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Squadron Supreme

The Squadron Supreme is a team of comic book superheroes in the Marvel Comics universe. It is best known for being a thinly disguised version of DC Comics' Justice League of America, and for the 12-issue miniseries that made this group famous.

Table of contents
1 Early History
2 The Utopia Project
3 Exile
4 Supreme Power
5 External Links

Early History

While writing the Marvel comic book The Avengers, writer Roy Thomas - a longtime fan of DC Comics' Justice Society of America - paid homage to those characters by having The Avengers face a group of villains loosely based on their successors, the Justice League of America. Thus, in The Avengers #70 (November 1969) the Avengers faced the Squadron Sinister, four villains based on Superman, Batman, The Flash and Green Lantern.

Two years later, reportedly through an unofficial collaboration between the writers of the two comics, both The Avengers and Justice League of America featured stories in which their heroes encountered heroic versions of the other company's characters. So, in Justice League of America #87 (February 1971), those heroes encountered characters based on Thor, the Scarlet Witch, Quicksilver, and Yellowjacket. Meanwhile, The Avengers #85-86 (March-April 1971), featured the first appearance of the Squadron Supreme, a group of heroes in a parallel universe. This Squadron included heroic versions of the four members from the Squadron Sinister, plus several other characters.

The Squadron appeared occasionally in Marvel titles during the 1970s, most notably in The Avengers #141-144 & 147-149 (November 1975-July 1976; #145-146 were fill-in issues) in which the Squadron and their United States were being dominated by the Serpent Crown. Members of the Squadron Sinister also occasionally appeared in the main Marvel Universe, but rarely as a group.

Early Squadron Members

There were also allusions to a character named Skymax the Skrullian Spymaster, but he did not appear until a 1990s special. He was based on the Martian Manhunter and belonged to the Squadron universe's race of Skrulls.

The Utopia Project

The Squadron's next major appearance was in The Defenders #112-115 (October 1982-January 1983), in which the Squadron and their world were under the mental domination of the Overmind, a telepathic alien. The Defenders travelled to their world and helped free them. However, the defeat of the Overmind left the planet in a shambles, as the government and economy collapsed.

Author Mark Gruenwald built on this situation in a lengthy storyline comprised of Squadron Supreme #1-12 (September 1985-August 1986) and Captain America vol 1. #314 (February 1986), illustrated by Bob Hall, John Buscema, Paul Neary and Paul Ryan. In this series, the Squadron decides that they have the knowledge, wisdom and power to make the world a better place, and decide to implement a project to turn their world into a Utopia. Nighthawk resigns in protest, believing that the Squadron should serve and not rule.

This series explores the Squadron's efforts to improve their world, and the opposition they get from unexpected quarters, with some significant losses and a major conflict at the end. Along the way a number of reformed villains join the Squadron, and a number of other heroes who joined Nighthawk infiltrate the Squadron. The series has since been collected as a paperback. This series was well-promoted and fairly popular, and the fact that Marvel Comics was publishing a series which was at best a thinly-veiled shadow of the Justice League was occasionally commented on, although no legal action occurred.

The series has been considered a precursor to Watchmen and Kingdom Come in its portrayal of superheroes and the implications of their power.

Following this series was a graphic novel, Squadron Supreme: Death of a Universe, in which the Squadron, reeling from the climax of their Utopia Program, must contend with a huge creature which seems bent on destroying the universe.

Additional Utopia Project Members

Institute of Evil Members in the Squadron

Nighthawk's Redeemers in the Squadron


In the
1990s, the Squadron Supreme became trapped in the main Marvel Universe, where they had a number of adventures, including with Gruenwald's cosmic adventurer Quasar. The Squadron eventually encountered the Avengers once more, in The Avengers vol. 3 #5-6 (1998?) and Annual 1998, in which the Avengers were able to find a way to return the Squadron to their home world.

This was followed by a special (1998) in which the remaining original Squadron members discovered that their world had become dominated by large, domineering corporations and reunited to return things to normal. The implied series following this story never materialized, however.

Supreme Power

In August 2003, Marvel published the first issue of Supreme Power, a series which rebooteded the Squadron Supreme, spending several issues on their origins and with a more realistic bent. The series is written by science fiction and television writer J. Michael Straczynski with art by Gary Frank.

External Links