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DC: The New Frontier, Volume 2 Library Binding – May 2005

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Product Details

  • Library Binding
  • Publisher: San Val (May 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1417688297
  • ISBN-13: 978-1417688296
  • Product Dimensions: 25.7 x 16.8 x 1.5 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 249 g
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Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. The versions of the classic DC Comics heroes that baby boomers grew up reading were developed during comics' "Silver Age," from 1956 through the 1960s; after that time, superhero comics aimed at older, more jaded readers turned "grim and gritty." Writer/artist Cooke attempts to recapture the Silver Age's heroic and optimistic ideals within the more sophisticated vision of contemporary comics. His strategy is to portray DC's 1950s heroes in the context of postwar American culture. Hence, Cooke links the virtual disappearance of superheroes early in that decade to McCarthy-era witch-hunts and connects the Klan's murder of an African-American superhero to detective John Jones's fears of being exposed as an illegal alien—from Mars. Later, he successfully parallels the formation of the Justice League with President Kennedy's "New Frontier," both embodying a new idealism to cope with a dangerous world. The simple, handsome, expressive figures recall not only the work of animator Bruce Timm, but also art by such comics masters as Jack Kirby and Alex Toth. Implying in his afterword that "New Frontier" is an allegory of post-9/11 America, Cooke has stirringly laid out a promising new path for the superhero genre. (May)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

From School Library Journal

Grade 8 Up–A '50s-style comic with modern-day sensibilities. A group of astronauts, most of whom know each other from World War II or Korea, make tentative steps into outer space. In a secondary story line, a black man takes revenge on the KKK, which killed his family, but then is himself murdered. As the scientists explore, a huge alien army waits in orbit to invade Earth. One alien falls to Earth and watches TV reports, trying to grasp American culture. Soon enough, humans and aliens collide, and the Justice League is there to save everything. The social-commentary subplots, of late-'50s civil rights and of Cold War paranoia, are the most powerful elements here. However, too often the most interesting story line is left undeveloped: Green Lantern, lost in the desert for four years, the black man avenging his family, war veterans visiting the graves of their comrades–all these threads are overshadowed by yammering astronauts and their love triangles. Buy this one only if the first volume is popular.–John Leighton, Brooklyn Public Library, NY
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 32 reviews
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
Silver Age Heroes Written Intelligently Feb. 16 2006
By Scott William Foley - Published on
Format: Paperback
Note: This review refers to DC: The New Frontier Volumes I and II.

If you are a DC fan-I mean a hard core, DC or bust fan-you will love, and I mean LOVE DC: The New Frontier Volumes I and II.

I remember seeing the first issue of this series when it came out in single-issue format and thinking that it seemed a bit remedial. Overly simplistic. I made this deduction based off of looking at the art alone, not by reading any of it. However, I later discovered this book had been receiving critical acclaim from many established publications such as the New York Times, so I had to give the trade paperbacks a shot. I'm glad I did.

You see, the art is supposed to look a bit unpretentious because the story is set during the Silver Age of comics. For you non-comic book people, that means it takes place basically in the late fifties, early sixties. The Silver Age was when old characters from the thirties and forties received major revamps, such as the Flash, the Atom, and Green Lantern. It also introduced new characters such Adam Strange. DC: The New Frontier takes this Silver Age era and delivers a story with modern day sensibilities. For instance, Superman and Wonder Woman are trying to clean up Korea while maintaining some sort of autonomy from the US Government for whom they work. The space program is in full swing with Hal Jordan desperately wanting to be a part of it so he can reach the stars. A horrifying Batman realizes he may need to lighten up a bit after a disheartening experience with a child. J'onn J'onzz is unexpectedly transported to Earth and must acclimate or perish. We get traditional appearances from Hour Man, Aquaman, and Green Arrow. We see the Challengers of the Unknown, the Sea Devils, the Suicide Squad, and other favorites from the sixties, as well as re-imagined characters like Steel.

You see, in the comics, originally, all these things were spread out over decades, but now, the author and illustrator, Darwyn Cooke, has blended them all together into one cohesive plot line that culminates with all the heroes joining forces in a very non-traditional manner against a foe that could destroy the world.

This collection honestly feels like if heroes were real, this is how they would act with each other and how our government would react to them. DC: The New Frontier is a captivating read and I urge you to give it a try immediately. It will quickly become one of your favorites.

