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Comic Book / Supreme

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Stop! In the name of lov— Oops! Wrong Supreme.

Supreme is a comic book superhero created by Rob Liefeld who has gone through two distinct phases of existence.

Originally, Supreme was a Grim '90s Anti-Hero who had a very similar power set and appearance to classic Superman, but none of his morality or humility. Supreme was violent, brutal, aloof, with a massive ego, made no attempt to connect with humanity or live as a human, and was convinced that he was a god. Within the Image Comics Shared Universe he was one of the first superheroes to emerge publicly, originally becoming active during World War II where he fought against Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan – soon after the war ended he left Earth to go explore the universe. Fifty years later, after making a name for himself throughout the universe as a mighty warrior, he returned to Earth to find it now overrun by superheroes of all kinds. While he still battled supervillains and took down criminals, he considered himself unquestionably above humanity, and the general public feared and distrusted him.


In 1997, Alan Moore took over the series, with permission to retcon anything he didn't like. Moore threw out most of Supreme's history and recreated him as an explicit Superman homage, complete with his own scientific archnemesis with a name ending in X, a younger and more innocent Distaff Counterpart, a superteam similar to the Justice League of America, and so on. Moore's run on the series was heavy on the meta-text: his first issue is about the fact that the entire series is being retconned, with Supreme watching in amazement as some cosmic force recreates the world around him, and meeting a parade of earlier Supremes who were cast out of continuity by earlier retcons (most of which Moore had just made up for the occasion). As he explores his new history over the following issues, it's filled in via means of a series of flashbacks that are each written and illustrated in a contemporary comics style (for example, a flashback set during the 1960s resembles a Silver Age story). The fact that Moore's Supreme is now a noble figure (much like Superman) instead of his former dark self is linked to the fact that, in the new continuity, Supreme spent the eighties and nineties pursuing a quest in outer space and thus missed the Age of Dark Superheroes entirely. Another layer of meta-commentary is brought in by Supreme's new civilian identity: he and his newly-acquired equivalents of Lois Lane, Perry White, and Jimmy Olsen work at a comic book company. Their conversations frequently reflect contemporary trends in the comic book industry, and even (sometimes without their entirely realising) things happening around them in their own story.


A new run of Supreme by The Savage Dragon creator Erik Larsen came out in 2012. It began with an adaptation of Alan Moore's final script, and from there went on to present a balance between the original anti-hero vision of the character and Moore's revisioning, with the plot focusing on the escape of Liefeld's Supreme from Supremacy into the revisioned world. The series was cancelled after four issues due to low sales.

In 2014, Image started publishing the Supreme: Blue Rose miniseries, written by Warren Ellis. A new revision takes place, but the system is broken. In the new world, investigative journalist Diana Dane is hired by Darius Dax, who specializes in strategy forecasting related to rare and unusual cases for wealthy and influential people, to investigate the mystery behind a golden object that fell from the sky and a man named Ethan Crane.

