Squadron Supreme #3


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Squadron Supreme #3


  • Words: J. Michael Straczynski
  • Art: Gary Frank
  • Inks: Jonathan Sibal
  • Colors: Chris Sotomayor
  • Story Title: International Incidents
  • Publisher: Marvel Comics
  • Price: $2.99
  • Release Date: May 24, 2006

The members of Squadron Supreme meet their African counterparts and walk away from their first mission unsure of its success…

Though I was disappointed at Marvel’s decision to rename this book and remove it from the Max line, and wary after reading issues #1 and #2, issue #3 has me breathing a sigh of relief. The newly formed super group, Squadron Supreme, has invaded the African country, Uganda, to take down the tyrant, M’Butu, who has the power to make anybody do anything. These facts naturally lead to an inter-team brawl pitting friend against friend and revealing some of Emil’s dark talents. After the dust settles and everyone is back on the same page, intrigue reminiscent of Supreme Power unfolds as a group of super-powered Africans explain to the team the United States’ guilt in their land’s current turmoil.

In the first two issues Straczynski’s writing seemed uncharacteristically drab. It was as though I was reading any other superhero team book; the edge had been taken off. But issue #3 has changed all that. From the horrific revelation of the source of Edith’s anger to Emil’s profound knowledge on the other members of Squadron Supreme and the callous way he uses this knowledge, the reader can see Straczynski still considers this team of "heroes," just that, heroes with quotation marks. Though it took him a couple issues to ride with this, now that it has to have a PG-13 rating, he has pulled it off with #3. The romance is startlingly sincere, the anger the Africans feel is deep and rooted in real world issues, and the way the arc ends, with more questions left unanswered and no one truly sure what will come next, the feel, though sans nudity and F-bombs, is decidedly mature.

Gary Frank’s pencils are the same. His art is a good match to Straczynski’s words. It feels painstakingly laid out, each line having a purpose, each shade having meaning. His characters have a real life look about them, emphasized by thin lines and full, lush backgrounds. In addition to the overall realistic feel of the art, Frank captures emotions clearly, and the bodies with finesse, making sure to create heroes that may be super powerful but are not filled with an overabundance of mass and muscle. It is like Straczynski and Frank are sending their readers a message—this is happening in reality, this is how superheroes would really act and look.

The jury is not yet in on the newest rendition of Squadron Supreme, but if Straczynski, Frank, and team keep up the pace they have begun with issue #3, it won’t take long for a positive verdict to arrive.

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