Squadron Supreme #1-6
Uncanny X-Men #202
Power Pack #20
In discussing non-white characters, you referred to Mink, but the character seems to be Foxfire.
Posted by: Erik Robbins | November 6, 2013 11:15 AM
Thanks, Erik. Fixed it.
Posted by: fnord12 | November 6, 2013 12:32 PM
Another Squadron member, the Skrull(the Martian Manhunter analogue, also seen in the updated MU Handbook) appears in a few flashback panels.
Most of Nighthawk's crew didn't have DC analogues.
When #1 was previewed in Marvel Age, some dialogue was different(for example, Nuke yells "It's Hiroshima time!").
That one scene was probably supposed to be a nod to Green Arrow discovering Speedy was a junkie, but I don't think Golden Archer ever even referred to a sidekick.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | November 6, 2013 6:30 PM
Since Mark mentioned the Skrull, i'll add that Gruenwald nicely dual-purposed him, making him the Martian Manhunter analogue as Mark notes, but also the guy who gives Doctor Spectrum his power prism, a nod to the fact that the Sinister Doctor Spectrum's power prism was revealed to be a transformed Skrull named Krimonn (and so the same is probably true of the Supreme version).
Posted by: fnord12 | November 6, 2013 7:09 PM
Interesting that Hyperion refers to himself as an alien. Because Hyperion is blinded in this story, and how he gets his eyesight back in Quasar hinges on his true origin, which is not alien. I guess that he always THOUGHT he was an alien.
Posted by: Michael | November 6, 2013 8:33 PM
I thought that the 90% improvement in the Economy probably refers to unemployment, but then noticed another category labelled poverty/jobs. It's probably that the economy has reached 90% of GDP it had prior to the collapse which is probably a huge improvement.
Gruenwald doesn't dwell on the improvements being done by the Sqaudron, but I don't think he needs to. If we're smart enough to ask questions like this, I think we're smart enough to answer them for ourselves.
The world is basically a shattered mess with no effective government anywhere, so if the Squadron doesn't restore order, we can assume a very long, ongoing civil conflict. Presumably this happens in much of the world; it is specifically mentioned Master Menace rules most of the Middle East. So they spare North America from that.
Also, while things like behavior modification has unsettling problems, I think most people would not mind if it was used on the mentally ill, the extremely violent, and sex offenders. People might be queasy on it used on less violent offenders of "victimless crimes", but if put to a vote, a large majority would approve it used on child molesters.
Gruenwald certainly had a political bent. Some of the themes explored in this series will later show up in his Captain American comics.
Posted by: Chris | November 6, 2013 8:48 PM
I'm beginning to think I've misunderstood the parameters of this project. I brought this up with SECRET WARS but it's even more pronounced here: SQUADRON SUPREME takes place over the course of a year and you've condensed it all into one single entry. This says to me, given how you've described your own ground rules in the past, that no other stories take place during that year. I know that isn't really your take, so why combine a year's worth of events into one write-up, other than for the sake of convenience?
Please don't interpret this as confrontational or accusatory. It's genuine curiosity.
Posted by: jay patrick | November 9, 2013 12:31 AM
I think the reason Squadron Supreme is all condensed here is because this is the "linking point" between the events of the alternate universe and the main 616 universe. Big things are happening, but this Captain America issue is the only linking point that matters to the 616 universe. (I remember fnord telling me when I asked if Squadron Supreme would be in the project that it was because of the one Captain America issue that crosses over with it)
At the same time, while something like Secret Wars was likewise condensed like this, technically it really did take place in a super-short time in 616 and the surprises of what exactly happened were literally revealed an issue after they left, thus making it like no-time in the main universe. If a major event takes place over time that it needs time to tell it in the timeline, then fnord does do it...but typically the "events" take place in such a short period that many times they have to be condensed into one entry. I have a feeling that with this being the major factor as we move forwards with the line that we will be seeing more of this in the future with event comics.
