DC: The New Frontier #5 Review

Reviewer: John Babos
Story Title: My Greatest Adventure

A 6-part mini-series

Dedication: For Julius Schwartz, Archie Goodwin, Gil Kane, Russ Heath
Written and Illustrated by: Darwyn Cooke
Colors by: Dave Stewart
Letters by: Jared K. Fletcher
Assistant Editor: Valerie D’Orazio
Editor: Mark Chiarello
Publisher: DC

Beginning at the Beginning

The system wasn’t working.

Walls of conformity had been constructed to identify good and bad citizens. Political and religious walls could be surmounted through capitulation but some walls, like race, excluded vast numbers based on ignorance, hate, and fear. A narrow majority of Americans had awakened to the need for change.

What America needed was leadership strong enough to reignite the nation’s original promise of all men being created equal. It would fall to visionaries of tomorrow to embrace the politics of inclusion.

On the eve of the greatest challenge in the United States’ history, it was time for all of her heroes to step forward in unison. – from the inside cover.

Setting the Table…

Darwyn Cooke continues his Silver Age-inspired opus DC: The New Frontier with the most high-octane issue to date!

The book opens with very Hal Jordan-centric moments from Challenger Mountain to Interstate 66 where Jordan has become the Silver Age’s Green Lantern (GL).

Chapter Ten: S.O.S. Green Lantern

Many of us know the Silver Age origin of Earth’s GL. An alien GL, an intergalactic police officer for all intents and purposes, that was charged with patrolling the space sector that Earth is a part of, was a heroic Abin Sur. His heavily damaged space craft crashed on Earth mortally wounding him. (Although, this is the first time I’ve questioned why a GL would need a space craft in the first place.)

The GL ring, a device that can make imagination reality, but is impotent against anything the color yellow, sought out the most courageous and strongest-willed human to assume the mantle of GL from a dying Sur. The ring bearer and the ring would be psionically linked.

New Frontier builds on this legend and caused quite the (internet) controversy as Hal Jordan, pre-GL, was branded a coward in the series because of his opposition to war. This issue explains the ring’s rationale for choosing Jordan as GL within that context: Courage takes many forms… There is the courage of conviction. To stand for what you believe in, despite the personal cost. The courage to avoid partisan thinking, and value the existence of all. The courage to act decisively when survival is at stake… I’m not sure if that explanation will quell the debate, but it is a rationale nonetheless.

In this chapter, Hal becomes GL and tests his new-found powers and realizes that he needs to concentrate as the ring is only as strong as his will power. Hal reacts as any human would and makes some mistakes by getting distracted… cutting his attention… leading to some interesting ring-induced hijinx.

Chapter Eleven: Towards the Centre

Clark Kent, the alter ego of Superman, learns more about the growing threat to Earth that will require all of her heroes, costumed and otherwise, to unite and face it head on.

He dons his cape and costume and flys to Gotham City to meet with Batman, who brings his young ward Robin along. Supes and Bats confer on the coming threat and set the record straight… the World’s Finest team is back and ready for the coming challenge!

Wonder Woman‘s home of Paradise Island is one of the first parts of the world to (unsuccessfully) face this threat, while the Martian Manhunter and government agent King Faraday plan for the ultimate showdown with this looming threat… soon to challenge the U.S. on her very soil.

At that same moment, the Challengers of the Unknown, with Lois Lane and Jim Olsen in tow, come face-to-face with a dinosaur on the Florida coast. They are outmatched, but the Man of Steel swoops in, much to the delight of Lois Lane… and the Challengers, while the Sea King Aquaman amasses his underwater forces for the coming battle.

Chapter Twelve: The War That Time Forgot

The threat is revealed. ‘Nuff said. No spoilers here my friends.

Chapter Thirteen: Danger is our Business

The Flash (Barry Allen) joins the fray and many other Silver Age heroes hear the calling from Green Arrow to the Sea Devils to the Blackhawks.

Hal Jordan, Earth’s newest GL, is still waiting for his coming “tutorial” from his Galactic masters, but is pulled into the fray because with great power comes great responsibility…. sorry, that phrase is derived from another comic book company.

Chapter Fourteen: The Boy Scout’s Last

All of the Silver Age heroes, costumed and otherwise, are amassed and bickering with one another – after all, how can “masked” mystery men really be heroes and trusted? Superman rallies the troops and leads the charge into…. [tune in for issue #6 for the mother-or-all-battles as all of DC’s Silver Age heroes face the ultimate threat!].

Silver Age Goodness!

WOW!!! This is by far the best issue of New Frontier to date (and they’ve all been stunning). Its action-packed and quite the page-turner with a major cliffhanger. I devoured this issue and am hungry for the next and final installment.

Cooke portrays Earth’s heroes in a very human and real way. Readers understand the very different motivations of each hero as they rally to face the ultimate threat. The dialogue is very much a product of the Silver Age. Cooke really has done his research!

His stylized art is also a perfect compliment to his writing and together they deliver one of the best reads of 2004!