Thursday, February 27, 2014


Darwyn Cooke is one of my favorite artists and his love letter to the Silver Age, The New Frontier, is one of my favorite stories ever published by Marvel or DC.  There's nothing I don't like about the story, but as the manager of a Black Canary fan blog, Cooke gives me slim-to-nothing to work with.  Black Canary appears in only three panels in the entire story.  She has no dialogue or action; she's merely a background extra.

However, in 2008, DC published Justice League: The New Frontier Special to celebrate the direct-to-DVD release of the animated adaptation of Cooke's story.  (I got a copy of this story packaged with the New Frontier action figure box set, an unexpected birthday present two years ago.)

This special contains some wonderful new material, including a "lost chapter" from New Frontier written and drawn by Darwyn Cooke, showing an amazing battle between Batman and Superman.  There's a one-page prologue starring Rip Hunter.  There's a great six-page Robin and Kid-Flash team-up by Cooke and Dave Bullock.

And then there's a story of Wonder Woman and Black Canary.  Written by Cooke with art by his longtime inker and collaborator, J. Bone, the story puts the Amazon Warrior and the Blonde Bombshell at the forefront of the Women's Liberation Movement.

I love this story!  The portrayal of Wonder Woman is a little more abrasive than I'd prefer, but it's played mostly for laughs so I'm fine with her being so staunchly anti-men here.  Black Canary is little more than a sounding board for Diana's rants, but her occasional commentary is nice and comedic as well.  Dinah's best moment is that her superhero costume with black and fishnets is actually perfect camouflage inside the Playboy Club.

I love the references to historical figures and events, such as buxom Hollywood starlet Jayne Mansfield and feminist journalist Gloria Steinem, the music of Charlie Mingus, the "bra burning" that came to symbolize the movement, even if the historical accuracy is rather dubious.  Then of course, there is the brief and brilliantly awkward appearance of Bruce Wayne, who needs to be shamed out of the club by his female colleagues in crime fighting.

All told, this is a fun and funny story, and it makes me want to re-read The New Frontier for the umpteenth time!

1 comment:

  1. ooohhh my all-time favourite heroine Wonder Woman is written rather harshly here, coming across as a bit of a strict bad-ass. I wish we had more interpersonal stuff between her and Dinah, they made a good crime-fighting couple.
    Beautiful, beautiful art.