Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Squadron Defender

One of, no, the biggest complaint I hear about the Squadron Supreme, is that they are rip-offs of the Justice League of America. I really would like to complain about this.

The Squadron Sinister (pre-cursor to Squadron Supreme, kind of, see last post for more details) were originally created as tributes to the JLA. They weren't mocking DC, as Marvel has done (see Deadpool/Deathstroke) or as DC has done to Marvel (see Superman/Batman Annual 1 for the revenge of DC for aforementioned mockery), but as a tribute. When the team was popular enough, they continued to make tributes to the JLA, with their characters like Tom Thumb (Atom), Hawkeye/Golden Archer/Black Archer (yes, first was same name as Clint Barton, who was actually Goliath at the time, but a tribute to Green Arrow), American Eagle/Cap'n Hawk/Blue Eagle (Hawkman) and Lady Lark (Black Canary) were the first additions. Eventually, more tributes were added, with Nuke (Firestorm), Amphibian (Aquaman), Power Princess (Wonder Woman), Skymax the Skrullian Skymaster (Maritan Manhunter) and Arcanna (Zatanna) joining the Squadron. Lady Lark also, in keeping with the JLA, also eventually became Skylark (Hawkgirl). Some of the villains match too, with Emil Burbank (Lex Luthor, opposite, in that his hair won't stop growing), Ape X (Gorilla Grodd), Lamprey (Parasite), Minx (Catwoman) and Shape (Plastic Man/Elongated Man, yes he's a villain originally, but never was really all that evil).

But, this doesn't mean that every single thing that the Squadron did was based off of the JLA. The Sentry was also based off of Superman, but he is also unique. He is a very different character from Superman even though he was based off of him. Sentry does things differently than Superman, and is unique. If you read Sentry, New Avengers or World War Hulk, you could see similarities, but you could also easily tell that he is not Superman and that you can appreciate him for his own values. In the same vein, the Squadron are very different from the JLA. While initially based off of the JLA, they varied from their first appearance so much that they are completely different. Read the Squadron Supreme series! It is amazing and it is a great story, and once you read it, you will find it different from a JLA story and that these are not the same people. What is great about the Squadron being based off of the JLA is that they are unique characters that can be molded as wished, but you can also see them as their JLA counterparts and just know about them and intros do not have to be made and you can get on with the story. Spider-Man and X-Men were good movies, but hampered by the fact that they had to tell the viewers who the characters are. If you have to introduce a character, then it takes time away from the story. By basing the Squadron off of the JLA, they do not have to introduce as much, and can just go right into the story.

Okay, so what have we learned? Just because something was based off of something originally (Squadron/Deadpool etc) does not mean that they have to follow completely and it does not mean that they cannot be original and unique. Yay for Squadron Supreme.

Oh, and a last note, read Supreme Power also. It is a little more extreme and is a Marvel MAX title (I believe), but is also really good. It does for the Squadron what Ultimates does for the rest of the MU.

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