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‘Frontiersman: Volume 1’ TPB (review)

Written by Patrick Kindlon
Art by Marco Ferrari
Published by Image Comics


Image’s Frontiersman collects the first five issues of a comic book written by Patrick Kindlon and drawn by Marco Ferrari and, unfortunately, that’s its biggest problem.

But we’ll get to that.

There’s a lot of interesting stuff to unpack in Frontiersman, all hidden under the basic plotline of an aging, retired superhero being coaxed into fronting a protest for an environmentalist group.

That alone could have been a good story but this is, in fact, a story about relationships—with family, with friends, former lovers, old enemies, America, the environment, the universe.

There’s quite a lot of philosophical discussion here, much of it in-your-face but couched inside Spidey-style banter.

I believe it was Gil Kane who used to say he hated origin stories. No worries here as this book presumes the pre-existence of a whole world of famous superheroes and villains and introduces them to the reader only as needed, aided and abetted by the occasional Marvel Universe type background page. A clever conceit!

With a few scattered dirty words and a surprisingly public sex scene, it’s not an all-ages book, which is almost too bad because it presents a number of interesting perspectives on the standard comic book hero tropes. Makes the reader think.

With good art throughout, the writing gives us a likable hero, and even a few unusual but likable villains and ex-villains, several of whom come to “visit” with Frontiersman as he attempts to quietly fulfill his on-camera protest obligation.

There’s not a lot to complain about here.

Well…except for the fact that the story has no ending or even a good stopping point. After well over 100 pages in which we invest ourselves in the character, we’re left with what appears to be a cliffhanger. All well and good for a regular comic book, par for the course, in fact, but books have endings. It’s became a pet peeve for me. If you have a limited series, wait until it’s complete before you put out a collection. If it’s an ongoing series, at least get to the end of a specific story arc.

I admit to going back and forth on whether to recommend Frontiersman but, in the end, I think the good from the story’s creators outweighs the lopsided thinking of the book’s packagers.

Booksteve recommends.


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