5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Fallible humans with superpowers try to change the world.,
By A Customer
This review is from: Squadron Supreme TPB (Paperback)
This collection of a limited series produced in 1985-6 has a split personality. Open it at random and you see the art style and 4-colour printing typical of the period - but the story is something entirely different. In most comics it's perfectly clear who the good guys and bad guys are, and the story consists of fight scenes linked by brief flashes of soul-searching and character development. Here, the world's premier superteam decide to use their powers to really change the world for the better, but at the expense of individual freedoms. Each time they do so, the next decision becomes easier to make. One of their members quits in protest and seeks to stop them, bringing together a group of supervillains to stop the heroes for moral reasons. "Right" and "wrong" become increasingly blurred. The Squadron's aim is noble, but it's being implemented by human beings. Cracks appear early on, and there's a mounting sense that it's all going to go horribly wrong. It does. There are few fight scenes - the focus is on the decisions characters make. People get ill and fall in love, characters die, and using superpowers can have serious consequences. In the end, the most important things can't be fixed by super-speed or atomic vision.
The core members of the team clearly *are* the Justice League of America, duplicating the powers and even origin stories of Superman, Wonder Woman, et al. There's no attempt to hide this, and it doesn't matter - what's *done* with the characters is the important thing (allowing author Gruenwald to experiment with ideas that would wreck mainstream continuity), and plenty of original ones are introduced along the way. Downsides? The view of America as the only important place on the planet jarred in a couple of places. Aiming at a family audience may have tamed the presentation a little, leading to such memorable dialogue as, "You sons of fishes!" It's not a cheap book, but you are getting 12 issues of 'Squadron Supreme' plus a crossover issue of 'Captain America'. Overall, a gem of comics history, introducing ideas that are still being explored in books like 'The Authority' fifteen years later.