SPOILER ALERT! This article contains spoilers for ‘Squadron Supreme’ #1 including the death of a MAJOR Marvel character!
Marvel’s Squadron Supreme began as something of a gag– a team of heroes from a parallel universe that bore a striking resemblance to the flagship heroes of Marvel’s rival DC Comics, the Justice League.
- Amphibian = Aquaman
- Doctor Spectrum = Green Lantern
- Hyperion = Superman
- Nighthawk = Batman
- Power Princess = Wonder Woman
- Skrullian Skymaster = Martian Manhunter
- Whizzer = The Flash
These colorful heroes slugged it out with ‘The Avengers’ in 1971, giving Bronze Age readers the (thinly-veiled) clash they’d only dreamt about before. DC, for their part, countered by having the Justice League battle the Heroes of Angor, a batch of heroes also from another dimension that bore more than a passing resemblance to The Avengers. However, the Heroes of Angor only made one appearance and vanished into obscurity. Three of their members were revived in the late 80s, but never achieved much notoriety and were eventually killed off.
On the other hand, ‘The Squadron Supreme’ have returned time and time again and have even headlined their own series at various times including the amazing mid-80s maxiseries written by Mark Gruenwald that remains a highpoint in super hero comics. These parodies have proven fan favorites who never stay out of sight for long and in a couple of weeks, they return once again in their own series and are doing so with a BANG! They are going to kill off one of Marvel’s most important characters:’
None other than Namor the Sub-Mariner will fall before the might of the Squadron, mainly from the looks of things, Hyperion.
Why? Writer James Robinson explains:
“It was a combination of a couple of things. One, it speaks of Squadron Supreme’s mission statement. Which is that they really are this hard-line group that will not put up with anything or anybody who will detract work. And also, it was kind based on the fact that Namor destroyed Doctor Spectrum’s world.”
You may wonder why The Sub-Mariner is considered that significant. But he was actually the very FIRST Marvel super hero. He, along with the original android Human Torch, debuted in ‘Marvel Comics’ #1 predating ‘Captain America’, the publisher’s most famous World War II-era hero.
But while the Human Torch flamed out with the bulk of Golden Age heroes, Namor was quickly revived in the 1960s when Marvel revived its line of super heroes with ‘The Fantastic Four’ and he has served in both The Avengers and X-Men.
Over the years, Namor has been perceived as a hero and a villain and everything in between but in recent years, Namor has drifted further and further over to the dark side, as Robinson states, “And was basically in the last few years Namor has crossed the line from an anti-hero to something a little bit darker. I mean we’ve seen absolutely no remorse whatsoever from him lately.”
But does that justify killing off Marvel’s very first hero?
True, in recent years Namor hasn’t been much of a headliner, although he remains a popular supporting character. Then again it’s comics and he’ll probably be back next year some time.
What do you think of this development? Does Namor deserve more respect? Or does this intrigue you enough to check out this new ‘Squadron Supreme’?
Squadron Supreme #1 will be available on December 16.