19 Feb 2008

Working The Boxes: DC: THE NEW FRONTIER #1-6

In Working The Boxes we highlight any recent back issue purchases we've found buried in comic boxes or discovered on eBay that we think are worthy of further attention.

By Matt T

I was vaguely away of Darwyn Cooke’s The New Frontier being published a few years ago but, being a die hard Marvel fan, missed it due to whatever part Spider-Man’s continuity was being destroyed at the time. After passing me by in various hardback and collected editions, the DVD hit the shelves and I thought, before watching, I should familiarise myself with the source material.

It’s fair to say that New Frontier is almost perfect as a template for animation. The clean, crisp colours and reduced level of detail lends the images almost perfectly to movement. Where the art may be the most immediately striking element, the method in which Cooke weaves multiple stories into a single narrative, creating a blockbuster-paced six-issue arc, is my lasting impression.

New Frontier is set in the 50s, at a time where most of the modern characters were coming to prominence. Hal Jordan, the soon-to-be Green Lantern forms the backbone, from his days as a gun-ho pilot in the Korean War. The likes of Superman and Wonder Woman are giving starring roles as well, but the characterisation plants them within the time period, with Big Blue being a down-the-line, flag-waving patriot and the Princess of Themyscira opting for some hard line feminism. After Batman reveals some big time foul play with the help of the other major character J’onn J’onzz, alias the Martian Manhunter, there’s a battle of global proportions that leads to the formation of the JLA, not unlike the origin story in the cartoon series.

Each story not only compliments one other, but also the often confusing manner in which the DC Universe is constructed, keeping in more well known elements and bending others to form a well structured overall tale. For a relative newcomer with only a passing knowledge this acted as a superb introduction, and gave me plenty of background information for major characters. There are a few flat moments over the six issues, but they’re few and far between, and I got a real kick out of Batman’s reasoning for changing to his campy 60s outfit. I’m looking forward to the DVD retaining the feel and quality of the comics, as this really was a cracking read.


Matt Clark said...

Nice to see someone else exposed to the brilliance of The New Frontier. Didn't get as much attention as it deserved when it was released but its slowly been building on the critical acclaim it received.

If I may make a bold statement here, then I believe this is one of the finest examples of the medium ever produced. If you haven't read it so far, do so at your earliest convenience!

Unknown said...

I have to agree with Matt and say for limited run, and one so intrenched in an era, this is one of the better comics I've read. It has the same blockbuster pacing as the first two runs of the Ultimates (not sure about the third, and frankly I don't care) and stays faithful to the origin stories. A bloody good read to non and DC fans alike! So everyone needs to buy the hardback!(That's my pimping over, Andy where's my commision?)