Posted by: Ataru320 | November 9, 2013 6:56 AM
SECRET WARS took place over three weeks in story and twelve issues in real life. Issues of ROM, for example, that were tagged as taking place "concurrently" with SECRET WARS, were placed AFTER SECRET WARS but before the characters appearing in SECRET WARS returned to their own titles. That struck me as very incongruous: The Hulk teleports off battleworld and rather than arriving home instantaneously has to wait a day for Rom or Iron Fist to have an adventure? The justification given for this was that those non-SW stories took place "at the same time" as SECRET WARS and therefore were arbitrarily placed immediately after it. But most of those stories took place over less than a few days whereas SECRET WARS explicitly happened over three weeks. I understand that SW was "one story" but using that criteria seems inconsistent with the rest of the project. And again, there were twelve issues of SECRET WARS which easily could have been interspersed with single issues of ROM or ALPHA FLIGHT or what have you.
All of which applies tenfold to a story that takes place over a FULL YEAR.
(And before this turns into Bitching Abolition Free Stuff on the Internet, let me say that I realize that this entire site is just for fun, that it's a lot of work, and that nobody -least of all myself- is paying fnord to do it. I'm not screaming "YOU'RE DOING IT WRONG!" nor am I demanding any changes like someone complaining about the quality of his illegally downloaded Torrent. Thee are just observations and if fnord told me to back off and make my own f*****g website he'd be within his rights. I suspect however, that he will take it in stride :))
Posted by: jay patrick | November 9, 2013 8:54 AM
That was a strange Autocorrect. The intended phrase was "Bitching ABOUT Free Stuff on the Internet".
The mind goggles trying to figure out what "Bitching Abolition Free Stuff" could possibly mean.
Posted by: Jay Patrick | November 9, 2013 8:58 AM
Jay, i think my response to you on the ROM entry is still applicable here. This site is a combination chronology/recommended reading order. Lots of stuff is going on in the Marvel universe, and a lot of it is happening at the same time. So i balance the chronology of individual characters against (what i think is) the best way to enjoy a story. As Ataru says, this story is very isolated from the rest of the Marvel universe so in terms of placement i've let the Captain America issue be the anchor point, but it should be understood that this series is taking place while a lot of other events in the 1985/1986 era are happening.
What this site isn't is a strict calendar where each entry or even chunk of entries represents a specific set of days. For something closer than that, you might try Paul Bourcier's Marvel Calendar project. But what you'll see is that often requires breaking things down by page or panel. And the reductio absurdum version of me doing that here would entries covering individual sequences in random Spider-Man and Hulk issues together because they happen at the same time even though they have nothing to do with each other. I know that's not what you're asking for. But individual issues can be equally arbitrary. Some take place over a few hours, some can take place over the course several days or more. So i feel that allows me some discretion to place things in a way that keeps the stories coherent, and something like this or Secret Wars, to me, works best when read as a whole, understanding that other things are happening at the same time.
We've been through this once already so i don't expect this to convince you. And i don't consider you to be bitching abolition free stuff. But what's you're talking about is different than when, say, someone tells me that Iron Man can't appear between issues X and Y because his armor was destroyed. And that's the sort of chronology that i'm more focused on. So you gotta give me a little room for personal preference here. ;-)
Posted by: fnord12 | November 9, 2013 1:02 PM
This is becoming more about SECRET WARS than SQUADRON SUPREME, for which I apologize, but if it's more about recommended reading order, I'm surprised that you don't find it preferable to have the "return" issues of the SW- related titles immediately follow SW without Rom and the like disrupting the flow (and for that matter in the same order that those title characters left SECRET WARS). Your personal preference is good enough, but I'm still... In polite disagreement. Personally I would rather see the Hulk, Spider-Man, and the Avengers teleport off Battleworld and then (preerablythe same order) see Hulk, Spider-Man, and the Avengers appear on Earth, not wait three issues so I can see what Moon Knight is up to.
Yeah, I know some of those individual "return issues" contain events both before and after the returns and don't line up perfectly, but what does? They line up better with SW than they do with... ROM.
