Archive for New Frontier

Friday Night Fights: War is Hell

Wow, completely forgot blogging for a week, then had to scramble to find a decent entry for this week’s Friday Night Fights. So we’re going to an old favorite — March 2004’s DC: The New Frontier #1 by Darwyn Cooke, as pacifist pilot Hal Jordan is locked in a life or death struggle against a North Korean soldier.



And before I forget entirely, Happy 2015, everyone — hope it’s a good one for you and everyone you know.

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Friday Night Fights: Cat Fight!

Greetings, kids! I have good news and more good news! The good news is that it’s Friday, and it’s time for the weekend, and holy zagnuts, do we all need the weekend! And the other good news? It’s time for… FRIDAY NIGHT FIGHTS!

Tonight’s battle comes to us from 2004’s DC: The New Frontier by Darwyn Cooke! Ted “Wildcat” Grant is fighting the last match of his boxing career, and he’s up against a kid named Cassius Clay.





That’ll finish me off for the week — everyone get out there and enjoy the weekend while we still can! Monday’s coming in only a couple days…

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Friday Night Fights: Sucker Punch!

Wow, has this seemed like a rougher-than-average week. I’ve been feeling like I needed the weekend to start sometime around Tuesday, so this absolutely feels like it’s long overdue. So let’s get right to it — time to get our weekend started right — with FRIDAY NIGHT FIGHTS!

Tonight’s battle comes from the second volume of 2005’s DC: The New Frontier by the astonishingly awesome Darwyn Cooke with Dave Stewart. Superman heads out to confront the island-sized monstrosity called the Centre and finds an unwelcoming committee just waiting for him to drop his guard…

I’ve recommended this comic to y’all before — and if you don’t have it, you really, really should go get it. It’s fantastically beautiful all the way through.

Hope y’all have a great weekend, and I’ll see y’all Monday…

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Friday Night Fights: Bat Booted!

I already used a fight from this comic last Friday, but this one was just too good to pass up.

From the story “The Greater Good” by Darwyn Cooke in DC’s Justice League: The New Frontier Special: Batman gives Superman a nice little boot to the head:


It’s just one panel, but I suspect Bahlactus approves.

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Friday Night Fights: Playboy Fight Club!

You may find yourself thinking, “Self, I want more from my Friday nights than just gratuitous violence, horrendous beatings, and drunken barroom brawls. I want love, happiness, peace on earth, a friendly game of foosball, and a can of domestic light beer. Is that so much to ask?” Well, frankly, yes, it is. Please don’t bother us with your sick, disgusting fantasies of Friday nights without fights. Because we normal folk prefer FRIDAY NIGHT FIGHTS!

From “The Mother of the Movement” by Darwyn Cooke and J. Bone, from DC’s recent Justice League: The New Frontier Special, Wonder Woman, with Black Canary along for the ride, encounters a small horde of male chauvinist punching-bags in a local gentlemen’s club:


“Hola, dogs!” is our Phrase of the Weekend, by the way. Make sure you say it to someone before Monday hits.

Anyway, this leads to some of the best comic-book sound effects I’ve seen so far this year.


By the way, folks, when you’re facing an angry Amazon, your best weapon is probably not a Zippo lighter and a snifter of brandy, okay?



Luckily, Wondy isn’t harmed by — Whoa, wait a minute!


Oh my.


Oh my.


A little pain, a little pleasure. That’s what Friday Night Fights is all about. Hola, dogs!

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Justice League: The New Frontier

As promised, here’s my review of the new direct-to-DVD animated movie “Justice League: The New Frontier.” Obviously, it’s based on Darwyn Cooke’s extremely popular miniseries “The New Frontier,” featuring DC heroes making their debuts in the 1950s.

Well, let’s just get it right out there — I loved this movie. The plot is pretty much just like the plot of the miniseries/graphic novel: Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman are joined by new superheroes like the Flash, Green Lantern, and the Martian Manhunter, as they face an alien threat that could wipe out human life on Earth.

Of course, the movie has a limited run-time, so lots of stuff had to be cut — some of the stuff they removed really shoulda been left in, because it was awesome, and some of the stuff they left in really should’ve been removed. I wish they’d been able to include more of the Losers, Karin Grace, and the Challengers of the Unknown, I wish they’d left Hourman out entirely (Nothing against Hourman, but when Superman says “Hourman is dead,” what the viewer hears is “Our man is dead.” What? Who’s their man? It’s confusing). Those are the dangers of adapting comic books to film, I guess — it’s impossible to include all the keen stuff that you wish they’d kept from the book.

But those nitpickings aside, this is really a glorious movie. The animators do a great job of replicating the artwork from Cooke’s comic. The animation is just gorgeous — by now, Warner’s has a lot of experience animating superheroes, so the action is downright dandy, and they do a stellar job of replicating the stylized look of the ’50s, from casino design to retro rockets to clothing and hairstyles.

