The Squadron Supreme

Created by Roy Thomas and Sal Buscema

» FIRST APPEARANCE:
Squadron Sinister: Avengers #70 (Nov. 1969)
Squadron Supreme:
Avengers #85 (Feb. 1971)
Ultimate Squadron Supreme: Supreme Power #1 (Oct. 2003)

History

Special thanks to the wealth of expertise of Sean Ryan.

The following history applies only to the Squadron Supreme of the mainstream Marvel Universe. The team from the Supreme Power series exists in the Marvel "Ultimate" universe.

The Original Squadron Supreme

Years ago, Marvel shamelessly unveiled their very own JLofA rip-off group: the Squadron Sinister. These four villains were foes of the Avengers. Later, they took it one step further and created the Earth-S of the Marvel Universe, where lived the good Squadron Supreme. The group grew in number over the years, appearing in various issues of Avengers and Defenders before finally getting their own groundbreaking 12-issue mini-series in the 1980s (now available in trade paperback). Eleven new members joined during the mini-series. Unlike the core Squadron, these were original characters.

Recently, the JLA's popularity sparked a "reboot" of the Squadron Supreme. The book, called Supreme Power, starred Hyperion and was published under Marvel's "Max" imprint. These new stories definitely do not take place in the main Marvel Universe, nor do they have any connection to the former Squadron Supreme. Many of the original characters have been revamped and reintroduced. The book then spun into three mini-series, Doctor Spectrum, Hyperion and Nighthawk. In this universe, these characters are often at odds with each other. Nighthawk, Power Princess and Amphibian have "bad sides" to them, and others like Arcana and Nuke have been teamed against Hyperion. No team was actually formed until Hyperion #2.

Early Days

            
Hyperion, Power Princess, Nighthawk, Doctor Spectrum, Whizzer, Amphibian, Skymax

The Squadron Supreme was preceded (in print, not chronologically) by Marvel's Squadron Sinister, a villainous quartet consisting of Hyperion II, Nighthawk II, Whizzer III and Doctor Spectrum II. Hyperion II (a duplicate of the original) was created and the other three empowered by the alien Grandmaster as pawns to use against the Avengers, who defeated them.

The Avengers (and the readers) encountered the Squadron Supreme on their parallel world for the first time AFTER the Avengers had fought the Squadron Sinister, causing no small amount of confusion for all concerned. In later years it was revealed that Grandmaster created the now-defunct Squadron Sinister as a facsimile of the Squadron Supreme, whom he had employed successfully as pawns in the past.

The Squadron Sinister stuck around long after Grandmaster dumped them: Hyperion II emigrated to the Squadron Supreme's world and tried to replace his counterpart, dying in battle with him. Nighthawk II reformed, joined the Defenders, and spent years super-heroing before he died in action. Doc Spectrum's power prism turned out to be a sentient alien parasite which has possessed him and other folks for villainous purposes on occasion. Whizzer III remains active as the super-criminal called Speed Demon (having changed his name to distinguish himself from the late 1940s crimefighter by that name-Bob Frank, the original Whizzer).

Though their actual first in-print appearances came in pretty random order, the SS's founding roster and early subsequent recruits mirrored the substance and chronology of the pre-Crisis JLA roster (minus Elongated Man, Red Tornado, Hawkgirl, Vixen, Steel, Vibe and Gypsy, though later recruit the Shape could be construed as an Elongated Man equivalent).

The founders were Hyperion (Superman), Nighthawk (Batman), Power Princess (Wonder Woman), Amphibian (Aquaman), Whizzer II (Flash), Doctor Spectrum (Green Lantern) and the Skrullian Skymaster (Martian Manhunter), also known simply as the Skrull. One of the most obscure Squadron members, Skrull was an ingenious bit of retconning-using a green-skinned, shape-shifting super-Skrull (an established alien race at Marvel) as the equivalent of the green-skinned, shape-shifting Martian Manhunter. He was a wayward Skrull explorer rescued by astronaut Joe Ledger, who became Doctor Spectrum using the power prism given to him by the grateful Skrull. The Skrull eventually resigned to return home (as Martian Manhunter did), and was never heard from again. The Skrull first appeared in Squadron Supreme #1, but wasn't named until #4.

Subsequent recruits included Hawkeye II/Golden Archer/ Black Archer (Green Arrow), Tom Thumb (Atom), American Eagle/Cap'n Hawk/Blue Eagle (Hawkman), Lady Lark/Skylark (Black Canary), Arcanna/Moonglow II (Zatanna) and Nuke (Firestorm).

