DC: The New Frontier, Volumes I and II – A Graphic Novel Review

Note: This review refers to DC: The New Frontier Volumes I and II.

If you are a DC fan-I mean a hard core, DC or bust fan-you will love, and I mean LOVE DC: The New Frontier Volumes I and II.

I remember seeing the first issue of this series when it came out in single-issue format and thinking that it seemed a bit remedial. Overly simplistic. I made this deduction based off of looking at the art alone, not by reading any of it. However, I later discovered this book had been receiving critical acclaim from many established publications such as the New York Times, so I had to give the trade paperbacks a shot. I’m glad I did.

You see, the art is supposed to look a bit unpretentious because the story is set during the Silver Age of comics. For you non-comic book people, that means it takes place basically in the late fifties, early sixties. The Silver Age was when old characters from the thirties and forties received major revamps, such as the Flash, the Atom, and Green Lantern. It also introduced new characters such Adam Strange. DC: The New Frontier takes this Silver Age era and delivers a story with modern day sensibilities. For instance, Superman and Wonder Woman are trying to clean up Korea while maintaining some sort of autonomy from the US Government for whom they work. The space program is in full swing with Hal Jordan desperately wanting to be a part of it so he can reach the stars. A horrifying Batman realizes he may need to lighten up a bit after a disheartening experience with a child. J’onn J’onzz is unexpectedly transported to Earth and must acclimate or perish. We get traditional appearances from Hour Man, Aquaman, and Green Arrow. We see the Challengers of the Unknown, the Sea Devils, the Suicide Squad, and other favorites from the sixties, as well as re-imagined characters like Steel.

You see, in the comics, originally, all these things were spread out over decades, but now, the author and illustrator, Darwyn Cooke, has blended them all together into one cohesive plot line that culminates with all the heroes joining forces in a very non-traditional manner against a foe that could destroy the world.

This collection honestly feels like if heroes were real, this is how they would act with each other and how our government would react to them. DC: The New Frontier is a captivating read and I urge you to give it a try immediately. It will quickly become one of your favorites.

Adam Strange: Planet Heist – A Graphic Novel Review

Up until just a mere few months ago, I honestly thought that Adam Strange was the lamest character ever created in the world of comic books. His costume was terrible, his entire storyline outdated, a relic of ’60’s sci-fi. Nothing, and I mean nothing, could ever turn me into a fan of Adam Strange.

That is, of course, until I read the recently released Adam Strange: Planet Heist.

Thanks to a smart script and crisp dialogue from Andy Diggle, as well as jaw-dropping art by Pascal Farry, this trade paperback that collects an eight-issue miniseries has given me an entirely new (and prior non-existent) appreciation for this character.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s still the sci-fi space opera stuff, but it’s done so originally without all the old clichés that I didn’t even mind. It didn’t feel like the typical sci-fi comics of old. Adam Strange is now conveyed as a man in love who crosses galaxies to be with his other-worldly wife, a father willing to do anything to protect his only daughter, a stranger when on Earth, though he’s an Earthling, an alien totally at home when on his adoptive planet of Rann. And when the world he protects is seemingly destroyed, we witness Strange take on a grand voyage in the hopes of finding his loved ones, refusing to accept their demise.

Thank goodness, his costume was updated to one of the coolest looking outfits in all of comics today. He’s now got mind-blowing technology at his disposal instead of one idiotic, pistol-shaped ray gun, and he’s got the attitude of a hero, but also that of a commander of an army bent on protecting those he’s sworn to watch over.

We get lots of old, formerly goofy characters cast in a new, respective light, and we also have a lot of old plot threads summed up, and new plots born that are playing out in other comics even as we speak (figuratively, of course).

I bought this trade paperback for the exquisite artwork alone, but I was more than floored by the excellent storyline. This is a can’t miss. Oh, and, I promise, you’ll never hear me make fun of Adam Strange again.