I saw Watchmen last night. It was excellent. Basically the graphic novel brought to life, almost to the point that there's no reason to watch the movie because it's just a shorter, bloodier version of the graphic novel. But I enjoyed it, and I applaud the makers for their self-discipline in not screwing around with the material.
Yes, that does have something to do with this review! Kingdom Come is like Watchmen, only with real DC superheroes. Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, and all the rest. It was published in 1997, is less than half the size of Watchmen, and is absolutely fantastic.
The story takes place some time after the classic "metahumans" have retired, and the world is now being overrun by a new breed of superhero. The kind that America asked for, the kind that doesn't have any rules about not killing its enemies. Unfortunately, they also don't care about human collateral damage. The old superheroes come out of retirement to try to set things to right. The story is told in the form of a Christmas Carol-esque journey taken by a pastor and a cloaked spirit who demands that he judge the superheroes and say who will be punished in the end.
As far as I can tell, the characterization is very good. (I'm not sure because I'm not very familiar with the "classic" superheroes.) My favorite character is Batman, which comes as no surprise to me. The art is very good, not drawing attention to itself while being colorful and descriptive. There are a lot of large panels that I really loved looking at.
The plot is amazing, really grabs you by the throat and makes you listen to what it's saying. It asks questions like "Why do we fight?" "Why should we?" "Who is a part of the human race, and what does that mean?"I was on the edge of my seat the entire book, desperate to know how it ended, and it certainly delivered on its promise of a grand finale.
Try to get a hold of this editionit has a bonus scene in the back. My review of Watchmen is here, and can be summarized with the words "READ WATCHMEN." Another graphic novel in this vein that I'd recommend is Astro City, which is less intense but works with the same themes.