Monday, March 25, 2013

The Best Graphic Novels Ever #2 -- Squadron Supreme

2. Squadron Supreme
by Mark Gruenwald and various artists
Published by Marvel Comics

I hear you screaming: "What?! How can you put Squadron Supreme in the list ahead of Watchmen? Are you freakin' crazy?"

No, I'm not. And I'll tell you why.

Both books manage to deconstruct the notion of super-hero teams. Both books manage to follow the "absolute power corrupts absolutely" maxim to its logical conclusion. Both books take the iconic super-hero tropes and types and treat them realistically.

But only one of the books manages to deconstruct its source material without having to reinvent it or distance itself from it.

And that book is Squadron Supreme. It looks and feels like the comics it is laying bare. It feels like the types of comics it is revealing as missing a "real" something. It quacks like the same duck it's aping and raping.

Watchmen, on the other hand, has to modernize the storytelling in order to tell its story. Not that there's anything wrong with modernizing it. Only, it takes far more skill to use the existing feel and style to turn it into something else entirely. (Or so I think.)

And that makes Squadron Supreme the superior book.