24th Jun2021

‘Infinite Frontier #1’ Review (DC Comics)

by Dean Fuller

Written by Joshua Williamson | Art by Xermanico | Published by DC Comics

So, incredible as it may seem now, there was a time when Multiverse was a dirty word. Back in the early 1980’s DC decided that having multiple versions of their characters was just too confusing for potential new readers, and so essentially threw all their long term readers under the bus by writing out of existence whole chunks of DC history, as well as quite a few characters. I loved and hated it in equal measure, hated it for the loss of things I really loved such as Earth-2, but admiring the incredible story that Marv Wolfman, George Perez, and Jerry Ordway put together. Now, of course, DC has done a full 360 degree shift in its outlook, and recognised that rather than alternate characters and worlds being confusing, they actually allow you to appeal to more people, by offering not just one flavour of superhero, but many. Which is why we have this book.

So all you need to really know is that everything you’ve ever read or seen in a DC book now happened. Every retcon has been undone, every reboot has had its shoes taken off. Essentially, if you ever read it in a DC book it happened to someone, somewhere, at some time. Personally, I thought Grant Morrison established that fact when he created Hypertime , but you can’t sell old goods I guess, hence the DC top brass issuing these grand proclamations about the ‘new’ DC. This is the first issue of a 6 part mini-series, and starts with the question we would all ask. When events have been undone, memories altered, people once dead now alive, how do you deal with it? If you are one of those people once dead now alive how do you cope with it? Exactly the kind of comic book angst Joshua Williamson likes to get his teeth into.

We start with Batman crashing to Earth, and being discovered by President Superman’s parents, this being Earth-23. Only thing is, that isn’t Earth-23’s Batman. That little knowing scene is fun enough, and is followed by another tongue-in-cheek one panel defeat of previous mega-villain Extant. People are getting a little fed up of time-based villains it seems. The initial focus is on the original Green Lantern Alan Scott, which is quite appropriate as this guy has been retconned (straight, now gay), rebooted (Green Lantern, then Sentinel, then Green Lantern again) literally to death and back. He is now involved with a group that are essentially policing the Multiverse timeline, sort of like Waverider and The Linear Men did but on a grander scale I guess.

Although this issue is largely about setting the scene and establishing the new status quo, I loved the sheer amount and variety of characters that keep showing up. Cameron Chase. Mr. Bones. Obsidian. Captain Carrot. Aquawoman. Mary Marvel. Machinehead. President Superman. Thomas Wayne Batman. That’s a fun toy box Williamson is playing in. The character of course Williamson has a huge affection for is Barry Allen, and he’s been having a whale of a time travelling across the multiverse trying to map as much as he can. Well it’s all fun and games until Barry comes across the car crash of a world called Earth Omega, complete with dead Gods, a new souped up version of Psycho Pirate and some big bad villain hiding in the wings. That, and what happens with Roy Harper at the end, promises big, big things are coming.

This was both a great primer, and a great way to tie together pieces of the past with the present and probable future. We got little more than extended cameos of all the characters, but then that is in keeping with the previous Crisis books. Juggling a big cast is never easy. The central role Flash looks destined to play also seems awfully familiar. Williamson has started very strongly here. The art by Xermanico is beautifully rendered, lovely clean lines and straightforward layout design, making it nice and easy to follow the plot and to admire the art. The art very much serviced the story, which some artists forget to do these days. Perfect story and art.

For such a high pressure gig for writer and artist, this delivered big on entertainment, acknowledging and celebrating the past while forging ahead with a new storyline, the scale of which we are only just starting to grasp.

Multiverses are indeed the spice that provide the variety in comic book life.

***** 5/5


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