Librarian Jess Nevins, true to his profession, has written and compiled extensive annotations to that masterpiece by Mark Waid and Alex Ross, Kingdom Come. If you intend to read the original comic book, you are strongly encouraged to do so with the aid provided by those annotations.
From my part, I have just recently finished reading the book. During the stroll, I realised that I myself could find one or two hidden messages that had not been incorporated to the annotations. For chapter 4, I took notes of these and, a few days ago, sent the best of them to Mr. Nevins himself. You can see these notes as a comment in his webblog.
Nevertheless it is my goal to centralise my Web presence around my own weblog. For this reason I hereby quote myself and reproduce those first notes, adding a few that, in my view, do not rate being sent to Mr. Nevins. Consider these my humble homage to his awesome, painstaking work.
The pagenumber notation is the same as you find in Jess Nevins’s original annotations.
Page 188. Among the dead, I believe that the many-vertebrated skeleton, running about half-page from left to right, is supposed to be Ralph Dibny in his elongated state. Moreover, Victor Stone has literally been turned to stone, a somber pun on the character’s name.
Page 202. The stained glass shows scenes from the Passion and resurrection of Jesus Christ. In particular, page 202 shows Christ in Gethsemane, trying to renounce his rôle as a saviour as he reaches the brink of his suffering at the hands of the Romans. On page 203, he emerges from the tomb before Mary Magdalene, the very image of a rewrought superhero and a renewed superpowered god who died just before and emerges into a transformed state. — A precise echo of this whole issue, closing the ties between Kingdom Come and its religious imagery.
Page 205, panel 2. The Annotations say: “We see the Batman tv show Batgirl (looking here much like Yvonne Craig, the actress who played Batgirl on the tv show) reading 1a copy of Young Love (the Waid/Ross Annotations point out the issue is #105, from 1973; I’m unaware of what significance, if any, that particular issue has).” At http://www.comics.org/issue/96374/ we can find that, in that specific issue, one character has lost her soldier love in the war and that a friend comes to tell her that the deceased wanted her to find new love and move on with her life. The story is titled Time for Renewal.
… Much in the same way as (1) the whole ending of Kingdom Come is about moving on and renewing and (2) specifically, Superman and Wonder Woman are shown having found new love in each other (as opposed to mourning for Lois) and moving on towards the future, again in a renewal.
Page 208. The expression “Starro the Casserole” is an obvious wordplay on “Starro the Conqueror”.
Page 209, panel 1. Nevins reports that The Batman is playing with a Hawkman figure. I submit to you that this is, in fact, a Flash helmet as seen in previous panels.
Page 211, panel 6. The Annotations refer to Blackhawk’s aeroplane as an “SF-SF1”. This is certainly caused by a typo in some reference source. In fact, the aeroplane that has most become associated with the Blackhawks is the F5F-1. One interesting aspect of the F5F is that, despite having been adopted as the Blackhawks’ hallmark, it was never taken up by the US armed forces or put into production.