Infinite Frontier Secret Files #1 – Joshua Williamson, Brandon Thomas, Stephanie Phillips, Dan Watters, Writers; Valentine De Landro, Inaki Miranda, Stephen Byrne, Phil Hester/Ande Parks, Christopher Mitten, Artists; Marissa Louise, Triona Farrell, Nick Filardi, Dave Stewart, Colorists
Ray – 8.5/10
Ray: DC has been releasing a collection of short stories tying in with the new Infinite Frontier status quo digitally for the last few months, and now print readers get their first glimpse of them. Overseen by Josh Williamson and created by a group of talented writers and artists, these stories peel back the layers of some of the mysteries.
First up is a President Superman story by Williamson, Thomas, and De Landro. All these stories are bookended by Director Bones’ observations, and this one does a good job of fleshing out a hero who looms large but has had relatively few spotlight stories. How does even a Kryptonian balance the job of being President Calvin Ellis and Superman at the same time? With a surprising amount of stress and some great action scenes. Some very intriguing hints about details on this world as well.
Next up are Williamson, Phillips, and Miranda on a Roy Harper story. Few characters have had a rougher ride in the DCU than Roy, as he’s been a drug addict, a grieving father, and most recently—dead. Now he’s back, and staying under the radar as he mostly seems to be bouncing from bar to bar and getting into fights. Flashbacks to his new origin story and complex relationship with Green Arrow flesh things out.
My personal favorite of these stories was Williamson, Watters, and Byrne on a Jade and Obsidian story. Obsidian has gotten a lot of focus in recent months thanks to his unique bond with his recently out-of-the-closet father, but Jade has been a bit more out of focus. This fixes that with an emphasis on their sibling bond and a look at the way Jade’s odd resurrection has affected her psychologically—as well as the return of an obscure but deadly DC rogue. I’m hoping her disappearance in Infinite Frontier #1 doesn’t last too long.
For something completely different, Williamson, Thomas, and Miranda tell us a tale of what happens when two worlds of the multiverse collide. Martian Manhunter… and Martian Manhunter star in this one, as the two alien detectives try to analyze their respective teams and figure out who among them is a traitor. It’s a clever, twisty tale that works really well at reflecting the genuinely bizarre nature of the new status quo.
Williamson, Phillips, and the Hester/Parks art team give us the first story to use Director Bones as a key player instead of simply a narrator, as the sinister DEO head has a tense negotiation with Captain Boomerang—a regular wild card who has had his own bizarre changes in recent years. He’s keeping a huge secret—literally—and the story devolves into an explosive conclusion that doesn’t quite have the character focus of the others in this volume.
Finally, it’s Watters, Williamson, and Christopher Mitten on a Psycho-Pirate story that just came out digitally two days before this was released. This is a dark, creepy tale that is probably the best story in this volume, as the mysterious Roger Hayden plays host to a man who tracked him down. They engage in a twisted back and forth of questions, until the man fails—like, it seems, so many have before. But then Psycho-Pirate finds an unexpected surprise of his own in the form of who’s truly pulling his strings.
Six competent, intriguing stories, even if this book often treads a fine line between exposition and original stories.
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GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.