Squadron Supreme (1985)

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In 1985 Mark Gruenwald wrote Squadron Supreme¬†a 12 issue limited series starring the titular Squadron Supreme on an alternate Earth, Earth 712. On this Earth Kyle Richmond, Nighthawk, was the president of America when he was mind controlled and took over the Earth. He and the rest of the Squadron are returned to normal but the world is in ruin. Hyperion decides to make Earth into a Utopia and solve all of the world’s problems by focusing on issues like violence, famine and poverty. Nighthawk opposes this plan and disappears from the team as they unmask and announce their plan to the world. Can even the world’s greatest superheroes reform the planet or will they tear themselves apart?

Squadron Supreme is a very interesting, mature look at a superhero story. It raises a lot of moral questions and the heroes of the story do questionable things. The Squadron kill, brainwash, rape and can barely get along but in the end they’re trying to make things better. There’s a lot of characters as they are based on DC’s Justice League but they all get enough focus or play some role in the story. It’s a twelve issue series so there’s a lot of time for Gruenwald to build up background events like Nighthawk planning to stop the Squadron and when things are about to completely implode you can feel the suspense and tension. The climax of the story is a giant battle where casualties mount on both sides and thanks to the nature of this alternative universe anybody can die.

This series has a lot of cool characters that are all flawed in some way but they’re still interesting to read about. I prefer DC over Marvel anyway so reading knock offs of their characters makes this series more interesting to me. Doctor Spectrum, Golden Archer and Tom Thumb were the best characters to me as they all have flaws and have to make moral decisions that are pretty awful. A lot of scenes in this series are pretty dark as a lot of the characters die of things like cancer or in accidents. My only criticism would have to be how it can be pretty wordy and that it’s a long read because it starts slowly.

Writer: Mark Gruenwald

Artist: John Buscema

Rating: Full Price

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Hyperion: Daddy Issues Review

I’m back here for the second part of this DC and Marvel counterpart review. Gonna cap things off now with Hyperion, Marvel’s Superman (well the most blatant one.)

Like Nighthawk, Hyperion ended up in the main Marvel universe but decided to become a truck driver to explore America. At one stop he is approached by a girl named Doll who is on the run from some evil carnies. Hyperion fights them back and now they’re on a road trip style adventure to stop this carnival. Also, Hyperion’s murder of Namor doesn’t go unnoticed so a battle with Iron Man occurs.

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Alright like Nighthawk this book was cancelled at issue six and while it wasn’t as bad as Nighthawk it still wasn’t very good. There are positives though so I wanna mention those at least. The art was pretty good, it’s bright and clean and gives this road trip story an indie feel. It works well when there are horror elements to the story like the Carnies powers and designs. Hyperion, aka Mark, while having the Superman knockoff origin story and abilities, has a little bit of personality. He is more grizzled and knowledgeable and is just a pretty cool character in his own way. The new character for the story, Doll, is an alright contrasting character to him. She’s got a generic overexcited, tomboy personality but it’s not annoying like most characters like this.

Now for the negative side of things. First, the villains were weak. They were just weird carnies and only one was a threat to Hyperion in battle and he gets taken out first. After that they’re just a bunch of hillbillies fighting a Superman so obviously there’s no tension. Iron Man is another villain in the story technically and he was just annoying. He’s written to try and be witty and snarky and he just doesn’t shut up. I think this was done so you’d want Hyperion to beat him up, which he does really easily.

I’m pretty mixed on this book but I do think the pros do outweigh the cons in the end, so I can’t call this rubbish. If you like the character or want a road trip comic I’d recommend it but for anyone else I’d just borrow it, which is what I did.

Writer:Chuck Wendig

Artist: Nik Virella

Rating: Borrow From A Mate

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Nighthawk: Hate Makes Hate Review

Nighthawk, a member of the Squadron Supreme, is somehow transported to the mainstream Marvel universe and ends up in Chicago. Of course Chicago is in the middle of racial tension as a police officer is currently on trial for the shooting of an unarmed black teenager. There is also a string of murders as white people who have somehow caused problems for black people are being killed off. Nighthawk straps on his Yeezys and teams up with a woman named Tilda to fight some white supremacists and take down the serial killer.

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So after reviewing those two comics starring DC’s flagship character’s, Superman and Batman, I just happened to read two Marvel comics about their counterparts, Hyperion and Nighthawk. Hyperion will be the next review but I wanted to talk about Nighthawk first.

Nighthawk really isn’t good. This series was cancelled at issue six so this is the only volume and I can understand why. None of the characters are interesting, the plot is so boilerplate and uninteresting, the murder mystery is one of the worst I’ve seen, and the art has one very big problem.

First off, Nighthawk himself isn’t well written here. He has flashbacks to his parents telling him to control his rage but it never has any resolution, he just ignores them really. Him going too far and struggling to control it could be interesting but it’s just not handled well, especially because he murders so many people right at the beginning. The other characters include his assistant, his Alfred, Tilda who is so obnoxious. She just goes on and on about how she used to be this great supervillain and that she fought Captain America once. She’s like Uncle Rico from Napoleon Dynamite, just living in the past. Me not knowing who she even was before this comic makes her bragging all the more annoying. Also in this book are just cliche cops who all act like rookies or are just corrupt and rich, racist white guys.

Secondly, the story is weak. The murderer, The Revelator, is just killing bad white people who have done things to black people. He doesn’t really have a personality and all of his motivations are told by other characters. The worst thing would have to be how it teases this mystery about who the Revelator is but you never get the answer. Nighthawk goes to research the guy but then it becomes a message about how the murderer could just be anyone who feels oppressed. ¬†The secondary story about this rich evil white guy selling guns is terrible too. He has the most cliche motivation, money.

My last point is going to be on the art. It’s fairly decent and I liked the covers for this series. However, their is an odd coloring decision I have to address. For whatever reason blood is colored pink for the most part. It takes any seriousness out of the gory fight scenes. Even worse though is the final issue, where in a very important scene a character has brown blood just smeared all over him. It just looks ridiculous and removes all impact from the scene.

Overall Nighthawk was a bad and sloppy comic. Nothing came together and this comic was canned really quickly and will be forgotten just as quickly.

Writer: David F. Walker

Artist: Ramon Villalobos

Rating: Rubbish

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