Squadron Supreme #7


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Squadron Supreme #7


  • Words: J. Michael Straczynski
  • Art: Gary Frank
  • Inks: Jon Sibal
  • Colors: Chris Sotomayor
  • Story Title: Turnabout
  • Publisher: Marvel Comics
  • Price: $2.99
  • Release Date: Nov 15, 2006

Hyperion and the serial killer super, Redstone, face off once again in a no-holds-barred death match.

Squadron Supreme’s predecessor, Supreme Power, having been published by Marvel under the MAX imprint allowed its slow burning superhero-coming-of-age/government conspiracy tale to shine in wonderfully graphic detail. As many (including myself) feared, despite keeping the same creators, the Squadron Supreme "relaunch" under the regular Marvel Universe banner tamed the title too much to carry the same scope and feel. After just six issues, Squadron Supreme read like little more than a slightly edgier version of JLA. The team was practically an unstoppable bully squad working for the United States government. Finally, the reintroduction of Redstone at the conclusion of the last issue offered a little promise for what was once one of the best books Marvel published. And I’m happy to report that this issue delivers.

To me, Straczynski comes across as one of the most cerebral writers in mainstream comics. What impresses me most about his characters is that no matter how smart and sophisticated they sound, they never seem to be speaking down to the reader. Our intelligence may be tested but never insulted. As a reader, I have to appreciate that kind of writing. As far as this issue goes, there is plenty of banter, but the focus here is clearly the street brawl. And just as in Supreme Power, we finally get to see a balls-to-the-wall clash that doesn’t dance around the violence. These are two of the strongest beings on the face of the planet, and they hate each other to the core. Redstone fights dirty and he doesn’t care who gets hurt, maimed or killed as long as he wins in the end…in fact, the more damage done--physical and psychological--the better.

Just as the book begins to get back to the direction I like to see, Gary Frank and Jon Sibal are leaving. Over the past several years, I’ve come to admire Frank’s highly detailed and dynamic pencils as much or more than any artist in comics. This issue is a final showcase of what has made this book such a visual treat. As good as Mike Deodato Jr. (and Jose Pimentel) may be, this book just won’t be the same…even though it will probably be on time every month. Chris Sotomayor will remain on the book, so there is at least that silver lining.

For my money, this is the best Squadron Supreme has been. The action carries it very well from cover to cover. I will miss the art of Gary Frank, but Straczynski gives a couple compelling cliffhangers here that beg for issue #8 to be out yesterday. So as long as the story stays this strong I will be able to forgive the artistic transgression.

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