Infinite Frontier Secret Files #6 review

Talk about saving the best ‘til last. Previous issues of this digital mini-series spotlighting characters featured in the new Infinite Frontier book have been OK, decent time passers whose point is to remind us that Chase, Obsisdian and co still exist. This one, though, is a keeper.

The star of the show is Psycho Pirate, whose Medusa Mask can manipulate emotions. If you’ve not seen him for a while, that’s because he’s not easy to find.

The unnamed visitor has heard a story about the ‘lonely man’.

But will it have a happy ending?

There’s more to the story, but I won’t give it all away. Suffice to say it sets Psycho Pirate up for his role in Infinite Frontier. In just 12 pages – actually, fewer, as there’s a framing sequence with Mr Bones – writer Dan Watters crafts a creepy tale that dares you not to read the companion book. Psycho Pirate has long been a blank slate, it’s the core of his character, but Watters recasts him as a Candyman figure, waiting to destroy the people who think they can play in his ballpark.

Watters, who plotted the story with Infinite Frontier author Joshua Williamson, uses the metafictive state Psycho Pirate has lived in since Crisis on Infinite Earths brilliantly, before showing that the villain can still be caught off guard.

Artist Christoper Mitten does a nifty job of conjuring up a spooky, claustrophobic atmosphere before the script allows him to go in a rather different direction. I especially like his Mr Bones, who doesn’t often get to look like an actual skeleton. Equal kudos to colourist Dave Stewart for weathering the art with his well-chosen tones. And letterer Tom Napolitano’s classic typewriter font really adds to the mood of this twisted tale.

What doesn’t work is the cover; I’ve said it previously, DC Digital should really shell out for an original illustration rather than cropping a piece of interior artwork.

Still, if you’re a fan of DC superheroes and have access to digital editions, this is definitely a comic to catch. Or you can shell out $9.99 for this week’s print collection of all six chapters. Perhaps, in a darkened room at the back of the comics shop, you’ll find a lonely man…

11 thoughts on “Infinite Frontier Secret Files #6 review

  1. God I hate digital firsts. The print #1 came out this week. I had to take a quick glance at the digital to see that the final page of installment #6 is the same as the final page of my #1. That means I have what I need to follow your review.

    Usually a single print release aggregates 2 or 3 digital installments, which is bad enough. But the whole thing is thrown especially off in this case, because the digitals are $1.99 rather than the usual $0.99, and the print one-shot is $9.99, so it’s a kind of aggregation I’ve never seen before. It looks like the whole set of 6 installments was rolled into a one-shot.

    The reviews at comicbookroundup are a mess. When digitals are released, the digital version is listed in the reviews for that week, and if/when the print release appears, it gets no mention. If anyone does do a review of the print version, it gets merged into the set of any reviews of prior digital releases that used the same exact “issue” *number*, regardless of what installment(s) the print review actually discusses.

    There needs to be a way to better organize this suff.

    Maybe I’ll have time to read this soon and see if I have anything to say about your thoughts or the content :).

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Glad I read this. The Psycho Pirate is FINALLY getting his due as an intriguing and important character when he’s deemed to be & written as so. I also thoroughly enjoyed the existential questions and follow up answers since, well, they do tend to correlate w/ each other don’t they? I guess that’s always up for debate depending on your personal views & beliefs, but overall the answers, outside of the last one I felt, were true & straight to the point for the sake of the story. I say with exception to the last one, because especially in a comic book, and with the trappings & context of it being so meta, like the Psycho Pirate is a representation of meta, the answer SHOULD’VE been; “Whatever the story/narrative wants me to be.” That’s just my personal answer of course, and I STILL would’ve been wrong apparently.
    Nice ending btw.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh, that would be a great final answer! I don’t think I’d do at all well in a game like this, I’d get so sarcastic and sour that I’d be blasted to limbo in no time.

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  3. So, one of the stories in this Secret Files collection is “The Two Totalities.”

