Our breakdown of how the first three months of DC Comics’ Infinite Frontier direction has turned out wraps up by examining the Justice League Family of titles. The titles that we will be taking a look at are The Flash, Green Lantern, Justice League, Suicide Squad, and Teen Titans Academy. All of these titles have a connection to the greater dealings of DC Comics biggest concepts for Infinite Frontier such as the new Omniverse. How have the Justice League titles turned out? Scroll down to find out.
Writer: Jeremy Adams
Artists: Brandon Peterson, Marco Santucci, David Lafuente, Jack Herbert, Kevin MaGuire
Infinite Frontier was a chance to reset Wally West’s character after how much the character was beaten to the ground during DC Rebirth. Especially after the end of Dark Nights: Death Metal set things up for Wally to become the main Flash in the prime DC Universe while Barry Allen shifted over to working with the Omniverse’s Justice Incarnate, all the set up was there. Though you would not think that as Jeremy Adams decided to kick off his run on The Flash with Wally giving up being a hero in the opening page. It wasn’t the best start but something that was presented in an understandable way as Wally wanted to spend time with his family he just got back.
The problem there is that while it sounds like Adams was trying to set Wally on a heroes journey before fully getting back to being The Flash it hasn’t turned out that way. Wally’s adventures through time and the multiverse just have not made you believe that Wally should be Flash. All of these adventures just come across as a waste of time and just more of an example of why it would be best to have Wally retire while Barry and Bart take on the responsibilities of being Flash. Which does not seem what Adams is intending to do with this story but is the way it is coming across.
Writer: Geoffrey Thorne
Artist: Dexter Soy, Marco Santucci
With the DC Universe moving towards the United Planets direction seen fully established by the time Legion of Super-Heroes are active the Green Lantern franchise is best suited to explore how we get to that future. Geoffry Thorne has done a great job using the United Planets to examine how the concept of the Green Lantern Corps must evolve when they have more than just the Guardians to answer to as authority figures. This has opened things up for the entire Green Lantern Corps to be focused on rather than just Hal Jordan, which is what happened when Grant Morrison run on Green Lantern.
The second issue of Green Lantern especially put the GLC in a tough spot as something destroyed the Central Power Battery on Oa, leaving every Green Lantern without powers. The only Green Lantern left is Far Sector’s Jo Mullein, who mysteriously still has full access of her Green Lantern powers. Jo Mullein has been well established as a strong character in Far Sector so I’m excited how her interactions with the other Green Lanterns will go now that she has been thrusted in leadership position.
This situation also places even more on John Stewarts shoulders. Thorne has worked on getting over how John is on a similar level of leadership within the Green Lantern Corps as the Guardians. Now his leadership qualities will be tested even more than they ever have been. How he deals with what happened. Which all just adds to how Green Lantern is one of the best titles in DC Comics’ Infinite Frontier direction.
Writers: Brian Bendis; Ram V
Artists: David Marquez; Xermanico
I’ve come to accept that I just do not connect with the way that Brian Bendis writes the DC Universe. Justice League is a good example of that as the large cast of main characters that Bendis writes for this series doesn’t play to his strength as a writer. There are certain characters like Green Arrow and Naomi that Bendis shows he has a strong handle on. Its just everyone else where Bendis gets some mix results with. One thing that may have helped Bendis’ Justice League run out of the gate is to have a smaller roster as having a roster of 10 members on this Justice League team means that we see Bendis overcompensate with a ton of dialogue so it doesn’t seem he is ignoring anyone.
The one thing I will give Bendis credit for doing with his run on Justice League so far is having Superman and Batman taking a back seat so other members of the Justice League take the lead. This plays in well into how Batman and Superman have a lot going on to properly lead the team like they would normally do. Giving someone like Green Arrow a chance to step up as the leader mixes things up in a good way.
Ram V and Xermanico’s Justice League Dark back-up adds honestly overshadows the main story of this series. Ram V and Xermanico continue to do a good job exploring the magic corner of the DC Universe. Keeping the Justice League Dark on the same playing field as the main Justice League team helps to put the team over as being equal rather than just being viewed as the second team.
Writers: Robbie Thompson
Artists: Eduardo Pansica
Robbie Thompson’s Suicide Squad runs into the same problem every Suicide Squad series runs into. That is the lack of concern over believing any of the main characters on the Suicide Squad are in danger of being killed by Amanda Waller. There is always a throw away character that is placed in the position of being taken out to try to get the concept over. Which is what Thompson does. It would’ve been more of a dramatic thing if this series started with a major DC villain having been part of the roster and being killed in the first issue. That would be an actual risk to get over how serious the threat of death is to the Suicide Squad.
It also does not help that already three issues in this Suicide Squad series is already being forced into a crossover with another series, in this case Teen Titans Academy. This causes the series to not get the time to develop a proper chemistry for its cast. It would’ve been better if Thompson continued to use events going on in the DC Universe as a backdrop for the missions Amanda Waller gives the Suicide Squad. Which is what we got with Talon’s inclusion as Thompson did a good job using the events of Batman’s A-Day to draw a connection with the direction for this Suicide Squad team.
All that said, I did find myself invested in the mystery around what is going on with Connor Kent’s Superboy. Thompson seems to be pointing to something being off about Superboy in this series that has to do with the fact he is a clone. Actually attempting to resolve all the continuity issues with Connor Kent’s character does add some interest into what is going on with Amanda Waller’s latest Suicide Squad team.
TEEN TITANS ACADEMY
Writer: Tim Sheridan
Artist: Rafa Sandoval
Teen Titans Academy is a great example of how a good concept is not the only thing a comic books series needs to have. The execution of that concept needs to be there. Unfortunately for Teen Titans Academy it just never invests time in developing its concept of a school for the next generation of heroes. At no point does Tim Sheridan spend a major portion of Teen Titans Academy first three issues on developing all the students and teachers who make up the school. This is particularly bad for the students of Teen Titans Academy as Sheridan acts like we should already know who these kids are even though this is the debut for most of them.
It does not help that the Sheridan does not use the veteran Titans of Nightwing, Starfire, Cyborg, Donna Troy, Beast Boy and Raven who are the teachers of Teen Titans Academy to help drive interest. There is nothing done to make you believe they are actually invested in teaching the next generation. The only actually plotline Sheridan has established for the Titans is the revisiting the on-and-off relationship between Nightwing and Starfire because there can never be a comic book involving these two without seeing them sleep together and break up right afterwards.
All of this has made Sheridan’s obsessive focus on trying to establish Red X’s character become a complete failure. Like the students of Teen Titans Academy, Sheridan wants to make you believe there is a bunch of history to Red X but there just isn’t. This is afterall the debut of Red X in the DC Universe and just exemplifies how Teen Titans Academy just never takes the time to develop anyone in this series to be actual characters to invest in.
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