     Original Supreme 

Original Supreme provides examples of

  • Aborted Arc: A few, resulting from changes in the creative team:
    • The superhero team Heavy Mettle was probably meant to lead somewhere – if not in this comic, then in another Extreme Studios title – but they never showed up again after the first story arc.
    • The story arc with Simple Simon – in which Simon uses Grizlock's leftover tech to possess the body of an alternate-reality Supreme and wreak havoc – is an interesting one in that its climax was published in issue #25, but its beginning was not. #25 was published between #12 and #13 as an "Images of Tomorrow" flash-forward story, teasing where the series was intended to go over the following year. The Supreme Madness arc in issues #13-18 then had a subplot with Simon finding Grizlock's lab, clearly intended as setup. But the story arc was apparently abandoned when Kurt Hathaway was replaced as writer by Gary Carlson, and the series went in a completely different direction from #23 onwards.
    • Editorial comments in the letters column also indicate that Hathaway intended for Supreme to learn how he'd been de-powered in issue #26, and ultimately confront his greatest enemy to get his powers back.
    • The villain Dexter Cortex abruptly disappeared from the book after Carlson's run ended.
    • The last few issues (story by Jim Valentino, scripted by Tom and Mary Bierbaum) set up a number of things on Other Earth for the upcoming Lady Supreme series to play with: it implied that she would take a job as a journalist alongside gender-flipped equivalents to Lois Lane and Jimmy Olsen (Louis Samuels and Jamie Bartholomew), and also introduced the villains Balthazar and Dr D'Prave. Most of this was ignored by the Lady Supreme comic by Terry Moore, which reinvented Other Earth as a high-tech dystopia and turned Louis into a jerk.
  • A God Am I: Supreme believes that he, himself, is a god. Or possibly the God – he is known to quote scripture when implicitly referring to himself. The Norse god Thor, who is a recurring antagonist, objects to this idea, saying that gods are born while Supreme was created by science.
    • Supreme gets called out on this by reporter Maxine Winslow in Legend of Supreme. She reminds him "thou shalt have no other gods." It clearly strikes a nerve, and even though he gets mad he doesn't argue back.
  • Armed with Canon: Alan Moore's first issue has Kid Supreme sent to the Supremacy, where he is happily engaged to a 1940s-era sidekick named Sally Supreme. The Kid Supreme comicnote  shows him realising the decision to stay in the Supremacy had been forced upon him, being attacked by Sally Supreme for trying to leave, and finally escaping through the closing golden gateway back to Earth with seconds to spare.
  • Asshole Victim: From Supreme's origin story: he was in prison for murdering a man who had raped a 15-year-old girl.
    • Grizlock's entire business building was destroyed due to Supreme's indifference to saving it. His business? Producing chemicals for atomic bombs. Alongside many other unspecified illegal activities to prop it up.
  • And I Must Scream: Supreme's origin story has him dying due to the experiment, but returning to life three days later with superpowers. Good deal, right? It is, until they decide if killing him once was good enough to give him superpowers, killing him AGAIN will make him even more powerful. Leading to horrific torture as he's murdered and brought back to life over and over again for several months until he's powerful enough to escape. No wonder he's such a Jerkass!
  • Beware the Superman
  • Black-and-Gray Morality: Supreme is presented as a clearly awful person, but the villains he fights are nearly all pure evil.
  • Brought Down to Normal: Supreme loses his superpowers during his fight with Quantum, and afterwards continues to fight crime using Mjollnir (which he had appropriated from Thor a few issues earlier). This sticks for a surprisingly long time, even longer than was originally apparent.
  • But Now I Must Go: How Supreme's original departure from the Earth was originally presented. The miniseries Legend of Supreme reveals that he left after accidentally killing the priest who had looked after him, while the priest was in the middle of giving him a What the Hell, Hero? speech.
  • Came Back Strong: This is how Supreme's invulnerability works: whatever doesn't kill him makes him stronger, as his body metamorphoses and adapts against whatever new threat "killed" him.
  • Catchphrase: "... I am SUPREME!" It's meant as an adjective.
  • Crossover: Gladiator/Supreme by Keith Giffen. It's a one-shot comic where Gladiator (another Superman Expy) of the Shi'ar Imperial Guard fights Supreme (here depicted as a crazy Knight Templar) for trying to exterminate one of the Shi'ar's client races.
  • Create Your Own Villain: Supreme drives scientist Zachariah Grizlock to a life of crime early in his career when he failed to save his business from an explosion. Though there were no casualities (Supreme was nice enough to even save the terrorists!) Grizlock's company was obliterated and the files he needed to start again were confiscated, and led to a criminal investigation by the FBI. Grizlock was driven insane by this and dedicated his life to destroying Supreme.
  • Death-Activated Superpower: Related to Supreme's Came Back Strong powers: during the process of creating Supreme he died seven times, and came back to life stronger every time. The process also changed his appearance, down to the fingerprints. That’s why when Supreme appears to die fighting Crypt and then in the next issue a new younger and re-powered Supreme with amnesia turns up, it's entirely plausible that this could be Supreme himself having regenerated into a younger form.
  • Depending on the Writer: Supreme's character can vary pretty significantly. It's consistent that he thinks of himself as a god, but some writers – Keith Giffen in particular – interpret that as meaning he thinks of himself literally as God, while also being a religious zealot.
  • Distaff Counterpart: Lady Supreme. Her true identity is Probe, Supreme's daughter from a thousand years in the future, in the body of her brother Val-En.
  • Expendable Clone: There are shades of this whenever multiple incarnations of Supreme appear. The miniseries Legend of Supreme ends with him fighting and killing a clone of himself. The final story arc on "Other Earth" also sees our Supreme, still de-powered, switch bodies with a powered alternate-timeline version of himself; that alternate Supreme, in the original's body, is later killed. Averted in the flash-forward issue #25, where the alternate-universe Supreme survives.
  • Expy: Of Superman, obviously, mainly in terms of power set and appearance. Before leaving Earth in the 1940s he also had a love interest Louise Masters (Lois Lane) and best friend Billy Nelson (Jimmy Olsen), who were both murdered by Zachariah Grizlock soon after his departure. In terms of personality and outlook on the world, though, Supreme and Superman couldn't be more different.
    • Reporter Maxine Winslow is very similar to Lois Lane, in that they're both female reporters who track the life and exploits of Superman/Supreme. Of course, unlike Lois, Maxine hates Supreme's guts. Supreme himself strongly dislikes her but shows her more respect than most.
    • Grizlock himself is very similar to Lex Luthor, being a deranged mad scientist obsessed with destroying Supreme. He's got the grandiose personality, psychotic obsession and gigantic ego to match, to! He even makes his own form of Kryptonite!
    • Kid Supreme is a fairly direct take-off of Kon-El from DC Comics, with almost the exact same appearance and personality. His short-lived solo series, however, actually owes a lot more to the contemporaneous Robin and Impulse series.
    • The status quo that Lady Supreme is left with at the end of the run is deliberately a much clearer echo of Superman, complete with gender-flipped Lois and Jimmy.
  • Flying Brick
  • From Nobody to Nightmare: Simple Simon is a small-time crook who becomes a lot more dangerous once he gets access to Grizlock's lab.
  • Grand Theft Me: Simple Simon's plan is to steal the body of the alternate-universe Supreme from the Deathmate crossover.
  • Green Rocks: Mad scientist Zachariah Grizlock creates a specially formulated Radium-based crystal designed to depower Supreme. It turns out to be a wasted effort, however, as Supreme lost his powers just a few issues earlier and was using Thor's hammer to substitute them.
  • Heel Realization: Thor was duped into fighting for the Axis Powers in World War II, and so became one of Supreme's foes. When he realised what had happened, the Germans took him down and imprisoned him beneath a mountain. Upon breaking free after fifty years in captivity, his first action is to try to find Adolf Hitler and kill him.
