Writer Joshua Williamson has made no secret of the fact Infinite Frontier, his six-issue DC limited series was all about setting up future storylines and DC's next big event, which by all appearances seems to be a new Darkseid-driven Crisis in what we're going to guess will be in 2022.
And in July 13's Infinite Frontier #2, DC has made the series' 'more questions than answers' premise all official-like. Unlike June's Infinite Frontier #1, issue #2 includes an actual entire list of questions the series is raising, which if we know DC at all (and we do) will almost certainly be a feature that carries over into future issues.
But we'll get to that in due time.
Infinite Frontier #2 contains a few follow-ups to storylines that began in the first issue and introduces a few new ones, including the return of a classic DC storyline that happens to be celebrating its 25th anniversary this year - Kingdom Come.
That's right, it's back … or to be more precise, Flashpoint Batman, President Superman, and members of Justice Incarnate visit Earth-22, the Earth that the landmark Elseworlds event series by Mark Waid and Alex Ross resides on in the DC Multiverse within the larger Omniverse.
Thomas Wayne and Calvin Ellis are both trying to figure out where Barry Allen is and why Flashpoint Batman wound up on Ellis' Earth-23 in issue #1.
Thomas reveals the new villain/bounty hunter X-Tract that we also first met in issue #1 that tried to abduct Roy Harper (apparently for the crime of returning from the dead) tried to abduct him as well.
As we pointed out last month, X-Tract seems to cut very much from the same cloth of the Time Variance Authority in Disney Plus's Loki, abducting people who appear to be anomalies in their timelines/Earths.
But we digress.
Thomas and Calvin's search takes them to Earth-22, where they encounter Magog seemingly near the wreckage of a DEO Carrier spacecraft that we learn more about in Infinite Frontier #3.
Magog immediately gets aggressive, telling Thomas and Calvin that outsiders aren't welcome on Earth-22. President Superman mentions he thought Magog reformed (as per the conclusion of Kingdom Come) but that perhaps the Multiverse getting reset in the finale of Dark Nights: Death Metal could have reverted Magog and others back to previous incarnations.
But that's the last we see of Earth-22 in issue #2.
But if Magog and the world of Kingdom Come are brand new to you, check out Newsarama's comprehensive look back at the beloved mega-hit.
In another storyline, Alan Scott (Sentinel) and his son Obsidian continue their search for the missing Jade, which brings them into contact with Justice Society of America associates Mr. Terrific (friend) and Vandal Savage (foe), who are now team members of the Totality, who Alan now serves as a sort of head of security for.
They don't get any closer to finding her, but readers learn after the Dark Nights: Death Metal Omniverse reset, that "reality has gone through tremendous trauma" and that former members of the JSA extended family are missing or unaccounted for.
Alan and Obsidian vow to "kick &@#" by seeking out past JSA villains looking for answers.
One or two Roys?
Then we check back in with Roy Harper, following last issue's revelation he's now a Black Lantern.
Last month we incorrectly interpreted the scene with Roy and X-Tract to mean the Roy that's been back from the dead since Death Metal #7 and a Black Lantern Roy co-existed, but Infinite Frontier #2 seems to indicate we read that scene wrong.
In his story section, only one Roy Harper dressed as a Black Lantern is present. It appears his Black Lantern persona emerged off-screen with X-Tract about to abduct him.
In a totally solo sequence, he wonders aloud if possessing the ring means he's dead, and he goes about trying to use its Green Lantern-like power and having a real good time doing it. It isn't until he tries to get information from the ring about why it chose him that the ring goes haywire.
His attempt at interacting with it conjures chaos, and he sees a vision of Darkseid, Barry Allen, Flashpoint Batman, Psycho-Pirate, and an adult version of his daughter Lian, who he still thinks of as a child and dead, but who he unknowingly already met in an Infinite Frontier: Secret Files story.
After asking the ring for more information about Lian, black energy emerges from the ground and turns Roy into a more familiar zombie-looking Black Lantern and he shoots off into the sky answering the command "Come to me, my Black Lantern," from someone unseen.
