When Geoff Johns and Alex Ross first began the “Thy Kingdom Come” story in “Justice Society of America,” it was issue #9. Add in an Annual and three one-shots, and the grand total for this storyline is no less than 18 issues. And in the end, did it deserve this high a page count?
Not for this ending, unfortunately.
It’s not a bad story, per se. But when you get such a long build-up, you can’t help but think that a particularly clever conclusion is just around the corner. What we as readers get is, well, two different endings. There’s the actual ending of “Thy Kingdom Come” with the Justice Society (finally!) confronting Gog and trying to save the world. And, simultaneously, there’s a new epilogue for the original “Kingdom Come” mini-series that this spun out of.
When it comes to “Thy Kingdom Come,” this issue falls pretty flat. It’s a classic, “That’s it???” moment that ends up making the build-up to this point feel false; you were expecting something big and exciting, and instead it just seems to stop and get resolved so quickly you can easily blink and miss it. Readers of “Justice Society of America” have learned to expect a lot more from Johns over the years, and he’s normally much better. Dale Eaglesham’s pencils also feel a little flatter than normal, too; I don’t know if the problem was deadlines or a lack of interest, but when the big fight happens his heart and skill just doesn’t seem to be as evident as normal.
As for “Kingdom Come” itself, it’s certainly not bad, but I can’t help but feel that it’s a little unnecessary. I suspect people are going to flock to the new Alex Ross art, which is certainly at his normal standards, but in the end I didn’t feel like I got anything out of this that the original “Kingdom Come” didn’t give me in the end. Maybe other fans will enjoy the glimpse into the “Kingdom Come” future more than I, but honestly I’d rather have seen a stronger finish for “Thy Kingdom Come” than take this detour as well.
It’s a shame, because “JSA” was for years one of my favorite comics thanks to Johns’ writing, but “Thy Kingdom Come” in “Justice Society of America” has felt more like a good idea that just never came together. Fortunately Johns still has one more story to go on the title. He’s normally much better at the big conclusions, and with luck that’s what we’ll get.