The Squadron Supreme has had a long and weird history in Marvel Comics. They are fairly obviously analogues to DC’s famed Justice League, and have had several different incarnations now. In fact, in this issue, the new version fights the one from the “Max” line a few years ago. This evil version, the Squadron Sinister, which has also shown up in various versions in the past, reminds me a lot of DC’s Crime Syndicate, the evil reflections of the Justice League.
This Squadron is annexing territories around them in certain (and deadly) fashion. They also are heavily echoing the DC comics– Nighthawk’s command center has some trophies very similar to Batman’s Batcave (as well as the classic Nighthawk costume from the Defenders’ hero), and the Squadron’s own trophies include items that look a great deal like Green Lantern’s power battery, Wonder Woman’s lasso, Hawkman’s helmet, Green Arrow’s quiver, etc.
The team shares the Crime Syndicate’s distrust of each other. They fight decently in combat, but snipe and plot against each other outside it. The team also gets a visit from Iron Thor, an apparent Thor/Iron Man hybrid from the “Thors,” which are Battleworld’s version of law enforcement. This causes many complications, moreso as the story unfolds with a few surprises. The Squadron will need to pull together and rely on each other to survive what’s coming, but that seems unlikely. Especially as the last few pages reveal that at least one of them is working with someone else, outside the Squadron, on an agenda of his own as he plots a teammate’s death.
Plot: This is dark and twisted, which fits this version of these characters. There are several surprises along the way which I didn’t see coming. I’ll give this a 3 out of 5 for plot.
Art: The art is striking, and the trophy cases especially are full of Easter Eggs for dedicated comic geeks like me. I like the way their powers are shown, especially Dr. Spectrum’s. I don’t like “Warrior Woman”’s costume, but it’s drawn well. I’ll give the art a 4 out of 5.
Positives: The somewhat twisted logic of these anti-heroes hangs together well. The art is great, and the various trophies are amusing. The twist near the end was surprising.
Negatives: I’m not sure why Warrior Woman is considered a better name than Power Princess– they seem equally cheesy to me. I’m not entirely sure what “Iron Thor” was supposed to be. And I kind of wish some heroes could stay heroes. The Squadron has had enough done to them over time. Give the poor guys a break.
I’ve enjoyed the bizarre spins on the Squadron (League) over the years. This is a new and different take that could go interesting places as it unfolds.
Squadron Sinister 1
Writer: Marc Guggenheim
Artist: Carlos Pacheco, Mariano Tabio
Colorist: Frank Martin
Letterer: VC’s Joe Caramagna
Cover: Carlos Pacheco, Mariano Tabio, Frank Marti