Supreme Power #15


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Supreme Power #15


  • Words: J. Michael Straczynski
  • Art: Gary Frank
  • Inks: Jon Sibal
  • Colors: Chris Sotomayor
  • Story Title: Collateral Damage
  • Price: $2.99
  • Release Date: Feb 2, 2005

Supreme Power is the best production on the stands at the moment. This issue does nothing but reinforce that idea.

How can I say such a thing when this isn’t even my favorite thing on the stands? Well, those are some strong words, but let me explain the criteria. When one speaks in terms of overall production value, one must take into account the following: plot, characterization, dialogue, pace and art.

First, let’s talk about the plot. We’re reading about the origin and development of a superhero team. It’s not that I think this is some groundbreaking work or anything. Warren Ellis, Mark Millar and even JMS himself have hit on the ugly or unscrupulous side of being a superhero. Blending politics with said superhero story isn’t new either. What is fascinating about what goes on in the pages of Supreme Power is that this has been done before in Squadron Supreme (which, you may recall was a Marvel riff on JLA), Authority and Rising Stars in such a similar manner. The safe route is never taken in these pages, as can be seen with the government interrogation of a super-powered serial killer.

The thing that draws this title apart from the others mentioned above, though, is characterization and character interaction. Here, there is a lot of friction between what we know are the heroes, which, by the way, is abundant in this issue. None of these characters see eye-to-eye on every issue. Some are just downright unsympathetic. The way JMS has them interact with one another, though, makes you want to learn more about each of them by the end of the issue…

And that brings up the question of pacing. We’re now fifteen issues into the series and in the era of “pacing for the trade,” Supreme Power is something of an anomaly. By all accounts, when I look at where this story has gone and how long it has taken to get there, I should be bored to tears. I’m far from it, though, because JMS is masterfully shaving this onion layer by layer , divulging just enough along the way so that the reader doesn’t want the pace to ever pick up.

For all that the story brings to the table, it would be nowhere near the top production in my mind without the great Gary Frank on pencils. Frank has that rare ability to draw realistic, knock-down-drag-out action one panel and show the full spectrum of facial emotion the next panel over. (Let’s not even get into his gorgeous rendering of the female, um, assets.) His line work has always been very clean, but with Supreme Power he has proven himself to be one of the top talents in the industry. Frank’s presence can’t hurt, but I often wonder while looking through this book whether Jon Sibal benefits from his penciler or if it’s the other way around. Undoubtedly, they complement each other fantastically, and the addition of Sotomayor’s impeccable colors rounds out the best art team in comics .

If there’s one thing about Supreme Power I never feel, it’s ripped off. Straczynski puts enough dialogue in these pages to make it reads like a true short story. It’s hard for me to say that there is a better book out there right now than Supreme Power. It is as close to perfection as there is , and it still feels like it’s just getting started.

- Kert McAfee

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