Friday, March 20, 2009

"Post No. 619"

"I Can't Believe It's REALLY BUTTER!" Dept.: I've dug up some unusual (to say the least) "things" from my yard from time-to-time, but This not only takes the cake, but could also probably be used to bake it as well! Found several inches under the dirt, still cold, while digging up my cactus garden (which didn't survive this Winter's ice storms).

I finally got around to reading the first 12 issues of the Max-Marvel title, Supreme Power(2003), written by Brian Bendis and illustrated by Gary Frank. I was hesitant to read this series, thinking it to just be yet another of the dark tales Marvel (and DC, as well) has been putting out in the past few years, and felt it might fall into that catagory of Marvel's "The Ultimates", of which I didn't care too much about, but I must admit that I was wrong.

"Supreme Power" is, indeed, a re-telling of the origins of various Marvel characters, but these were always "sub" characters of the group rather than their main icons, so it didn't bother me. In fact, instead it well defined a group of "heroes" that for a long time now really needed the over-hauling.

The players in this series are based upon a group of super-villians that first had their roots waaayyy back in The Avengers V1 #'s 69-71, so they've been around, one way or the other now, for nearly 40 years. beginning as a group of villians created by "The Grand-Master" to battle The Avengers. Writer Roy Thomas based each of the characters on various DC Comics' heroes from "The Justice League of America" in a team called "The Squadron Sinister". It consisted, originally, of four characters: "Hyperion" (a take-off of Superman), "Nighthawk" (a take-off of Batman), "Dr. Spectrum" (who I've always assumed was a take-off of "Green Lantern"), and the other using the name of a Golden-Age Marvel hero, "The Whizzer" (The Flash).

In later issues of The Avengers we learn that The Grand-Master had produced these pseudo-villians after an actual super hero team living in a parrallel world called "The Squadron Supreme", and they appeared in this title in several issues over the years, most notably #'s 85, 86, 141-144, 147-149 & Annuals #'s 8 & 16.
They would continue to appear in other Marvel titles such as The Defenders #'s 112-115, Captain America #314, Quazar #'s 13-17, 19, 25, 28, 29, 50, 54, Avengers West Coast #97, Avengers V3 #'s 5, 6, Exiles 62-65, 77, 78, 81, Thunderbolts 46, 88, 93, 94, 96-102, 105, 106, as well as a 12 issue limited series in the mid-1980's of their own, and not forgetting various one-shots and, app.'s and limited series in more recent times, making them well-embedded into the MSU.

Brian Bendis caused these characters to be even more liken to their DC counterparts when writing the origin of "Hyperion" in the Supreme Power series, having a couple in the country discover the character as a baby in a crashed spacecraft ("lifepod") in a field, wanting to adopt it, but deciding to perhaps take it to an orphanage first to rid any ideas that they'd simply "found" the child and kept him, but this whole idea went astray when government agents, who had also arrived at the crash site, took the child instead and made him a ward of The United States.

There he was placed in a mock family of secret agents which pretended to be his actual mother and father, and was raised in a controlled enviroment until such time the government could use the child for their own purposes. With several super-abilities manifesting as the child matured, it may have been a better idea "realistically", especially when you have a baby with such powers as super-strength, "flash" vision (which he accidently incinerated a pet dog with), near invunerability and eventually, the power of wingless flight.

I, for one, could never figure out just how Ma & Pa Kent ever put up with all of the problems of raising a super-powered child as NON-super-powered parents with Superman. In fact, it reminds me of one of those old "Superbaby" tales that appeared in a DC comic in the early 1960's which told of the time before The Kents adopted him as their son, "Clark", and the infant was in an orphanage. The people who ran the orphanage had so many problems with a child of this nature (who I'm amazed didn't tear the other children from limb-to-limb) that they were HAPPY when The Kents came and wanted the child. A super-powered infant can have super intelligence as well, but intellect can only be achieved through experience, inviroment and tutoring from its parents (or some such teacher). It's a scenerio of being very smart, but not having the common sense God gave a dead goose (and I'm sure everyone knows at least one person in their lives like that). Even an adult might not be able to control God-like powers, as the saying goes, "absolute power corrupts absolutely". (DC tried to make this work a little different in modern updating of Supe's origin whereas his powers gradually appeared than having them "all at once".) But...nostalgically digressing aside...

As the child matures into a teenager he discovers his powers of flight, super-hearing, telescopic vision, etc., etc. All the time he's still kept in a controlled enviroment away from regular non-powered humans, which leads to complications of loneliness. He knows he could leave any time he wanted and there'd be no one to stop him, but he loves those he thinks to be his parents and respects their wishes. Eventually he's allowed to attend a school with non-powered teenagers, but feels like he doesn't fit it. As he finally reaches maturity, "the government" fakes his parents' deaths, making him rely more on The State as his authority figure, and brought up in the All-American Way, is very patriotic and does various things for the government without questions (like a good little soldier).

The government then allows him to leave the secured complex into a place of his own, but, naturally, they're still keeping an eye on him. They send him to investigate another unusal person which has super-speed. This character, who eventually calls himself "The Blurr", makes his powers publically known after promises of large endorcements, but after a while, decides to use his abilities for "better things".

Yet another character emerges from this, which is somewhat like a very bad "Batman". That is, he doesn't have the basic morality The Batman has, and finally an ancient princess who may supposed to be a take-off of "Wonder Woman", but reminds me more of "The Mighty Isis". She relates to Hyperion his tue origin, and she's pretty much bad-to-the-bone when it comes to believing she's one superior being.

The last of the group is "Dr. Spectrum", whose powers are on the same par of Hyperion. This being has a gem stone embedded in his hand which can shoot out energy beams as well, and I would think this is a take-off of "Green Lantern".

I've read up to #12 in this 18 issue series, luvin' every minute of it, and definately want to finish the series. (An excellant effort from Marvel Comics.)


At 7:10 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your post no. 619, you know what 619 is my favorite, so thanks for posting! I am now your fan!


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