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 Home > Wizard > Features
We shed light on all the conspiracy theories that link the future DCU and what it's like now

By David Paggi

Posted February 11, 2007  4:00 PM

In 1996 Mark Waid and Alex Ross rocked the comic book world with a revolutionary look at a foreboding future of the DC Universe. Kingdom Come was one of a kind, a fully realized look ahead at the DCU and all of its superpowered inhabitants. But then something strange started happening. Little by little, elements from Kingdom Come, which was presented as an out-of-continuity Elseworlds tale, started popping up in the DCU proper—a costume change here, an alternate-reality shift there. These small but noticeable incidents begged the question: Was Kingdom Come the future that the DCU was slowly but surely heading toward? Most recently, Justice Society of America has been a minefield of these Kingdom Come sightings, going so far as to show an Alex Ross-painted Kingdom Come Superman in the one-page “Coming This Year In…” preview in Justice Society of America #1.

So where else has Kingdom Come poked its futuristic head into the DCU? Read on, and decide the DCU’s future for yourself!

The hearts of Kingdom Come fans everywhere collectively skipped a beat when they turned to the last page of Justice Society of America #1 to find a four-panel “Coming This Year” teaser featuring an Alex Ross-painted Superman, complete with his Kingdom Come gray hair streaks, saying, “It never ends…for people like us.” What role he will play in the future of Justice Society is entirely unknown at this point, but those seven words will linger with fans until they see him again.


Also appearing in Justice Society of America #1 was a version of Starman quite like the Starman who appeared in Kingdom Come. There was only one major difference: The Starman in Justice Society was certifiably insane. In all fairness, we never heard much from Starman in Kingdom Come, so how exactly did Starman get to be a schizophrenic? And is this Starman the Starman from Kingdom Come or is the Starman from Kingdom Come this Starman? It’s complicated, we know, but bear with us.


The stretchy son of Plastic Man first appeared in The Kingdom: Offspring by Mark Waid and Frank Quitely, a one-shot in a series that followed Kingdom Come. Offspring, a.k.a. Luke O’Brien, appeared recently in Teen Titans #34, and it was revealed that he served as a Titan during the “One Year Later” jump. So is this the same Offspring? Seeing as he has the same costume, it’s definitely a possibility. According to Titans scribe Geoff Johns, he’ll be showing up again in Teen Titans, so stay tuned.


Like Offspring, this Kingdom Come look-alike was recently seen in the pages of 52 as a member of the Teen Titans. But according to Johns, his purpose seems merely character-driven. “I wanted a spoiled-brat character on the Titans, and he fits it perfectly,” says the writer. “He gets anything he wants just by saying it backwards. That power in the wrong hands—not evil hands, but jerk hands—is just great.”


Originally seen in Kingdom Come as a new, reckless breed of superhero that Superman and his allies must bring down, Swastika showed up in Justice Society of America #2. Whatever role he may be playing in the grand scheme of things is still unknown at this point.


Some readers may have noticed that Rebel, the villain seen fighting Damage at the beginning of Justice Society of America #1, bore a resemblance to the Kingdom Come anti-hero Von Bach. That’s because, originally, he was Von Bach. According to Johns, Von Bach didn’t really work for the story, though. “Von Bach’s MO is a little different than that, so we changed him to a new character,” explains the writer.


Maxine Hunkle, who debuted in Justice Society of America #1, bore a resemblance in likeness and powers to Red Tornado III of Kingdom Come with her red hair and wind powers. This was something, however, that Alex Ross, creator of Red Tornado III, brought to Johns’ attention only after Johns created Maxine, suggesting the idea that Maxine could be a younger Red Tornado III. “The idea is, yeah, it’s a possibility [Red Tornado III is] what she eventually becomes,” says Johns.


Originally appearing in adult form during Kingdom Come, this character (whose name literally means “son of the bat”) was portrayed as the son of Talia and Batman and the heir to Ra’s al Ghul’s empire. The concept of a Talia/Batman baby originated in Batman: Son of the Demon; more recently, in Grant Morrison’s Batman, this child has returned into Bruce Wayne’s life with the name Damian. According to Batman editor Peter Tomasi, however, Xu’ffasch had little to do with the inspiration for Damian. “[Kingdom Come] didn’t come into play at all,” says Tomasi. “It was purely coming from the Son of the Demon storyline.”


An original creation for Kingdom Come, the Brain Trust appeared in the DCU proper during 1997’s JLA Annual #1, squaring off against Batman, Green Arrow, Green Lantern and the Flash.


Currently a member of the JSA and master of the genie Thunder, Jakeem was created by Grant Morrison and Mark Millar during their Flash run. Morrison went on to use him in his JLA run for a Justice League/Justice Society crossover. Jakeem, however, looks exactly like Thunder from Kingdom Come. No comment has ever been made as to any intentions or inspirations.


Arsenal took up this new moniker for Brad Meltzer’s current Justice League of America. Whether the intention was to create a direct link to the Red Arrow of Kingdom Come is still unclear.


This founding member of Infinity Inc. appeared in the pages of JSA, mutated to a hawk-like form like that of Hawkman in Kingdom Come. “I always liked that Kingdom Come Hawkman design,” says JSA scribe Johns, adding that no other connection was intended.


This younger, female version of the Flash was created for Kingdom Come as Iris West, daughter of Wally. She appeared in Mark Waid’s Flash run, supposedly from an alternate universe, supporting the Elseworlds interpretation of Kingdom Come.

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