The Revolution has been anxiously awaiting the premiere of Squadron Supreme #1. Michael J. Straczynski is one of the Revolution’s favorite writers. We will check out any title that he writes. I think that Squadron Supreme is a cool concept that tons of potential. Will Squadron Supreme #1 live up to my high expectations? Let’s find out.
Writer: Michael J. Straczynski
Penciler: Gary Frank
Inker: Chris Sotomayor
Rating: 3 Night Girls out of 5.
Synopsis: The issue is basically spent all around the military’s meeting to decide which members of Squadron Supreme will be on the public team for general public relations and which will be on the covert team that will be kept secret and conduct black ops. General Alexander is in charge of Squadron Supreme and he meets with his advisors and goes through each member of the team, gives a short overview of that character, and then decides if they should be on the public or covert team. That is pretty much the issue.
Hyperion is the first member discussed. They place him on the public team since he has had the most visibility out of all the members. Next up is Stanley Stewart and what is that we see? Oh no! Stanley, you just got your ass racially retconned! Yup, good old Stanley aka the Whizzer, is no longer a white dude. He’s black. Gotta increase minority members, I guess. And, he is no longer married with a child. He is a young man now. He is a conscientious objector so he is appealing his being drafted to be on Squadron Supreme. General Alexander put Stanley on the public team. (Man, I hope along with turning black, that Stanley gets a better code name than the Whizzer.)
Next up is Col. Joe Legder aka Dr. Spectrum. Since nobody knows him and he has never been photographed he gets put on the covert team. Joe’s alien girlfriend, Kingsley, who is a blue underwater alien, is put on the public team. The reasoning is that the public team is just for show and the General believes that Kingsley’s only powers are breathing underwater and being strong making her redundant since they already have plenty of strong members.
Arcana Jones, Emil Burbank, and Raleigh Lund are next. Since all of them have had no public exposure they are all placed on the covert team. Arcana can bend quantum possibilities, Emil has a super-genius IQ and Raleigh is really dumb but is an immovable object like Blob.
Next is Edith Freiberg. Hey, she is no longer dead! And she is now a lesbian! And she’s still hot. The Revolution always likes any retcon that involves hot lesbians. Edith is the only member psyched to be a part of Squadron Supreme. She gets placed on the covert team.
Next is Tom Thumb who is put on the covert team. Next is Nuke who is unknown to the public so he is put on the covert team. Then comes Claire Debussy (originally Princess Power, but now is known as Zarda) who is a female version of Hyperion. We see that she is talking to herself saying “thank you, Claire, for everything.” Then she reaches into a pile of ashes and pulls out a ring. On the wall next to the ashes is a woman’s outline. Hmmm, a doppelganger perhaps?
Next is Nighthawk who…wait a minute…yes! Another racial retcon. Nighthawk is now black. Congrats, buddy! And, oh no! Is that the Bunker’s air horn alarm going off? Yes, it is! We have a Nazi Rule violation! Yes, Nighthawk’s parents were killed by white supremacists and he is on a mission to find them and kill them. The military can’t find him and since he has no superpowers he ain’t on the team.
The General is done picking the teams. The plan is to keep the covert team and its members secret and only do a press conference for the public team. We then cut to Hyperion who meets up with a Washington Herald reporter. Hyperion with his super-hearing heard the entire conversation between the General and his advisors. Hyperion gives the reported the list of names for both teams. The reporter runs with it and the news is all over every paper and TV media outlet. The military scrambles and ends up holding a press conference where they say there as never going to be a secret team and then they introduce all the members of Squadron Supreme.
The Good: Well, Michael J. Straczynski is a very talented writer and we love him here at the Revolution. He does a nice, but not a spectacular job with this premiere issue. Squadron Supreme #1 was a little slow and boring, but necessary. It properly introduced the reader to all the characters and gave us a quick sample of their personalities, powers, and motivations. There were a couple of mysteries dangled out there for us including Claire being two people with one of them killing the other and the possibility of Kingsly having some unknown superpower. Maybe being able to read minds?
Even though it was incredible, this was a solid first issue and did a great job setting up the story, introducing and outlining the characters and getting the reader familiar with this universe. I think Straczynski is going to do a great job with this title. I have very high hopes.
The art was well done and fit the theme of the comic. I like Frank’s pencils. He has a nice “realistic” look that fits this team. I hope they keep Frank on this title for a good long time.
The Bad: Well, there is definitely some bad. First, the two racial retcons. The Revolution has already gone on record stating that we absolutely abhor racial retcons. I know there is an absolute need to put more minorities on the team that was all white, but I still don’t like it. I still find creating new characters both more satisfying and creative. It also lets the minority characters have their own histories and uniqueness independent of a prior existing white character.
Plus, if there is a need to bump up the minority factor how about making one of them Asian or Hispanic? Why do they both have to be black? C’mon, people! The world is much more than black and white! There are more Hispanics in this country than African-Americans. There are more Hispanics working in comics than African-Americans. I would have much rather have seen at least one of the characters made either Asian or Hispanic rather than both being black.
Now, I think creating a new character that is a minority is a far superior idea rather than racially retconning a character. Having said that, if you absolutely must racially retcon a character, then do it with a relatively obscure minor character. Using that logic, I have less of a problem with racially retconning the minor character of Whizzer.
I have a huge problem racially retconning Nighthawk. He is a very well known character who has been in the Defenders and with the Squadron Supreme since they were the Squadron Sinister. I don’t think that any well-established character should ever be racially retconned. Period.
And on top of the racially retconning of Nighthawk, he is given such a mind-numbingly stereotypical origin. His parents were killed by white supremacist and now he has trained himself to find them and kill them. C’mon! The Revolution knows that Straczynski is so talented and this was the best he could do? Uggh.
Plus, Straczynski violates the Revolution’s Nazi Rule. We have mentioned it before. No comic shall have any villains that are Nazis or affiliated with Nazis. That includes modern-day white supremacist groups. The only exception are comics set during WWII and Captain America. That is it.
The reason is that the idea of Nazi/White Supremacist groups as villains is so tired and played out! Boring! Whenever there is to be a racist group in comics, you know it is going to be a white supremacist group. This is naturally because only white people are racists. The Revolution urges writers to be more damn creative!
Because of the two racial retcons, the lack of either of them including an Asian or Hispanic, the violation of the Nazi Rule and a somewhat slow issue that felt a little too “paint by numbers” is why Squadron Supreme #1 got a rating of 3 Night Girls.