February 10th, 2008

Essay: Gone, but not forgotten… the world of Supreme Power

 A couple of years ago, I wrote an essay for an online magazine called The High Hat about an incredible comic-book series called Supreme Power. Written by J. Michael Stracyznski, Supreme Power — a darker remake of the 1980’s series Squadron Supreme — was basically a postmodern look at superheroes. How would the United States government realistically deal with the arrival of a Superman-esque force? How tempted would they be to use such super-powered individuals to advance their own agenda? And how would those those individuals act once they realized that they themselves were far more powerful than the folks they were serving? 

I was generous with my praise of the book after having read the first dozen issues, but in truth, I probably didn’t recommend it as strongly as I should have… which is to say that I should’ve labeled it the best comic I’ve ever read. The next six issues were magnificent and ironed out the (very minor) flaws that I felt populated the series at the time, and after SP reclaimed the name of Squadron Supreme in a toned-down format — Marvel felt the graphic nature of the book stifled the potential size of its audience — Stracyznski was in the midst of building towards a cataclysmic showdown. In the most recent issue, Hyperion and Redstone, the two titans of the book, had locked horns in a brawl that had all but leveled Los Angeles. Reinforcements for Hyperion had arrived, Round 2 vs. the sadistic Redstone was about to commence, and then…. Nothing.  

It’s been over a year since that last issue, and outside of the Ultimate Power miniseries (where characters from the Supreme Power and Ultimate Marvel worlds collided — who knows when it was placed chronologically?), there’s been not a peep from Marvel about when the book might resume. It’s one thing to put a book on hiatus at the end of a particular story arc, but right in the middle of a major battle? Shame on you, Marvel Comics. Shame.

 Anyway, here was my initial take on an incredibly amazing story, complete with enough endnotes to make David Foster Wallace proud.


Kevin Fullam is a writer and researcher, with extensive experience in fields ranging from sports analytics to politics and cinema.

In addition, he has hosted two long-running radio series on film and culture, and taught mass media at Loyola University.

Episodes of his two shows, Split Reel and Under Surveillance, are archived on the Radio page.