~Scott William Foley, author of Souls Triumphant
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Nostalgia of the Golden and Silver Ages set to real life events Aug. 5 2006
By H. Bala - Published on
Format: Paperback
This is the second volume of the DC: The New Frontier TPB and contains issues #4 - 6. It continues Darwyn Cooke's ambitious project to bring back a sense of wonder to DC superheroes and bridge together the DC Golden Age of Comics with the Silver Age and beyond into one comprehensive and cohesive continuity. The first volume covered the years 1945 to 1958, beginning with the final mission of the Losers, detailing the break-up of the JSA and Superman and Wonder Woman's secret roles in the Cold War, and culminating with the advent of the Silver Age heroes.

Volume 2 continues the superheroes' interactions with real life events and covers the gaps between 1958 and the formation of the Justice League in the '60s. Set in the background of an America rife with escalating racial tensions, post-McCarthy era paranoia, the Space Race with the Russians, and JFK's optimistic Camelot, the Flash, the Martian Manhunter, King Faraday, the Challengers of the Unknown and test pilot Hal Jordan (who, in this volume, finally becomes Green Lantern), among others, strive to find meaning and true purpose in their calling. In time, an overwhelmingly menacing force called the Centre threatens to wipe out humanity and forces these fractured individual heroes to come together to save the world.

I have to hand it to Darwyn Cooke. This really is a daunting task but he manages to do yeoman's work in 6 limited-series issues. He seamlessly integrates real life issues such as racial inequality, bigotry, and national distrust. A telling point is Cooke's portrayal of newcomer (to Earth) J'onn J'onnz, who rightfully harbors a fear of man's hostile reaction should his true nature surface. There are numerous protagonists involved and yet each hero gets fair representation in his own vignette. By the end, the reader gets a real good sense of each protagonist's personality, internal sensibility and personal story arc. Hal Jordan, in particular, seems to embody the bold, can-do spirit of America as was characterized in the immediate post-WW2 era. Yes, because of the large cast, the story at times feels scattershot as Cooke jumps from one hero to another. However, no worries, it all ties together nicely.

Darwyn Cooke uses his past experience as a storyboard artist for Batman Beyond to maximum effect in New Frontier. He deliberately channels the classic, deceptively simple, "more innocent" styles of Dick Sprang and Steve Ditko - with just a touch of Keith Giffen and animator Bruce Timm. His artwork here purposely invokes memories of a simpler, less ambiguous time for superheroes. Back in the '30s, '40s and '50s, Mystery Men (and Women) were clearly on the side of good and villains were clear cut ne'er-do-wells. No lines were blurred or crossed. Darwyn's old school renderings drives that point nostalgically home. Cooke artistically conveys the little moments, the seminal scenes, and the grandiose sequences, all rendered with easy, stylish conviction. Those big splash pages are truly BEAUTIFUL to behold. It must be mentioned that Dave Stewart's colors ideally complements Darwyn's illustrations.

Nowadays, a lot of people choose to look back at the '50s as America's true Golden Age, a time when we as a nation truly were righteous, and flourishing, and on top of the world. Cooke reminds us that there's a bit of revisionist history being played out here, that not every American actually took part and enjoyed the benefits of an era that was supposedly one of our best. Darwyn Cooke elevates the New Frontier to a somewhat "important" work.

For those who enjoyed DC: The New Frontier, Volumes 1 and 2, I recommend the Golden Age mini-series by James Robinson and Paul Smith, which also covers the timeline between the Golden and Silver Ages, though focusing more on the JSA. And always worth looking into is Kurt Busiek and Alex Ross's Marvels, a depiction of 35 years of Marvel superheroes as seen thru the eyes and camera lenses of a newspaper photographer. Ross's lush paintings alone are worth the price of the book.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
More Super Hero Action Than Vol. 1, Entertaining But Not Darwyn's Best Work Jan. 29 2007
By Bryan E. Leed - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
DC: THE NEW FRONTIER, VOL. 2 has more action and adventure than VOL. 1. If you liked VOL. 1, then this will be slightly better.

VOL. 1 seemed to be all about moody foreshadowing, (the superheroes might return...the world before/without superheroes), but it was so moody and low on action that I thought that was the whole point of THE NEW FRONTIER, just to maintain the anticipation of The Silver Age of comics heroes, but not really to show it.

So I was surprised that VOL. 2 shows the precursor of The Silver Age of comics heroes. The first half of this VOL. 2 keeps up the moody anticipation, just like VOL. 1, but the second half (finally) turns into a typical, save-the-world, superhero free-for-all.

