Tug's Pick of the Week
Welcome to the first installment of "Tug's Pick of the Week"! Every week, I'll sift through the preview copies sent to us, and let you, the loyal Dragon's Breath reader, in on what I think will be The Comic You Can't Live Without for the coming Wednesday.
I must admit, I've been excited about this title for a year now, so pardon me if I gush a little.
This week's pick is DC: The New Frontier, Book One by Darwyn Cooke (with colors by the magnificent Dave Stewart). After the initial success of James Robinson and Paul Smith's The Golden Age, Robinson planned on doing a Silver Age series with Howard Chaykin that, like Golden Age, would examine the characters of the time period with a modern age sensibility. Unfortunately, the project never saw fruition.
However, if it had, we may have never gotten DC: The New Frontier. The first issue of New Frontier takes place at the dawn of the Silver Age with a bit of a look back at the twilight hour of the Golden Age. After WWII, the optimism of our boys coming home falls into the paranoia of the McCarthy era. The Red Menace (communism, not a super villain) is sought out everywhere, including Hollywood and the super-hero community. The heroes are forced to register themselves (and their secret identities). The heroes must choose to go underground (Batman), quit (the JSA), or fall in line with Congress (Superman). But from this stagnation, new heroes are already being created – they just don't know it yet.
Darwyn Cooke gets the ball rolling quickly with this issue. What at first appears to be three separate stories about the Losers, Hourman, and a young Air Force pilot named Hal Jordan are connected in subtle ways, making for the beginnings of a great epic.
The book is obviously a tremendous labor of love for Cooke. It shows in every line of dialogue, every beautifully drawn panel, and even the sound effects. Cooke, whose work on Catwoman: Selina's Big Score was a big hit last year, has truly outdone himself here. DC: The New Frontier promises to be an epic whose size will only be dwarfed by the larger-than-life heroes who leap from its pages.
DC: The New Frontier, Book One is 64 pages with no ads and costs $6.95. (Sure it's pricy, but it's more than worth it. Just take a look at the back cover picture of Superman and Batman fighting. That in itself is worth the price of admission!)
Surprise Hits of Last Week:
If you haven't checked these titles yet, come on to the store and give them a look-see.
Superman: Secret Identity # 1 is a lovely little yarn by Kurt Busiek and Stuart Immonen. I can really relate with guys whose parents named them on something of a lark. However, I didn't grow up to suddenly realize I had the fastball of late, great Tug McGraw. The hero of Secret Identity is Clark Kent, a normal kid living with the annoyance of being named after the Man of Steel. But when he starts to get the powers of Superman — he's a little less annoyed.
CrossGen's Kiss Kiss Bang Bang # 1 (Tony Bedard and Mike Perkins) is a book that I wasn't really looking forward to, but when our back issue manager John told me that it was a 1960s spy story with a main character who was John Constantine meets James Bond – well, I couldn't pass it up. And you shouldn't either!
See you on Wednesday!