    • Supreme himself goes through a bit of this on occasion. Fighting his clone at the end of Legend of Supreme humbles him enough to stop his crusade against genetically-engineered superheroes and leave earth again.
  • Identity Amnesia: The issue after Supreme's apparent death at the hands of Crypt, a younger-looking superhero with powers and costume very much like Supreme's suddenly appears with no memory of his past – for a long time it is ambiguous if this is the real Supreme or not. Eventually it is revealed that this is Supreme's future daughter Probe, body-switched with her brother Val-En – she regains her memories during an event when a large swathe of male superheroes across the Image Comics line are transformed into women. After this, she deliberately avoids being transformed back to male and takes on the new codename of Lady Supreme.
  • I Just Want to Be Special: Charles Flanders, the original Kid Supreme, has a complex about this that has persisted his entire life. When Supreme left Earth after World War II he was suddenly a normal 14-year-old kid again, and he never got over it.
  • Kick the Dog: Zachariah Grizlock's debut consists of him giving a Hannibal Lecture about how he murdered each and every one of Supreme's loved ones during his fifty-year exile... because he was BORED.
  • Kid from the Future: The Starguard are a whole team of Supreme's children from a thousand years in the future, who turn up a few times. Eventually one of them becomes Lady Supreme.
  • Kid Sidekick: Kid Supreme. The original back in the 1940s was Charles Flanders, who was able to absorb part of Supreme's power into himself and fight alongside him. The modern-day Kid Supreme is Danny Fuller, a teenager who gained superpowers similar to Supreme's via a massive explosion involving Supreme and Grizlock.note  At first Supreme absolutely didn't want to associate with Danny and teamed up with him only grudgingly – Danny was only brought into the fold once the new younger (and nicer) Supreme showed up.
  • Kudzu Plot: Things start to become a little complicated when Supreme loses his powers and has to use Mjolnir to substitute them. Then: he dies, and two new Supremes pop up. A younger one on earth, and a normal one in space. Then, the younger Supreme is turned into a woman, which makes her realize she's actually Probe, Supreme's daughter from the far future, who switched bodies with her twin brother Val-En in a failed attempt save his life. Their hero team, Starguard, was defeated by Loki despite the help of a time-traveling Supreme (who was later sent back to the back and had his memories erased, but felt an unexplained sense of failure.) Val-En actually also survived, and has become a villain on an alternate earth where the real Supreme was kidnapped and is currently being held hostage, powerless. Kid Supreme, the new dubbed Lady Supreme, the Alternate Supreme and a mysterious new hero named Enigma are all drawn to this alternate earth. The powerless Supreme switches bodies with the Alternate Supreme to get his powers back, and the now-powerless Altnerate Supreme is rapidly aged and is given a series of high tech weapon by a mysterious villain who wants to pit them all against each other. The mysterious villain, aided by Val-En in a brand new, disfigured body, reveals himself to be the Nordic god Loki, who wants revenge against Supreme for ruining his plan to start Rangarok by creating the Third Reich and starting World War 2, which Supreme single-handedly won. When he tries to destroy everyone all at the same time, Enigma brings Stargard back from the past to try to help (this is not the battle Loki killed Starguard, mind you.) However, they are defeated. Val-En sees his old body and tries to retake it, but it causes a time distortion that dematerializes his body and flings him forward into the future, turning him into Enigma and making him realize the error of his ways. Enigma meets up with his future-past self and together they combine their powers to disrupt Loki's illusions long enough for the three Supremes to beat him. Combine ALL OF THAT with multiple one-shot villains, side character subplots, tie-ins to company wide crossovers and other books, and you can see why Alan Moore wanted to start completely from scratch.
  • Long Lost Sibling: Enigma, the mysterious figure who arrives near the end to teach Lady Supreme how to use her powers and help the team defeat Loki, is heavily implied to be her brother from the future, who became Enigma due to a complicated series of events in the last arc, leaving her with his old body, genderflipped in a previous crossover event.
  • The Man Behind the Man: The ultimate Big Bad behind everything up to that point is revealed to be Loki.
  • My Greatest Failure: Supreme accidentally killing his best friend, mentor and priest during an arguement about violence. Remembering it breaks his delusions of grandeur and he even calls himself a bad person.
  • '90s Anti-Hero
  • Norse Mythology: A major theme in the original Supreme is Norse Myth and how Supreme keeps finding himself wrapped up in the affairs of the Norse Gods. He has a brutality rivalry with Thor and steals Mjolnir early on, which eventually Odin involves himself in. Loki himself turns out to be the Big Bad of the series.
  • The Nth Doctor: After Supreme is apparently brutally killed by Crypt in the Extreme Sacrifice crossover, the next issue has a new incarnation of Supreme appear: younger, fully powered, and with amnesia. His personality is also different, being less arrogant and more cooperative with others. Supreme's ability to regenerate to a new physical form upon death had been set up earlier in the series, and was tied into how he originally got his powers. Ultimately averted: this is not Supreme himself, but his daughter Probe in his son Val-En's body.
  • Pet the Dog: Even though Supreme is a Jerkass, he still has a moral code and cares enough about other people that he has some nice moments. The first issue has him refusing to participate in a government superweapons program out of disgust. The last issue before Moore's revision has him hug his daughter goodbye and wish her good luck with her new life as a superhero on an alien world.
  • Secret Identity: Averted, sort of. Although Supreme's origin as Ethan Crane is originally a secret, he doesn't actually have a civilian identity: he lives as Supreme, 24/7.
  • Shout-Out: Many of them to Superman. One of the more subtle ones is when we see Supreme on "Other Earth" with weakened powers, he is actually very close to Golden Age Superman in power set and strength: able to leap tall buildings in a single bound, for example, rather than being capable of flight. The WW2-era team of Baker Street Regulars called the Junior Supreme Squad is also a shout-out to teams such as the Newsboy Legion.
  • Showy Invincible Hero
  • Superman Substitute
  • The Cameo: Menagerie, a shapeshifter in Heavy Mettle, transform into Crow T. Robot to snark a black and white film about Supreme.
  • Un-Installment: The original Supreme series was deliberately identified in its indica (and on the first issue's cover) as "Supreme volume 2". Rob Liefeld wanted to eventually create a "volume 1" that would cover Supreme's exploits during World War II – this never ended up happening, with the glimpses of Supreme's Golden Age adventures being limited to occasional flashback stories.
  • Unreliable Narrator: During the "Supreme Madness" storyline, an insane Supreme ends up telling his backstory to Spawn. It's the first clear picture of Supreme's history that we get in the series – but then we immediately see Spawn thinking to himself that he knows for a fact that the general public did not love and trust Supreme back in the 1940s the way he tells it.
  • Unscrupulous Hero: Supreme himself. He's violent, delusional and egotistical, but he has a clear moral code and always fights villains who are undoubtably evil. The perfect example of this is his backstory, where we learn he killed a man, but only because he was a rapist who assaulted a 14-year old girl.
  • Weird Historical War: Supreme single-handedly defeated the Axis in World War II.
  • The Worf Effect: If you're a villain trying to take down Supreme in most of his appearances, you will get your ass kicked. If you try to kill him during a Crossover event, he folds like a house of cards. Just ask Crypt.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Many people's reaction to Supreme. A particularly satisfying example comes from Legend of Supreme where the repoter protagonist calls him out for his hypocrisy and his violence, and he realizes he can't even argue with her.