I like Darwyn Cooke, and I realize that this collection of THE NEW FRONTIER was his largest, most epic, most ambitious and far-reaching project yet. Yet, I think he does better with smaller stories and situations. I thought the moody atmosphere and non-superheroics would be sustained throughout THE NEW FRONTIER, so I was suprised with the last half of VOL. 2, when it got so large in scale, jumping almost too suddenly! Also, I think some of the artwork is not as refined and detailed as some of Darwyn's previous works. Maybe this is due to taking on such a huge project, and not having the time to fine tune the pencils as much, due to time and schedule constraints?

I think SELINA'S BIG SCORE is Darwyn Cooke's best trade paperback, and his redo of the Catwoman series, especially in CATWOMAN, VOL. 1, shows his most indelible mark on comics, in her coolest outfit ever! Darwyn Cooke's cute drawing style works a whole lot better when the situation is more localized, as in Catwoman, than when it tries to encompass too much, like an entire world conflict, as in THE NEW FRONTIER.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Little to say and takes too long to say it Sept. 11 2013
By Sam Quixote - Published on
Format: Paperback
The second and final volume in Darwyn Cooke's reimagining of DC's superheroes set against an early 1960s background is about as fairly dull as the first one was. I criticised a lack of plot in the first volume whereas we get one in this book, but it's still not a very good one. Basically an unstoppable giant alien headed towards America (of course) must be stopped - enter the group who will become known as the Justice League!

It's a plot of sorts but rather than complain about the arbitrariness of the alien threat - which I think is deliberately so - I would say that it's a slow read because it focuses on characters I'm not particularly fond of. Hal Jordan/Green Lantern for one gets the lion's share of the book as do a number of non-superpowered characters - government agents and so forth - who I couldn't care less about. Flash gets some time in the spotlight, Martian Manhunter gets even more, while the big 3 - Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman - get short shrift, relegated to mere cameos. I appreciate Cooke is trying to shine the spotlight on some of the less usual suspects but there's a reason why Batman and Superman are more popular than Green Lantern and Flash.

Let's talk about the big alien menace that makes up the plot. First off, a vague alien danger is pretty much what a lot of Silver Age comics did - horrors from space, etc. - and if New Frontier is a mash note to the comics of that era then it gets the villain right. Then again, it's not a great villain. We know nothing about it, except it wants to destroy everything and everyone, which is about as 2-dimensional as you can get. But I think this is deliberate because this isn't about having a complex nemesis, it's about giving the Justice League a reason for forming because up until now, they've basically just been random elements doing their own thing. With The Center (the big alien bad thing), they're forced to work together thus realising they should be a team and completing the story.

All of which is fine even though Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman are basically left out as Green Lantern, Flash and Martian Manhunter (guess who Cooke's favourites are?) save the day. But like I said, focusing on those less interesting characters made the book harder to read and, though the alien threat is a plot point, the rest of the book drags and drags even when they finally fight it. Meanwhile some space stuff happens - Hal is denied going into space and mopes around Ferris Industries, in a sequence that just went on and on, racism is touched on - John Henry Irons gets called some racist epithets, all 60s era issues that places the comic squarely in its time, but nothing that stands out as particularly inspired. And ending the book quoting Kennedy's New Frontier speech - really? It's too on the nose.

Cooke's art remains the best thing about New Frontier even though once again he has trouble distinguishing his male characters in appearance, something he really needs to do as he can't really make them stand out with his script. New Frontier has its moments but it was far too long - two volumes is too much for what little story - and though I get that Cooke wants to celebrate this era in history and comics, I still think if you wanted to experience the Silver Age you'd be better off reading the actual comics of this time than New Frontier.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
If only they would keep going with this and write more volumes... Feb. 19 2012
By Bismarck - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Cooke's run on DC is just fantastic. The dialogue is phenomenal and is well-researched, by which I mean Cooke is keenly aware of the Cold War history in which he has placed his story, even to the point of quoting songs, speeches, societal issues, news reporting styles and jokes from the period. The artwork (also done by Cooke, but colored by Dave Stewart) is beautiful. While some might object to this "retro" feel, it fits perfectly with the story Cooke has created, showing that a writer/illustrator all-in-one makes for a highly unified presentation. These volumes also flesh out the identities of some of DCs more overlooked members of the Justice League, particularly the Martian. There is a richness to Cooke's work on John Jones normally reserved only for the Big Four (Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, & Green Lantern). A great read for any age. Only thing I wonder about is whether or not H.P. Lovecraft's estate issued complaints about the similarity between "the Centre" and Cthulu. : )