Comics series by Mark Waid and Alex Ross, and now novelized by Maggin, author of two previous Superman novels: a sort of Twilight of the Superheroes, with the expected action painstakingly, and painfully, eked out with psychologizing, religion, and meaningless flourishes. In 21st-century Metropolis, Clark Kent and Lois Lane are dead, Superman has been missing for ten years, and the city streets are cluttered with young troublemaking ``metahumans,'' some with genuine superpowers, led by the superpowered Magog and his sidekick, Alloy (the result when the Metal Men were all melted together). The Spectre, here a sort of guardian angel, appears to the Rev. Norman McCay and takes him whirling through time and space to observe the state of the world; somehow, you see, the Spectre needs Rev. McCay to help avert doomsday. After a big battle, Magog nukes Kansas, so Wonder Woman persuades Superman to come out of retirement and re-form the Justice League of America. Batman, Green Arrow, and various others, however, have their own agenda and refuse to sign up. The bad hats, including Lex Luthor, Vandal Savage (``he was Cro-Magnon, not Homo sapiens,'' which is sad news for the rest of us), Catwoman, and the Riddler, prepare to rule the world once the superheroes blow each other away. . . . Do you really need to know more? A great sizzling turkey, unpalatably stuffed. Still, if it induces even a handful of readers to switch from comics to books with lots of words, it will have done its job. -- Copyright ©1998, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.
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