Squadron Supreme

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Squadron Supreme
Squadron supreme title.jpg
Publication information
PublisherMarvel Comics
First appearanceThe Avengers #85 (February 1971)
Created byRoy Thomas (writer)
John Buscema (artist)
In-story information
Base(s)Rocket Central
Squadron City
Member(s)Founding members:
Doctor Spectrum
Power Princess
Skrullian Skymaster

Later additions:
Blue Eagle
The Atlanta Blur
Golden Archer
Lady Lark
Tom Thumb
See: List of Squadron Supreme members

The Squadron Supreme is a fictional superhero team appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics, of which there are several notable alternate versions. The original team was created by Roy Thomas and John Buscema, and derived from the previously created supervillain team Squadron Sinister.

The core members of the Squadron Supreme are Hyperion, Nighthawk, Doctor Spectrum, Power Princess, and the Whizzer. The team also has several minor members. Members of the team were initially based on characters published by rival DC Comics, and the team itself was a stand-in for the Justice League.[1] A number of characters that were not based on DC heroes were added to the roster later.

Publication history[edit]

The Squadron Supreme has its roots in the Squadron Sinister, which first appeared in Avengers #70 (after a cameo at the end of Avengers #69) as a pastiche of the Justice League.[2] Roy Thomas later introduced a heroic version of the Squadron Sinister named the Squadron Supreme, which first appeared in The Avengers #85–86 (February–March 1971), and which was co-created with John Buscema. The similarity between the two teams created confusion in Marvel's production department,[citation needed] as the covers of Avengers #85 and #141 (November 1975) claimed the issues featured appearances by the Squadron Sinister, when in fact it was the Squadron Supreme that appeared in both issues.

The team had guest appearances on several more occasions, and in 1985 featured in a self-titled twelve-issue limited series by Mark Gruenwald.

In 2003, a reimagined Squadron Supreme appeared in a series entitled Supreme Power, published under the mature-audience MAX imprint. This version was created by writer J. Michael Straczynski and artist Gary Frank.

Yet another Squadron Supreme was introduced in 2015, written by James Robinson and drawn by Leonard Kirk. Unlike the previous teams, which had appeared in alternate realities, this team was based in Marvel's main "Earth-616" reality, although the team members were from a variety of alternate universes that had been destroyed in the aftermath of the 2015 Secret Wars event.

Fictional team biography[edit]

Earth-712 version[edit]

The Squadron Supreme are first encountered by four members of the Avengers — the Vision, Quicksilver, the Scarlet Witch and Goliath — who have arrived in the Earth-712 universe by mistake.[3] The Avengers are initially confused, since several members of the Squadron Supreme have identical names and powers to the Squadron Sinister, a group of previously encountered villains.[4] After a brief battle, the Avengers assist the Squadron Supreme against the global threat posed by the mutant Brain-Child, before returning to their own universe.[5] The Squadron Supreme have another series of skirmishes with the Avengers engineered by the group the Serpent Cartel, but eventually they join forces and prevent the use of the Serpent Crown.[6]

The team features briefly in the title Thor, when the evil version of Hyperion attacks the Earth-712 version and then the Earth-616 Thor.[7] The Squadron appear in the title Defenders as mind-controlled pawns of the entities the Over-Mind and Null the Living Darkness, but are freed and aid the Defenders in defeating the villains.[8] Earth-712, however, is left in a post-apocalyptic state.

The Squadron Supreme were next featured in a self-titled 12-issue miniseries (Sep 1985 – Aug 1986) by writer Mark Gruenwald,[9] which picks up from where Earth-712 was last seen in Defenders #114. The Squadron, led by Hyperion, believe they have the knowledge and power to recreate the world and create a utopia. Nighthawk protests, believing that the Squadron should serve and not rule. The issue is put to a vote, with the so-called "Utopia Program" favored by the majority of the Squadron; Nighthawk, unable to agree with the decision in clear conscience, resigns from the team. The Squadron assume overall control of the government of the United States and remake the nation into a virtual utopia. The team implement a series of sweeping changes, including revealing their secret identities; instituting a program of behavior modification in prisons where inmates are forced to submit to a process that mentally inhibits their criminal instincts; enforcing a strict gun control policy; and developing medical technology to cryogenically preserve the dead.