             
Lady Lark, Golden Arrow, Tom Thumb, Nuke, Arcanna, Blue Eagle

The Original Maxi-Series

During the SS limited series, they took on eleven new recruits. Six of them were forcibly reformed criminals brainwashed into working with the SS: Ape-X, Dr. Decibel, Foxfire, Lamprey, Quagmire and Shape (Ape-X was rendered brain-dead while Decibel and Quagmire seemingly died in action; Quagmire actually survived and is active as a villain on mainstream Marvel Earth). The brainwashing was undone and Lamprey betrayed the SS, dying in battle with Dr. Spectrum. Shape and Foxfire remained loyal to the SS, and Foxfire died in action alongside them. The SS's other new recruits were novice super-heroes: Haywire, Inertia, Moonglow, Redstone and Thermite. All five joined the SS as infiltrators on behalf of the subversive Redeemers, but when the Redeemers successfully coerced the SS into abandoning their positions as world rulers, the surviving rookies remained with the SS. One of the five, Thermite, was accidentally killed during the Redeemers' battle with the SS.

So, following Squadron Supreme #12, the roster stood as follows: Hyperion, Power Princess, Doctor Spectrum, Whizzer II, Arcanna, Shape, Haywire, Inertia, Moonglow and Redstone. Skrull had long since resigned. Amphibian and Nighthawk resigned in protest of the SS's becoming world rulers to steer the Earth back to stability after its temporary conquest by the Overmind, and Nighthawk led his Redeemers group in persuading the Squadron to abdicate. Nighthawk died in that battle, as did fellow ex-SS member Black Archer, who joined the Redeemers after the SS expelled him for abusing their mind-control technology by forcing Lady Lark to love him. Lady Lark resigned in protest of his expulsion, still brainwashed into blindly adoring him, but she didn't join the Redeemers (nor did Amphibian). Nuke went mad after realizing he had given his parents cancer, and died battling Dr. Spectrum. Tom Thumb died of cancer himself while trying to find a cure for it. Ape-X was incapacitated, Doctor Decibel died while suffocating when Quagmire's power engulfed the hospital. Quagmire was lost and presumed dead, and Blue Eagle, Lamprey, Foxfire and Thermite died during the SS/Redeemers battle.

Most of those killed in SS #12 were placed in Hybernaculum chambers. These chambers were invented by Tom Thumb, and basically served the same purpose as cryogenic preservation. There were 7 chambers: Tom Thumb, Pinball, Thermite, Foxfire, Blue Eagle and Golden Archer were shown. The other one may have contained Nighthawk, since Lamprey's body was mostly unrecoverable.

Stranded on Earth

In the Squadron Supreme: Death of a Universe graphic novel, a cosmic entity threatened to consume the Squadron's universe. With the help of a villain called the Master Menace, the SS created a dimensional aperture that would trap the entity. They boarded his ship and placed the pieces of the generator around the sun to trap it. This failed and they were consumed.

Of the members on this mission, the following may be said: Redstone — whose powers were apparently linked to the Earth — lost mass when he left Earth with the Squadron and Redeemers and died while Dr. Spectrum attempted to return him to Earth. Inertia was reduced to a pink mist and ruptured the ships hull while trying to use her inertia powers on the Entity. Because she'd had a child just a week previously, Arcanna was forbidden by Power Princess to go; so she assumed the guise of Moonglow. The original Moonglow was afraid to go because Arcanna and Shape saw her true appearance (her powers were all based on illusions). Lady Lark returned to the team and adopted the wings of her late friend Blue Eagle, becoming Skylark.

Back on Earth, Arcanna's newborn son, Thomas, was passed the mantle of Earth's Wizard Supreme after the previous wizard died trying to communicate with the entity. Thomas managed to exchange places with the entity and "un-absorb" the space it had consumed. The Squadron's Earth was saved, but they had been shunted into the Marvel Universe proper.

The surviving roster stranded on Marvel-Earth, then, includes Hyperion, Power Princess, Doctor Spectrum, Whizzer II, Skylark, Moonglow II, Haywire and the Shape. While searching for a way home, they became allies of Quasar and residents of the research facility Project: Pegasus, and as such were supporting stars in the Quasar ongoing series until its cancellation.

Going Home

I need some help fleshing out this history!

