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The Big Kahuna Comic Book News

Welcome…all ye who enter the metalmachine.net blog. We have a new segment in the comic book section of the blog, it’s called “Monday Morning Quarterback”, in honor of the upcoming football season and the flashbacking we will be doing covering some of comic books all time great stories. These will be stories that are a bit off the mainstream radar. We will expose these books and series every week, but we won’t divulge the whole story. We believe in fans reading a review or an opinion and also going out to your local comic shop or Con and picking up these treasure troves.

This week, we talk about “The Squadron Supreme”, a twelve issue maxi series that debuted in 1985. It features one of Marvel’s diamonds in the rough. One of those series no one really took notice of until after several years it was released. The writer of Squadron Supreme, Mark Gruenwald, was a Marvel staple and one of its most stable writers for years. Sadly, Mr. Gruenwald died of a heart attack in 1996.

The story takes place in an “alternate universe” in Marvel. Now, for those not aware, the Squadron Supreme was created as an off shoot of the Justice League of America from DC Comics. Hyperion, the leader of this group serves as a rendition of Superman. Power Princess, a delegate of her secluded island, (sound familiar). Night Hawk, a millionaire playboy by day, a dark avenger at night, ergo Batman. This list goes on and on, Amphibian, (Aquaman) Lady Lark, and (Black Canary) her boyfriend The Golden Archer (Green Arrow)…well, you get the drift! They encountered the Avengers several times and were known to scuffle with the group from time to time. The Squadron have just returned to their earth to see the ramifications of their past actions (A villain called The Overmind took control of the group and in turn, The Squadron Supreme took over their earth).

With their credibility destroyed and trust shattered among the human populace, the Squadron decides that the best thing for them and humanity is for the group to take more of a hands on approach to the worlds ills. The Squadron decides that it will tackle world problems like famine, gun control and job placements, a utopia if you will. The earth’s saviors. Along the way, they encounter resistance from law enforcement and the military. The piece de resistance to this series though, lies in what the Squadron decides to do to help humanity and solidify their “Utopia Plan”. Tom Thumb, resident genius decides that he will make a “Behavior Modification Machine” to correct criminals in the penal system. At first, they can elect to under go this procedure, and if they do, each prisoner will receive job support upon conversion and release. This is the first time we, in the comic book community hear the term “Mind Wiping”. Sound familiar? I’m sure it does. Don’t know what it means in the big picture, but, just like that old adage, “Everything Old Is New Again”.

Enough to say that the Squadron encounter many roadblocks to their path to utopia, dissent in the ranks, betrayal and death. (When death of superheroes was still a shocker) The series smacks of real life dilemma, way before guys like Bendis and Johns were on the scene. Mark Gruenwald was telling a story of heroes, but the underling message was deeper than that.. Questioning people of power, who watches those that have all the power, all the say? With great power comes great responsibility! This story truly has all that and more. Mr. Gruenwald also touches on the personal lives and the vulnerability of each of the heroes, some as they question what they are doing, and others as they fulfill selfish means. A story way ahead of its time. If you ge a chance, pick up the Squadron Supreme, if you really like READING comics, you will enjoy this series as it is dense in dialogue. The 80’s gave us the Walkman, Growing Pains and Top Gun. It also gave us “The Squadron Supreme”

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