The Secret Wars boys take a quick break from their coverage of all things Beyonder to review and discuss the seminal Squadron Supreme mini-series by Mark Gruenwald and Bob Hall. Often referred to as "Watchmen before Watchmen", this comic takes a hard look at what would happen if superheroes stopped fighting villains and tried to actually save the world...almost destroying it in the process.
In this special bonus episode, Sean and Greg celebrate the birthday of Mark Gruenwald by discussing some of his best works. Join in as they look back at the amazing Hawkeye mini-series from 1983 and the Captain arc from Captain America.
One thing about Gruenwald was making of lists, sometimes with compare/contrast. Like heroes & villains with "wolf" themes, or QUASAR #17, with a race between all the speedsters, although that's more famous for celebrating his love of the Silver Age. (And sly humor; the street-level criminal the Black Racer is running from the Earth to the Moon on a track built by an Elder of the Universe, and thinking, "This is insane! I'm a sprinter!")ReplyDelete
The first year or so of QUASAR was working through a list of aliens on Earth from previous comics.
I don't know what to make of AVENGERS #290. Earlier issues had featured robot characters teaming up, mainly because they were robots, but this last chapter has one finding what it wanted, and then finding how that was different from what it wanted. The co-plotting is credited to Mark with Ralph Macchio, but I don't know how much it owes to Roger Stern, who began the arc. Back when I first read it, I had no idea of such things, and merely took it as a surprise ending to the story.
When it comes to Gruenwald's writing career, it's not very diverse. Cap, Quasar, and D.P.7 were his longest running gigs. Also, he seemed to lean towards one-and-done issues, but with slow-burning subplots that he would resolve eventually, but didn't always have a "big" payoff. Just not his style.ReplyDelete
That said, besides the storylines mentioned in this episode, I really enjoyed how he developed both the Serpent Society and Red Skull's Crew as serious villainous organizations. He gave them such wonderful development, either could have spun off into their own series, similar to Suicide Squad or Secret Six or Superior Foes of Spider-Man. I know in his farewell letter in Cap, he took it as a challenge to build up Cap's rogues gallery, and I daresay he succeeded. Following Cap writers benefited from his efforts a lot.
This episode prompted me to re-read the Hawkeye mini, and it was just as awesome as I remembered! Thanks for that! (and for following my twitter posts on it)
Yes, I love the Super-Patriot/Captain arc, Cap Wolf, Squadron Supreme, and a bunch of Quasar. Its Journey Into Mystery story was my jumping on point, which was a delight. But my favorite was Cosmos in Collision, a highlight being issue #22. Whoa.
Till next time, Squaddies!