Membership List

THE ORIGINAL SQUADRON SUPREME
Member 1st app. DC Counterpart Status
1. Amphibian (Kingsley Rice) Avengers #145 Aquaman Active in SS
1. Doctor Spectrum (Joe Ledger) Avengers #85 Green Lantern Active in SS
1. Hyperion (Mark Milton) Avengers #85 Superman Active in SS
1. Nighthawk (Kyle Richmond) Avengers #85 Batman Deceased SS #12
1. Power Princess (Zarda Shelton) Defenders #112 Wonder Woman Active in SS
1. Skrullian Skymaster (Sk'ym'x, James Doe, The Skrull) SS #1 Marian Manhunter Active in SS
1. Whizzer II ( Stanley Stewart) Avengers 85 Flash Active in SS
8. Black Archer (Wyatt McDonald, Hawkeye, Golden Archer) Avengers 85 Green Arrow Deceased SS #12
9. Tom Thumb (Thomas Thompson) Avengers 85 Atom Deceased SS #9
8. Blue Eagle (James Dore, Jr., American Eagle, Cap'n Hawk) Avengers #85 Hawkman Deceased SS #12
8. Skylark (Linda Lewis, Lady Lark) Avengers #85 Black Canary Resigned
12. Moonglow II (Arcanna Jones) Defenders #112 Zatanna Resigned
13. Nuke (Albert Gaines) Defenders #112 Firestorm Deceased SS #3
SQUADRON SUPREME MAXI-SERIES
14. Ape-X (Xina) SS #6 n/a Rendered brain dead in SS #??
14. Dr. Decibel (Dr. Anton Decibel) SS #6 n/a Deceased SS #10
14. Foxfire (Olivia Underwood) SS #6 n/a Deceased SS #12
14. Lamprey (Donald McGuiggin) SS #6 n/a Deceased SS #10
14. Quagmire (Jerome Meyers) SS #6 n/a Active as a villain on mainstream Marvel Earth
14. Shape (Raliegh Lund) SS #6 n/a Resigned
20. Haywire (Harold Danforth) SS #11 n/a Active in adventuring; remained on mainstream Marvel Earth
20. Intertia (Edith Freiberg) SS #11 n/a Deceased SS Graphic Novel
20. Moonglow (Melissa Hanover) SS #11 n/a Resigned; status unknown
20. Redstone (Michael Redstone) SS #11 n/a Deceased SS Graphic Novel
20. Thermite ( Sam Yurimoto) SS #11 n/a Likely deceased after SS #10
25. Nighthawk II (Neal Richmond) SS Special #1 Batman Active in SS

The Ultimate Squadron Supreme

   
Hyperion • The Blur • Dr. Spectrum • Nighthawk

Membership List

Member 1st app. Status
Hyperion (Mark Milton) Supreme Power #1 Active in SS
Doctor Spectrum (Joe Ledger) Supreme Power # Active in SS
The Blur (Stanley Stewart) Supreme Power # Active in SS
Nighthawk (Kyle Richmond) Supreme Power # Deceased SS #12
Kingsley (Amphibian) Supreme Power # Active in SS
Zarda (Power Princess) Supreme Power # Active in SS
Michael Redstone Supreme Power # Deceased SS Graphic Novel
Arcanna Jones Supreme Power #18 Resigned
Nuke (Albert Gaines) Supreme Power #18 Deceased SS #3
?? (Tom Thumb) Supreme Power #18 Deceased SS #9
Dr. Emil Burbank Supreme Power #18  
Edith Freiberg (Intertia) Supreme Power #18  
Shape (Raliegh Lund) Supreme Power #18 Resigned
(Blue Eagle) Hyperion #2  
(Golden Archer) Hyperion #2  
(Skylark) Hyperion #2  
(Haywire) Hyperion #2  

Appearances + References

» FEATURED APPEARANCES:

  • Avengers v.1 #85-86, 141-144, 147-149
  • Avengers v.3 #5-6
  • Defenders #111-115
  • Fantastic Four Unlimited #11 
  • Quasar #13-17, 19, 25, 27-29, 50, 60
  • Thor #280

» SERIES:

Original Team:

  • Squadron Supreme, 12-issue limited series (1985-86)
  • Squadron Supreme: Death of a Universe, graphic novel (1989)
  • Avengers/Squadron Supreme '98, one-shot (1998)
  • Squadron Supreme: New World Order, one-shot (1998)

Ultimate Team:

  • Supreme Power, 18 issues (2003-05)
  • Doctor Spectrum, 6-issue limited series (2005)
  • Supreme Power: Hyperion, 5-issue limited series (2005-06)
  • Supreme Power: Nighthawk, 6-issue limited series (2005-06)
  • Squadron Supreme v.2, current (2006-)
  • Squadron Supreme: Hyperion vs. Nighthawk, 4-issue limited series (2006-07)
  • Ultimate Power, 6-issue limited series (2006)

» SEE ALSO: