A common phrase originating in the English translation of the Lord's Prayer, it's also used as shorthand for "until the kingdom of Heaven should come." When used in an expression like "I'm gonna blast you to kingdom come", it probably means that's how long it's going to take for the pieces to come back down.

Also, the name of a comic book limited series written by Mark Waid, lavishly painted by Alex Ross and published by DC Comics in 1998. The story is set in the not-too-distant future of the DC universe, where Superman has been in retirement for twenty years and the children and grandchildren of the Golden Age superhumans have led society into near-anarchy. This is widely recognized as one of the best comic stories published in the last decade.

I'm not sure that mblase has it right in saying that the phrase "Kingdom Come" comes from an abbreviated format of an old English line. I always understood it to have come from "The Lord's Prayer", as in "Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on Earth as it is in Heaven."

However, I do agree with the recognition of the "Kingdom Come" mini-series as one of the best comic book stories of the decade. Every decade has its great comic book moment...the 80s had "The Dark Knight Returns"...the 90s had "Kingdom Come". This beautiful story (by Mark Waid)with just as beautiful artwork (by Alex Ross) totally set a standard for epic stories that has yet to be beaten. When I read the first issue, I thought "Oh, great...yet another story about an apocalyptic era in the near-future". However, as I moved on, it became quite clear to me that the story went beyond that. The fear in mere mortals of the current crop of "heroes" who believe and act like they're gods...the utter anarchy that results in these "new gods" callous actions...the attempt to put some order back in the system by the "old gods", led by Superman, which results in a precarious totalitarian overrule...the "lower gods" (ie. non-superpowered heroes), led by Batman, who speak for the mortals...all of these are strong themes that are explored in great detail throughout the story. I truly believe that this story should be recognized as a really great piece of literature of the 90s, surpassing many other literary books from that decade.

Finally, on an interesting note, there have always been rumours surrounding the possibility of a film version of "Kingdom Come". Apparently, the idea was explored at one time by Warner Brothers but it was deemed a logistically impossible story to film, given the number of characters that are involved. Who knows...maybe one day they will see otherwise? Until then, I'll make do with my trade paperback...which, by the way, includes an epilogue which didn't appear in the original print run of four isses.

Kingdom Come is the first book I've ever read by J.G. Ballard, but it won't be the last.

First a quick run down of the plot (no major spoilers that can't be found in the blurb of the book). Richard Pearson sets off to meet his estranged father, an ex-fighter pilot living his retirement in the Motorway town of Brooklands. He finds that the town is in the shadow of the Metro-Centre, a vast shopping mall described as a temple to shopping and consumerism.

Before Richard can meet his father however, his father is shot in the Metro-Centre, (along with quite a few other people) and dies in hospital. Richard swears to uncover the mystery behind the shootings.

The main suspect is quickly arrested and then, strangely released without charge, after so called "pillars of the community" vouch in the suspects favour. Very soon Richard finds himself caught in the emerging madness fermenting it self in the quiet suburbs and Metro-Centre.

The first comment to make- the plot is weak. Actually no, that's an unfair statement. It's more that the plot unravels itself smoothly but in a few places you'll be wondering why certain characters are acting the way they are. In particular the main character does things that seem slightly illogical, given his beliefs and views in the text.

Secondly the impression from this book is that subtlety is missing from Ballard's vocabulary. A lot of the characters don't have conversations- they make speeches. Lots of them. Often reiterating the same points without actually changing their tune at all. This is quite absurd and the constant repetition is annoying.

However don't let that put you off from reading this. It is pure fertile reading for the mind. Ballard seems to pin down the itchy apathetic feeling that comes from a heavy consumerist society. There's quite a through look into fascism and selective madness (and why, perhaps the Germans supported the Nazis). The Author seems to have picked up on some of the latent xenophobia, hatred and violence going through Britain at the moment and gives a rather chilling explanation as to why.

And the final part of the book is explosive to say the least. This is the part I feel was what Ballard was most comfortable writing because it seemed to be more varied, more subtle and more creatively disturbing. You'll probably predict it coming but it's pulled off with style and in such a dark manner that you won't mind.

From what I've heard the third and final part is very similar to an earlier novel called High-Rise. But I can't really comment on that.

A good novel if you like your taste in literature dark and disturbing and if you aren't easily put off by the annoyances I've mentioned.

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