Must-read graphic novels are futuristic classics that shouldn't be missed. Of course, not every must-see is perfect. That's why we've rated them 1-5 on the patented "crunchy goodness" scale.

Title: Kingdom Come
Date: 1996

Vitals: Yet another dysfunctional future of the DC Comics universe. In this one, Superman and other superheroes have abandoned their mission and a new generation of super-violent amoral "heroes" has taken over. Superman comes out of retirement to try and impose order, but winds up (surprise!) fighting some of his former allies.

Famous names: Mark Waid, Alex Ross

Crunchy goodness: 3

Spinoffs/Sequels/Copycats: In 1999, DC published the out-of-continuity The Kingdom, which forms a prequel and sequel to Kingdom Come, in which a villain named Gog travels through time and kills Superman over and over. The Kingdom introduced the concept of "hypertime," which allowed the DC Universe to have alternate universes again — until every other writer ignored it.


Deja vu: Kingdom Come owes a lot of its sheen to its painted artwork by Alex Ross, who also did the art for Marvels. And it features a central "everyman" character, Norman McCay, just as Marvels had "everyman" photographer Phil Sheldon.

Most painfully dated moment: Not only does Ross' painted art look less special than it did in 1996, but also the whole "superheroes are getting too mean and violent, waah" sermon feels a bit old hat at this point.

Ten Years Later: Reflecting On "KINGDOM COME" With Alex Ross by Jonah Weiland

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