Review by Frank Plowright
Although the chapter count doesn’t exactly match, in terms of plot structure Final Frontier picks up at Odyssey’s halfway point. The short story is that Azrael, Cyborg and Starfire have been corrupted, and Death of the Dark ended with Jessica Cruz’s Green Lantern ring completely out of power, leaving her defenceless against Darkseid.
Dan Abnett’s clever opening chapter introduces new characters with agendas of their own, united by a desire to stop Darkseid, but not beyond manipulation themselves. Rather surprisingly it’s Jessica who steps into the lead role with Abnett disguising one of her comrades, who nonetheless seems very proficient, pulling Red Lantern Dex Starr from obscurity and introducing Hax, a Zamoran technician. Death of the Dark began with Abnett working with what he’d been bequeathed, but with the re-focus and mysteries here, he’s initiating his own captivating plots, and switching the narrative between the cast chapter by chapter. The danger is very real, but Abnett’s always supplied good space opera, and that’s what he does here. There’s a great thrashing out of opposing views between Jessica and a revealed known face, and while Jessica seemed to have missed out when everyone else was powered-up during Death of the Dark, that’s not the case, and a confidence boost accompanies her new state.
Once again, several artists work on the book, but none of them have especially distinctive styles, so they mesh well, with no jarring clash of styles between chapters. Again, Will Conrad draws more than most, and he’s a comforting presence, offering intuitive storytelling with a widescreen perspective. He’ll never be the first artist on call, but he’s always solid.
It’s a brave move to pretty well ignore Azrael and Starfire while reducing Cyborg to bit player considering they were front and centre for the previous two books, but it works. Because most of the replacement cast don’t have their profile the assurance that the headliners will survive is swept away, and a greater suspense prevails. For much of the book Blackfire seems surplus to requirement, there to piss and moan with regal attitude, but don’t worry, that’s just setting up her role in Last Stand. Comparisons can also be made between parts of Darkseid’s procedures and those of Marvel’s Apocalypse, but they’re the only two quibbles concerning a rise from the ashes that introduces a number of interesting new characters with powers off the scale, and sets the stage for a thrilling finale.