Review: INFINITE FRONTIER #1
[Editor’s Note: This review may contain spoilers]
Writer: Joshua Williamson
Colours: Romulo Fajardo Jr.
Letters: Tom Napolitano
Reviewed By: Derek McNeil
Infinite Frontier #1: When our heroes saved the Multiverse from Perpetua in Dark Nights: Death Metal, everything was put back where it belonged…and we do mean everything. All the damage from all the Crises was undone, and heroes long thought gone returned from whatever exile they had been in. Most of them, at least. Alan Scott, the Green Lantern from the Justice Society of America, has noticed some of his allies are still missing in action and he’s determined to find them. There are others, though, who would rather remain hidden than explain themselves, like Roy Harper, a.k.a. Arsenal, a man who should be dead but now is not.
Plus, what does all this mean for the DCU’s place in the Multiverse? On opposite sides of a dimensional divide, both Barry Allen and President Superman ponder this question. Not to mention Darkseid or a team of Multiversal heroes called Justice Incarnate!
Infinite Frontier #1 starts on a familiar note. A kindly couple witness a spaceship crashing in a Kansas field. When they approach the ship, they find it contains… the Flashpoint Batman? It turns out this is Earth-23 and the couple is President Superman’s adoptive parents. When trying to make sense of it, one of of them complains, “That damn Multiverse is nothing but trouble”.
That phrase seems to be a recurring theme throughout the issue. In the wake of Dark Nights: Death Metal, Superman revealed the existence of the Multiverse to the general public. We are shown social media posts that show people trying to come to terms with that knowledge. One in particular stands out: “How do I even know what is real anymore?”. And we also see the recently resurrected Roy Harper encountering a man who emphatically declares “The Multiverse is not real!”.
Williamson is clearly drawing a connection between Infinite Frontier and the original Crisis on Infinite Earths. The very first panel of the story bears the text “Worlds will live…”, the first half of the tagline for that landmark event series: “Worlds will live, worlds will die, and nothing will ever be the same”. That Williamson only used the part that refers to life seems hopeful, but that “…” seems to imply that the parts about death and change are imminent.
The connection to Crisis is made clearer by what happens to the Flash, Barry Allen. While investigating Earth Omega, he finds himself captured by Psycho-Pirate, who is working for Darkseid. As you are probably aware, Barry was captive to Psycho-Pirate and the Anti-Monitor in Crisis. And Psycho-Pirate tells Barry, “There’s a new crisis coming”.
There are also connections to some other DC crossover events. We see the Golden Age Green Lantern working with the Totality against Extant, who was the villain of Zero Hour. We also see Roy Harper apparently revealed as a Black Lantern. The Black Lanterns were the villains of Blackest Night. We see the Multiverse map introduced in Grant Morrison’s Multiversity. And of course, Darkseid was the main villain of Legends. Williamson is letting us know that this is no minor adventure, but a reality-shaking Crisis with a capital ‘C’.
Speaking of capital ‘C’, I was pleased to see Earth C’s (now Earth-26) foremost hero, Captain Carrot in the story as part of Justice Incarnate. I love the idea of a Justice League team that operates at the Multiversal level, with heroes from multiple Earths. This team has some fascinating members, including the aforementioned Captain Carrot, as well as President Superman, and Mary Marvel, sister to the classic version of Captain Marvel. Plus there are some new members, with Barry Allen having recently joined the team. And it looks like the Flashpoint Batman will be working with them as well.
There are really some great potential series represented here. A Justice Incarnate series would open some fascinating story options. I would absolutely love to see a revival of Captain Carrot and His Amazing Zoo Crew and a classic Captain Marvel book would be a blast. And why didn’t DC give the Big Red Cheese an 80th Anniversary special?
Williamson also introduces a new character called X-tract. She shows up to capture Roy Harper, claiming, “You don’t belong here”. Does she mean that he doesn’t belong on the main DCU Earth? Or that he doesn’t mean that he belongs amongst the living? This makes me wonder if X-tract was involved in the disappearance of Jade earlier in the issue. Like Roy, Jade is a character who has been brought back from the dead. If X-tract is after characters who have returned from the dead, then who else is on her list? I look forward to learning who she is working for and what their agenda is.
While on Earth Omega, Barry finds the bodies of the Quintessence, apparently confirming their deaths. Those are some major characters that I doubt DC would really kill off, so I suspect that maybe they aren’t actually dead or will somehow be resurrected. And can the Spectre really be killed considering he’s already dead? Whatever’s going on, I suspect there’s more to their apparent deaths than Williamson has revealed so far.
Overall, this is a great first issue. It has introduced the major players. It has set the scale of the story as a major event. And it has raised a number of strange connected happenings to get readers wondering what the Hell is going on. And it holds out the promise that we’ll get a clearer picture of the DC cosmology in the Infinite Frontier era.
Xermanico’s artwork is also worthy of praise. I always enjoy his work and I am pleased to see his rendition of some of my favourite DC characters. I particularly like his design for Psycho-Pirate’s new costume. With his art and Romulo Fajardo’s colours, the entire issue was a treat for the eyes.
The only thing I can complain about Infinite Frontier #1 is having to wait until issue #2. This issue raises so many tantalizing questions. It’s going to be an excruciating three week wait for the next chapter.
Like many readers, I have been feeling fatigued with the relentless succession of event after event. I have even expressed the opinion that DC should take a break before launching the next Crisis-level event title. But I find that Williamson’s book has a refreshingly different feel than Dark Nights metal. He has managed to hook me into his story despite not wanting to get into yet another big event. I urge anyone else feeling event fatigue to at least give this book a try. You won’t be sorry.
Joshua Williamson has been one of my favourite writers in the Rebirth era, and Infinite Frontier #1 is everything I expected from him. I think that the DC Omniverse is in good hands with Williamson as the main architect of this newest Crisis. And Xermanico is an ideal choice to illustrate the story. This series is really shaping up to be something special.