And to bring it back to SQADRON SUPREME, I absolutely agree that the series is best enjoyed in one hunk. I also mostly agree with your assessment of the series, and as a kid/teenager embraced the notion that, like DC's Earth-2, SS provided a writer with a chance to answer the kinds of questions that should never be asked in this type of fiction. "Why doesn't Superman just end world hunger?" Well, here's why. It is possibly Mark Gruenwald's signature work (though I think the Marvel Handbooks are a better example of something that no one else but Gruenwald could have done) and it addresses WACHMEN-style themes while still managing to actually be a superhero comic, something WATCHMEN couldn't do.
Posted by: Jay Patrick | November 9, 2013 5:33 PM
Amazing Heroes #70(5/85) ran an interesting preview on this. The series starts 1 week after Defenders #115. John Byrne designed all the new costumes, and the Skrull is called "Skrullian Skymaster". The prism is definitely not sentient. Foxfire and Remnant were originally called "Insidio" and Wildcard".
Posted by: Mark Drummond | November 20, 2013 7:48 PM
Per Gruenwald in Amazing Heroes#97: DC actually did sue Marvel over this series, but since most of the characters were created in the 1970s, the court ruled that the statute of limitations applied.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | April 5, 2014 1:27 PM
I, of course, love this series. It is probably (scratch that), it is DEFINITELY my favorite maxi-series that Marvel ever produced. My blog, my e-mail address, my movie awards, are all named Nighthawk after Kyle Richmond as he is portrayed in these issues, that he is the one person willing to stand up and remind the Squadron that you can't just take away people's rights and do what you want, no matter how well-meaning it is.
But then again I am also a DC fan as well as Marvel and I have always, since I was a little kid, been a JLA fan, so to get this JLA analogue, complete as various What If aspects ("What if the JLA took over the world?" "What if Wonder Woman married Steve Trevor back during WWII?" "What if Firestorm gave cancer to the people around him?"). I absolutely think that part of what Grant Morrison did in JLA years later that everyone thought was so great gets inspiration from here. It was like having a What If story (complete with mass deaths at the end - it seemed like What If, especially the second volume, always ended with a lot of death) that stretched over 12 issues. The final issue is one of the few single comics I still own.
Posted by: Erik Beck | June 8, 2015 6:55 PM
You know, I didn't catch that GA-Speedy reference until reading this. It's just as good as Watchmen, where every subsequent reading offers up a new slant on things.
True wale really did knock it out of the park with this story.
I'm gonna read this once more.
Posted by: Vin the Comics Guy | June 8, 2015 7:37 PM
Mark Gruenwald and Julius Schwartz were a con panel a week or two after the release on Squadron Supreme,#1, and Schwartz happened to end a remark with "Nobody reads Justice League anymore."
"I do." Gruenwald impishly shot back, bringing down the house.
I wonder sometimes if I didn't have a small actual input on the series - I wrote Gru a letter about SS a month or two later, in which I made the point that the central inevitable eventual failure of the Utopia Project was who was going to take over someday, and how can they be trusted with the B-Mod and all the other tools so well suited to oppression? (I also pointed out that the B-Mod instructions Arcanna was shown giving the convict would tend to prevent him from being able to so much as subsist on a vegan diet, but that was never addressed). So the idea was never foreshadowed at all in the series, then Nighthawk made that exact same point to Hyperion in the last issue.
Most likely, if Gru even read the letter, he'd already thought of that (I got it from what Cyclops said to Magneto in X-Men 150) - but I do wonder...
Posted by: BU | June 10, 2015 1:36 PM
While not on Wikipedia, I believe the members introduced into the Squadron Supreme might be analogues to the "Detroit League", which was going on at the time:
Redstone - Steel - both are patriotic American heroes
Moonglow - Gypsy - both cast illusions
Inertia - Vixen - physical, athletic characters
Haywire - Vibe - both have unique powers that look like lines coming out of their hands.
Posted by: Gary A | November 12, 2015 1:42 PM
I'm a big fan of this series, and this was a even handed review. I also liked Gru's run on Quasar, so I'm always disappointed when I try out his Captain America stuff, which usually leaves me cold. Considering on just taking the plunge with one of these Epic Collections.
I also tried to figure out analogues for the new characters, and I think most of Nighthawk's Redeemers work better as analogues to the Outsiders of the era, which fits with them being Batman/Nighthawk's team after leaving the League/Squadron.
