Thursday, October 1, 2009

Looking back at DC: The New Frontier #1-6(March 2004-Nov. 2004)

Story and Artwork by Darwyn Cooke.

Synopsis: After the end of the second World War, much of the United States had caught a severe case of Red Fever... Fueled by Sen. Joseph McCarthy's wild allegations and his infamous "list", Washington embarked on a modern day witch hunt in an effort to smoke out any "commies" who were hiding within the borders of the country. In the DCU, a similar event played out after WWII. McCarthy was a member of the House Un-American Activities Committee(he wasn't a member in actuality though)and McCarthy along with several other Senators and Congressmen pressured the Mystery Men of the late 1940's(mainly the JSA, who had served the US during WWII)to unmask and take an oath of allegiance to the US in order to prove that they were not communists or communist sympathisers. Fearing for their loved ones if they were to reveal their identities, the entire JSA and practically every costumed hero in the US retired. Superman and Wonder Woman took the oath of allegiance and began to work closely with the US government. There were still certain costumed individuals who continued their "un-American" crime fighting, most notably the Batman, but for the most part costumed vigilantism in the US ceased. "DC: The New Frontier" looks back at the end of DC's Golden Age and the beginning of the Silver Age. The Golden Age heroes may have left the spotlight, but several new heroes began to sprout up in the US, including the Martian Manhunter, the Flash, Adam Strange, Aquaman, Green Lantern, Steel and others. These new heroes had to deal with many of the events that took precedence in the hearts and minds of 1950's America, including the space race, extreme government paranoia, disillusionment with the establishment and race relations.

What I thought: I'd only heard really(and I mean REALLY)good things about this critically acclaimed mini-series before I gave it a read, so going in I was expecting this series to blow my mind. As I read the first three issues or so I have to admit that I was beginning to wonder what all of the hype was all about... And then I ate my words! While the build was very slow, the end of this series was for lack of a better word amazing. Darwyn crafted a truly fantastic tale here, especially for a history buff like myself(some of the facts were a tad off, but so what!). The horrible events with John Henry, the Martian Manhunter's attempts to try to fit in as a human being, Hal Jordan trials and tribulations from the Korean War and beyond, Barry Allen decision in the face of government persecution, Wonder Woman's realizations as to what America had become, the battle between Batman and Superman in Gotham City, I honestly could go on and on here, but instead I'll simply say this, if you are a fan of the DCU, history, or comic books in general I'd definitely recommend this mini-series. Sure it starts off a little bit slow, but if you stick with the story to it's end you'll be quite glad you did, I know I sure was. Before I end this post and give my score(which should be a foregone conclusion by this point)I will say that I don't think this comic is for everyone. It's deep, it's complex and it's thought-provoking. Don't expect 64 pages of non-stop action and adventure, this comic wants you to think.

Score: 10 out of 10(duh!).And now you know where this mini-series fits continuity-wise in the DCU... Kind of!

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