     Alan Moore's Supreme 

Alan Moore's Supreme provides examples of:

  • Affectionate Parody: Of many, many comic titles, from Tales from the Crypt to Sgt. Rock (or, alternatively, Nick Fury).
  • A.I. Is a Crapshoot: Sort of. Supreme deliberately made one of his robot doubles autonomous so he could have a full-time backup in case things got really hairy, but he returned to the Citadel Supreme after a decade in space to find that S-1 had gotten a little lonely in the meantime. That is, he made robot doubles of all his old friends and pretended to be both the real Supreme and a member of the family.
  • Alliterative Name: Darius Dax, Diana Dane, Judy Jordan
  • Alternate Timeline: One where the South won the Civil War, slavery is still legal, and everything is given a racist, Southern touch is created by Wild Bill Hickok.
  • And I Must Scream: Billy Friday's eventual fate. It turns out that he is the first version of the Supremium Man Supreme fought when he was still Kid Supreme. By way of a Stable Time Loop, the villain called Master Meteor fights Kid Supreme to acquire white supremium for his collection, then travels to the future where he will fight Supreme as an adult, merge with Billy (due to the Supremium traces still in his body) and thanks to his memory being damaged by the merge, returns to fight Kid Supreme all over again. Meaning Billy is doomed to re-merge with himself and fight the two versions of Supreme over and over again.
  • And Knowing Is Half the Battle: One issue had a one-page mock public service strip, in the style (of course) of old Superman comics, promoting "National Flashlight Battery Inspection Day." Supreme reminds a brother and sister about this important day, and things get a little morbid as they all imagine the potentially fatal accidents that could befall their family if they don’t make sure all their flashlights are working properly.
  • Animal Superheroes:
    • Squeak the Supremouse, whose girlfriend is Diana Duck and his archenemy is Darius Duck.
    • Radar, the Hound Supreme, the counterpart to Krypto the Superdog.
  • Arch-Enemy: Darius Dax. After finding out about Daxia he starts to think his struggle with Supreme is the basis of the Universe.
  • Art Shift: While the artists on the main storyline switched around a lot, the flashback sequences were mainly done by Rick Veitch.
  • Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence: Jack Kirby. Really.
    • Also Optilux. He eventually gets brought down.
  • Awful Wedded Life: Supreme once explored the possibility of marrying Glory, and the two got on each other's nerves so much their last "tiff" ended with most of Omegapolis destroyed.
  • Ax-Crazy: Grim '80s Tittering Transvestite Serial Killer Dax.
  • Back from the Dead: Darius Dax, via the Daxia.
  • Butt-Monkey: Billy Friday.
  • Card-Carrying Villain: Almost all of them.
  • The Cape: Supreme and Suprema.
  • Cast of Expies: Apart from a few Rob Liefeld characters who survived the retcon (namely Diehard of Youngblood fame), and a couple of guest-starring Erik Larsen characters, pretty much everybody in the story is a barely-disguised version of a Silver Age DC hero or villain: Supreme is Superman, Supremium is Kryptonite, Suprema is Supergirl, Professor Night is Batman, Twilight is Robin, Darius Dax is Lex Luthor, Diana Dane is Lois Lane, Emerpus is Bizarro, Shadow Supreme is the Reverse Flash, Optilux is Brainiac, Glory is Wonder Woman, Doc Rocket is The Flash, Black Hand is the Golden Age Green Lantern, Roy Roman is Aquaman, the Fisherman is Green Arrow... And even the Larsen characters, Superpatriot and Mighty Man, are used as an Ersatz Captain America and an Ersatz Captain Marvel respectively.)
  • Cat Fight: In the flashback portion of issue #46, Suprema and Satana get into a fight, which excites the "Lust" head of Master Sin.
  • Celebrity Paradox: In-Universe, Ethan Crane works on a comic book about another Superman-inspired character, Omniman. When 90's Supreme escapes, another Superman-esque character, Omni-Man shows up to stop him.
  • Clark Kenting: Supreme actually wonders why it works.
  • Comic-Book Limbo: Represented as an actual place in the first issue, with Supreme visiting the alternate dimension where characters end up when they're written out of continuity. Much later, there's a story arc in which a written-out villain escapes back into continuity.
  • Crapsack World: Daxia is a weird example, it's a Sin City-esque urban cesspool of sex, drugs, crime and violence, populated entirely by variations on Darius Dax, the most evil human being in history, however, since they're all such evil bastards, they love it! The latest Dax on his arrival describes it as "paradise", and almost weeps with joy.
  • Create Your Own Villain: Inverted. Darius Dax inadvertently creates Supreme with a Stable Time Loop.
  • Cut Short
  • Dark Messiah: More like Light Messiah. Optilux fervently believes he is saving people by turning them into light. It's made clear he's really arrogant and delusional.
  • Dark Is Not Evil:Professor Night and his sidekick Twilight.
  • Deconstructor Fleet
  • Deliberate Values Dissonance: Lampshaded frequently as the comic explores changes in society's attitudes towards gender and race over the decades. Best shown when Supreme takes his lady interest to the city of alternate continuities, and she gets some advice on how to get a man from her alternates. Grim 80's Battered Traumatized Drug Addict Diana Dane says they like it when you cry!
    • Another example during the story when Wild Bill Hicock travels back in time to help the South win the Civil War, the League of Infinity take a vote on how to deal with him; Supreme, who is from the Present, and Zayla Zarn, who is from the Future, vote to try to reason with him. The other members are all from various points in the past, and unanimously vote to kill him.
  • Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: Suprema arm-wrestling with an alien baby and ending in a draw. Why? Because the baby was the incarnation of all evil in the history of mankind.
  • Distaff Counterpart: Suprema, his (adopted) sister who by chance gained similar powers.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: An alien warlord named Korgo attempted to become President by dueling Bill Clinton. However, Korgo then quietly begged Supreme to put him back in prison after spending a few hours with Hillary.
  • Evil Counterpart: Shadow Supreme, as evil as Supreme is good.
  • Evil Twin: Shadow Supreme and Emerpus both fill this role, though Emerpus doesn't know he's doing wrong.
  • Face–Heel Turn: Wild Bill Hickok, a member of the Legion of Super-Heroes expy the League of Infinity, went back in time and used modern resources to help the South win the Civil War, creating a new timeline where slavery is still legal and the United States are now the Confederated States of America. All to win the love of a woman he desperately pined for. Supreme and the League were forced to go back before he attempted to change things and kill him.
  • Faking the Dead: Optilux. Darius Dax does die, but he pulls a Grand Theft Me on Judy.
  • Fanservice Pack: Parodied when Twilight, on being revived in the present day, switches from her innocent Silver Age-styled costume to a Dark Age-style fetishistic black leather catsuit and face-paint. Suprema is shocked and bemused.
  • Freudian Excuse: Averted. When Billy Friday ask villains if they have any, it only annoys them. To the point they accuse Supreme of performing act of cruel and unusual punishment by keeping him with them.
  • Fun with Acronyms: HILDA
  • Galactic Conqueror: Korgo the Space Tyrant
  • Gender Flip: Batman ersatz Professor Night's sidekick Twilight is a girl. This was after Carrie in Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, but before Stephanie Brown's brief period as Robin in the mainstream DC canon.
  • Genre Savvy: All over the place. For example, Suprema gives the exact date and time of an attack on the Citadel Supreme on public news so that the time traveling League of Infinity will get the message and show up through the Citadel's time portal.
  • Genius Loci: Gorrl, the Living Galaxy
  • Good Needs Evil: In issue #44, Supreme himself laments the state of the Allied Supermen of America after World War II: "Say what you like about the Nazis, but they made damn good villains! With them gone, we just sat around waiting for something to happen."
    • Darius Dax speculates that the rivalry between him and Supreme is the very reason for existence.
  • Grand Theft Me: Darius Dax pulls one on Judy. For decades. Even after he tells Supreme the truth, he still acts like her until he takes over the body of the android Magno, which has All Your Powers Combined.
  • Gratuitous Iambic Pentameter
  • Great Gazoo: Szasz, the Sprite Supreme, his version of Mr Mxyzptlk. Also, Professor Night (Batman) and Roy Roman (Aquaman) have their own sprites: Nite-Mite and Qyrk, paralleling Bat-Mite and Qwsp.
  • Greater-Scope Villain: The End, a mysterious and apparently powerful villain imprisoned in the Hell of Mirrors that all of Supreme's other enemies fear. He doesn't do anything during Moore's run except sit around waiting for an unspecified something to happen.
  • Green Rocks: Supremium. It comes in emerald (promotes growth of organic life), sapphire (affects probabilities), ruby (transmutes matter), amber (alters time and allows time travel), onyx (erases time), white (which the others originate from), and violet (which is unstable). The Supremium Man once tricked Supreme into thinking there was a pink variety which cures cancer.
    • There's also Silver Supremium, a nod to Gold Kryptonite in that exposure causes permanent nullification of Supreme's powers.
  • Happily Adopted: Ethan Crane, Sally Crane
  • Henpecked Husband: In the first of Supreme's hypothetical scenarios for taking a wife, he marries longtime girlfriend Judy Jordan. Judy ends up totally emasculating him.
  • Identity Impersonator: Supreme has a bunch of robot doubles for this purpose. In between times they hang out in the Citadel Supreme, dust the trophies, keep an eye on his experiments, etc. When visitors to the Citadel note that he also has one of Ethan Crane, he hastily claims he's been making one for all of his acquaintences just in case, then mentally notes that now he has to actually do that to allay suspicions.
    • See also the above-noted incident wherein S-1, the robot double programmed to have his own will, pretended to be the real Supreme as he lived with android copies of Supreme's original supporting cast.
  • Kick the Dog: Shadow Supreme tried to kill Radar, Supreme's super-powered dog.
    • The Dog Bites Back: Radar returned and bit off most of Shadow Supreme's left arm, much to the shock of Supreme and Suprema.
  • Kryptonite Factor: Supremium, the mysterious substance that gave Supreme his powers, is subsequently also his version of Kryptonite.
  • Magic Meteor: The source of Supreme's powers.
  • Magic Mirror: Supreme keeps his Rogues Gallery in a prison created from a magic mirror referred to as the Hell of Mirrors. Said mirror was previously owned by a descendent of Lewis Carroll which provided the inspiration for Alice's Adventures in Wonderland.
  • Metafiction: This comic is basically fueled by metafictional tropes. Aside from what we already mentioned, a noteworthy example is an issue about Ethan and Diana's date, during which they discuss the plot to the next issue of their Omni Man comic, which is about the eponymous character having a date with his Love Interest. The issue follows the same plot structure as the one they're discussing including the cliffhanger at the end.
  • Most Writers Are Writers: Ethan Crane is a comic book artist and both Diana Dane and Billy Friday are comic book writers
  • Multiple Head Case:
    • Baxter Frunnt... sort of. He's got one head so to speak, but it's got two bodies and personalities and faces to control, since his back is the other guy's front.
    • In one issue, Suprema encounters a demon, Master Sin, who has seven heads, each embodying one of the Seven Deadly Sins. They don't get on with each other very well.
  • Naïve Everygirl: Suprema, by virtue of having been in what amounts to a coma for decades, is not very worldly for her age. As it happens, a lot of people besides Supreme quickly get annoyed with her because she tends to be very pushy. While she was in Youngblood, the only person who could stand her was Twilight and that was because they were old friends.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: Billy Friday is almost definitely based on Grant Morrison and possibly Alan Moore himself. Although it's just as likely Billy is meant to be a parody of British comic book writers as a whole.
  • Ominous Multiple Screens: In issue 56, we see two Suprematons working in a security room. One by one, the screens behind them turn into the Televillain, who then appears in the room with them and races off to free the other villains from the Hell of Mirrors.
  • Personality Powers: Suggested to be at work when the series does the obligatory Superman's-Pal-Jimmy-Olsen-gains-weird-superpowers plot. Comicbook writer Billy Friday, exposed to Violet Supremium, begins sprouting extra limbs, rapidly becoming an ungainly mess that collapses under its own weight. Supreme remarks that it reminds him of the way Friday plots story arcs.
  • Phantom Zone
  • Reconstruction
  • The Resenter: Darius Dax, who is angry at the world for loving Supreme instead of him, and also that exposure to supremium gave Supreme powers, but it gave Dax cancer.
  • Retcon
  • Retraux Flashback: Supreme's flashbacks are all told with era-appropriate art and storytelling techniques
  • Retroactive Legacy
  • Rip Van Winkle: In issue #46, Supreme frees Radar from a frozen prison. When Radar learns that thirty years have passed, he comments that all the dogs he knows must be dead.
  • Rogues Gallery: Darius Dax (Lex Luthor), Szasz (Mr. Mxyzptlk), Shadow Supreme and Emerpus (Bizarro), Slaver Ant, Televillain, Optilux (Brainiac), Korgo, Vor-Em, and the Supremium Man (Kryptonite Man).
  • Scary Black Man: Shadow Supreme is a rather literal example, being a jet-black version of Supreme himself, and the only villain Supreme is actually afraid of.
  • Sdrawkcab Name: Supreme's well-meaning counterpart from a world that operates backwards is named Emerpus
    • And the Aquaman Expy is named Roman, which backwards is the name of another similar superhero.
  • Secret Identity
  • Self-Deprecation: Supreme's comment about Billy Friday's tendency toward kudzu plotting is phrased in a way that indicates it's an attribute common to all British comicbook writers (ie. including Alan Moore).
  • Sequential Artist: Ethan Crane
  • Seven Deadly Sins: Master Sin, from one of Suprema's flashbacks. He has seven heads, each representing one sin.
  • Show Within a Show: Ethan Crane and Diana Dane work for Dazzle Comics, which publishes Omniman and Warrior Woman comics. After Diana takes over Omniman from Billy Friday, she starts working with Ethan to introduce basically all the plot points Supreme himself has been going through into the comic.
  • Stable Time Loop: Actually, if you call yourself Supremium Man you may as well change name to "Mr. Stable Time Loop" as this name is associated with two of those that happens in this series.
    • First one: A meteorite made of Supremium land on Earth, giving Ethan his powers. Later, the monstrous Supremium Man appears out of nowhere, accidentally gives Suprema her powers, absorbs the Supremium meteorite and disappears. Supreme never finds any other Supremium, but makes synthetic Supremium from his blood. Many years later Darius Dax fights Supreme and Allies in the body of android Magno. Desperate to win, he absorbs synthetic Supremium, but it makes him fall through time where he becomes the Supremium Man. Then when he absorbs the Supremium meteorite, he goes back even further and become the meteorite itself.
    • Second one: During his day as Kid Supreme, our hero has to fight a Supremium Man called Meteor Master. He claimed to come from another timeline and has a collection of Supremium in different colors. When he added fragment of the Supremium meteorite to his collection, it all turned into the White Supremium and Supremium Man suddenly realized he wants revenge on Supreme for sending him to an asylum. He then heads to the future. He reappears in the present, fights Supreme and is suddenly approached by Billy Friday, who just come back from an asylum where he was sent after his traumatic adventures. When Supremium-infected Friday touches Supremium Man, they fuse together into... a Supremium Man with a multi-colored Supremium collection, who immediately goes back in time to find white Supremium.
    • The strong implication is that Supremium is what all time-looped matter eventually turns into.
  • Superhero Trophy Shelf: Supreme has a large collection of mementos from previous adventures in the Citadel Supreme. This includes many superweapons, some of which sometimes get stolen by his enemies and used against him, and several of which he is attempting to reverse-engineer for the betterment of humanity.
  • Take That!: Optilux, an insane alien evangelist, showed up at a Bon Jovi concert and converted hundreds of fans into light, which was then transported to the prism world Amalynth. After Suprema manages to send Optilux back, she explains to Supreme about the fans. He simply says "can't be helped" with the least amount of care. A few issues later, we find out the fans are referred to as cultists in the prism world and are kept in jail.
    • Earlier, we have Billy Friday, a British Comicbook writer and parody of Jimmy Olsen who's been transformed by some Supremite into an ever-growing mass of arms, and is considerably growing more and more complex by the second. Then we get this:
      Supreme Robot: It's no use, sir! He's becoming more complex with each passing instant until he's just a huge, sprawling ungainly mess!
      Supreme: Well, he's a British comicbook writer. His reaction may be pre-disposed by occupational factors.note 
    • Korgo the Tyrant willingly surrenders to Supreme after a few hours spent in the company of Hillary Clinton.
  • Take That, Audience!: When Supreme and Diana Dane go to the prism-world of Amalynth and pose as the superheroes Dr. Dark and Duskwing, Diana (who is a comic book writer) looks in dismay at her costume and says, "But… But I look like one of those tragic girls you see at conventions!"
  • Too Good for This Sinful Earth: Luriel, one of Supreme's possible love interests, was an angel and didn't have an actual physical body. In a hypothetical scenario, Supreme was able to give her corporal form and married her. Unfortunately, Luriel's body was not able to handle being exposed to the constant wants and needs of the human world, and subjected to so much negative emotions she eventually died.
  • Too Spicy for Yog-Sothoth: Korgo the Space Tyrant assumes the presidency of the United States after defeating Bill Clinton in single combat, but after taking Hillary as his consort he is extremely grateful to Supreme for sending him back to Looking-Glass Land.
  • Trapped in TV Land: The Televillain has the ability to enter into a TV show's fictional world as well as draw others into it.
  • Unreliable Narrator: A self-aware example. Supreme himself admits that his many campy golden/silver age flashbacks are highly oversimplified and filtered through nostalgia.
  • Villainous Breakdown: Optilux gets very angry when Supreme tells him that he turned Amalynth back to normal. Just as Supreme intended - he was lying.
  • Wham Line: This series is very good at this.
    • "Hello Optilux"
    • "Tell him Judy's not who he's talking to." which is made even more effective with the following:
    • "Oh, and by the way... I killed your dog. Eventually."
  • Who Wants to Live Forever?: In issue #46, we learn that Gorrl the Living Galaxy had convinced Suprema to live inside him because his eternal existence was so lonely.
  • Would Hurt a Child: In a sense. The Slaver Ant steals children and babies, renaming them "Worker-0X" and has them build hives and hideouts for her. She dubs them workers because she doesn't see the point in getting too attached.
  • World of Pun: Supremium, the comic's Kryptonite, is white in its most deadly form. This is a Stealth Pun for most of the series until it's explicitly Lampshaded in a flashback with "the deadly power of white supremium!"
    • Let's not forget that there was an issue where time got altered so that the South won. Supreme ended up as "The Supremacist," and wrote a comic about the Klansman.
    • The issue where the defeated/dead Darius Dax winds up in the Daxia, home of every incarnation of Supreme's greatest enemy, is titled "A Brief History of Crime", which is both a pun on the fact that Dax is a criminal and a scientist and a fairly accurate summary of the issue's story.
  • Zerg Rush: A bunch of citizens gang up on the Televillain when they recognize him as the guy who killed Monica on Friends.

     Erik Larson's Supreme 

Erik Laron's Supreme provides examples of

  • Adaptational Jerkass: Larson's run changed the original 90s Supreme from a brooding anti-hero to a ridiculously cruel, hateful, racist and psychotic villain who brutally beats up innocent people for no reason. Even at his worst moments, Liefeld's version of the character was never as much of a Jerkass as Larson portrays him. Somewhat justified in that he believes he's been trapped in a dimensional prison by villains for an unknown length of time and all his friends abandoned him, but he's clearly not meant to be sympathetic at all.
  • Expy: In a way, Liefeld's Supreme could be considered the analogue of Superboy-Prime, a Superboy counterpart who spent years in limbo but came back and became a villain thanks to all the indignities he'd been forced to endure.
  • From Bad to Worse: At the start of the run, the Supremacy is destroyed by an army of Darius Dax counterparts, which is then wiped out by Liefeld's Supreme. He then depowers all his counterparts.
  • Green Rocks: Liefeld's Supreme is immune to Supremium, and exposes the other Supremes to a sample of it so he'll be the only empowered Supreme left.
  • Identity Impersonator: Liefeld's Supreme invoked this. Upon his return from the Supremacy he attacks his former allies and demands to know why no one looked for him in all the years he was gone. Of course, no one knew he'd been missing at all, and Patriot explains they just assumed he'd gone through some sort of life-changing event which resulted in his new personality. Liefeld's Supreme was not amused by the answer.
  • Jerkass: Liefeld's Supreme. He's essentially no better than the bad guys. He spends most of his time wrapped up in internal monologues loathing on the state of supervillains while badmouthing the supposed "witless cattle" who so easily accepted the likes of Moore's Supreme and "a Muslim president".
  • No Ending: While both the original version and Moore's run ended rather abruptly, they still had somewhat satisfying conclusions that tied up all the loose ends they could. Larson's ending just stops right in the middle with nothing resolved. By the time a new creative team retooled the book, everything from Larson's version save a scant few plotpoints was thrown out.
  • The Bus Came Back: Supreme and his counterparts are forced to release Liefeld's Supreme from his prison in the Supremacy as a last ditch effort to stop the invading army of Darius Daxs. He murders all the alternate Daxs, then exposes the other Supremes to Silver Supremium, permanently depowering them and leaving him the only functioning Supreme left besides Suprema.
  • Took a Level in Jerkass: Liefeld's Supreme used to be a Jerk with a Heart of Gold, but a couple decades in an extra-dimensional prison turned that heart black.
    • Additionally: Diana Dane becomes a cheater, Squeak the Supreme Mouse is now foul-mouthed, and just about everybody is a bit more bitter and angry. Of course, given the circumstances, most of the latter ones make a bit of sense.