Ape X- Gorilla Grodd (visual look-anthromorphic ape)
Quagmire- Sinestro (Green Lantern villain, creates stuff)
Lamprey- Parasite (power set)
Dr. Decibel- Sonar (power set)
Shape- Plastic Man (power-set, reformed criminal)
Foxfire- Vixen (visual look)
Remnant- The Joker (batman villain,visual look, flamboyant)
Mink- Catwoman (batman villain, visual look, cat-themed)
Pinball- Penguin (batman villian, visual look, round)
Redstone- GeoForce (earth based powers, super strength)
Moonglow- Gypsy (illusion based powers)
Inertia- Halo (mental powers, visual look-costume)
Haywire-Vibe (visual look- a stretch, I know, - weird powers)
Thermite-Metamorpho (visual look-composite man)
Posted by: Charles R | January 14, 2016 2:04 PM
Wow they solved 90 per cent of the economy but only 85 per cent of crime? I mean, the are super-heroes, crime should be their forte.
Posted by: kveto | March 19, 2016 3:48 PM
I don't think there's a one-to-one correlation between secondary characters in the Squadron universe and the DC universe, but I have to say, when I first saw Ape X, I was sure she was an amalgamation of the Teen Titan / Doom Patrol villains M'sieu Mallah and the Brain.
Posted by: Andrew | March 19, 2016 8:58 PM
How much does the Squadron trust their behavior-modifying machine? So much so that Arcanna trusts Dr. Decibel (a *physicist*, not a physician) to be her gynecologist, erk...
Posted by: Oliver_C | March 19, 2016 10:21 PM
I finally read this series for the first time, and it kinda bugged me how many plot threads were left dangling by the end of the series. Just to mention the most obvious ones:
* Amphibian quits the team mid-series because he's disgusted with SS's ethics. You'd expect this to lead to something, possibly him joining Nighthawk's rebels, but he isn't seen or mentioned again.
* In the beginning of the final issue, Lady Lark is shown in the crowd, still looking for Golden Archer. Again, one would expect this to be significant, and for her to join one of the teams in the final battle, but that's actually her final appearance in the series.
* Ape X is building a robot version of Tom Thumb, and she plans to put his brain patterns she had recorded into it, a la Vision. But before that happens, her brainwashing results in a nervous breakdown, and we don't learn what happens to the robot or Ape X herself.
* There's also the matter of all the villains still roaming free. What will Master Menace do, what is Scarlet Centurion's plan with the Squadron, what happens to the villains who took part in the final showdown and survived it?
Since this was always intended to be a limited series, I find it odd Gruenwald introduced all these plot elements but didn't bring them to any conclusion. Maybe he thought there would be an ongoing SS series later? I haven't read the later Squadron Supreme specials and minis, so maybe some of these things are addressed there?
Posted by: Tuomas | September 28, 2016 4:23 AM
Little bits of those are followed up on, yes. But I think most of it was deliberately left that way. If Gru wanted this to be "more realistic superheroes," then I think he was going for a bit more of realistic story-telling as well. In the "stories" of our lives, not every "character" comes back and we don't find out how all their "arcs" end.
Posted by: Thanos6 | September 28, 2016 4:32 AM
But even "realistic" storytelling is still storytelling; unless we're dealing with a slice-of-life type of story, narratives don't normally work like real life does, that would be unsatisfactory to the audience. We expect stories to have arcs and conclusions, that's one of the main sources of enjoyment in fiction. Watchmen is way more "realistic" than SS, and it still has proper arcs for everyone, and even the stuff it leaves unanswered is still open-ended in an interesting way... That's not really the case here, it feels more like those plot threads were left open because Gruenwald was lazy or ran out of space, not because he had a grand vision for them.
Posted by: Tuomas | September 28, 2016 4:44 AM
Also, I'm not sure if it was intentional, but even though Squadron Supreme are ultimately the bad guys of the story, they sure come across much better than Nighthawk and his crew. Yes, the whole brain-washing thing is quite dodgy, but it's made clear in the story no one is forced to go through it, it's voluntary. (When Golden Archer forces it on Lady Lark, he gets condemned by everyone.) And with most of the criminals we see in the story, the behaviour modification certainly seems to be way more beneficial than harmful. Some of the supervillains even like their new lives so much, they decide to side with SS even after they've been de-brainwashed!
Other than that, everything SS is shown doing in the series is totally beneficial. They get rid of guns, provide the cops effective, non-lethal mean of handling criminals, repair the economy, get rid of hunger, come up with the cryosleep chambers for those with an incurable disease... We see some people protesting against the cryo thing, but again, it's made clear the process is voluntary, and no one is forced to do it if they don't want to. At the end of the series they hand the power back to the civilian government, and it never seems anything they did caused any significant harm to anyone, except for some fringe gun nuts being offended that they can't shoot people anymore.
Posted by: Tuomas | September 28, 2016 5:19 AM
Compared to that, Nighthawk sides with known killers and rapists, and his action result in several people (including himself) getting killed at the end of the series. But ultimately SS seem to agree Nighthawk, and they promise to return everything back to the way it was, which includes destroying the cryochambers and bringing back guns! How the heck is that gonna benefit anyone? And what if the civilian government (which is never shown to opposes SS’s point of view) thinks those changes are actually for the good? Will SS still destroy all the technological advancements they brought to people and force gun factories to open again?
To be sure, I’m a left-wing anarchist, and I take the issue of personal liberty very seriously, but in my opinion Gruenwald fails to convince the reader that Nighthawk’s libertarianism is commendable, since most of what SS does appears to benefit the people. Gruenwald has some lofty goals for this series, but ultimately it fails as a thought experiment. He puts way to much focus on the interpersonal ethical conflicts between SS members, but we never properly see how those ethics affect ordinary people. The Squadron become a bunch of authoritarians, for sure, but the potential negative effects of their authoritarianism are never properly explored, besides some super-villains being kinda inconvenienced by their behaviour modification. That’s hardly enough.
Posted by: Tuomas | September 28, 2016 5:20 AM
Heh, I'm a left-wing authoritarian myself (I sympathize quite a bit with Flag-Smasher's "one world government" view) and I agree that Gru didn't show much if anything evil as part of the Utopia Project (Golden Archer is evil when he uses the B-mod on Lark, of course, but that's him "going rogue"). Other problems we see, such as Ape X's mental breakdown, are unintended consequences that could be "patched" to prevent them happening again.
I think Gru, who probably is my all-time favorite comics writer, wanted to tread a line where we had to be able to sympathize with the Squadron and want to keep reading about them, but at the same time set them up as needing to be taken down by Nighthawk. He didn't want to make them "too evil," but I agree that he didn't make them "evil enough."
Posted by: Thanos6 | September 28, 2016 8:24 AM
One thing that Nighthawk does make clear is that it isn't so much the question of whether the things they have done are good or not, but what the future consequences are. Aside from the personal liberty issue, there's the fact that it really does require people of the Squadron's power to enforce these things and once they are gone, it really leaves a big question of what will happen to their utopia. Who will maintain it?
But again, you do bring up good questions with both the subplots and the very concept and both are those are addressed in Death of a Universe.
Posted by: Erik Beck | September 28, 2016 5:57 PM
The whole point of Nighthawks concerns were shown in a Squadron Supreme one-shot and in a storyline in the Exiles series, which will be many moons from now. Without spoilers, while the Squadron spent a long time stranded on Earth-616, life kept on chugging back on Earth-712. When the Squad eventually gets back home, they find exactly what Nighthawk had warned them about...
Posted by: Bill | September 28, 2016 6:24 PM
Aside from the personal liberty issue, there's the fact that it really does require people of the Squadron's power to enforce these things and once they are gone, it really leaves a big question of what will happen to their utopia. Who will maintain it?
