I must admit that I do tend to cringe whenever I hear Rob Liefeld’s name on any upcoming comic books that I happen to follow. I wonder, does that make me a hater? Probably not, but there does seem to be a lot of them on the various message boards. I never followed his work when he was with Marvel Comics, and so my introduction to his work came after he had left Marvel and became a part of the gang of seven to form Image Comics. From his corner of the Image universe came such titles as Brigade, Bloodstrike, Prophet, Team Youngblood, Youngblood and more. One title that does catch my attention is…SUPREME!
For me, Supreme would probably fall in the category as one of the anti-heroes in comics today, like a Punisher, Wolverine or Deathstroke the Terminator; all characters that don’t mind using extreme measures to get the job done. But when you’re talking about Supreme, you’re talking about a character that can take things to a whole different level, because he’s on the same power levels as a Superman, Gladiator or Thor. So what went wrong?
The first thing that comes to my mind is all the crossovers that this series was a part of. Crossovers like Extreme Prejudice, Extreme Sacrifice; or how about Babewatch, where all the male heroes were turned into women. I mean, come on, did we have to have another reason to see super-heroines drawn with huge breasts and thongs? I’m sure a lot of males didn’t mind, but I know I did. Crossovers that happen too often in a regular title can, and often do, kill a good run.
Bad concepts like Babewatch can do it too. The story that came out of this was that Supreme found out he wasn’t Supreme. Get this – it turns out that this happened to be a future daughter of Supreme that had supplanted her mind in her brother’s body (so she could live), took on the role believing she was Supreme, only to find out when the ordeal was over “she” wasn’t changed back to a “he.” Does your head hurt yet?
Then we have different writers with their interpretation on Supreme. You start out with a character who has a god-complex toward everyone, to a character caught up in “forced” crossover events, to a religious super-powered lunatic, to alternate versions of the character. And you thought late issues would be a problem. By the time Alan Moore took over, we ended up with a Silver Age version straight out of the Superman mythos with a super dog, fortress, and secret identity. Of course, it wouldn’t be complete without tying all previous events together the way only Alan Moore can, which I’m still trying to figure out. This just wasn’t my flavor.
For me, the “real” Supreme is the original concept of the character. A being who has such a god-complex that he looks at us like we are ants compared to him, and even treats those with abilities as pests that need to be put down. A being who doesn’t mind using extreme measures to make his point, and with his abilities… you would get the point! Who knows, maybe if Rob Liefeld finds someone to bring back Supreme the way he was intended to be, I just might get over my queasiness and try it out. Well, if I had the money for it.
So, how do you take your SUPREME?
Next Week: WANTED! …THE SHIELD(S)!