Squadron Supreme

Marvel’s original alternate-universe heroes follow in the footsteps of the Exiles to venture multiple realities to save divergent Earths that have gone wrong.

  • Warren Ellis (Planetary, The Authority, Stormwatch)
  • Gary Frank (Supreme Power, Justice League, Superman)

This is the book for everyone who loves a winking homage.This book follows the Squadron as they intervene not just in divergent worlds populated with Marvel characters, but also those “universes” that bear a striking resemblance to other well-known pop culture properties; and the tone of the book adjusts to suit the subject matter.

The state of the Multiverse has always been fragile, requiring super-powered intervention from agents ranging from the Captain Britain Corps to the Exiles. With those groups defunct and alternate realities fraying at the seams, the multiverse needs those with the audacity to intervene and fix the world(s). The Squadron are well-suited to trek the multiverse: not only were they Marvel’s original alternate-universe homage to their Direct Competitors, but the current incarnation of the team is populated with members all hailing from different realities. 

Their time in the Prime Universe was met with formidable pushback from SHIELD, the Avengers and other established heroes of this world. So when these consummate outsiders relocate to Counter-Earth, who is in sore need of heroes. While settling in to their new home, they encounter a Skrull called Skymax who reveals he is also a refuge from an alternate universe where Skrulls never became warmongers but instead brought technological advancement to Earth. He has been trying to locate his reality via a Nexus on Counter-Earth. In doing so, he discovered “Crises on Innumerable Earths” and has been trying to do what he can to help. With the supreme power of the Squadron, he believes they can save endangered realities more effectively and maybe even find a way back to their own realities, should they ever reappear (he has seen new realities appear — which we know is the product of the Richards family’s efforts at the end of Secret War).

But the road to hell is paved with good intentions — the Squadron’s success rate of interventionist “world-fixing” is spotty at best. Even if this consortium of heroes with different values can agree on a course of action, will their efforts be seen as supreme or sinister by those they endeavor to help?

Featuring the cast from James Robinson’s recent Squadron Supreme Book:

  • Hyperion: Pursued King Hyperion (an evil counterpart that has faced off against Blue Marvel as well as the Thunderbolts) to Counter-Earth, who sought to take over that world. After finally dispatching his evil counterpart, Marc saw that Counter-Earth needed heroes in a way his last home didn’t and enlists his once- and future-partners to join him.
  • Nighthawk: After “faking” his death (per his off-panel death in Occupy Avengers), he has been laying low, collecting intel and biding his time for his next big mission.
  • Paragon (formerly Power Princess): Zarda enlists the aid of several heroines to recover her powers from her evil counterpart and the Myriad alien army she commands (as seen in Robinson’s book). Acknowledging that she’s nobody’s “princess,” she changes her name to Paragon to reflect her goal to be an exemplar to all of humanity.
  • Prism (formerly Doctor Spectrum): Nicknamed “Prism” while working alongside Spectrum (Monica Rambeau) for period, she discovered she liked the brevity of it.
  • Blur: Has been working off his “probation” as a super-agent alongside Jim Hammond. He loves being a hero, but finds working for SHIELD a little too shadowy for his tastes. But during his time with Hammond, and by extension Namor, he met Kymaera…

as well as two additions:

  • Kymaera (Nita Prentiss): Pulled out of the time-stream by Rich Ryder (Nova #32), she has since discovered she too was from an alternate timeline. But like her deceased counterpart, she has since mutated into having more Atlantean features. In addition, she has developed hydrokinetic powers. 
  • Skymax (Jon’Do): A refugee from a reality with benevolent Skulls, this biochemistry nerd has undergone Super-Skrull augmentation. But instead of choosing four unrelated super-powers as per custom, he instead amplified his natural Skrullian shapeshifting power to molecular levels, allowing him to transform into literally anything he can imagine, even becoming invisible or intangible. Having fought for justice on Counter-Earth for some time, he enlists the aid of the Squadron to voyage the multiverse via the elaborately complex Nexus.

I’m now about midway through Gruenwald & Co.’s Squadron Supreme and my two main recurring thoughts are:

(a) this is the superhero show Netflix wants, whether they know it or not (though now they can just get a Millarworld knockoff and own the full rights, I guess); and

(b) I cannot believe the balls on Brad Meltzer. I didn’t think Identity Crisis was aging well anyway, but that was before I found out how Meltzer took its arguably most interesting story hook from a decades-old analog story and, as far as I can tell, never acknowledged it.  Ethically abhorrent human that I am, I would probably forgive him if he’d taken the idea and moved it forward in some way, but Squadron Supreme has been a *far* more satisfying read on every front so far.  —Jeff

Essential Avengers: Avengers #147: Crisis on Other-Earth

May, 1976

Which is, of course, a riff on DC’s Crisis on Earth-Whatever type stories. Where superheroes cross universes to team up. Or fight, in this case. Because Marvel.

A good cover that feels like it fits into that whole Crisis on Earth-Whatever type story. Really tries to hook you in. Serpent Crown? War Against the World? Squadron Sinister (no they’re explicitly not the Squadron Sinister, they’re the Squadron Supreme but they are acting kinda sinister grah)? The rest of the Avengers holding the line so Wanda can escape with the crown? Tell me more.

Last time: the Avengers Captain America (not technically on the team right now), Iron Man, the Vision, Scarlet Witch, Beast (on a trial membership), and Hellcat (Patsy Walker doing a ride-along, found a supersuit and went hells yes I want to be a superhero) were investigating the sinister Brand Corporation when they were captured by the Squadron Supreme (thinly-veiled parodies of the Justice League FROM ANOTHER UNIVERSE). The Avengers busted out, escaped some missiles, and prepared to fight the Squadron again when Roxxon president Hugh Jones sent both teams back to the Squadron’s world.

And that’s where we pick back up.

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