DC’s Infinite Frontier era charts a path forward in its newest event, the aptly named Infinite Frontier #1. Joshua Williamson and Xermanico go to the furthest reaches of the DC Universe to establish a mystery that draws from the company’s long history of events and deep roster of exciting characters. From the get-go this series feels quintessentially DC in a way that past events Doomsday Clock, Death Metal and Metal never quite achieved, and because of this readers will latch onto the universe they fell in love with finally feeling whole again.
This series effectively builds on ideas from Crisis on Infinite Earths, Zero Hour: Crisis in Time, Final Crisis, Flashpoint, Blackest Night, Multiversity, Death Metal and more. From the first page readers are rewarded for their continued patronage of DC Comics and long-held fandom, which gives the issue a feeling of being worthwhile. Now readers get a genuine step forward in what might be their decades long fandom, and an exciting new story right on the horizon.
Williamson is surefooted here in the story he’s telling, which seems to have been clearly laid out for some time now. Threads that were once short stories in Infinite Frontier #0 are now deliberate setups for this grand new adventure. Furthermore, the construction of the issue’s pacing lends to a consistent quality, enjoyment and engagement readers are provided from page 1 to page 30.
The separate story threads that are being established to inevitably converge in the series climax all are set up to develop in interesting directions. Each central character is placed opposite another character, which lends to either development or an interesting interaction. Some of these, such as Alan Scott and Obsidian, are continuations of strong developments in prior stories, whereas in a character like Roy Harper, readers will find in an entirely new and unique situation. Then even further, readers might find a character like Barry Allen returned to a situation which is familiar to both him and readers, but with an exciting new development which begs further exploration.
Of course, the specter of Darkseid looms large over this story. As the first major event in DC Comics in at least a decade to boast the villain as its main antagonist, the ending feels inevitable in some sense. It’s essentially a question of how and why the story goes there, and readers are going to want those questions answered.
Additionally, readers might imagine that the gestation of the Future State continuity lurks somewhere in and behind this all. Readers might wonder if in an event which seems to reach into every nook and cranny of its history for inspiration might not be the foundation for a very new DC universe based on the Future State event. One has to wonder.
It’s the little moments that should lead readers to believe a new story is truly being written here. For example, the use of brand new character X-Tract seems like a step forward, when a classic character like Pariah, Herald, Waverider, Reverse-Flash or more could have been slotted into that same role. The little choices made here point to something new that makes the book so exciting, on top of its inherent quality.
Of course, that inherent quality races through the whole book, both in Williamson’s script and Xermanico’s art. Throughout, they’re delivering a story full of visuals that feel like a classic DC comic. It’s entirely possible to imagine that in 5-10 years these visuals will be recreated and plastered over other milestone events and issues.
They’re given so much to play with here as well, and it’s incredibly cool to see so much of DC’s universe brought under the roof of one art style. Then conversely, Xermanico also shows the knack of replicating other artists’ styles to emphasize a moment. It works excitingly well when implemented.
Lastly, Xermanico just makes every single panel in this issue look cool. There’s nothing that’s awkward or out of place. So much of this derives from the attention to detail in they’re paneling, and the cinematic framing they bring to so many important moments. Specifically the first page is a call back to so many classic moments, and the wisdom to use that same paneling here gives the story a sense of reverence to DC history.
Fans of DC Comics should be losing their minds at the things happening in Infinite Frontier and the quality it brings to the table. Williamson and Xermanico seem to be off to the races with a better sense of the DC Universe than many creators in recent years. Now it’s only a question of how these situations might develop, and what exciting developments they might bring us with these characters.
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