Here’s the story: several decades in the future a new generation of superhumans rampages across the planet, battling each other in petty disputes without heed to loss of life or property. They’re like damn punk kids who mess up your lawn, only in this case the lawn is Earth. Several members of The Old Order like Wonder Woman get pissed off at the lawless behavior of their descendents. Things come to a head when Kansas gets wiped off the map during a superhero battle. So that’s what happens if you crack open Captain Atom’s shell. That’s something to avoid - good safety tip.
This new breed of “hero” can be equated with the upstart Olympian gods who revolted against Cronus and the Titans, or compared with the violent and kewl comic book characters of the Nineties such as Cable, Ghost Rider, or many Image Comics characters. Ross went crazy with the character designs for the new heroes, many of whom are descendents of current heroes and villains. It’s fun in a geeky way to try to identify all the characters packed into Kingdom Come.
Sometimes Ross just went off into left field for some of the characters. I love the Human Cathedral guy pictured below, he’s fantastic:
But once they have laid the global smack down, what do they do with hundreds of super powered prisoners? The League creates The Gulag, a supermax prison of the highest order. Who named it Gulag, though? They need to get a friendlier name, something like “Fiddler’s Green” or “The Smile Factory.” Maybe they should hire The Grandmaster, creator of the “life bombs” as a brand image consultant.
Of course, the shit hits the fan, only in this case the fan is Earth and we’re all going to get sprayed. (I’m going to stop doing that.) Somebody cranks up the Thin Lizzy and the super-prisoners break out of The Gulag. Wonder Woman leads a force of heroes to stop them, and things go from bad to oh, hell no!
Each member of DC’s “trinity” has a different reaction to the socio-political situation created by the new breed and the Gulag. Although Superman is arguably the focus of the book, he’s portrayed as sort of ineffectual and reactive, whereas Wonder Woman comes across as authoritarian and bloodthirsty. Batman holds himself aloof from such matters but is secretly working behind the scenes as a sort of third political party that Superman wants on his side.
Superman survives, of course, and he is not happy. Here’s a great sequence (below) of The Man of Steel emerging from the radioactive gloom, hella-pissed off.