Infinite Frontier is a mess. DC Comics has always used these big “Crisis-like” events to fix problems in DC continuity, bring back characters from the dead, and wipe clean the mistakes that past writers made with the DCU. Scott Snyder’s run on Batman lead to Metal which lead to his run on Justice League which lead to Death Metal which lead to Infinite Frontier which is basically leads to the universe giving a giant shrug, fixing nothing, and moving on.
DC is basically saying that all the mistakes they made in the early 2000s that were wiped out by The New 52 are now part of current universe, plus all the mistakes they made in The New 52 that were wiped out by Rebirth are now part of the current universe, and all of the mistakes of Rebirth that were wiped out by Doomsday Clock are now part of the current universe. In essence, everything that made you roll your eyes, shudder, and stop buying your favorite comic book titles over the last 20 years are now part of the current DC Universe, even if they were previously undone.
Oh, and DC is going to start charging a dollar more per comic in the next few months.
At its heart, Infinite Frontier #0 is a sampler of what’s coming in many of the different DC Comic publications in the next few months. Framed by Wonder Woman and her contemplation of an offer from the mystical leaders of the universe known as “The Quintessence” to ascend and become one of their kind, Diana doesn’t want to leave this new universe until she knows everything is going to be fine. She was warned of a “great cost” that the universe must pay, and she can’t leave knowing that her friends and family might be in danger. The Spectre offers to lead her around the DCU to see the heroes as they are today, and here’s where the DCU Sampler begins.
Was this supposed to be a Free Comic Book Day offering before the pandemic and AT&T corporate ownership screwed everything up? It certainly feels like this is the case as we jump from title to title, even looping back from Batman to something else to Detective Comics causing The Spectre to quip: “…we are being pulled backward. Perhaps there is something we missed.” Well, that’s certainly one way to try to cover it up.
Eventually Diana decides that if this universe is going to survive and there’s a whole new infinite realm of possibilities, she’d hate to miss it all and turns down the offer to ascend so that she can return to Earth. (Of course, she watched as Nubia took her place since she’s been absent. If she going to return just to put Nubia back in her place? Will she find a new Amazonian named Caucasia to be the Eastern European Wonder Woman? Only time will tell.)
I think one of the worst things is that most of these stories are shown with no context. If you didn’t read Young Justice, you won’t understand Green Lantern. If you didn’t read Legion of Super-Heroes, you won’t understand Superman. DC claims that they wanted to give their writers more freedom to tell they stories they wanted in large universe with a flexible continuity, but then they forced characters like Apollo and Midnighter into the Superman books where no one wants them. They’ve forced Grifter into Batman where’s he’s despised by readers, and they’ve added all the worst parts of the modern JSA continuity back into the universe, so fans of the original characters and concepts who might’ve been excited to see those real characters return, are once again left out in the cold.
It’s difficult to say who to blame for all of these modern missteps. We know that AT&T wasn’t prepared for the publishing business it inherited when it bought TimeWarner, and AT&T has done just as good with DC as it has with DirecTV. But we also know that Jim Lee wasn’t prepared to make the tough decisions needed to keep DC running, and Geoff Johns and Dan DiDio didn’t do DC any long-lasting favors. If you ever needed anything to show why DC has gone from 400,000 copies of a top tier comic a month to 30,000 copies, this is your introduction. Unfortunately, it’s also the exit for many readers.