Friday, June 1, 2018

Supreme #8

Supreme #8
Supreme vs. Thor

As loud and pointless as this cover implies

“The Final Fury”
Story – “Ripley” and Kurt Hathaway
Script – Kurt Hathaway
Penciler – Shawn McManus
Inker – Shawn McManus
Letters – Kurt Hathaway
Colors – Brian Murray
Color Separations – In Color
Assistant Editor – R. Matthew Hawkins
Editor – Kurt Hathaway
December 1993

Supreme and I go through this love/hate thing. With the birth of Image, Rob Liefeld planted his mark by ripping off both the Avengers and Superman with copycat books that were all smashing action and zero brains. These are the Supreme stories that I hate.

However, I love the Alan Moore Supreme run that enhanced and homaged so much of the Silver Age Superman history. I care about them so much that I think Moore’s brief run on the title actually validates the dreck that preceded it.

And this is indeed Dreck.

Supreme as presented between the pages of this mag constitutes little more than a powerset without a personality, brains, or a working conscience. He is unlikeable, preferring to prolong a combat that begins due to a misunderstanding by the other participant. His motivation for doing so isn’t apparent in this issue, unless it is literally to prove he can beat the other super, as if they were two WWE wrestlers with about as much depth.

It’s a dumb book and I feel dumber for having wasted my time reading it. So of course I’m going to review it for you, because that’s what the Crapbox is all about: showing you the crap I find.

Let’s start with that cover, which is supposed to homage John Buscema’s classic Silver Surfer Vol 1 #4 cover where the Surfer vs Thor. (If only I was reviewing that book instead of this one…). Note the differences between the two tell us loads about this era of Image.

For one, the concentration on the Supreme cover is on larger figures, which implies the hubris of the Image writers and artists. They believed that their newly minted characters could stand alongside the giants of the Marvel era, which had been going strong for over 30 years at this point. Note that the title character isn’t even shown in his entirety, just his arms, head, and cape in a display that should represent power, but comes off as a rushed addition by the artist. Almost as if the entire conflict was so ill conceived that one of the two combatants was added to the panel almost as an afterthought. And as for the location of this throwdown of such epic purported proportions? It’s nowhere. Even in the story itself. Whereas Buscema made it appear that Thor was fighting Surfer for the very hallowed halls of Asgard itself.

And this is just first impressions we are dealing with here. Let’s crack the cover and see if any of this book is salvageable, shall we?

We begin with the two heroes having a dramatic standoff. Why? We aren’t told. There is plenty of narration going on, but all of it is focused on how awesomely powerful the two are, with one tiny line about how they fought each other during World War II. 

By page 2 we get a two-panel, unnecessary splash page that explains that Thor has just woken up after being kept on ice by the Germans since World War II. Thor, hoodwinked by Hitler, finally figured out the evil Fuhrer’s plan and was about beat up the Nazi leader before the Germans managed to knock him out. Now he’s awake, but unaware of the passage of time, the Allies victory, and Hitler’s death.

During the war, Supreme fought on the side of Allies and served as his one worthy adversary. But now that he’s switched sides, they should be best buds, right…

…well, he’s not. Because *mutter-mumble-mutter* NEED A REASON FOR THEM TO FIGHT! So, Supreme doesn’t explain anything, but just blocks Thor’s path and Thor zaps him with a bolt form Mjollnir (which I suppose HAS to be misspelled because the writer doesn’t know that Stan Lee lifted the name from the actual Norse mythology. Also that fore-haft is too long, but I doubt the writer came up with some clever excuse for it being of the right length.)

The beam staggers Supreme and you’d THINK that he would take this opportunity to tell the Norse hammerer that Hitler was dead. 

Instead the story double-downs on the stupid and has Supreme just attempt to muscle Thor by smacking (excuse me: SMAKing!) him out of the German secret lab and across the land. 

And right around here I start to LIKE this Thor more than the guy whose name is on the title of the book. I mean, he starts to use his head and ask questions about Supreme’s actions. Questions that IF Supreme would stop to answer, would make all the difference storywise.

Instead: “Supreme is a man of few words…

i.e.: Supreme is a grade-A Asshole.

He tosses Thor into a mountain and a substantial part of said mountain crushes the Norseman. And as the dust and rock cover Thor, all Supreme is interested in is securing Thor’s hammer for himself. If only this version had a “Must be worthy” clause on it.

Before his hand touches the hammer, Thor is back in the game. And for a SECOND TIME, Thor tries to reason with Supreme. And Supreme can only think of pounding on the Godling some more. Supreme Sucks. At least this version does anyway.

Sensing the second bell is about to ring, the book veers off into its side stories starting with a reporter who wants to make Supreme come off as an asshole in the press…

I hope she succeeds.

Then a mad scientist villain named Jerimiah Grizlock, who wants to bring Supreme under his heel while crushing glass flasks in his hands…

I hope he succeeds.

And then a page by some covert, black-ops government types who want Supreme to fall victim to some nefarious plot that will keep him under their controlling thumbs…

I hope they succeed.

Is it odd that I think this entire book is made just so we can root against the protagonist? Could that have been the author’s idea all along? To make a Superman archetype so unlikeable, that the public would want to see him brought low? It seems like a weird business strategy to make people buy your book, but that’s the only logical excuse I can come up for when things like this happen…

Supreme knows that without the hammer that Thor is vulnerable. So, he waits until after the Godling throws it…

And then impales him on a giant tree trunk.

Which DOESN’T kill him. And as he calls his hammer back, we see Thor again act like he deserves a book title instead of Supreme.

And as they scrap, it appears Supreme has NO clue what is going on. He has no idea why Thor wants to kill Hitler, but he doesn’t STOP and take the two seconds to ask him a question. Stupidest. “Hero.” Ever!

And it ends predictably, with Thor now super pissed at Supreme. Which means there will be one more issue of this crap, mindless punching and no brain work at all.


Let’s hope this isn’t how the rest of these superhero vs. superhero books will go…

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