I’ve reached the conclusion of the “Thy Kingdom Come” storyline, and as expected, Geoff Johns didn’t disappoint. Keeping up the pace he set in the first two volumes, Part Three finishes off the story with the perfect amount of poignancy and finality. I always wondered how the story would end, particularly in reference to Superman from Earth-22. After all, this is the Superman who watched all his friends die in Kingdom Come, and I wasn’t sure if this story would keep his happy ending in tact or retcon something else entirely. His story, coupled with everything else going on in this trade, is wrapped up quite nicely, and created an overall satisfying story.
With the JSA divided, the group splits up; the doubters return to their headquarters, while those who believe in Gog’s power continue to follow him across Africa, watching him perform miracles. Cracks begin to show through in his gifts though; Sand no longer has nightmarish visions of crimes, leading to a young boy’s death; Dr. Mid-Nite can see, but he’s lost the ability to detect invisibly dangers to the human body, which helped him save countless lives. As the heroes try to come to terms with these new limitations, Gog’s true goals begin to shine through.
Gog demands that his followers bow down and pray to him, saying that he will never forsake them as long as they preach his word. At the same time, we learn that Gog is literally rooting himself to the Earth, and if this is completed, he will destroy the planet if he ever chooses to leave. The JSA is reunited as they battle Gog, trying to figure out a way to defeat him while also keeping him from fully bonding with the planet.
Luckily, it was earlier revealed (amidst Starman’s newly gained lucidity) that his star suit is in fact a map to the multiverse and that it, coupled with his ability to generate trans-dimensional black holes, lets him journey from one universe to the other.
With the help of Earth-22 Superman, the pair transport Gog to the Source Wall, where they reunite him with other gods and entrap him within the wall itself. Starman returns to Earth, where Gog’s gifts have been reversed: Damage’s face is disfigured again, Dr. Mid-Nite is blind, and Starman is koo-koo for cocoa puffs (I must admit, this last one made me happy. Sane Starman was just so boring. I much prefer his incoherent ramblings).
While Starman returns to this world, Superman chooses a different path, and with Starman’s help, returns to his own world.
Interspersed throughout the panels of our Earth’s heroes dealing with the aftermath of Gog are images of Earth-22 Superman. I was happy to see that they line up with the events of Kingdom Come perfectly; Johns chose to keep the original story in tact, and I applaud him for it. Instead, we simply get a two-page spread of wordless panels, in which Superman’s future is laid out. We see as far as 1,000 years into the future, in a world where Superman is still alive (though considerably older) and has lived a full, long life. Words would have been an unnecessary addition to this part of the story, and I’m happy with the ending’s simplicity. It feels a fitting end for Earth-22 Superman, and reflects the timeless legacy he has already developed in less than 100 years. His story is (hopefully) complete; I’d hate to think what another writer might try to do to this finished story.
As for the rest of the JSA, we leave them to process everything that’s gone on. Magog still exists, the last remnant of Gog on Earth, with no explanation given as to why. I can only guess that he’ll play into a future storyline, likely reflecting the events that occurred on Earth-22. While “Thy Kingdom Come” is technically finished, there is definitely more to this story.
I’m continually surprised by how much I enjoy reading about the JSA. At first glance, I’d think I wouldn’t find it all that interesting; a bunch of old-school heroes uniting to “teach” the new generation, a generation mostly consisting of heroes I’ve never heard of before. Yet somehow it works. The combination of action and down time feels real, and makes the characters much more likable. I’m sure Johns’s writing has something to do with it, as each character has their own distinct personality, even if it isn’t showcased very often. I finish this trade reluctantly, hoping I’ll get to read more about the JSA’s exploits soon enough. I’m sure they’ll pop up as side characters in other trades coming up on “the shelf”, but I’m going to miss reading about these heroes’ everyday interactions. I suppose that’s the highest praise you can give to a story: that it’s so good that you don’t want to leave. I just hope I’m not away for long.