    And it reminded me – there is one assortment of heroes on each earth, headquartered on a moon base called The Totality, whose job is to monitor for multiverse breaches. Martian Manhunter is the leader, and then we have Lex Luthor, Vandal Savage, Hawkgirl, Mr. Terrific… In this story, the Totality from Earth-0 and the one from Earth-23 open a breach at the same time to test their breach detection tech, and the Earth-23 team ends up on Earth-0, whereupon a story ensues. President Superman of Earth-23 also seems to have fallen through the breach, and the Totalities for some reason hide from him, and have a plan, at the end, to send him back to Earth-23 when the Totality from there goes back, but make sure he lands in a different place. (Well, Brandon Thomas wrote it, one of the writers DC brought on board recently, and I usually don’t entirely follow the logic of his stories. He’s done some Outsiders stories for Future State and Urban Legends that also had some baffling plot points.)

    Maybe they’re just hiding from him because they know they screwed up and are embarrassed. Unclear.

    BUT MEANWHILE, there is the separate Justice Incarnate headed by President Superman, a team that meets in a House of Heroes (which is outside the multiverses, evidently in the Bleed), and THEIR job is to monitor multiversal threats, and the team consists of representatives of many different earths. So, Calvin Ellis from Earth-23, Barry Allen from Earth-0, Captain Carrot from Earth-26, Aquawoman from Earth-11, Mary Marvel from Earth-5, Machinehead from Earth-8. Maybe others – and I think this team has been around for a while, but was shown at the end of Death Metal, and is central to the story in Infinite Frontier #1, while the two Totalities were shown in this Secret Files series.

    There was an introduction to the Totality at the end of Death Metal #7, but Flash was on that team rather than the Justice Incarnate team… I guess there is no reason he can’t be on both. And there was one panel that SHOWED a glimpse of a few members of the Justice Incarnate team while the Totality team was apparently meeting for the first time. Barry and Wally, as well as Batman and Flash, were among the extra Totality members then. Earth-0 Superman was there too. They weren’t hiding this from Clark.

    So we have a team on each earth, and a team from representatives of all earths, with the same job. And the Totality teams want to hide from President Superman who is the leader of the Incarnate team.

    Meanwhile the DEO has THE SAME JOB, watching out for breaches, but speculate that their work will be at odds with the work being done by the Totality.

    Interestingly, on his mission to Earth-Omega in Infinite Frontier #1, Flash radios the Justice Incarnate team to convene an emergency meeting and to contact the Justice League. Well — hmm! Which Justice League would that be? If this were Barry on a mission from a Totality, I could see the Totality contacting their own Personal Justice League, but I don’t know which Justice League the Justice Incarnate would reach out to. Perhaps the assumption is it would be the Really Best Justice League of Earth-0.

    Am I supposed to be following this better than I do? Or is this all being written under the assumption that no one would actually try to follow it?

    Maybe this will all come together in 6 months or a year, or maybe it will kind of dissipate or morph into something else. By then, the deal to jettison Warner from AT&T and merge it with Discovery should be complete, leading to new rounds of layoffs at DC.

    Joshua Williamson had been planning to leave DC before he was asked to come up with something to follow Death Metal – amazingly, as he tells it, even last fall as Death Metal was winding down, DC had no plans for what would come next. Williamson came up with Infinite Frontier. He’s the brains behind all of this, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he leaves if this whole thing spins completely out of control.

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    1. BTW my point in recounting all these details in this rambling comment is really to say how confusing it is for me.

      If they are forming a Totality group on each earth to detect and repel multiverse incursions, why also involve Justice Incarnate to do the same thing at the same time in other stories running at the same time? Assuming there is a grand design behind all this, are there many readers able to follow it?

      Liked by 1 person

    2. I love that you think about things so much, and make me think about stuff again. I see what you mean about the Totality(ies) and JLIncarnate now you point it out, it hadn’t struck me at all. I just assumed they were all part of one big team with branches across the Multiverse, and that the pre-existing JLIncarnate had been folded in. I reckon you should go and find Josh Williamson on Twitter this instant!

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