The Good: Completes the story, Moments of character, Most of the artwork
The Bad: Villain is predictably treacherous, Low general character development, Not “big” enough for the supposed scope
The Basics: In trying to service the Justice Society Of America, Justice Society Of America: Thy Kingdom Come Volume 3 diverges too much from being a pure Kingdom Come sequel to recommend the journey.
There are, despite my love for the medium and my many reviews of them, remarkably few graphic novels that I have in my permanent library. I am, largely, okay with that; I would much rather get graphic novels out from my library, determine if they are actually worthwhile and then buy them as opposed to buy them on spec and end up disappointed. Unfortunately, while I was on vacation recently, I broke my steadfast rule when I found a bunch of hardcover graphic novels dirt cheap at the comic book shop near my hotel. While I was thrilled to finally find an affordable copy of Absolute Identity Crisis (reviewed here!) to add to my permanent library, I have found myself less impressed by the other purchase I made. I found, incredibly inexpensively, Justice Society Of America: Thy Kingdom Come Volume 2 (reviewed here!) and Justice Society Of America: Thy Kingdom Come Volume 3. Justice Society Of America: Thy Kingdom Come Volume 3 does what it has to, which is to resolve the story begun in Justice Society Of America: Thy Kingdom Come Volume 1 (reviewed here!), but the book does little more than that . . . except when it does things completely different.
Allow me to explain; Justice Society Of America: Thy Kingdom Come Volume 3 is put in the unenviable position of having to rectify a situation with a villain who has not yet revealed himself to be villainous at all and is part of a series that was ongoing at the time. Unlike Kingdom Come (reviewed here!), which this series is a sequel to, Thy Kingdom Come was not a special DC Comics event; it is a collection of comic books from the Justice Society Of America monthly book. Author Geoff Johns had to service the larger comic book series, so Justice Society Of America: Thy Kingdom Come Volume 3 included divergences like a trip to Earth-2, seeds of things to come with Starman and, of course, an otherwise pointless bit that features Black Adam resurrected and just kind of looking around Khandaq. The rest of Justice Society Of America: Thy Kingdom Come Volume 3 is stuck with resolving the events of the prior two volumes and unfortunately, in that way the book is remarkably formulaic.
Gog burst into existence in Volume 2 as an apparent benevolent god on Earth, walking around Africa healing people and the land and even resurrecting David Reid. The issue in Justice Society Of America: Thy Kingdom Come Volume 3 is that, of course, Gog has to leave Earth and given how everything the new deity has done seems monolithically benevolent, savvy readers of comic books have to figure what the most cynical characters in the book do; Gog is doing his good works with a catch. What the catch is turns Justice Society Of America: Thy Kingdom Come Volume 3 and, unfortunately, it is not enough to save the storyline or make it an indispensible read.
With Power Girl lost in Earth-2, hunted by all of her former friends who claim she is a doppelganger (whatwith them having their own Power Girl still there!), Sandman pleasantly asleep, and David Reid resurrected as Magog, the Justice Society Of America begins testing Magog. Reid seems stronger and more resilient than before, despite being blinded in one eye and having a new, mechanical arm. Reid returns to the Congo to rejoin Gog as he walks. Reid’s return begins a split in the Justice Society Of America that turns hero against hero and puts the alternate universe Superman instantly on edge. Fearing that heroes will come to blows over their devotion to Gog (or their resistance to following Gog without question), Superman begins to question if there is any way to stop “fate” and history from repeating itself.
Power Girl manages to make it back to our universe, only to have the Justice Society Infinity, from Earth-2, chase her and pull her back. With the help of the now-not-schizophrenic Starman, Power Girl is brought back to our universe. There, Superman wrestles with an attack on the Daily Planet that puts him face to face with Lois Lane and the rest of the Justice Society Of America splits over Magog. Things come to a head when Sandman finally wakes up and senses the price that Gog will exact from humanity for his benevolence. Ultimately, the heroes unite against Gog in their efforts to protect the Earth.
Justice Society Of America: Thy Kingdom Come Volume 3 is, unfortunately, predictable. The second act to the story built up a somewhat ridiculous “ultimate good” while only hinting that his benevolence could have a negative turn. Instead of being a being who people reject for how his gifts ruin their lives (Dr. Mid-Nite getting his sight back has negative consequences, like not being able to see into people’s bodies for their ailments), Gog exacts a payment that the Justice Society deems “too high.” It’s a pretty basic hero vs. villain story.
Unfortunately, because the book is packed with so many characters, the plot elements dominate the character ones. The book meanders until the plot catch for Gog is finally revealed; the characters barely motivate the book’s action. Instead, Justice Society Of America: Thy Kingdom Come Volume 3 is largely about putting otherwise inconsequential characters out of play – Gog, the Kingdom Come Superman, Magog. The result is a less-than-thrilling volume that does not captivate, it merely concludes.
The artwork in Justice Society Of America: Thy Kingdom Come Volume 3 is good, but erratic. A divergent story featuring Superman is done with Kingdom Come style artwork, despite taking place in “our” universe, which is irregular for the rest of this series. Still, all of the characters are recognizable and there is a decent sense of movement within the book.
But Justice Society Of America: Thy Kingdom Come Volume 3 does not save the storyline and it acts as a cautionary tale to those creating sequels; the utterly unnecessary follow-up to Kingdom Come does not create anywhere near as compelling a story as the original.
For other comic book sequels, please visit my reviews of:
Justice League Of America: The Lightning Saga
Green Lantern: Rebirth
For other book reviews, please check out my Book Review Index Page for an organized listing!
© 2015 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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