Squadron Supreme is the continuation of the “Max” line’s Supreme Power, with the same creative team. It was relaunched without some of the “R rated” material, and started an issue ago in a way that no one who hadn’t read the previous material would be left out. Issue 1 was about getting the team together, Issue 2 is the start of their first mission.
Writer: Jan Michael Stracyznski
Penciller: Gary Frank
Inkers: Jonathan Sibal
Art Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10.
Story Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Total Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: Everyone in the new Squadron is sitting around, when Lieutenant Stephanie Tanaka, the Squadron’s liaison to the U.S. Government keeps them busy with paperwork they need for all of the various legal clearances. JMS uses this as an excuse to further flesh out the characters before putting them into action, and everyone gets a little screen time.
Six pages in and the General in charge of the Squadron gives them a briefing on their first mission. It appears that the ship that brought Hyperion (the Superman analog of the Squadron’s JLA structure) to Earth carried a nanovirus that granted the powers to those in the room. Unfortunately, it “infected” others, including a one “General John M’Butu” a tribal leader in Africa starting an incident likely to rival Rwanda. which resulted in over a million lives lost. He appears, from the intelligence given, to have superpowers, both physical and possibly psychological.
The full team is sent in, some under their own flight powers, some in an Army cargo plane. “Doctor Spectrum” takes command of the group due to his military experience, and after a proper bit of recon, they split into groups, and start their attack. There are small character bits, both in and out of combat, that help to further define the characters, and in some cases, give comic relief. For example, we learn that Zarda (Power Princess) enjoys combat a bit too much, only smiling when she is in combat.
Moving to the endgame, Doctor Spectrum goes to confront our evil General, who explains as he asserts his control over the good “Doctor” that his men were able to slow Hyperion just enough to allow the General time to put him under his mind/voice control, and our cliffhanger is the General ordering those three to kill the others.
The Good: JMS has done what he set out to do here, slowly ratcheting up the story while he develops the characters. This is the characters first time together, and every interaction seems to be hinting at many future possibilities. Readers of Mark Grunewald’s original Squadron Supreme series know that the team, having to deal with the aftermath of their being mind-controlled by trying to turn the planet into a Utopia. Some of the conflict between members seen in that series are here, and depending on how fast JMS is moving the plot, he may already be instigating the downhill drop in conditions that came about as the effect of the Squadron being controlled. He is doing a great job in letting the ideas of earlier comics inspire him, but lead the story in new directions
The art here is effective and direct. It tells the story in a very cinematic manner, allowing the panels to breathe quite a bit. All of the characters are easily identifiable and unique, and Frank’s facial expressions are very easy to read.
The Bad: Pacing here feels slow. This will read well in a trade to be sure, and after reading copies #1 and #2, and knowing what source material inspired it I wish he could get the story moving a little bit faster. Of course, I picked up the Supreme Power comic before this, so I have been waiting for longer than these two issues. Also, while the comic is very readable by itself, the little things I know from the previous work makes it much more interesting.
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