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Nikkolas Politically Confused from Texas Relationship Status: Anime is my true love
Politically Confused
Jul 21st 2015 at 11:49:41 PM

I just stumbled upon this article while remembering a few comics I read many years ago.

See, I absolutely adore What-Ifs and Elseworlds and AU's. We all grew up with the cartoons and movies and just common knowledge that tells us how Batman became Batman, how Superman became Superman, etc.. Now we can argue about different characterization depending on writer and era but the fact remains how they started out is almost always consistent.

Unless you look to things like this. Or Superman Red Son, another comic I read about the same time. It was fantastic to see two different takes on Superman and showing just how much of a product of the environment he is. The Symbol of America is really just whoever and whatever events shape him to be.

Seeing this alternative take on all our "stock heroes" was really great and this article made me remember that. It also encouraged me to read the entire series. I stopped after JMS' first run and never read any of the minis or follow-up series.I heard they weren't as good and so I didn't bother. But they don't sound that bad to me and I want to give them a try.

Has anyone else read this article or this series? What did you think of it? Who was your favorite character? I can't remember specifics too well as it's been...shit, maybe 7 years since I read it last, but I remember liking everyone equally save for Blur.

Also, trope-related question. I didn't see this on our actual Supreme Power page and I was wondering, does this count as a Deconstruction?

edited 21st Jul '15 11:52:00 PM by Nikkolas

Jun 18th 2018 at 3:56:59 PM

I haven't yet, but would love to read the original mini-series.

Of the Max series, I thought Hyperion's story was great and some characters, like Amphibian (who sadly ended largely a Sattelite Character for Doctor Spectrum-and not even all that important as that, since he had two minis with himself as a main character without her) and Nighthawk were interesting. But I dunno. I was dissapointed how much the series relied on cartoonish villainy. With the exception of that second general guy (at least until he decides to release Redstone), all the antagonists are 100% depraved monsters, including the US government and military, which isn't even consistent in its villainy. Perhaps if we have seen where JMS was going with it (and I still don't get why he couldn't at least finish his last story arc, it was literally one issue) but because he left, the whole thing it farted into nothing.

Also, I really don't get what they were going for with that Nighthawk mini. I know the main series wasn't a deconstruction as much as a darker and edgier AU, but at least it was about something. His mini was seriously just a normal Batman and Joker story, except more gore. No theme, no message, no character development, none of Nighthawks unique characteristics or background come into play, he's just Batman who kills people. It almost feels like it was done solely for that moment where he kills Whiteface at the end, which seriously means nothing in the context of these two characters.

Jun 18th 2018 at 4:21:29 PM

Like, Emil Burbank. What was up with that guy? He's a super genius they hire to help them deal with Hyperion and it turns out if he doesn't stop him, he goes evil and takes over the world. Okay. But they also show he murdered his parents and a school teacher and molested his sister and his students? Why? The plot is that government comes to him anyway, what's the point of all that random villainy? I get he's supposed to be their Lex Luthor, and he murdered his parents and was portrayed as sexual harasser early Post-Crisis, but how does this play with his archetype or plays into series' themes (or gives Burbank any identity beyond 'generically evil')? The only thematic contrast see is that the regular Lex Luthor... Didn't rape his sister.

CharlesPhipps Author from Ashland, Ky Relationship Status: Lovey-Dovey
Jun 18th 2018 at 6:27:06 PM

Well, the thing about Hyperion is he takes over the world.

But he takes over the world because the Supreme Power world is a Crapsack World of monstrous inhuman government corruption and human evil.

So much so that Hyperion taking over is meant to be seen as a rational decision from his part.

Author of The Supervillainy Saga, Cthulhu Armageddon, The United States of Monsters, and Lucifer's Star.
Jun 22nd 2018 at 6:20:30 PM

Yeah, I feel like a lot of comic writers consider this idea subversive and challenging, but "autocracy totally works, even if it's technically wrong" has become pretty big cliche of the genre.

CharlesPhipps Author from Ashland, Ky Relationship Status: Lovey-Dovey
Jun 22nd 2018 at 6:47:54 PM

Well, it was an interesting idea in the first setting when the idea that the autocrats really were all Lawful Good stand-ins for the Justice League.

And even then, their good intentions just made it the road to hell.

In Supreme Power, they're kind of assholes to begin with. Just slightly less scummy than the black American General who calls Hyperion inhuman scum with no rights because he's not human. Because EDGY!

edited 22nd Jun '18 6:49:33 PM by CharlesPhipps

Author of The Supervillainy Saga, Cthulhu Armageddon, The United States of Monsters, and Lucifer's Star.
Jun 22nd 2018 at 7:32:19 PM

I haven't read the original series, but I've read about it and at least it seemed to approach the idea with more nuance and moral ambiguity, without relying on half the characters being over the top depraved monsters. More of a "what if Justice League we know was just different enough to try this" than "what if Justice League composed of radically different, darker people". Again, just an impression I got from reading about it.

EDIT: I was writing this more from my memory of writing about it before than my memorya of the actual thing, so I should clarify: It's not that there are characters, who are evil or do monstrous, evil things. It's that a lot of them come across to me as flat and with little emotional or thematic depth.

edited 22nd Jun '18 7:38:40 PM by strejda

Jun 23rd 2018 at 6:20:56 AM

Well, discovering that your whole life has been a careful masquerade can have that effect on people.

edited 23rd Jun '18 6:21:14 AM by GrigorII

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Blueace Relationship Status: Chocolate!
Jun 23rd 2018 at 6:25:35 AM

What did the masterminds behind that smoke to think that was a good idea?

Jun 23rd 2018 at 11:06:35 AM

[up][up] Wait, no, I thought Hyperion was good (though IIRC, some of his development in later half came of rather forced to me). It's half the people around him that are ridiculous mustachetwirlers.

Jul 1st 2018 at 1:53:50 AM

Well, since I brought this thread back after three years just to complain, I should mention that for all the criticism he gets for his faces, I thought Gary Frank did a great job on Amphibian. She only ever talks once, yet you can always tell how she feels and what is she like just from her expressions and whenever she smiles, you just gotta go "aaaaaww".

CharlesPhipps Author from Ashland, Ky Relationship Status: Lovey-Dovey
Jul 7th 2018 at 9:30:05 PM

What did the masterminds behind that smoke to think that was a good idea?

The US government, which is pure evil in this series.

It employs supernatural serial killers, conducts evil experiments, and generally just laughs at ethics.

Edited by CharlesPhipps on Jul 7th 2018 at 9:30:02 AM

Author of The Supervillainy Saga, Cthulhu Armageddon, The United States of Monsters, and Lucifer's Star.
Jan 26th 2019 at 6:17:08 AM

We also never got a actual ending as the first author walked away from Marvel, and the sequel was a weird mix of the first series with Nick Fury running around.

Odd, ODD book.

Yuri fanfiction writer!
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