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.
Sean and Greg review the final issue of the seminal Squadron Supreme mini-series. Heroes will live, heroes will die, and the Pulp2Pixel Podcast crew will never be the same. Don't miss this episode and stay to the end for a big announcement!
Great last episode. As I was listening to your discussion of Gruenwald's decision to explain that Hyperion could father a child I was reminded of the essay "Man of Steel, Woman of Kleenex" by Harlan Ellison. I've never actually read it but it apparently explains why Superman could never have sex with Lois Lane without killing her. This essay is repeatedly referenced in fandom articles of the 80s and I'm sure Gruenwald would have known of it. I'm sure that line was there solely as a way of countering a popularly held opinion in fandom. It speaks to the same constituency as his attempts to use OHOTMU to explain everything which can feel clunky on the page.ReplyDelete
You're also right about how great Paul Ryan was. It's interesting that Greg views Paul as the artist who replaces John Byrne as apparently Byrne was originally going to draw Squadron Supreme. In the Modern Masters book on Jerry Ordway, Jerry reveals that he went over to Marvel to ink Byrne on SS and they reproduce a pin up by them. Apparently Byrne changed his mind so Jerry inked Fantastic Four instead. I wonder how different the series would've been if John Byrne had been involved.
Hey! I found time to listen to your podcasts, so I thought I'd start with this latest one! Just kidding. I've been listening all along, but every time I try to write a comment, it starts expanding into a tome I wouldn't want to inflict on my worst enemy.ReplyDelete
You've been approaching the series with a different viewpoint from mine, so I've been waiting for the finale, hoping you could help turn around my disappointment. I didn't expect all the answers, the point of the story is there's not an all the answers, but the bloodbath that closes off so many possibilities was unsatisfying. Thanks to the Gruenwald comments you found I can understand the origin of the bloodbath as retribution for their sins, but I can still see the problem with it; in delivering the consequences, like Foxfire, you open yourself up to repercussions. We're told forgiveness is divine, I can see where it might be practical, as well.
I'll see in a year or so how much I still enjoy this series.
Now to Hyperion and his unexpected, unexplained "revelation." I am susceptible to whatever tic made Gruenwald include it, because I think it is such a neat idea. He didn't fully explain it here -- at least, I didn't get the meaning until he spells it out in one panel in Quasar, so I'm going to treat it as a spoiler, although I don't know that anything has been done with it, or that any further clues were laid out before the "revelation." So, if you'd rather read it in the comic, skip the rest of this note.
You guys liked Haywire, how did you like the way Steve Englehart handled him in the Avengers: Celestial Quest miniseries? It builds on Gruenwald's graphic novel and Busiek's return arc, so don't read it out of order. (This is just a spacer paragraph for anyone whose eyeballs couldn't stop reading in time.)
Hyperion is an Eternal. He's got the strength, invulnerability, the flight, the eyebeams. Squadron Supreme's universe is a variant on the Marvel Universe. He'd brushed up against this in making Zarda's Utopia Isle to be Attilan, the Martian Manhunter a Skrull with the Spectrum as one of their power stones, but this is going all-in, matching that specific and iconic power set to one that wasn't created to duplicate it.
Oh my Supremics, you made it, and it was so hard to hold my tongue for Sean's sake. If you thought the body count was rough thru the rest of the series, I knew you were gonna be shocked by the finale.ReplyDelete
The discussion on the timing of the Renegades' attack was appropriate, but my take is pretty straight forward. Yes, the Squadron was relinquishing "most" of their power, but not all. Plus, the rest of the world was likely still struggling as shown back in issue #1. So what was the Squadron's next step going to be? Roll out their Utopia program to other countries? Take control by force to do so? And if things started to backslide in the US, would they have to step back in "just for a little while"? Basically, it's a variant of Nighthawk's argument. Would they let the normals figure things out for themselves, or not? Before the big fight, I think we know the answer to that.
Paul Ryan is not a favorite of mine. I have enjoyed his work on specific projects, but not always. However, he was perfect for this mini, and he delivered for this final issue expertly. His style is very grounded, which is why he's great here. (And in D.P.7) Another artist might have made the final fight too sensational looking, but Ryan made it brutal and almost uncomfortably real.
Oh, and that sequence when Arcanna knocks out Moonglow, drops her illusion, and we see her in overalls? That has to be the most badass image of a pregnant woman ever. Seriously, she looks incredible! But again, very real as she's in major distress at that moment. Still blown away by that.
I'd never thought of Haywire/Inertia as Hawkeye/Mockingbird, but that's perfect. Well done!
So many more things I'd like to discuss ... that would spoil the graphic novel. COME ON, SEAN! YOU'RE KILLING ME!
(Psst! If you're looking for a guest on the Secret Wars show when you get to Amazing Spider-Man: Renew Your Vows, I might know somebody. ((It's me. (((What's with all the parenthesis?))) I'm a programmer. It's what I do.)) )
Excellent job, my friends! See you on Battleworld!