Squadron Supreme #1


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Squadron Supreme #1


  • Words: J. Michael Straczynski
  • Art: Gary Frank
  • Inks: Jonathan Sibal
  • Colors: Chris Sotomayor
  • Story Title: The Pre-War Years
  • Publisher: Marvel Comics
  • Price: $2.99
  • Release Date: Mar 22, 2006

Marvel’s version of the Justice League moves from the mature audience’s MAX line to being a Marvel book, and with it comes all of the conventions of superheroes.

The United States government has gained control of all of the world’s super-powered beings. They’ve asked and when that didn’t get results they took, but by hook or by crook, they have each of the heroes ready to do whatever they say. And right now they’re telling them that they have to form a team (actually two teams: one public and one covert) and act in the best interest of their country. Each of the heroes has their own reservations (as well as their own idiosyncrasies), but it looks like only one has taken this unwanted control personal.

Since they moved this book from the MAX line, it is assumed that this is a book that Marvel wants to reach a bigger audience. And as Supreme Power, it was certainly a shame that the book didn’t reach a larger audience. But if this first issue of the new series is any indication, all that was special about the book has been taken away. And oddly enough, if done correctly, it wouldn’t matter that they weren’t allowed to show nudity or curse anymore.

What made Supreme Power such a great book was the way it used intertwining storylines with all of the universe’s characters. It was neither a solo book, nor a team book, but instead held most of the qualities of some of television’s most riveting dramas. Each character was given their own time to shine and grow; they held their own problems and only showed up amongst each other when dramatically necessary. The cast was kept small and you could feel the tension on every page. This book looks like it will end all of that, because you realize early on that this will be a superhero team book. Most of the issue is spent as the group of government officials talk to each other about the players who will be part of the teams. And while this is certainly good for new readers to be able to learn about each team member, the characterizations are skimpy. Worst of all, each of the introductions sound the same "So and so has this, but then there is a problem…" It’s the worst kind of clichéd introduction. J.M.S. had never let me down with these guys before so he gets a reprieve here in the hopes that this issue was something of an aberration.

Luckily for the book, Gary Frank more than holds his own and maintains the great look that the book previously had as Supreme Power. The book oozes with anger and mystery. There is depth to both the character design and setting in the book, as there is always something bubbling beneath the surface. The storytelling, mostly small character scenes, is wonderfully rendered and easy to follow. Viewing Frank’s excellent line work, accentuated perfectly by Jonathan Sibal’s inks and Chris Sotomayor’s colors, pulls you completely into the book, and you can’t help but get emotionally involved.

Maybe I was expecting too much coming over from the last series and that hurt my enjoyment of the series, but something about this issue felt wrong. Hopefully it was just a one time thing and the book will get back on track next issue.

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