The similarity to Professor X's "Come to me, my X-Men" aside, all signs (including the written phrase "Darkseid is" indicate the leveled-up Darkseid is the one pulling Roy's strings.
The fact that there is only one Roy and not two is interesting considering the issue's final segment.
Captain Atom's back ... or is he?
Cameron Chase is sent to the Metropolis Air Force base at the instruction of Bones to try to recruit Captain Atom to the reformed DEO.
Now if at this moment, you're saying 'waitaminute, isn't he dead?' you're on point. Captain Atom 'died' in Death Metal. He was an early, tragic casualty, in fact. He blew up defending the US West Coast from the first wave of Perpetua's attack, taking out most of the western seaboard with him.
Of course, all that was undone in the Death Metal reset, including the resurrection of Captain Atom…
...or was it?
Despite Hawkgirl's meta-explanation in Death Metal #7 that heroes who died during the storyline or even before in prior unrelated events (like Roy Harper) have returned from the dead, Chase tricks Captain Atom into revealing he's not the resurrected Earth-0/Prime Captain Atom at all, but a Captain Atom from another Earth.
The exchange between him and Chase leaves a whole host of breadcrumbs about what's coming next to the DCU.
Captain Atom reveals he's from an Earth (but Williamson seems to purposely avoid saying which) where he was not free, that Chase or anyone else doesn't really understand what's going on with the Multiverse, and that he "knows too much" and can't allow Chase and the DEO to take him in.
"He'll find out. He'll come for me. I'm sorry, Cameron," he says while he begins to open his metal skin/containment suit like a shirt with his final words being "Darkseid is" (sound familiar?) before he explodes, setting off what's seemingly a full nuclear blast.
Just like in Death Metal.
Just like in Kingdom Come.
Captain Atom now has a thing.
Now DC likely didn't nuke Metropolis or bring back Cameron Chase just to blow 'er real good a few issues into her return, so there is likely more to this scene than meets the eye, but it is a significant wrinkle that the explanation that dead heroes are returning as the result of Death Metal may not be so straightforward as all that.
Captain Atom's return from the dead was depicted as a high-profile media event in the issue, so the real Earth-0 Captain Atom didn't seem to notice or care that an imposter was taking his place … or probably more simply, he probably never actually returned.
But that said, this Captain Atom knew he was an imposter, whereas by all indications Roy Harper believes he's Roy.
Eight more questions
Finally, as we've been saying, Infinite Frontier has been more new questions than answers, and the issue's last few pages up the ante, with an actual text list of 'Multiversal Mysteries' the DEO is seeking answers for like the first - "What team is Oracle forming and why?"
We don't know the why but we're pretty sure the answer to what is a Batgirls team, which DC has been hinting at for some time and is more or less confirmed in the "Multiversal Monitors' image that accompanies it.
Of the eight questions asked (interesting considering we argued issue #1 raised new questions), perhaps the two most interesting is #6, "What hero is wearing a Black Lantern ring?"
Given we already know Roy has one, and #8 is "How is Roy Harper alive?" that seems to imply the answer to #6 isn't Roy, which seems to mean another hero has a Black Lantern ring. The accompanying image seems to corroborate this interpretation.
Finally, the 'Multiversal Monitors' image also shows who appears to be Wally (although that's up to interpretation as well) putting on Psycho-Pirate's mask, which sets off all sorts of alarms.
It's a little strange since as of issue #1 it's Barry and not Wally that has encountered Psycho-Pirate on the Omega Earth. You can maybe chalk it up to a coloring mistake, but if it's Wally that seems to indicate he's going to be out through the wringer… again.
Infinite Frontier #3 arrives on July 27, although again, expect more new questions than answers.
Fondly remember Kingdom Come or are you a newbie with some interest? Check out Newsarama's review of the entire classic series, which we call "a DC fan's playground brought to realistic life."