Aug 25, 2008

[Comics] DC: The New Frontier

DC: The New FrontierIf there's one thing that I have to respect DC Comics for is how much they're willing to play around with their primary characters and main storylines. While this has also resulted in a pretty cluttered DC Universe at times (and thus multiple Crises to clean things up), it still makes things pretty interesting. Heck, they evsn have an official sub-brand of sorts for these kinds of comics called Elseworlds, which is how they brand most of their official explorations into various alternative possibilities for their characters.

DC: The New Frontier may not be a true Elseworlds tale in the strictest sense of the term but it is an exploration of the past Golden Age era of DC Comics while at the same time merging it as closely as possible to the real-world political situation during the 1950's.

Martian ManhunterImage via Wikipedia DC: the New Frontier is set after WWII at the beginning of the Cold War. Atomic power and related research is on the rise and the old heroes have past and a void is ready for new ones to step up. While the "Big Three" of DC fame, namely Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman are in the story, they're not quite the highlight or focus. Instead we get to follow the humble beginnings of heroes like Green Lantern, the Flash and Martian Manhunter. Putting these supposed "second-stringers" in the front lines of the story certainly made things pretty interesting indeed and helped us explore a different level of the DC Universe that is not normally highlighted.

The series was done primarily in the classic Jack Kirby style - sharp lines, heavy jawlines and squared-off fingers and the entire series did a good job of trying to recapture the feel of the comics of the period. It didn't feel at all forced and at the same time it didn't read as something dated, which is a quite tricky to pull off. Just because you draw them in an old style doesn't mean you need to rewind things in the same way in terms of dialog and quality of plot.

Their depiction / time-place setting was pretty interesting. I don't care if it wasn't 100% accurate or anything like that - I just appreciate the fact that they did make an earnest attempt to somehow situate the heroes in more of "our" Earth as opposed to that version that seems only similar to world but clearly not the same. That sense of pseudo-realism helped provide a different backdrop upon which this tale was told.

If you're looking for a refreshing look at a slightly alternative DC Universe with a taste of historical realism and some interesting reinterpretation of slightly lesser-known characters, then this should prove to be a very good read for you indeed.

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