Super Types

November 14, 2010

Stay Tooned Sundays: Justice League The New Frontier

It’s that time again, for a new offering from your favorite bi-weekly column. I hope you all are doing well this fine Sunday morning (or whenever you happen to be reading this). Since I last left you, on Halloween, The Walking Dead finally premiered on AMC! If you haven’t watched this show yet, I highly recommend that you do. To prepare yourself for episode three (on tonight), you should check out our coverage of episode one by clicking here and episode two by clicking here. Now, on with the show!

This week we travel back in time two years to one of the greatest re-imaged origin stories ever! In Justice League: The New Frontier we witness a new spin on the birth of both the silver age of DC comics and the Justice League. Based on the graphic novel of the same name by the super talented Darwyn Cooke, New Frontier ties events from the 1950s to the birth of many classic superheroes. With beautiful animation and an amazing story, Justice League: The New Frontier is the best DC Universe animated movie yet.  

Title: Justice League: The New Frontier
Written by: Stan Berkowitz, Darwyn Cooke (graphic novel)
Director: Dave Bullock
Company: Warner Bros. Animation
Distributed by: Warner Home Video
US Release Date: February 26, 2008
Length: 75 min.
MPAA: Rated PG-13

The story begins at the end of the Korean War. Fighter pilots Hal Jordan and Ace Morgan get caught in a fire fight with some enemy aircraft, who do not realize that the war is over. As a pacifist, Hal refuses to fire on any enemy vessels, but still manages to take down two enemy crafts with some fancy maneuvers. Hal’s jet is eventually hit, and he parachutes down into a ditch where he is attacked by an enemy soldier and forced to kill him in order to survive. Meanwhile the antagonist of this story is introduced through a children’s book written by a man posed by said villain, the Centre. This giant island-like entity existed deep within the Earth long before the rise of man. As time went on, the Centre witnessed the evolution of life on earth and mankind’s development. When humans gain nuclear capabilities, the Centre decides that mankind is too dangerous and sets out to destroy them. As the story progresses, the Centre makes its presence known by telepathically taking control of various individuals.

In America, thanks to McCarthyism, the government has cracked down on superheroes, forcing many into retirement. All the remaining heroes with the exception of Superman and Wonder Woman, who become lapdogs of the government, are considered fugitives from justice, including Batman and the Flash. After being lured into a trap by the government and almost captured, the Flash goes on TV and announces that he is reluctantly retiring as well. Aside from hunting heroes, the government is also searching for a Martian invader that has been alluding them for the past two years. That Martian is of course J’onn J’onzz, who was brought here by accident and took the form of a police detective in Gotham after having studied human culture via the TV. The government finally decides to send a spacecraft to Mars in hopes of discovering what the Martians are up to and if necessary, destroy them. Hal Jordan is eventually selected to pilot the mission by the government and its partners at Ferris aircraft.

As events continue to unfold, Batman and J’onn J’onzz eventually team up to investigate a ring of cults that have arisen around the mysterious Centre. However, when J’onn learns of the government’s plan to go to Mars, he decides to leave Earth by hitching a ride on the spacecraft. J’onn goes to the launching of the craft, but is captured by the government before he can board the ship. The mission to Mars ends up failing anyway, and shortly after, Hal Jordan is contacted by the Green Lantern Abin Sur. Sur reveals to Jordan that he is dieing, and that Hal has been chosen as his replacement as the Green Lantern for this sector. Meanwhile, the Centre finally makes its move and attacks Themyscira. Wonder Woman barely escapes the battle with her life and comes to warn mankind that they are next. With this news, the government and the superheroes are forced to put aside their differences and work together to stop the Centre from destroying them all.

Justice League: The New Frontier is an amazing retelling of the beginnings of DC’s Silver Age. Cooke’s amazing artwork seems a perfect match for the style and feel of the 50s. The melding of the classic origin stories we know so well, with the social and political atmosphere of the time is brilliantly accomplished. With an amazing cast that includes David Boreanaz, Brooke Shields, Lucy Lawless, Kyra Sedgwick, Neil Patrick Harris, Jeremy Sisto, and Kyle MacLachlan, the movie seems more epic than any other DC animated movie. The writers do a wonderful  job of giving each character their own story line with a beginning, middle, and end, and still having all of those stories cohesively fit together to make up the larger more complex plot.

The great depth, originality, and fantastic animation make this movie a must see. If you are a fan of the Justice League or any members of the Justice League, you won’t be disappointed with this film. The two disc DVD set comes with three Justice League episodes from the hit animated series, two different audio commentaries, and two great documentaries on the Justice League and the Legion of Doom. I also highly recommend reading the graphic novel, which is even more brilliant than this movie.

Nick Zamora



  1. Billy

    I thought this movie was fantastic. Definitely a top notch creative team behind it.

  2. I wasn’t too thrilled with this movie though I did like the retro look of it the story was a little blah. There were a few cool moments but this one just wasn’t for me and I don’t agree with all of hype and praise it recieved. Now, it was suggested that I would probably like the book more and that just might be the case so I do still plan on checking it out.

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