Squadron Supreme: The Pre-War Years – J. Michael Straczynski

The idea of Supers working for, or against, the government is nothing new. Stormwatch and the Authority did a very good job. J. Michael Straczynski also does a good job. He creates a large ensemble cast thrust together to do the bidding of the USA. There are plenty of layers and strong, if occasionally predictable, back-story for the characters. Having so many of them however means it takes time for each of them to reach their moment in the spotlight and whole issues go by without certain names popping up at all. There is plenty to get your teeth into from solid fight scenes to hidden agendas. But the real meat comes when the brighter characters begin to question the hand that feeds them and its motives.

A large part of the ethos of this story is about race. How it divides our world and how it divides his fictional world. As most of us only get the chance to be one race we rely on literature to experience other peoples’ points of view. There are more black superheroes in this tale than I have seen in every other Marvel title put together and about time. Let us hope they don’t descend into “whitey” bashing stereotypes but continue to help us see the wider spectrum of humanity. I’m still waiting for the Hispanic, Asian, Oriental, Inuit, etc, heroes to arrive but I guess Rome wasn’t built in a day.

I do hope this series carries on and we can see our bunch of oddballs grow and develop and the weighty issues raised get some much needed airtime. The art is good wholesome stuff with the odd flash of genius in the composition department if you look hard enough. Likewise with the Douglas Adams reference. Thumbs definitely Up! More please.

9/356. Tomorrow: The Wintermen – Brett Lewis

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