Infinite Frontier #0 – James Tynion IV, Scott Snyder, Joshua Williamson, Brian Michael Bendis, Becky Cloonan/Michael W. Conrad, Joelle Jones, Tim Sheridan, Phillip Kennedy Johnson, Geoff Johns, Geoffrey Thorne, Writers; John Timms, David Marquez, Jorge Jimenez, Alitha Martinez/Mark Morales, Joelle Jones, Stephen Byrne, Rafa Sandoval/Jordi Tarragona, Jamal Igle, Alex Maleev, Todd Nauck, Dexter Soy, Howard Porter, John Romita Jr/Klaus Janson, Artists; Alex Sinclair, Tamra Bonvillain, Tomeu Morey, Emilio Lopez, Jordie Bellaire, Alejandro Sanchez, Hi-Fi, Brad Anderson, Colorists
Ray – 9/10
Ray: DC has released a lot of jumbo-sized anthologies later, especially their seasonal ones, but Infinite Frontier #0 is something else. This isn’t just an anthology—it’s a jam issue setting up the entire future of the DCU, with twelve short segments packed into sixty-odd pages as DC’s top writers and artists set up their future comic runs. But does it come together as an effective narrative?
We start out with a framing segment by the big three writers and John Timms, as Wonder Woman ascends to her new place of Godhood alongside the quintessence. They explain to her that she’s now responsible for helping to guide the Omniverse into the future, but she’s concerned by things said to her before the “reboot,” so Spectre accompanies her on a tour of her many fellow heroes to see how they’re doing in the new reality. It’s a little wordy, but it sets up this new status quo nicely.
First up is a Justice League story by Bendis and Marquez, as Superman and Flash explore the strange phenomenon of Black Adam suddenly becoming a hero. Yes, this is where we get the “Shazadam” jokes, but the action in this quick three-page story is impressive and I’m intrigued by seeing where the story goes. Bendis is good with banter as always, so I think a team book at DC might suit him better than Superman did.
Next up, it’s James Tynion IV and Jorge Jimenez giving us a preview of what’s coming next in their Batman run. While we get glimpses of the heroes—including Oracle back where she should be, Cass and Steph as “Batgirls,” and Jace Fox in the modern day—the main action takes place at Arkham, where a Joker gas sneak attack results in one of the worst massacres in the facility’s history—including the death of an iconic Bat-villain. Tynion isn’t starting a new run, so he’s very at home here and it shows. The Batman story is double-length and actually continues later in the issue, with a fantastic chase segment and a great look at Gotham’s next big bads—one old and one seemingly new.
Cloonan, Conrad, and Martinez give us our first glimpse of a Themyscira in turmoil, with Hippolyta in mourning over Diana’s apparent death and the Amazons on the brink of civil war as they try to find a new Wonder Woman. Hippolyta challenges the Amazons—including Nubia—with a seemingly impossible task, and makes a shocking decision that sets up the future of the Wonder Woman legacy in an unexpected way. But it’s not the only Wonder story here.
Joelle Jones gives us our first look at Yara Flor in the modern day, with the young Amazon heading off on a trip to Brazil to look into her roots. This segment is only three quick pages, with the main part being an introduction to Yara’s Aunt and Uncle. Her Aunt appears to be deaf, another nice touch of diversity in the DCU, but more answers will have to wait for May’s series launch. Jones’ splash page of an airport terminal is gorgeous, though.
Tynion returns for a second story with Stephen Byrne, this one an Alan Scott spotlight that brings Jade and Obsidian into continuity. It also gives us the moment we’ve been waiting for—the original Alan Scott, not the young Earth-2 version, coming out of the closet. This is a short, heartfelt story that re-establishes one of the great heroes of the Justice Society and sets him up for future adventures—with his family and finally able to be himself. It’s easily the best story in this volume and hopefully the prelude to a Justice Society relaunch.
The Teen Titans Academy story by Sheridan and Sandoval is almost shockingly short—two pages, one of them a splash page, as we see the first group of kids taking the boat to Titans Tower. But one of them is a mole, as we already know, and he sneaks his way onto the ship with a contraband uniform while carrying the Red X mask. Could the series be good? Yeah, the concept has promise but this gives us very little to go on.
Next up, Phillip Kennedy Johnson and Jamal Igle give us a Superman story—but not the Superman we know. It’s a focus on Jonathan Kent, now back in the present as a young man and trying to find his footing as a hero. Spectre raises the prospect of him being a threat as a man out of time and space, but Diana has faith in him. We see him battle an unkillable enemy, and the young Superman finds a unique way very similar to his father of dealing with the threat. I don’t think Jon is the focus of Johnson’s upcoming run, but this is intriguing—and it’s great to see Igle’s art on Super-characters again.
Next up is a two-page story by Josh Williamson and Alex Maleev focusing on Green Arrow and Black Canary as they reunite and banter—but things take a turn when they get a mysterious phone call. The person on the other end doesn’t talk to them, but it’s a surprise that will make several people very happy—not just for the character’s return, but for what it means for another major DC player who has had something unpleasant hanging over his head for a while. I wonder where Williamson will be following up on these threads.
Next up is a retro delight from Geoff Johns and Todd Nauck, as they revive Johns’ very first DC solo title—Stargirl! A lead-in to a one-shot coming this May, it does a great job of re-establishing the heroic partnership and father-daughter bond between Stargirl and her stepfather Pat. As an OG Young Justice fan, seeing Nauck’s art back on a DC book is fantastic, and it’s great to see that after over two decades of writing massive-scale DC epics, Johns still hasn’t lost his touch for writing small-scale heroic adventure.
Geoffrey Thorne and Dexter Soy’s Green Lantern story is another short one, finding John Stewart and Simon Baz chaperoning Keli Quintana through space on the way to Oa. There are some references to a conclave taking place on the planet, but we don’t know much about the big status quo yet. What we get here is a pretty compelling interaction between three Lanterns from different generations, and it’s more evidence that Thorne has a good handle on the franchise.
Josh Williamson and Howard Porter have done a LOT of Flash stories, but they reunite for one more here as a sort of epilogue to the recent run. With Barry considering a promotion to one of the guardians of the Omniverse alongside President Superman, he and Wally reunite to discuss a mysterious new world they’ve found—titled Elseworld. Before he can go, Barry needs the Earth in good hands—so he offers the Flash position to Wally. This is a little rushed, but very welcome—Wally has had a rough few years, and the new creative team seems determined to give him the spotlight and move on from his antihero days.
This leads into an epilogue where Diana carves her own path as a God rather than sticking to the Quintessence’s plan, and it makes me pretty excited to see where she goes in her own title. But Williamson and John Romita Jr. have one last shocker for us, as an iconic DC villain returns in a dramatic segment and sets up a new threat. This book jumps around a lot, but with very few exceptions, but it gives us an amazing look at the future of the DCU. Also, there’s a surprise title announcement at the end that makes me VERY happy. DC is kicking off their latest relaunch in style.
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GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.