Despite the economic and technological advances, there are setbacks: Golden Archer abuses the behavior modification technology by forcing fellow member Lady Lark (who had just turned down his marriage proposal) to love him, resulting in his eventual removal from the team; Amphibian becomes increasingly disgusted with the Squadron's methods, especially the behavior modification technology, and his disillusionment eventually leads him to not only leave the Squadron but abandon the surface world altogether; Nuke inadvertently kills his parents via unnoticed and uncontrollable release of radiation and dies while battling Doctor Spectrum during a rampage; and Tom Thumb, while developing many of the technologies used in the Squadron's Utopia Program, discovers he has cancer but chooses not to inform his teammates, eventually succumbing to the disease.

Predicting a nightmarish outcome, Nighthawk, with the aid of his world's Sorcerer Supreme, Professor Imam, crosses the dimensional border into Earth-616 to solicit the aid of the Avengers. Although his request is denied, he is able to enlist the aid of three of his former enemies, who had fled to this Earth to escape the Squadron's actions.[10] Returning to his home world, Nighthawk is eventually forced to confront his old teammates with a new team he calls the Redeemers, which also includes former Squadron member Golden Archer (now known as Black Archer). A brutal battle ensues in which several members of both teams are killed, including Nighthawk. A horrified Hyperion realizes that Nighthawk was right: the Squadron, despite having good intentions, had inadvertently created a totalitarian state, with themselves as its dictators. The Squadron surrenders, disbands, and returns control of the United States to the government.[11]

In a graphic novel sequel by Gruenwald, Ryan, and inker Al Williamson, Squadron Supreme: Death of a Universe, remnants of the team reunite to battle the Nth Man. Although they succeed, several members of the Squadron are killed, with the remainder (Hyperion, Doctor Spectrum, Whizzer, Power Princess, Lady Lark (now known as Skylark), Arcanna, Haywire, and Shape) marooned in the mainstream Marvel universe.[12]

The Squadron encounter the hero Quasar, and relocate to the government facility Project Pegasus. After another encounter with the Overmind and a visit to the laboratory world of the Stranger,[13] the Squadron attempt unsuccessfully to return to their own universe,[14] and members Hyperion, Doctor Spectrum, and the Whizzer battle the entity Deathurge.[15]

The entire Squadron Supreme appear in an Avengers storyline with the Avengers that finally returns them to their home universe.[16] The one-shot Squadron Supreme: New World Order reveals that Earth-712 is now dominated by corporations using the Squadron's own Utopia technologies.[17]

The Squadron come into conflict with a new government when an interdimensional team called the Exiles, traveling from the Earth-616 universe, reveal that the government had rigged the election through worldwide vote fraud. The Squadron and the Exiles depose the new government and attempt to allow society to progress without superhuman involvement.[18]

Supreme Power[edit]

The series Supreme Power features the rebooted version of the superhero team Squadron Supreme and is set on Earth-31916.[19]

Alien Hyperion arrives on Earth as an infant, and is taken into custody by the US government and raised in a controlled environment. Army corporal Joseph Ledger is given a strange crystal removed from Hyperion's spaceship by the government that bonds to him causing him to fall into a coma for years.

Discovering Hyperion has superhuman abilities, the government uses him as a secret weapon, and is eventually outed by the media. The government then announces and introduces Hyperion as a state-sponsored hero, which encourages other beings to appear, such as Blur, who can move at superspeed. Ledger awakens, and harnessing the energy powers of the crystal becomes Doctor Spectrum. Hyperion and Spectrum are initially hostile to one another and fight, with Hyperion accessing lost memories when coming in contact with Spectrum's crystal. Amphibian is seen on dry land for the first time and Princess Zarda heals Hyperion after his battle. Nighthawk solicits the aid of Hyperion and the Blur to deal with a superpowered serial killer, who Hyperion now knows is actually the product of experimentation with his DNA.

