Justice League: The New Frontier Special (2008) #1

Justice League The New Frontier Special  2008  1

It would be wrong to describe Justice League: The New Frontier Special as hack work. Darywn Cooke’s art on the feature, even his plotting of it, is not hacky. Neither is the Robin and Kid Flash story’s art, courtesy Dave Bullock and Michael Cho. Even the Wonder Woman and Black Canary go to a Playboy Club art by J. Bone isn’t… hack work. Bone’s cartoonish style does what it’s supposed to do.

Now, the writing on that last story might be hack work. Cooke opens with a gentle jab at political correctness, confirms Bruce Wayne is a pig in his off time, and then has Wonder Woman slut shame. It’s not quite cringe because it’s six pages, but it’s definitely eye-roll.

And the Robin and Kid Flash story is more just annoying. Between Robin’s hep cat narration and the proto-groovy dialogue (and the “commie” villains?), it’s tiresome. But gorgeous art. Arguably better looking than Cooke’s feature, which is… something.

The feature tells the untold tale from the original New Frontier (this not at all special Special tied into the release of the lousy New Frontier animated movie)—Batman v Superman: Dawn of the Greater Good. Besides getting some insight into how Cooke would write Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman if he’d written them more in the original comic (good thing he didn’t), it also has more of dickhead Dwight D. Eisenhower, who sends Supes after Bats. I remember reading something about (Canadian) Cooke thinking we needed Eisenhower back—when asked about his politics during Iraq War II, where there was only one right answer—which adds a layer to the comic.

If Cooke liked Ike… it’s hard to imagine how he’d have written him if he didn’t like him. Killing a puppy maybe?

The feature’s twenty-four interminable pages, with Cooke clearly not spending a lot of time on the art. The Batman and Superman fight itself is pretty good, rather drawn out, but with a goony resolution. It’s also one hell of a retcon of the original series.

Overall the most successful thing in the comic is the one page prologue with Rip Hunter telling everyone not to take it seriously.

All of a sudden, I’m real glad I don’t have one of the New Frontier collected editions with the Special included. If I’d read it on publication, I forgot about it. I hope I can forget about it again.

Batman: Black and White 1 (November 2013)

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With the exception of the Neal Adams story, this first issue of Batman: Black and White is excellent.

Sure, the Chip Kidd story–with some nice Michael Cho art–is a little much on the Silver Age cuteness, but it’s a decent story.

The Adams one is about Bruce Wayne realizing the criminal justice system is unfair. It’s undercooked in both the art (though Adams’s pencils are nice, they’re not inked) and definitely the story. He just tries too hard.

The Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy story from Maris Wicks and Joe Quinones is probably the biggest surprise. It’s delightful.

John Arcudi and Sean Murphy do a “Batman loves his car” story, which has some great art and nice Alfred banter.

Finally, Howard Mackie and Chris Samnee do the most traditional story. Mackie’s got a good villain reveal, but he tries too hard. Lovely Samnee art though.

It’s good stuff.


Don’t Know Where, Don’t Know When; writer, Chip Kidd; artist, Michael Cho; letterer, Dezi Sienty. Batman Zombie; writer and penciller, Neal Adams; letterer, Erica Schultz. Justice is Served; writer, Maris Wicks; artist, Joe Quinones; letterer, Rob Leigh. Driven; writer, John Arcudi; artist, Sean Murphy; letterer, Sal Cipriano. Head Games; writer, Howard Mackie; artist, Chris Samnee; letterer, Jack Morelli. Editors, Camilla Zhang and Mark Chiarello; publisher, DC Comics.

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