     Supreme: Blue Rose 

Supreme: Blue Rose provides examples of

  • Adaptational Heroism: Darius Dax assigns Reuben Tube to shadow Diana and Linda during their investigation and he saves them from Jack Lancome. In the previous continuity, Reuben Tube is the Televillain. However, the last issue has him preparing to kill Ethan Crane under Dax's orders.
  • Adaptational Villainy: Father Jack Oliver Lancome tries to kill Diana to stop her from finding Ethan Crane. Jack's head bursts into flames, and he resembles a Jack O'Lantern. In the Alan Moore run, Jack O'Lantern is a member of the Allied Supermen of America alongside Supreme.
    • Zayla Zarn is implied to have committed some dark deeds, such as killing Storybook Smith. This is in stark contrast to her resolve from the Alan Moore series. It's later revealed Zayla hasn't really killed anyone, and instead was saving them by taking them into the future.
  • Art-Shifted Sequel: Tula Lotay’s art combines realistic portraiture with moody, surrealist backgrounds and heavy use of overlay scratches. It’s a far cry from the clean lines and bright colours of a normal superhero comic.
  • Ascended Extra: Evening Primrose is originally a throwaway name included in Alan Moore's run as part of Professor Night's Rogues Gallery. In Blue Rose, she's fleshed out in the Professor Night television series as his archenemy, lover, and alter-ego. She gradually has more prominence in the Professor Night interludes to the point she breaks out of the show in the same way Professor Night does, right outside Littlehaven.
  • Bad Future: Chelsea Henry is shown glimpses of a decimated future created as a result of the new revision. Zayla Zarn, who is from the 29th Century and outside the revision impact, is trying to alter the past and save her friends.
  • Cool Old Guy: Doc Rocket in the new continuity is a very friendly old man who is determined to figure out what is going on.
  • Dating Catwoman: Evening Primrose and Professor Night seem to have this kind of relationship. She's "The wife of (His) Id" and they are implied to be the same person in some way.
  • Expy: Evening Primrose is a combination of Catwoman and Poison Ivy to match Professor Night's Batman.
  • Flower Motif: Blue roses are a prominent theme in this series and appear frequently. The name refers to the fact that blue roses are not natural occurrences, so a "blue rose case" is something very bizarre and nearly impossible. On the other end, Chelsea Henry's "blue rose graph" maps how far out the revision has changed reality and time, including where it began and where it most likely ends.
  • Gone Horribly Wrong: The entire premise of Blue Rose is that the latest revision has fractured the timeline to the point that only the past and the 29th Century, the very far future, are spared from devastating repercussions.
  • Incredibly Lame Pun: Darius Dax muses on this after he learns about Jack Lancome becoming Jack O'Lantern.
  • Intrepid Reporter: Diana Dane.
  • Nightmare Face: Reuben Tube's face looks like glitchy computer graphics. He says only a few people can actually see this "birth defect," and those that can usually process what they see so that they think he looks normal.
  • Race Lift: Darius Dax, Linda (formerly Twilight the Marvel Girl) and Doc Rocket are Black in this new world.
  • Rage Breaking Point: In the sixth issue, Diana finally has enough of people giving her vague, confusing answers to what is going on, and tells Linda to just shoot Judy Jordan so they can search her house before she orders Judy to give her a simple, straight answer.
  • Really Gets Around: Chelsea Henry in this new world has had a lot of girlfriends.
  • Ripple-Proof Memory: Doc Rocket retains knowledge of erased events.
  • Scary Black Man: Played straight with Darius Dax, averted with Doc Rocket.
  • Set Right What Once Was Wrong: The timeline is out of whack and it must be fixed.
  • Shout-Out:
    • “Blue rose” will immediately ring a bell for fans of ‘’Twin Peaks’’, where the FBI designates strange and bizarre cases (including reality being rewritten) as “blue rose” cases.
    • The Professor Night serial has been going on since 1939, which is the same year Batman debuted in Detective Comics. This fits with Professor Night being an Expy of Batman.
  • Show Within a Show: Professor Night, a TV show in production since 1939, is briefly featured in every issue. It's implied the characters in the show are aware of the real world, and both Professor Night and Evening Primrose manage to escape out of the show.
  • Town with a Dark Secret: Littlehaven has become a dark, miserable place after the Supremacy crashes into it.
  • What Could Have Been: In-universe, Linda mentions that Darius Dax has a "Versioning Unit" that works out how things may have occurred in alternate versions of history, such as a scientifically advanced Egyptian empire branching out into space. Doc Rocket may be from this timeline.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: The main story arc concerns the disappearance of Ethan Crane.
  • Whole Plot Reference: Blue Rose is basically Flashpoint done for Supreme, as the ending introduces a brand new timeline that is effectively supposed to be what the universe was meant to become instead of the Blue Rose timeline.