Although successful, Hyperion is outraged by the government exploitation and leaves, warning that he has no wish to be contacted by humankind again. The government gathers the remaining superhumans into a team to capture Hyperion.

The story continues in the limited series Supreme Power: Hyperion[20] with new Squadron members Emil Burbank, Arcanna, Shape and Nuke tracking Hyperion to what they believe is an alternate reality. In this world Hyperion and a version of the Squadron rule the world, with only Nighthawk and a small group of superhumans opposing their rule. Although the heroes locate the true Hyperion and convince him to return to their world, Burbank discovers that it was in fact not an alternate reality but their world two years from the present time.

The second volume of the series Squadron Supreme[21] brings together all the superhumans (with exception of reluctant outsider Nighthawk), who are split into two teams—one for international/public missions and another for covert operations. The President of the United States calls the group the Squadron Supreme. The Squadron meets with mixed success: an attempt to kill an African dictator is botched and the target is murdered by local superhumans who state the group are not welcome in Africa, and a mission to Iran has member Inertia encouraging a victim to fight back and kill.

Marvel Comics Alternate Universes
Marvel stories take place primarily in a mainstream continuity called the Marvel Universe. Some stories are set in various parallel, or alternate, realities, called the Marvel Multiverse.
The Official Handbook to the Marvel Universe: Alternate Worlds 2005 designates the mainstream continuity as "Earth-616", and assigns other Earth numbers to each specific alternate reality.

In this article the following characters, or teams, and realities are referred to:
Squadron SupremeEarth-31916

China recruits Redstone, the superpowered serial killer created from Hyperion's DNA, in a bid to protect itself. The final issue is a battle to the death against Redstone (with the Blur recruiting Nighthawk to assist) who threatens to detonate a nuclear weapon. The outcome is not revealed, as the series concluded with issue #7.

An unrelated nine-issue series titled Ultimate Power, written by J. Michael Straczynski; Brian Michael Bendis and Jeph Loeb with art by Greg Land,[22] features the Squadron in a crossover into the Ultimate Universe. Courtesy of a deception engineered by Nick Fury and the Ultimate villain Doctor Doom, the Squadron travel to the Ultimate universe, thinking that the Ultimate Reed Richards is responsible for releasing an organism that has destroyed much of the United States.

A series of misunderstandings ensues, and after a series of battles between the Squadron, Ultimate Fantastic Four, Ultimates and the Earth-712 Squadron Supreme (whose world was also affected by the organism), the third culprit is revealed as Burbank, who was asked by the government to develop a weapon to kill Hyperion. Nick Fury is detained in custody in the Earth-31916 universe, while Squadron member Power Princess remains in the Ultimate universe to ensure that Doom (who escaped custody by using a Doombot) is captured.

An unrelated four issue limited series titled Squadron Supreme: Hyperion vs. Nighthawk, written by Marc Guggenheim and with art by Paul Gulacy, relates how Hyperion and Nighthawk, after an initial skirmish, join forces to try and alleviate the Darfur conflict in war-torn Sudan. Hyperion discovers Nighthawk has a prototype weapon built from stolen plans of Emil Burbank's journal that cannot actually injure him, but can convince him that he is being injured.[23]

A third volume of the title Squadron Supreme, written by Howard Chaykin and with art by Greg Land (and other artists), is published,[24] with the 12 issue series being set five years after the battle with Redstone. Most of the Squadron have disappared, with Ultimate Nick Fury; Burbank and Arcanna, are now a team of intelligence officers working for the government and investigate a group of returning astronauts (apparently this universe's version of the Fantastic Four) that exhibit strange abilities. The astronauts infect many people they come into contact with, also giving them superhuman abilities.

Fury eventually leads a new version of the Squadron that features characters that are pastiches of long-time Marvel characters such as Spider-Man (or the Black Widow), Captain America and Iron Man. The group eventually come into conflict with many of the original members of the Squadron who have been gathered by Hyperion. The heroes unite to stop a group of superhuman terrorists from the Middle East but then, via a government device, apparently all lose their abilities. Arcanna secretly reveals to Fury that she, and likely many others, still possesses superhuman abilities. Fury later returns to the Ultimate universe.

