The following review uses a lot of words to say “buy this comic
now.”

General Information

Title: Supreme Power #1: Special Edition

Author: J. Michael Straczynski

Illustrator: Gary Frank

Original Publication Date: August 6, 2003

Cover Price: $4.99 US, $7.95 Can (non-special edition
cheaper)

Premise

This is a recreation of the Squadron Supreme. Originally created
as
Marvel’s version of the JLA, this modification is set outside
Marvel
continuity. This time, Hyperion (the Superman-like hero) is the
first
super-powered individual to come to Earth, and we see a
plausible way
for the U.S. government to deal with it.

The Special Edition also includes character sketches of the
entire
team, and a reprint of the two issues of the Avengers where the
team
first appeared. (I’ll probably give those two issues their own
review
when I read them later.)

High Point

The feeling that, as good as this issue is, it’s still just the
warm-up for what is to come. It won’t be long before I start
calling
for this title to move onto the 18-issue per year plan if it keeps
this up.

Low Point

The similarity in origin to Superman in the first few pages. It
quickly takes a rapid turn away from that origin, so it’s really not a
big problem. I only list it because I need to pick something as the
low point, and after flipping through the issue for inspiration twice,
this is the best I can come up with.

The Scores

How original can one get when adapting and
adaptation?
Imagine if Superman were a bubble boy raised by the U.S.
government.
Imagine if Ma and Pa Kent often felt more fear for their child than
love, and if they felt a certain animosity toward each other.
Imagine
if that Superchild realized that he was in a cage, and that he
chose
to stay only to honour the ties he felt to his “parents.” This is
what we see this month. Imagine what might happen if he
realized the
life he’s lived is a lie. This is what is almost certainly to come.
I haven’t read a title like this before. This isn’t a part of a story
arc as much as it feels like it’s just the first part of a saga.
Every day of this boy’s life should be interesting, and he’s only
the
first character that we’re going to meet. It feels much newer than
it
should, given its origins, and for that achievement it receives 5
out
of 6.

The artwork by Gary Frank is excellent. The
emotions come
across remarkably clearly, and there is easily enough detail in the
work to reveal anything we’d need to see. My only complaint is
that
his work on some real people might not have been recognizable
to me
out of context. I give it 5 out of 6.

The story is an excellent first chapter, but it’s nothing
more than a first chapter. Many of the major pieces seem to be
in
place, but I get the feeling that JMS has a lot more in store for us.
There were very few major events here; rather it reads like a
long
sequence of minor events that add up to something disturbing. I
give
it 5 out of 6, an imperfect score only because this single
chapter’s
story isn’t actually complete.



The characterization is fairly well done. The lead is
an infant
most of the time, and is observed from a detached distance for
his
adolescence, but we still get a surprisingly good feel for what he’s
becoming. Most of the characters aren’t well developed yet,
though,
because the story just didn’t focus on one of them long enough
for us
to get a feel for them.
I give it 4 out of 6.

The emotional response this produced is excellent.
It’s been
a while since I read the first issue of a comic that made me
anticipate the second issue this much. I’m more than a little
intruigued. Even the “Spot” crack made me laugh, and I realized
that
was partly because it provided an outlet for the tension that had
already been built up. I give it 6 out of 6.

The flow is well done, using a time shifted view of the
same
room to show the character as he aged. Even the change in
scene at
the end was well done, with a continued “voice over” to tie one
scene
to the next. I give it 6 out of 6.

Overall, it’s an excellent first issue of a very
promising
title. My expectations were high, and they were exceeded.
(Man, I’ve
got to start catching up on his Amazing Spider-Man
work.) I
give it 5 out of 6.

In total, Supreme Power #1 receives 36 out of 42.

Additional Notes and Comments

There should be a new issue on the first Wednesday of every
month, and
they will all be reviewed in this space.