Friday, March 4, 2016

Tales From the 50 Cent Bin! - Justice League: New Frontier Special #1

Well, it’s about 3 weeks until Good Friday, the day when Jesus Christ died for our sins. Also, some little indie movie involving Batman, Superman, and justice is coming out. Since "Batman v. Superman: Green Eggs and Ham" is coming out soon, I wanted to look at a couple of stories that featured the duo doing their thing.

The one I’m looking at today is a little different and kind of matches the upcoming movie. When Justice League: New Frontier was being released, DC got with Darwyn Cooke (writer/artist of DC: New Frontier) and released a special one-off issue. It featured three stories from that universe Cooke set up in DC: New Frontier. For those who don’t know, DC: New Frontier was a miniseries that bridged the gap between DC’s Golden and Silver Ages. Cooke wrote all of the stories for the issue. He also did the art for the first story. Dave Bullock and Michael Cho handles the art for the second story. Finally, Jason Bone (J. Bone) handles the artwork for the last story.

Justice League: New Frontier Special #1
Writer: Darwyn Cooke
Pencils: Darwyn Cooke, Dave Bullock, and J. Bone
Inks: Darwyn Cooke, Michael Cho, and J. Bone
Colors: Dave Stewart
Letters: Jared K. Fletcher
Editor: Ian Slatter

The issue starts off with an introduction from time traveler Rip Hunter setting everything up.

Batman and Superman in “Fight To The Finish”
The story is basically the backstory behind that image of Superman and Batman fighting at the beginning of the mini-series. It takes place in 1955 where King Faraday is trying to suppress vigilante acts in America. He wants Superman and Wonder Woman to take down Batman who is operating in Gotham City. Wonder Woman refuses and leaves while Superman thinks taking down Batman is for the greater good. We find out that this meeting is taking place on one of Bruce Wayne’s yachts.

Later, Superman meets with Pres. Eisenhower about the mission. He does have reservations on taking down Batman, but the President presses the issue and essentially makes it an executive order. Meanwhile, Catwoman gives Batman a small gift: a piece of Kryptonite stolen from Lex Luthor’s company. Eventually, Superman carries out his mission and heads to Gotham’s car yard. He’s shocked to learn that Batman’s ready for him. Batman throws all he has at Superman and the fight leads to the Batcave.
Meanwhile, Alfred is laying down some sweet beats.

After Batman crashes his sweet ride, he uses Kryptonite on Superman and that weakens him. He almost gets Superman into a containment unit but Superman stops that pretty easily. The two are about to go at it again when Wonder Woman shows up and tells them both to lay off since they are the only active superheroes around right now. They need to stand united. Superman is still distrustful of Batman, so Batman reveals his identity to them both. In the end, Diana comes up with a plan of the two heroes having a public fake fight and Superman feigning defeat to keep the feds off Batman’s backs.
Wonder Woman: the true hero of the story.

 Robin and Flash in “Dragstrip Riot”
Since Batman is away for a few days, this leaves Dick Grayson to do his own work. He’s investigating the theft of some explosives and he believes a new gang of car drivers is responsible. He goes undercover to a place where some drag racing is going on. He ends up going against some cocky red-head named “Wally Wood”. What they don’t know is that Wally’s car is rigged to crash. When it does, Dick runs into the wreck and notices that Wally is gone. The cops end up showing and crashing the party, so Dick suits up and gets out of there.

 Later, Robin heads to a radio transmitter and finds some of the gang and Wally who’s revealed to be Kid Flash. It turns out that he’s been on this case as well. They find out that the gang sold the explosives to a foreign group that will use it at a refueling station. Robin realizes that the only station that’s close is one for Air Force One. The heroes race to the station where the saboteurs have placed the bombs. In the end, they save the day and even get a picture with JFK.

Wonder Woman and Black Canary in “Wonder Woman and Black Canary”
After a tussle with some bad guys, Wonder Woman monologues to Black Canary about women’s roles in America. She finds a Playboy magazine and still monologues about how men treat women in America. In order to fight for women everywhere, the two head to a gentleman’s club to do some “preaching.” After a funny run-in with Bruce Wayne, the two decide to jump on stage and Wonder Woman tales about women being treated better. The men don’t take it well, so the two heroes beat them up. After a funny moment involving Diana’s breastplate, the two head off.
Now this was funny.


I thought this was a nice one-off issue. It was nice to get some more stories from this version of the DC universe. All of them were good from one degree to another. The first story was my favorite of the three. It featured two of my favorite heroes having a little tussle and getting berated by someone cool. I thought it tied into the original series pretty well. The second story was fine but short. The last story was okay but it did have some really funny moments. I especially thought that Bruce Wayne scene was hilarious.

The artwork for the stories was really good. Cooke’s artwork in the first story felt like it came from DC: New Frontier. It had the overall feel of the mini-series. The artwork in the other stories was good but not on Cooke’s level in my opinion. They did feel like they fit the feel of their stories. The last story was a laugh riot and the artwork helped cement that feel. I don’t have anything really negative to say about the special. The last story was my least favorite but it was also the funniest. I think one last complaint is that there were only three stories. I’d would like to see Cooke do more with the heroes in this version of the DCU.

Overall, this was good. If you’re a fan of DC: New Frontier, then you should definitely check this out. If you’ve just seen the movie, read DC: New Frontier and then read this. The movie was good but the actual mini-series was pretty cool. Well, that’s enough gushing over Darwyn Cooke. Next time, I’ll be looking at another story where the two kind of butted heads. Until then, Peace, God Bless, and watch out for Commies! Yes, I made a funny about communism Since DC: New Frontier is set in the 50’s. 

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