March 2's Infinite Frontier #0 is DC's big kick-off to the exploration of the Omniverse. The 64-page special features Wonder Woman in a framing story in which the unlimited potential of the new DC Universe is revealed to her (the first five pages of which you can preview here), along with short chapters starring DC heroes that plant story seeds for their regular titles (by the title's new creative teams) and presumably big DCU crossover storylines to come.
But perhaps its most personal and intimate story is of a character exploring a frontier that isn't about alternate timelines, multiple Earths, or cosmic threats.
Spoilers for Infinite Frontier #0
In 'Green Lantern: Alan Scott' by writer James Tynion IV and artist Stephen Byrne, Alan, one of DC's oldest superheroes, comes out to his adult children Jade and Obsidian.
Despite the universe-threatening supervillains he's faced for decades, Tynion's story reveals a man who has to gather the courage to say it aloud.
"Back in an earlier time, I kept a part of myself hidden from my friends and peers," Alan begins. "I even let myself get married a few times to women I did love with all my mind, but I did that knowing there was something about myself I was hiding away."
Obsidian, who clearly already knows what Alan is trying to articulate, encourages him to just say the words.
"I'm gay," Alan reveals.
While Alan's truth comes as a surprise to an unequivocally supportive Jade, his story has slowly been revealed to DC readers over the last decade.
You can check out the first three pages of the story right here:
Alan, created by Martin Nodell in 1940's All-American Comics #16, is a long-time member of the World War II-era Justice Society of America. Being so tied to that historical era means he and his teammates' place in DC's constantly-rewritten timeline has been especially elastic.
Sometimes the JSA is a part of the official history of DC's main Earth-Prime, and sometimes they're not (when the JSA original crossed into then-modern DC stories in the '60s, they existed on the original version of Earth-Two). It was during one of those 'not' times that this storyline began.
2011's 'The New 52' retconned the JSA's existence out of mainstream DC history. A new version of Alan Scott resurfaced as a star of the 2012 series Earth 2, initially written by James Robinson. On this multiversal modern Earth, iconic members of the JSA were reimagined as contemporary adults in their 20s and 30s rather than age-defying members of the greatest generation, and this version of Alan was openly gay.
The 'New 52' and that version of Earth 2 was essentially done away with in 2016's 'Rebirth' and the JSA and its members were again put in limbo, but eventually fully returned thanks to the events of 2017-19's Doomsday Clock by Geoff Johns and Gary Frank. Doomsday Clock revealed Alan's origin was a key to the formation of 'The New 52.' The Watchmen universe's Doctor Manhattan prevented Alan from finding the Green Lantern that made him a superhero, which set off a chain of events that completely rewrote the DCU.
Doctor Manhattan's machinations were undone at the end of the series and Alan and his teammates' place in DC history was again restored.
Alan next surfaced in 2020's Green Lantern 80th Anniversary 100-Page Super Spectacular, in another personal and intimate story by Tynion that continued his storyline.
While not explicitly revealing this original '40s version of Alan is gay, Tynion introduced key parallel story elements to the Earth 2 version and has him allude to a personal struggle at the time of his origin meant to help readers put the pieces together.
And while in Tynion's new story, Alan reveals to his kids he did tell some friends and teammates when he was a younger man, Infinite Frontier #0 is his moment to share who he is with the world, and for DC to share it with their readers.
Tynion tells Newsarama there are a few answers to the question of why he decided to approach the classic Alan Scott from this direction, and why was it important for him to include this story in Infinite Frontier #0.
"First off, there was a promise made a number of years ago when the Earth 2 books were coming out as a part of the 'New 52'," Tynion says. "That's when the Earth 2 version of Alan Scott came out and the DC publisher made the promise that Alan Scott, from here on out, would be a queer character across the DC Multiverse and the premiere gay male hero of the larger DC mythology.
"As we started bringing back the classic version of the Justice Society and we started down the road that we knew was going to end with a reunified history of the DC universe, a history that has the Justice Society back in the '40s, that has Infinity Inc. popping up as the next generation of the Justice Society, and all of the relationships that came out of that, it was really important to me that this promise be kept."
"I was thrilled to bring this moment to life with the incredible Stephen Byrne, who I've wanted to work with for years," Tynion continues. "He brought the pathos needed to do it right, and help introduce a whole new generation to Alan Scott, Jade, and Obsidian."
Tynion explains to us that when he was approached to write a story for the Green Lantern 80th Anniversary special last year ("which had amazing art by Gary Frank," he says), he was eager to take part and wanted to use the story to "cement who the new present-day version of Alan Scott is going to be."
"Once we started setting up Infinite Frontier and I started hearing Alan Scott would be a character who would continue to play into the central through-line of what's building out of Infinite Frontier, as a queer, male creator I wanted to make sure that some of the pieces landed in a way that opened up the most story potential, and would also embrace all of the complexities of what being a queer man who couldn't come out for most of his life would be, even in the crazy world of superheroes," he explains.
"One thing that I was really, really adamant about was this: I heard some casual conversations about how to make it work. Do we erase Jade and Obsidian from continuity, or do we want to tweak them so they're not Alan Scott's children?
"My answer: no. Alan Scott is a queer man who was an adult in the '40s who then had an extended life because of everything that he's been involved with, and there are so many adult queer men with adult children. It's a very human experience."
The writer says he thinks this experience plays into the estrangement that has "always been core" to the relationship between Alan Scott, Jade, and Obsidian.
"And I think it adds a new rich depth to their relationship," Tynion says. "And, it opens up a whole new world of stories that I'm really, really excited about. It was me wanting to help land the plane here… to set the groundwork for a whole bunch of new stories, heading into the future."
Speaking of that future story, Tynion's tale isn't all just about personal evolution. There is some superhero worldbuilding going on too. Alan reveals he was motivated to "being the whole of myself" to his friends and family before he began the new chapter of his superhero career, as a 'Sentinel' (a nod to his one-time superhero name when his Green Lantern ring became a part of him) for the Totality.
The Totality is the new team of DC villains and heroes including Hawkgirl, Mr. Terrific, Martian Manhunter, Talia ah Ghul, Vandal Savage, and Lex Luthor, whose task is to serve as a shield protecting Earth-Prime from future threats from the new Omniverse. Alan will seemingly serve as their head of security, suggesting there will be more stories about the Totality (perhaps by Tynion?) on the way.
But you'll have to wait until the release of Infinite Frontier #0 March 2 to read any more about that.
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