I am a huge fan of J. Michael Straczynski and Gary Frank’s original Supreme Power series. To this day it remains one of my most frequently reread series. Since it’s cancellation I have obsessively picked up any book that involves characters from Earth 31916 (with the exception of that crazy Ultimate Power debacle and the story about the Marvel pastiches). I was disappointed when the Squadron Supreme series was cancelled abruptly with no closure, and I’ve been waiting with bated breath for anything new.
Well here we have it: a new four-part miniseries written by the unknown (to me) Kyle Higgens with art by Manuel Garcia. Does it live up to my expectations? No, not really, but that doesn’t mean it’s bad.The original (2003) series set the bar pretty high.
This series has the added challenge of clearing up a pretty convoluted continuity and getting the readers up to speed as to where our characters stand: Mark Milton (Hyperion) has attacked D.C. and disappeared and Colonel Ledger (Doc Spectrum) has stepped in as the hero for the public. His new role and how he feels about it are the focus of this issue. Anyone who is familiar with Ledger’s character knows that he is not really the superhero type, which is addressed early in the issue. There’s also the problem of his power source, which seems to have a mind, and agenda, of its own. All of this makes Ledger a very interesting character, but I don’t read Supreme Power books for individual characters. The real draw of these books is the ensemble cast all of whom are absent from this book. That’s not to say Ledger is the only super powered individual portrayed. Ledger is sent on a covert mission by the President himself (who looks a lot like Obama) to assassinate a powerful terrorist leader. The similarities between this assassination and the recent assassination of Osama bin Laden are hard to deny, and it makes me wonder how long they’ve actually planning this story. It serves the plot just fine; I just thought it was an interesting inclusion.
Garcia is a terrific artist. Unfortunately, during the first read-through, the only comment I had about the art was that it wasn’t Gary Frank. That is not a fair comparison to make, so I read the issue again with a more open mind. While I did find it a little inconsistent and the action sequence a bit tough to interpret, the talent is obvious. I’ve seen Garcia do better work, so this is further evidence that this issue may have been a bit rushed.
I plan on picking up the next issue, as the conclusion to this issue implies that we’ll be seeing another member of the Squadron as well as answer why Hyperion did what he (apparently) did. My hope is that series marks a renewal of the Squadron Supreme universe, and isn’t just a filler series. Either way, this was a solid beginning chapter and I’m interested to see where it goes.