Overall, Infinite Frontier: Secret Files # 1 is a successful entry into DC Comics’ ongoing commitment to anthology stories with its iconic heroes.

following Infinite border No.1 in comic book booths last week, DC Comics released a digital collection of previously released stories in preparation for the miniseries. Traced by Infinite border writer Joshua Williamson, along with a host of contributing writers and artists, these stories highlight the bizarre cast of the Infinite border. While these stories are quick introductions to the various characters in the miniseries, they provide a solid showcase for its artistic team. A pleasant visit to the different corners of the new DC Multiverse to be highlighted in the coming months, Infinite Frontier: Secret Files # 1 will delight longtime fans and give new readers an easy entry point to some of the more obscure corners of the DCU.

United by a framing story from WD director Bones examining character files across the multiverse, Infinite Frontier: Secret Files introduces readers to Superman of Earth 23, Obsidian and Jade, The Totality’s newest team of heroes / villains, Roy Harper, Director Bones and Psycho Pirate. While each story has a unique purpose of setting up a specific status quo or simply exploring a character’s day-to-day life, each is framed with commentary on the different characters’ most salient challenges leading to Infinite border. Its final pages also tease the darkness that awaits at the edge of the multiverse.

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As an anthology, some stories are stronger than others, but none are particularly weak. The anthology / digital first format gives lesser-known artists a chance to shine. The different stories each have a different tone, from a playful introduction to the busy life of President Superman, to a dark drama between Jade and Obsidian and the latest spooky story of Psycho Pirate. As such, the issue has something for everyone and gives readers a good look to hold onto different threads of the DC Universe over the next several months.

The first story was written by Brandon Thomas with artist Valentine De Landro and is a highlight of the issue. It follows Calvin Ellis, Superman president of Earth 23 and leader of the Multiverse Justice Incarnate super team. Introducing a Day in the Life of President Superman, he describes the challenges of being both the world’s first superhero and the leader of the free world. The writing brings to the fore questions of the world’s over-reliance on Superman and whether that robs humanity of its potential. These big questions of responsibility give Calvin Ellis a real personal struggle. He feels the responsibility to use his abilities in service to the world, but also a higher call to serve the Multiverse. Trying to be everything to everyone, he fears he’ll make them fail if he disappears. It’s a compelling hook that makes Ellis a likable character and sets him apart from the classic version of Superman.

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The issue’s final story, which focuses on Psycho Pirate, is the meatiest in terms of its direct connection to the Infinite border miniseries and the mysteries at its heart. Written by Dan Watters and drawn by Christopher Mitten, it’s a moody, suspenseful, and visually inventive story that highlights the scariest villain in the DC Universe. Psycho Pirate is portrayed as a Hannibal Lecter type, being dark and dangerous but also bright and charismatic. As the problem unfolds, Watters and Mitten play with the structure of the book itself, positioning Psycho Pirate as almost omniscient and rising up against the physical constraints of his existence that only he can see – made literal by the panels and pages of the comic book itself.

Infinite Frontier: Secret Files # 1 features a fun re-introduction of fan-favorite characters who have been missing in recent years. These instant stories also serve as a reminder of just how inventive DC stories can be, especially when following its lesser-known characters. Infinite Frontier: Secret Files is another successful entry in DC’s push towards anthology stories and can serve as a model to shine a light on the publisher’s darker corners.

KEEP READING: Psycho-Pirate: How DC’s Minor Villain Became a Critical Crisis Player

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