Summary: This deluxe hardcover collects Supreme Power Vol. 3: High Command and Supreme Power: Hyperion, plus extras. In High Command, Hyperion, the Blur and Nighthawk – in their first adventure as the newly formed Squadron – have a long-overdue showdown with the super-powered serial killer who’s been terrorizing the nation! But will they live long enough to stop him? Plus: What does the most powerful being on the planet do when he finds out he’s been manipulated, and that his whole life is practically a lie? How will Hyperion react, and what does that mean for the rest of humanity – and the government that’s organized these deceitful machinations? And in Hyperion, Mark Milton suddenly finds himself both alone and hunted now that the world knows his dark secret. Four new super-powered individuals – each based on a character from the original Squadron Supreme – are after his hide, and they’ve got the will and means to take him down! Collects Supreme Power #13-18, Supreme Power: Hyperion #1-5.
Supreme Power, vol. 2, by J. Michael Straczynski, Gary Frank and Dan Jurgens 7.5
This volume of ‘Supreme Power’ completes the first set of books featuring Straczynski’s new take on the heroes from Squadron Supreme, as well as the mini-series ‘Supreme Power: Hyperion’.
For all intents and purposes, the first part of this collection completes the story that Straczynski began in the first one, wrapping it up with finality. It is quite good, focusing on the maneuvers of the United States government in an attempt to reel in Hyperion/Mark Milton, to regain control of him.
Their strategy: to give him no place to turn to, no “home”, no family other than the country and government that raised him. To do this, they begin to isolate him and put emotional pressure by maneuvering some of his closest people against him. It’s a clever -if strategically wrong- twist in the tale, and I love the outcome.
Frankly, it could have easily just wrapped up right there and it would have proven a terrific ending to the series. Why this set of six was not collected with the first twelve books is beyond me: not only do they go together, but these six have no place with the five issues of ‘Hyperion’, which are completely different stylistically and thematically.
Not only does this final set fall right into the traditional superhero format, being more action-oriented and adding tons of new super-powered characters, but it’s also less realistic. By this point, gone is the cleverness that was a key element of the original books; what we’re served is a tepid affair that probably should have been developed differently.
Also sorely missing is Gary Frank’s solid artwork, which graces the first half of the volume. In ‘Hyperion’, the pencils are taken over by Dan Jurgens, who has a more traditional and limited style. While Frank was hardly the best artist I’ve ever seen, Jurgens’s penciling is weak, offering unrealistic characters, static set-up, and uninspired paneling.
Honestly, this last set of book really spoiled things for me. I struggled to get through it and could barely remember what I liked about the series by the time I got to the end. It wasn’t god awful, but it was unoriginal and hardly worth mentioning. So I’ll stop now.
The first part of this volume, however, is worth it for anyone who read the last set.
Post scriptum: the first part of this collection, issues 13-18 of ‘Supreme Power’, can also be found in a trade paperback collection titled ‘Supreme Power: High Command’.