They’ve got voice work by a lot of recognizable stars — David Boreanz is Green Lantern, Neil Patrick Harris is the Flash, Lucy Lawless is Wonder Woman, Kyle MacLachlan is Superman, etc. Honestly, I usually dislike movies that do this — it’s usually just stunt-casting, where actual voice actors could do a better job. But I thought everyone in this did a great job. The only person you could really identify was Lawless, ’cause she has a very distinctive voice. With everyone else, you completely forget the characters are being voiced by famous people — as far as I’m concerned, this means they do a darn good job of getting the characters down.

Listen, if you’re planning on getting this for your kids, think again. There’s a sticker right on the front of the case that says “First ever Justice League animated movie rated PG-13.” And they ain’t kidding about the rating, either. The first scene in the movie ends with a guy putting a gun to his head and blowing his brains out. Not long after that, Hal Jordan, his plane shot down over Korea, shoots an enemy soldier, and a nice big splatter of blood hits Hal in the face. This is definitely a movie worth seeing, but don’t traumatize your kids with it, okay?

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Back to the Frontier


Justice League: The New Frontier Special

You might remember that I recommended DC’s “The New Frontier” graphic novel last December November. Well, DC has now released a sequel, published to help promote the recently-released “Justice League: The New Frontier” direct-to-DVD animated movie. We get three short stories, all written by “New Frontier” creator Darwyn Cooke, all set in his version of the retro-cool 1950s/60s.

We start off with an “outtake” from the original graphic novel, with Superman ordered by the government to take down Batman. Next up, Robin and Kid Flash star in “Dragstrip Riot” as the two go undercover to break up gangs of murderous drag-racers and saboteurs. Finally, Wonder Woman and Black Canary strike a blow for Women’s Lib in the Playboy Club.

Verdict: Thumbs up. The first story is the big winner — it’s the only one that’s actually drawn by Cooke, and there ain’t nothing finer than a story with Darwyn Cooke art in it. On top of that, it’s got one of the best Superman-vs.-Batman slugfests I’ve seen since “The Dark Knight Returns.” The Teen Titans story isn’t as epic, but it’s exactly the kind of stuff the original Titans specialized in, and it’s completely drenched in early ’60s coolsville. The Wonder Woman/Black Canary story is, in some ways, the weakest. The art is tremendously cartoony, Wonder Woman’s personality is badly warped for comedic purposes, and Black Canary has little purpose other than reacting to Wondy. But it’s definitely the funniest story in the book, with a couple of funny guest stars, several cool moments, and numerous funny lines.

Oh, and while we’re on the subject of “New Frontier,” I’ll have my own review of the movie on Monday.

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Holiday Gift Bag: The New Frontier

Prepare for the shock of your life — Christmas is only a month away! Hully chee! Time to panic and run around wildly, jabbering nonsensically and purchasing stuff like underwear and bow ties and vitamins for stocking stuffers. Now hold it, hold it, you can solve many of your holiday gift-giving needs… with comics! So I’ll spend a little time over the next month passing along some tips for some gifts you can get for the comics-loving person on your shopping list.

Let’s start with a new favorite that looks likely to become a classic:


DC: The New Frontier

This series was published by DC in 2003 and 2004, and was written and illustrated by a guy named Darwyn Cooke. The story is set, for the most part, in the late 1950s. It stars a huge array of DC characters, from Superman and Wonder Woman to the Flash and the Challengers of the Unknown, but the central character is definitely Hal Jordan, who starts out, not as the superhero Green Lantern, but as the only pacifist fighter pilot in the Korean War. The general plot, without dropping too many spoilers: We follow the emergence of a new generation of heroes as we slowly become aware of a growing alien plot against the earth.

There is a lot of cool stuff in this series. The whole thing opens with an incredibly cool, incredibly cinematic sequence with a quartet of soldiers facing off against dinosaurs during World War II. Everything set in Las Vegas is cool, including the boxing match and the fight between the Flash and Captain Cold. And the book also has one of the coolest characterizations of Wonder Woman around, gorgeous and curvy, sure, but also absolutely hardcore, and tough enough to stand up to Superman and tell him to take a walk.


You’ve noticed that artwork by now, haven’t ya? Beautiful stuff. Cartoony, but also like something out of a pulp magazine. There are also some animation influences in there, too. Superman looks a lot like he did in the Fleischer cartoons back in the ’40s, and just about everything else is filtered through the animation styles of more recent cartoons like “Justice League Unlimited” and “Batman: The Animated Series.” Yeah, it’s simple, clear artwork, but there’s something more complex going on there, too. It’s great for emotion, great for characterization, great for evoking the spirit and styles of the ’50s. It’s absolutely outstanding for action and motion, too.


You can pick up “DC: The New Frontier” as a two-volume collection for about twenty bucks apiece. You can also get what they call the “Absolute New Frontier,” which is oversized, comes in a nice slipcase, and has a bunch of other extras. That one will set you back about 75 bones. You may not want to get this for a kid — though the art has a retro, cartoony feel, numerous people die, and there is some cussin’ in it.


Go pick it up.

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