Exploring The Multiverse: Kingdom Come (aka Earth-22)
I certainly love the concept of an unlimited Multiverse. Some people like their science fiction to explore time travel, or the future, I like mine to explore worlds that might have been existing somewhere alongside our own.This installment of Exploring the Multiverse looks at another favorite Elseworlds series, Kingdom Come.
Kingdom Come was a groundbreaking limited series for DC in 1996. Created by Mark Waid and Alex Ross, it was so successful that for many years, DC creators and editors took steps to insinuate that the future of the “mainstream” DC Universe was approaching the world depicted in Kingdom Come. However, as plans changed, and the multiverse was recreated, this world became known as Earth-22. The story of Kingdom Come is straightforward, with prior to the events of the miniseries, Superman retired as Magog rose to prominence among the super-hero community and Lex Luthor’s Mankind Liberation Font began outfitting dangerous individuals as “heroes.” After his secret identity was exposed by villains like Bane, Batman hardened his methods with an army of drones that Ted Kord helped him develop. He built a network of heroes he could trust, including the sons and daughters of his peers. When Magog’s Justice Battalion had a catastrophic battle with the Parasite that destroyed Kansas, Wonder Woman lured Superman out of hiding and they formed a new group of heroes to reign in a reckless group of heroes and imprison those that refused to reform. This eventually resulted in a battle the United Nations saw no way to end except with nuclear weapons. Only the actions of Batman, Wonder Woman and Captain Marvel, rescued from Luthor’s brainwashing, prevented complete annihilation of every hero, although one bomb detonated above the battlefield.
At the time of the explosion, Superman was pulled through a black hole by Starman, formerly Star Boy of the Legion of Super-Heroes of the Earth-0 Justice Society of America. Stranded, he stayed with them for some time, witnessing the rise of Gog and Magog of Earth-0. He assisted in defeating Gog and with Starman’s assistance, returned to his Earth, just a few scant moments after he was pulled away. Stayed from exacting vengeance by preacher Norman McKay, Superman and a handful of survivors helped repair society’s schism between humans and superhumans. Superman and Wonder Woman had children, and watched as humanity left Earth for the stars. After civilization collapsed on Earth, Superman worked as a farmer to rebuild it until as an old man, he watched the Legion of Super-Heroes carry on his legacy.
The heroes of Kingdom Come are well known enough, and prior to Magog’s rise, Earth-22 resembles Earth-0. The glimpses given of it’s future show similarities to Jack Kirby’s Great Disaster depicted in Kamandi. The Legion of Super-Heroes on Earth-22 resemble the “Archie Legion” of the first reboot, but with Superboy Conner Kent and Supergirl, possibly the Matrix/Linda Danvers version, among the membership, having traveled forward in time to escape the darker world depicted at the beginning of Kingdom Come. It also featured Bouncing Boy and Matter-Eater Lad as full members, Dirk Morgna as Sun Boy/Inferno, a surviving Leviathan, Catspaw and Dragonmage and a human Princess Projectra. In many ways, it more resembles the SW6 Legion, but the appearances of M’Onel, XS, Spark and Karate Kid lend it to be a blend of the two, and definitely a separate Legion entirely.
Could this world be explored further? Possibly, but so much has been explored already, the only natural room for more stories lies with the Legion of Super-Heroes, but given the resemblance to the Archie Legion, may have had all of it’s story possibilities fully explored already by that version of the team.