Home > DC Comics > DC: The New Frontier #2

DC: The New Frontier #2

February 18, 2004

Quick Rating: Very Good
Title: Strange Adventures

A newcomer comes to Earth and more heroes are born

Writer/Artist: Darwyn Cooke
Colors: Dave Stewart
Letters: Jared K. Fletcher
Editor: Mark Chiarello
Cover Art: Darwyn Cooke
Publisher: DC Comics

After the first issue of Darwyn Cooke’s “not-an-Elseworlds-but-not-in-continuity” miniseries, I couldn’t quite figure out what he was trying to create. With this issue I think I’ve got it – we’re seeing the DC Universe as it may have unfolded had the characters of the Silver Age appeared on the same world as the Golden Age characters instead of creating the Earth-1/Earth-2 concept. He mixes this in, of course, with liberal amounts of commentary on the Cold War and the Korean Conflict, and it comes together in a pretty good tapestry, even if all the pieces don’t seem to connect as of yet.

We follow several heroes in this book – the early career of Barry Allen as the Flash, the end of the career of Ted “Wildcat” Grant, and a take on the Martian Manhunter’s exile on Earth that both fits the time period and slips in some needed comic relief in the process. (I always knew he was a Looney Tunes fan.)

One thing about consolidating the worlds, however, is that some of the big characters like Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman come across as Golden Age holdovers rather than contemporaries of the new characters. In and of itself, this isn’t a problem, but I find I do have to take issue with Cooke’s portrayal of Wonder Woman. Even out-of-continuity, like this is, Wonder Woman has always been a reluctant warrior, someone who fought while she yearned for peace. In this book she is painted as a very different, almost bloodthirsty character, and that doesn’t sit well at all.

Cooke’s artwork, however, is above reproach. This is one great-looking comic book. He takes the classic designs of these characters and incorporates them into an art style many people would dismiss as being “cartoonish,” and yet it all looks stunningly real. His Batman is a truer Dark Knight than we’ve seen in many an age, and his Superman has a fantastic style clearly and wonderfully inspired by the Max Fleischer animated shorts of the 1940s.

This title has a lot of plot threads, however, and even in the double-sized format the reader is left marking time, waiting for them to come together. I’m more confident now that they eventually will, but the question is, will they converge before the reader’s patience wears out?

Rating: 8/10

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