The New Frontier one of my favorite graphic novels. It tells the story of the DC universe between the end of World War II and the formation of the Justice League in the early 1960s.
At the height of the red scare, heroes are given a choice: unmask, or become outlaws. Most of the Justice Society opts for a third choice – retirement. Wonder Woman and Superman sign pledges to do the bidding of the U.S. government. Batman, on the other hand, evades capture and continues to operate from the shadows.
To help fill the void, the government creates a non-powered Suicide Squad to take on the types of problems the superheroes used to handle.
While this volume is essentially all setup for volume 2, there is still plenty of activity. We see the Martian Manhunter arrive on Earth and begin working a case that leads him to the true antagonist of the series. We also get a lot of backstory on Hal Jordan’s pre-Green Lantern days. Barry Allen’s Flash steps out of obscurity in a very public way.
There is a lot to like about this graphic novel. It weaves together real history and the history of the DC universe about as seamlessly as it can be done. The artwork is unlike what you usually see in a DC or Marvel graphic novel, and give readers a great feel for the 1940s and 50s. Like The Marvels Project, it gives some shoutouts to minor forgotten characters like Slam Bradley and The Challengers of the Unknown.
I’m giving New Frontier Vol 1, five stars and really looking forward to volume 2 even though I’ve already read it a few times.