INFINITE FRONTIER #0/ Stories by VARIOUS/ Art by VARIOUS/ Colors by VARIOUS/ Letters by VARIOUS/ Cover by DAN JURGENS & MIKEL JANIN/ Published by DC COMICS
First of all, credit where credit is due.
As its name and number imply, Infinite Frontier #0 is the first step in defining and redefining the current state of reality in the DC Comics Universe. The frame story by Joshua Williamson, Scott Snyder and James Tynion IV does a fine job of summing it all up at the start, but here’s the short version. Reality has been rewritten following a battle that threatened to destroy everything, and we do mean EVERYTHING. As a result of her bravery and nobility during the crisis, Diana of Themyscira has ascended and been offered a place among the Quintessence – the council of divine and mystic beings who oversee the order of the multiverse. Before she accepts, Diana asks to inspect the new universe, having received warning (in the final pages of Dark Nights: Death Metal) that there would be a price to be paid for reality being spared. Her request is granted and she and The Spectre begin wandering the new cosmos, looking in on Diana’s friends and allies.
This leads to a series of small vignettes as Diana and the Spectre observe various events that set up some of the new series and new creative directions spinning out of Infinite Frontier. These range from Green Lanterns John Stewart and Simon Baz taking Teen Lantern Keli Quintela on her first trip to Oa, to Oliver Queen and Dinah Lance trying to work out just how much of what they remember happening between them actually happened, to a group of newbie heroes making their way to Titans Tower to join a new academy.
I will leave the larger part of the surprises contained within this issue unspoiled, but there is one story I do feel the need to discuss as I feel it is the heart of the issue and indeed the whole impetus behind Infinite Frontier. Sadly, there’s no way to do so without spoilers. So consider that your SPOILER warning and skip the image and the paragraphs that follow after the next paragraph.
The writing and artwork throughout this issue is top-notch and indicative of the craft and care that seems to have gone into this latest effort to revitalize some DC Comics characters and concepts. For that reason alone I consider this issue to be required reading for all DC Comics fans, if not all comics fans. It all begins here, folks, and it begins quite well.
Now… read no further unless you wish to be spoiled.
While there are a number of surprises contained within this issue, I imagine none will draw quite so much fire as the revelation that Alan Scott, the first Green Lantern, is outing himself in the new DC Universe. This should not be too shocking, as various alternate universe versions of Alan Scott have been portrayed as gay before now. While this was not much of an issue in the New 52 version of Earth 2, where Scott was a new hero starting out, the idea of carrying over Alan Scott as a gay man in the main reality raised some uncomfortable questions regarding the fate of Jade and Obsidian, Alan’s children from a relationship with the supervillain Thorn. Do we pretend they never existed for the sake of diversity? Do we make them someone else’s kids, for the sake of history?
James Tynion IV tackles these issues with tact and asserts that Jade and Obsidian are alive and well in the new universe and perfectly comfortable with their dad’s coming to peace with who he is. There are many gay men who had relationships with women and fathered children because that was What Was Done at the time and there is no reason why Alan Scott cannot serve as a proxy for those men. As Alan Scott himself points out, things change, but the old dogs can learn new tricks and the possibilities for new stories centering around a father and son coping with their public image as gay superheroes together are interesting to consider. (Yes, Obsidian is still gay as well.)
That, in a nutshell, is what I think Infinite Frontier #0 is about. It is about honoring the past and what came before, but finding new ways to change it up for the modern age. Everything old may be new again, but I think this issue will prove truly timeless.