Wednesday, January 26, 2011

DC: The New Frontier - Vol. One - Review

The Silver Age Revisited and Revamped

Written and illustrated by Darwyn Cooke, "DC: The New Frontier" is a retelling of the start of the Silver Age of Comics, when superheroes entered into the age of science fiction, and were reintroduced after the downfall of the Golden Age of Comics and the political influences keeping comics down.

"The New Frontier" takes place the same time the burgeoning Silver Age did, during the late 1950's, and tells the story of the DC Superheroes assembling together for the first time against a cosmic threat. The main protagonist of the story is Hal Jordan, a fighter pilot who was mentally damaged after having killed a man in the trenches of the Korean War, and eventually chosen to be Earth's first (official) Green Lantern.

This book is so good it's hard for me to do it justice with just words. The world that Cooke has woven, which has been officially introduced as one of the alternate Earth's of DC Comics (Earth 21), is so well laced with the iconic DC characters, both superheroes and war heroes, that it feels more like an official history than just a story.

My favorite moment of Volume One is during a boxing match in Vegas, where champion boxer Ted Grant AKA Wildcat, is boxing against an up and coming rookie. Attending the match, though in separate social groups, are Bruce Wayne (Batman), Oliver Queen (Green Arrow), Lois Lane, Carol Ferris (Hal Jordan's soon to be girlfriend), Hal Jordan (Green Lantern), Selina Kyle (Catwoman), Dinah Drake/Lance (Black Canary), and Ace Morgan (Task Force X). All of these characters are walking past each other a party, some mingling with each other, and unaware that they'll soon be the world's greatest force against evil. Not to mention the genius way in which the Flash is introduced, putting them all into a situation where those who are currently crime fighters and vigilantes can't change into costume. They watch Barry Allen (Flash) firsthand, almost like they're checking out the new guy.

The artwork is a whole different monster. A beautiful monster that wraps your eyes onto the page and doesn't want to let go. Cooke has a modern take on the classic drawing style of the comics of the 50's and 60's that he uses in all of his work that looks so sleek I could read a comic about a guy who worked at an insurance agency as long as it was drawn with Cooke's flair. It fits perfectly with the setting and tone of the book, making it feel like the book was actually written back then.

I'll wrap up on the entire overarching story once I've read Volume 2, and I can't wait for it to show up in the mail.

If you're looking for an introduction into the DC Universe, this is the perfect place to start: The Beginning.

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