Later, the members of Squadron Supreme are apparently killed by Namor and the Cabal after the villains raid the Squadron's universe.[25] Versions resembling these characters later appeared on the Battleworld created by Doctor Doom during the Secret Wars event, only to be killed again at the hands of Squadron Sinister. Nighthawk is left as the group's only survivor.[26] While these characters strongly resemble those who appeared in the previous Supreme Powers series, there has not been an official editorial statement by Marvel Comics confirming if these characters are those from Earth-31916 or a similar parallel universe.

Earth-616 version[edit]

This team, set in Marvel's mainstream reality, features characters from numerous alternate universes, such as the Nighthawk from Supreme Power, a Hyperion from a reality that had been destroyed upon colliding with another universe, Doctor Spectrum from the world of the Great Society (which was destroyed by Namor to prevent it from colliding with the mainstream universe), Blur from the New Universe, and Warrior Woman from a Secret Wars tie-in (posing as the Earth-712 Squadron Supreme's Power Princess).[27][28]

The Squadron Supreme's first action was to get revenge on Namor for what happened to the worlds of some of its members. They attacked Atlantis where Hyperion beheaded Namor and Zarda killed Attuma. The fight ended with Hyperion lifting Atlantis above the ocean and throwing it onto the ground hard enough to kill the remaining Atlanteans present.[29] The actions caused by the Squadron Supreme led to the Avengers Unity Division to apprehend them before anyone else ends up killed by their hand.[30] The Squadron Supreme were saved by Thundra and later teleported to Weirdworld,[31] where they encounter Doctor Druid, who plans to mind-control Weirdworld's inhabitants.[32] The Squadron Supreme shatter the crystal that Druid was using to enhance his mind-control powers and return home. Power Princess remains on Weirdworld and reveals herself as Warrior Woman. Thundra sides with the Squadron Supreme, although she is unsure if she should help the Squadron Supreme protect the world or help protect the world from the Squadron Supreme.[33]

Through Modred the Mystic's magical modifications to Reed Richard's time machine, Hyperion and Doctor Spectrum are accidentally transformed into ephemeral "ghosts" caught in the past; specifically during the squadron's attack on Atlantis and just before Hyperion kills Namor. They decide to change the past by dragging this past Namor back to the present, thereby "resurrecting" him. Although this action is easy for Hyperion, who has had second thoughts about the cutthroat method the Squadron Supreme has been using, it is more difficult for Doctor Spectrum, as Namor destroyed her Earth. At the end of the story arc, Hyperion leads the action to disband the Squadron, and each member goes their own way.[34]

Squadron Supreme of America[edit]

When the Avengers start to go global, Thunderbolt Ross meets with Phil Coulson to discuss this matter as well as the fact that Russia has reestablished the Winter Guard and Namor established the Defenders of the Deep. Phil tells Ross that he has established the Squadron Supreme of America to be the United States newest and greatest superheroes. They consist of Hyperion, Power Princess, Nighthawk, Whizzer, and Doctor Spectrum.[35]


Other versions[edit]

Marvel Zombies Supreme[edit]

The Squadron Supreme appears in the 2011 series Marvel Zombies Supreme, which sees members of the team infected with a zombie virus developed by a deranged geneticist.[36] It is revealed in the series that these are clones of the Squadron Supreme, and the story is set in Marvel's primary Earth-616 universe.

