Words by: Patrick Kindlon
Art by: Marco Ferrari
Letters by: Jim Campbell
Edited by: James Hepplewhite
Published by: Image Comics
The first of these two issues shows Frontiersman (FM) take up the challenge presented to him by Deonte: occupying a Pacific Redwood to prevent it being cut down. Moments later he finds himself fighting an old foe by the name of Galaxie, but only through a misunderstanding.
Issue #3 focuses on another villain visiting FM in his treetop accommodation, this time it’s Trefoil, a kind of Captain America analogue who didn’t take so well to being revived from his presumed death. Like anyone seeing an old friend for the first time in years, Trefoil immediately attacks FM repeatedly while we’re treated to a series of flashbacks and dialogue that explains the animosity between the two.
As always, I don’t want to give away too many spoilers, but both of these issues do a great job of revealing more about FM as a character. Each issue introduces a past villain, which is a really nice way of building the universe with FM as a central point while learning more about FM’s history. In issue #2, we see a duo of villains discussing why Frontiersman is doing what he’s doing: returning to public life in a way that paints a target on his back. It’s a valid question and, with two past baddies already making an appearance, as a reader you do start to question if this is intentional on FM’s part.
There are also ongoing themes that go beyond the usual superheroing. While FM clearly wants to protect the Redwoods and the environment, there’s a sense that he might not entirely be aware of what he’s part of and doesn’t entirely share the views of those he’s working with, all of which ties in with Trefoil and characters who are older in years being out of place with what’s going on around them. Issue #2 says a lot about the importance of family to the characters involved and fills in some of the blanks from the first issue and FM’s personal life in the process.
Marco Ferrari’s artwork has been a real highlight throughout these issues, in particular FM and Galaxie’s fight sequence which showcases the futility of attacking an enemy with no set physical form before giving way to a meeting between the two in a more psychedelic landscape. There’s also a great focus on facial expressions, which vary from subtle to cartoonish to fit the scene, all of which help to keep character emotions clearly represented. Ferrari’s interesting range of panel layouts and great varied colouring keep every page feeling fresh.
Patrick Kindlon’s writing throughout the series so far has been great. Each character feels well realised and while each villain we’ve seen feels recognisable as a classic archetype, there’s a uniqueness to their presentation that helps inform Frontiersman’s character too. The world building and character work is entirely complementary, with both feeling incredibly well considered.
Three issues in and I’m really enjoying Frontiersman. While each issue spends time with FM and tells us more about his character, there’s no shortage of suggestions towards a connective tissue and bigger narratives building that aren’t the book’s focus yet. I’m looking forward to seeing where the series is heading.