Monday, January 24, 2005

Supreme Power #13
writer: J Michael Stracynski
artist: Gary Frank
published by Marvel Max Comics

Dr Spectrum #3-4
writer: Sara "Samm" Barnes
artist: Travel Foreman
published by Marvel Max Comics

So, the original Squadron Supreme series dealt with a reimagining of DC's heroes by a Marvel writer, and what would happen if they took over their world.
Then, the suits at Marvel let J Michael Stracynski, the uber-writer behind Babylon 5 and their own Spider-Man relaunch play with the toys. What's come of it? A smart, gritty, tough book that pulls very few punches and takes no prisoners whatsoever. And now, a companion book that answers the question of what would have happened had the military found out that Hal Jordan, test pilot, was the Green Lantern.
Dr Spectrum is a prequel book, so I'll cover that first. The titular character is in a coma. Colonel Joe Ledger was special forces...and a tough one at that. He was good at his job, which was eliminating obstacles to US interests abroad. Ledger was a killer, and deep down he wasn't happy with it. So, while his body's in a coma, his mind is dealing with what he's done in the service of his country. Meanwhile, since he now has an alien crystal bonded to his hand, the military is wondering what to do with him. They eventually decide to remove the crystal (along with his hand) and things...don't go so well.

Back in Supreme Power, Nighthawk and Hyperion are tracking a serial killer who might just be superpowered. Turns out the government was experimenting on prisoners. Bad idea. When Nighthawk tracks the guy down, he finds out just how bad an idea it was when the killer hands him his ass on a TV tray. But, Nighthawk's a smart guy...and backup's heading his way at supersonic speeds...

Both of these books feature top notch writing. I've never heard of Samm Barnes before...though I suspect she used to be a TV writer, like Stracynski...but she manages to preserve the tone of Stracynski's book while adding her own unique touches (Joe's inner dialogue is really the heart of the book, at least for now). Stracynski, of course, is brilliant. Marvel needs to continue kissing his ass, because he's still knocking 'em out of the park month after month. I have YET to read his Strange...but it's in the pile!
Gary Frank's art is another wonderful thing about Supreme Power. Somewhat similar to Steve Dillon, but more dynamic in its capture of motion (a good thing on a sooperhero title) and more generous in its use of shadow. Lovely stuff.

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