In other media[edit]

  • The Squadron Supreme appears in the "Whom Continuity Would Destroy" episode of The Super Hero Squad Show. The members present are Nighthawk, Power Princess, and Hyperion. Thanos and Grandmaster pit Iron Man, Scarlet Witch, and Hulk against the Squadron members.
  • The Squadron Supreme also appears in the TV series Avengers Assemble. The group consists of Hyperion, Zarda, Nighthawk, Whizzer (using the costume and alias of Speed Demon), Doctor Spectrum, and Nuke. Rather than being from another reality, they come from another planet within the Avengers' universe. They had attempted to rule their planet and destroyed it when the populace failed to blindly obey them. In the first-season episode "Hyperion", Hyperion arrives on Earth and plans to do the same to this new world that he had done to his. He is imprisoned by the Avengers, but later escapes and joins the Red Skull's Cabal. In the second season, the Squadron Supreme reunite and plan to become the "protectors" of Earth, which leads to them clashing with the Avengers. Eventually, the Squadron Supreme are defeated and remanded to a special section of the Vault.

Collected editions[edit]

  • Squadron Supreme (TPB, 352 pages, 2005, ISBN 0-7851-0576-X) collects Squadron Supreme #1–12 (Sep 1985 – Aug 1986)
  • Squadron Supreme: Death of a Universe (Graphic novel, hardcover, 1989, ISBN 0-87135-598-1)
  • Squadron Supreme: Death of a Universe (TPB, 240 pages, 2006, ISBN 0-7851-2091-2) collects Squadron Supreme: Death of a Universe, Thor #280, Avengers (1998) #5–6, Avengers/Squadron Supreme Annual '98 and Squadron Supreme: New World Order
  • Squadron Supreme Omnibus (HC, 2010, ISBN 978-0785149712), collects Squadron Supreme #1–12, Captain America #314, Squadron Supreme: Death of a Universe
  • Squadron Supreme Classic Omnibus (HC, 2016, ISBN 9781302900656), collects Avengers #69–70, #85–86, #141–144 and #147–149, Thor #280, Defenders #112–114, Squadron Supreme #1–12, Captain America #314, Squadron Supreme: Death Of A Universe, Quasar #13–16 and #51–52, Avengers (1998) #5–6, Avengers/Squadron Supreme Annual '98, Squadron Supreme: New World Order, Exiles #77–78 and Ultimate Power #7–9
  • Supreme Power vol. 1 (MAX imprint) #1–18 (August 2003 – August 2005) collected as:
    • Contact (TPB collects #1–6, 144 pages, 2004, ISBN 0-7851-1224-3)
    • Powers and Principalities (TPB, collects #7–12, 144 pages, 2005, ISBN 0-7851-1456-4)
    • High Command (TPB, collects #13–18, 144 pages, 2005, ISBN 0-7851-1474-2)
    • Supreme Power vol. 1 (hardcover, collects #1–12 and Avengers #85–86, 352 pages, 2005, ISBN 0-7851-1369-X)
    • Supreme Power vol. 2 (hardcover, collects #13–18 and Supreme Power: Hyperion #1–5, 264 pages, 2006, ISBN 0-7851-2133-1 )
  • Doctor Spectrum (MAX imprint) #1–6 (August 2004 – March 2005). TPB, 144 pages, 2005, ISBN 0-7851-1586-2)
  • Supreme Power: Nighthawk (MAX imprint) #1–6 (September 2005 – February 2006). TPB, 144 pages, July 2006, ISBN 0-7851-1897-7)
  • Supreme Power: Hyperion (MAX imprint) #1–5 (September 2005 – January 2006). TPB, 120 pages, July 2006, ISBN 0-7851-1895-0)
  • Squadron Supreme (vol. 2) #1–7 (March–November 2006) collected as:
  • Squadron Supreme: Hyperion vs. Nighthawk #1–4 (February–April 2007). TPB, 100 pages?, July 2007, ISBN 0-7851-2434-9)
  • Ultimate Power #1–9 (December 2006 – December 2007). TPB, 232 pages?, September 2008, ISBN 978-0-7851-2367-5)
  • Squadron Supreme (vol. 3) #1–12 (September 2008 – June 2009) collected as:
  • Supreme Power vol. 2 (MAX imprint) #1–4 (June 2011[37]  – September 2011). Gods and Soldiers TPB, 96 pages, December 2011, ISBN 978-0-7851-5571-3
  • Squadron Supreme: By Any Means Necessary! (TPB, 2016, ISBN 978-0-7851-9971-7) collects Squadron Supreme (2015) Vol. 1, #1–5 and material from Avengers (2015) #0
  • Squadron Supreme: Civil War II (TPB, 2016, ISBN 978-0-7851-9972-4) collects Squadron Supreme (2015) Vol. 2, #6–9
  • Squadron Supreme: Finding Namor (TPB, 2017, ISBN 978-1-302-90285-8) collects Squadron Supreme (2015) Vol. 3, #10–15


