Warning: This article contains SPOILERS for Avengers #18
When the Avengers just aren’t enough to protect Earth, it’s time to call in Marvel’s own version of the Justice League. But the new Squadron Supreme couldn’t look more like an exact copy of DC’s greatest heroes if they tried. The only difference? This new team is made up of trained killers that make Batman v Superman look like a day at the park.
Since the team made a surprise appearance as a team handpicked and assembled by Agent Phil Coulson himself in Avengers #700, they have kept their presence in the Marvel Universe quiet. Now that their secrets are out, they are too: leaping into action as “D.C.’s greatest heroes!” Defenders of America’s capital, hence the name. But the comparisons to Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, and the rest of the League go far deeper than a simple joker. The new Squadron Supreme of America is a dark, bloody, and sinister creation of Agent Coulson’s. And their idea of handling an invasion… is turning the invaders into a pile of blood and bones. We can’t imagine DC is going to like this one.
- This Page: Meet Marvel’s Knockoff Justice League
- Page 2: These Justice League Heroes Commit Brutal Murder
The team makes their aforementioned, grand debut in the pages of Avengers #18, available at comic book stores now. For newcomers, the Squadron Supreme (now ‘of America’) is going to be hard to understand. Especially today, when DC’s own Captain Marvel movie ignores the MCU version, instead of getting to poke fun at the competition. Instead of poking, the Squadron Supreme is a lot closer to bludgeoning readers directly in their faces, once the team stands tall as the most obvious Justice League knockoff most readers will have ever seen.
Originally reated by Roy Thomas and John Buscema, the Squadron Supreme was dreamed up as a playful recreation of the Justice League, used to battle Marvel as obvious “bad guys” for little more than a laugh among the readers.The Kryptonian Superman was re-imagined as Hyperion, Batman became (an African America) Nighthawk, Wonder Woman was now Power Princess born of ‘Utopia Isle,’ a home of warrior women., The Flash and Green Lantern got similar spoofs, but nothing like the latest rendition.
Now that the massive War of the Realms event has come to Marvel’s Earth, the Squadron Supreme has been pushed into action. And with their call to service in the public eye, they get a heroic introduction from Phil Coulson personally:
Nighthawk. Power Princess. Hyperion. Doctor Spectrum. The Blur. For months now (or has it been years?) they’ve been training in secret in the nation’s capital… honing their wondrous powers, working to become the greatest nation’s greatest super heroes. The Squadron Supreme of America. And they owe it all to one man. Agent Phil Coulson.
However, as we mentioned above, the issue also reveals the origins of the Squadron Supreme. And those have absolutely nothing in common with the DC counterparts. Instead of hailing from an alien world, a warrior island, or a Gotham City stand-in… these heroes have been created in a lab, with Phil Coulson overseeing every step of their growth and programming. And if the costumes they’ve been given seem to be heading a different direction than the Justice League (except for Wonder Wom–sorry, Power Princess) their approach to combat is aiming for a completely different audience.
Forget knockout punches, heat vision, tornadoes, gadgets, or energy constructs. The Squadron Supreme of America relies on brute strength and vicious violence to slaughter the Frost Giants in the nation’s capital. They may be the “heroes of D.C.” but the true version of the Justice League wouldn’t touch these murderers with a ten foot pole. We’re guessing readers will want to see the violence for themselves, but be warned: gruesome SPOILERS incoming…
Next Page: Marvel’s Justice League Heroes Are ALL Murderers
The issue opens by focusing on Hyperion, living a civilian life that might have been Clark Kent’s in another universe (which, come to think of it, the Marvel reality might actually be). Instead of working as a reporter at a major newspaper, Mark Milton has taken a job teaching children about American history. Like MCU fans know, Phil Coulson likes his heroes patriotic. Which is why Hyperion doesn’t love anything as much as the United States. Check out the character description offered in the issue for this new, happy-with-homicide Hyperion:
Mark Milton loves teaching American history. He loves seeing the spark in a student’s eye when they get excited about the country he holds so dear. But teaching is not why Mark was put on this Earth. Explosions in the distance. Now the entire city is screaming. This is why he was born, however many years ago that was. For this moment. He’s seven, maybe eight seconds away from the source of the scream. He’ll be there in two.
The decision to have Hyperion tear open his dress shirt to reveal his Hyperion logo in classic Superman fashion is a clever and satisfying homage. But Power Princess stretches those boundaries beyond repair. Wearing Wonder Woman’s armor, using her weapons, and confirming her exact backstory… well, it’s not Marvel’s most subtle comedy. But when readers get insight into how she and Hyperion are created together, nude, and designed to lust after one another… things take a turn towards, to be fair, as creepy a tone as this story actually should have. Although we doubt many Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. fans will appreciate ANY version of Phil Coulson claiming a brutal Wonder Woman should be like “Thor, but with boobs.”
Readers are introduced to Princess Zarda during her boxing training, as her coach notes that she lives to be hit as well as give hits. The readers knows the truth about her sparring, and about the mystical item that makes it possible:
“It’s almost like you enjoy getting punched in the face.” Zarda only smiles when he says that. How could she explain the pain makes her feel alive? That without the special necklace from Utopia Isle that dampens her powers, Zarda wouldn’t feel anything at all? And the bones of this woman’s hand would’ve been shattered into a thousand pieces.
The new version of Nighthawk looks more like a knockoff version of Marvel’s Batman than any introduced before, but Kyle Richmond’s origin story is slightly different. Now a politician as opposed to a billionaire industrialist, Nighthawk possesses the exact same level of paranoia and suspicion that is often parodied as it pertains to Bruce Wayne. The real Bruce keeps tabs on his teammates, sure… but Nighthawk takes it to another, even colder level. It’s not really his choice of course, since Coulson is once again programming him with Bat-levels of
Since Washington, D.C. is a special federal district, its representative has no real voting power in congress. Kyle Richmond is a delegate without the full powers of a congressman. The weakest member of the House, some would say. They would be wrong.
The Blur and Doctor Spectrum only get a page or two in this issue, and the reasons are understandable. Spectrum’s origin story is simple (astronaut finds space crystal, becomes a soldier of the spectrum of light) but it’s The Blur’s powers that make for the most predictable, yet unquestionably disgusting kill of the issue. Having been exposed to countless hours of pop culture garbage and torture videos intended to fracture his mind, The Blur is unleashed upon a Frost Giant, using his speed not only to disorient the invader, but apparently remove his head from his body. The reader is spared the grisly sight, but can take comfort in the fact that this murderous version of The Flash still got a selfie with the severed head.
Since his fateful jog through a strange mist that altered his body chemistry, Stanley Stewart has worked as a mail carrier, window washer, dog walker, barista, and computer programmer. Sometimes all in the same day.
It’s unclear just how large a role the new, bloodthirsty, emotionless, and lab-grown Squadron Supreme of America is going to have in the future of the Marvel Universe. The same goes for Agent Coulson, the devious mastermind behind the new team of heroes loyal only to America. We would say it’s worth the joke, perhaps poking fun at DC’s darker film heroes, but this debut proves the Squadron is no longer a laughable imitation of the Justice League. With an army of non-human invaders for them to impale, eviscerate, detonate, and burn alive… well, let’s just hope these ‘heroes’ get called out as the villains they are sooner, rather than later.
Avengers #18 is available now from your local comic book store, or direct from Marvel Comics.
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