I would get that, if the story would show that the utopia requires upkeeping tasks that only superhumans can perform, but we don't really see that's the case. To me, it seems like the main two advancement SS bring about are, A) providing technological innovations such as the behaviour mod units and the cryosleep chambers, and B) getting rid of guns, nukes, and other lethal weapons. (They also appear to do some repair and maintenance work, but it's nothing non-superhumans can't do.) Now, there's no reason to assume Tom Thumb didn't leave the blueprints for his innovations behind, so there's no reason why normal humans can't continue producing them. As for B, there are several countries in the world where firearms and lethal weapons are forbidden, or strictly regulated. They manage to enforce those laws pretty fine, so it's an absurd idea that only superhumans could do it. So even though Nighthawk's point is technically valid, Gruenwald doesn't actually show us anything that would support it.
Posted by: Tuomas | September 29, 2016 2:22 AM
I think Moore handled this question much better in Watchmen... We learn that there are several things that Dr. Manhattan and he alone can do, such as matter conversion and efficient production of rare elements. So when he goes missing, it really is a huge blow for the US.
Posted by: Tuomas | September 29, 2016 2:23 AM
Btw, after my previous posts I did end up reading Death of a Universe, and though it did tie up some of the plot threads I mentioned (Lady Lark, Master Menace, the villainous SS members), we still don't what happened to Aquarian, Ape X or the Tom Thumb robot.
Posted by: Tuomas | September 29, 2016 2:27 AM
Sorry, that's Amphibian, not Aquarian.
Posted by: Tuomas | September 29, 2016 7:39 AM
"They manage to enforce those laws pretty fine, so it's an absurd idea that only superhumans could do it. So even though Nighthawk's point is technically valid, Gruenwald doesn't actually show us anything that would support it."
IMO, you may be looking at it from a "normal" point of view. However, in the Marvel Universe/multiverse, I would think that super humans are depended upon to act in the role of enforcers by the non-powered people. They expect them to do what regular people can't do.
Posted by: clyde | September 29, 2016 1:24 PM
But isn't Nighthawk's whole point that people shouldn't be depended on superhumans?
Anyway, even on the 616 Earth there are still many countries that don't seem to have any superheroes at all, and they can still uphold their laws. And it's not like 616 American superheroes are regularly shown to deal stuff like illegal firearms, they mostly deal with larger-scale threats. The 616 still has regular cops who seem to handle regular crime just fine, it's only when the criminals are superpowered that superheroes are needed. So I don't see how on the SS Earth, which is supposed to be more "realistic" than its 616 counterpart, everyone would be totally dependent on superheroes, even on non-super issues like gun control?
Posted by: Tuomas | September 29, 2016 5:08 PM
I think Nighthawk's point isn't that the Squadron's Utopia isn't that it requires SUPERHUMANS to enforce it but that it requires GOOD PEOPLE to enforce it. The only reason why the Squadron aren't brainwashing everyone into being their slaves is because they're basically good intentioned. The same technology would be absolutely devastating in the hands of a sociopath. It's the classic criticism of Communism- if you put too much power in one person's hands, you're screwed if that person turns out to be a Stalin or a Mao or a Pol Pot or a Kim.
Posted by: Michael | September 29, 2016 11:59 PM
I would argue that the B-mod machine can't be trusted to ANY form of government. I certainly wouldn't trust a democracy or republic not to use it on the minority view.
Posted by: Thanos6 | September 30, 2016 1:44 AM
I'm sure you're right about the "Speedy" cameo - it would be fitting for GA's sidekick to have a drug problem just as Speedy did and to eventually overdose in light of how much worse the world around him got. Part of GA's thought balloons probably showed a sense of guilt for not being around when his partner needed him and may have been intended as part of his motivation for eventually opposing the Squadron's methods.
As to why the script was apparently changed, I'd guess that's because he would have been the sole black hero in the story (Foxfire was a redeemed villain) and it was problematic to kill off the one black hero as a result of a drug overdose (and behind the scenes at that). To be clear, he was probably an Australian Aboriginal, fitting in with GA's Australian roots just as Speedy's Native American heritage complemented Green Arrow's U.S. upbringing.
Posted by: Dan H. | March 22, 2017 3:38 PM
That "Tom Thumb died two weeks later" panel is almost "Poochie did on the way back to his home planet"
Posted by: S | March 22, 2017 10:43 PM