  1. ^ Interview with Roy Thomas and Jerry Bails in The Justice League Companion (2003), pp. 72–73.
  2. ^ "The Justice League Companion, p. 40 and 72". 2005. Retrieved 8 November 2018.
  3. ^ Avengers #84 (January 1971)
  4. ^ Avengers #69–70 (October–November 1969)
  5. ^ Avengers #85–86 (Feb–Mar 1971)
  6. ^ Avengers #141–144 (November 1975 – February 1976) & #147–149 (May–July 1976)
  7. ^ Thor #280 (February 1979)
  8. ^ Defenders #112–114 (October–December 1982)
  9. ^ Squadron Supreme #1–12 (Sep 1985 – Aug 1986)
  10. ^ Captain America #314, Feb 1986)
  11. ^ Squadron Supreme #12. Marvel Comics.
  12. ^ Squadron Supreme: Death of a Universe (1989). Marvel Comics.
  13. ^ Quasar #13–16 (Aug–Nov 1990). Marvel Comics.
  14. ^ Quasar #19 (Feb 1991). Marvel Comics.
  15. ^ Quasar #25 (Aug 1991). Marvel Comics.
  16. ^ Avengers #5–6 (Jun–Jul 1998) and Avengers/Squadron Supreme Annual '98
  17. ^ Squadron Supreme: New World Order (1998). Marvel Comics.
  18. ^ Exiles vol. 2, #77–78 (Apr–May 2006). Marvel Comics.
  19. ^ Supreme Power #1 - 18 (Jan. 2003 - Oct. 2005)
  20. ^ Supreme Power: Hyperion #1 - 5 (Nov. 2005 - Mar. 2006)
  21. ^ Squadron Supreme vol. 2, #1 - 7 (May - Nov. 2006)
  22. ^ Ultimate Power #1 - 3 (Dec. 2006 - Feb. 2007); #4 - 5 (June - July 2007); #6 - 7 (Sep. - Oct. 2007); #8 (Dec. 2007) & #9 (Feb. 2008)
  23. ^ Squadron Supreme: Hyperion vs. Nighthawk #1 - 4 (Mar. - June 2007)
  24. ^ Squadron Supreme vol. 3, #1 – 12 (Sep. 2008 – July 2009)
  25. ^ New Avengers (vol. 3) #24
  26. ^ Squadron Sinister #1
  27. ^ "Marvel Announces "Squadron Supreme" From Robinson, Kirk". 24 June 2015.
  28. ^ Avengers Vol 6 #0. Marvel Comics.
  29. ^ Squadron Supreme Vol 4 #1. Marvel Comics.
  30. ^ Squadron Supreme Vol. 4 #2. Marvel Comics.
  31. ^ Squadron Supreme Vol. 4 #3. Marvel Comics.
  32. ^ Squadron Supreme #4
  33. ^ Squadron Supreme #5. Marvel Comics.
  34. ^ Squadron Supreme #13-15. Marvel Comics.
  35. ^ Avengers #700. Marvel Comics.
  36. ^ JK Parkin (27 Oct 2010). "Robot 666 | Exclusive: Marvel Zombies Supreme coming in March 2011 | Robot 6 @ Comic Book Resources – Covering Comic Book News and Entertainment". Robot6. Retrieved 2 Aug 2013.
  37. ^ Diamond Comic Distributors shipping list for 2011 June 8 Archived 2011-07-18 at the Wayback Machine at a Diamond Comic Distributors website. Retrieved July 8, 2011.

External links[edit]