“Squadron Supreme” #10

By | August 11th, 2022
Posted in Reviews | % Comments

How’s everyone doing after issue #10? Only mildly emotionally destroyed? Partially devastated? Coping well with the heartbreaking death of an under appreciated and put upon tech genius who got cancer while trying to help a friend not murder his family? Issue #9 was the worst gut punch in a series of ever increasing gut punches, even if Tom Thumb was responsible for the wildly unethical B-Mod that’s driven most of the plot, you got the impression he was doing it to impress his friends. But if there’s one thing this series has taught me, it’s that things will always get worse. Because in the face of danger, our team here can’t really make good decisions.

Cover by Paul Ryan
Written by Mark Gruenwald
Pencils by Paul Ryan
Inks by Sam De La Rosa
Colors by Max Scheele
Letters by Janice Chiang

As the world mourns Tom Thumb, the comatose Quagmire can no longer control his dark force energies.

We open with Thumb’s casket. Because of course we do. “Squadron Newswatch” anchor Randall Brautigan recounts the life and adventuring career of one Thomas “Tom Thumb” Thompson. Side note: I feel like the name “Randall Brautigan” should be a reference to something, other than just having enough hard consonants to be a proper news anchor. This all seems like your typical “Squadron” exposition dump until Power Princess shows up to discuss his latest invention: The Hibernaculum, a stasis chamber where terminally ill patients can be placed in suspended animation, hibernating until someone finds a cure for whatever ails them. It’s after unveiling this that Zarda tells us not to worry, because our old’ buddy Tom Thumb’s gonna be back in no time!

I have to give this scene credit: I genuinely found myself horrified at the prospect, and agreeing with the Nighthawk’s team of villains. Superheroes coming back from the dead should be the least shocking part of this issue. When the X-Men got to Krakoa, they had a step-by-step resurrection process. But the combination of Thumb’s tragic death and the Squadron’s previous innovations blowing up in their faces make this feel particularly gross. And that’s before we get to the robot Ape X is building. It’s enough to put you in the headspace of the primary antagonists of the series. It’s fine scripting. One of the many reasons Mark Gruenwald deserves more praise than he gets.

But yeah… Nighthawk has decided the moment is now to start plotting the team’s downfall. The team gets a couple new recruits in the form of Moonglow and Red Stone, double agents working for the former super president. Red Stone was the giant mountain man they picked up a while back. Controversy starts when they want to speed through the process of background checks, so Blue Eagle suggests B-Modding everyone. Just to be sure. No matter what their criminal record is. This thrust us into debate. But I should point out, the B-Modded villains are okay with it. After all, didn’t do them no harm.

Another new wrinkle in Nighthawk’s plans: Golden Archer has joined him. He’s helping them so they can undo all the Moddings with some sort of opposing device. Especially Lark.

But Blue Eagle does have reason for his pro B-Mod stance. Quagmire is still in a coma after heroically saving factory workers from noxious fumes. Between that and his regular dealings with Lamprey, he’s grown to trust the system. This isn’t helped by the fact that Quagmire is leaking dark force currently. This leads us into the climactic action piece of the book, where Hyperion swims through a flood of Quagmire’s goo, dramatically unplugging the former villain’s life support. In the process, Dr. Decibel dies. As tragic as the events are, it gives the Squadron a chance to finally test out their new toy.

By the way… Hyperion manages to navigate the mess because of a pair of fancy new sunglasses that Ape X made him. He’s still blind, and not coping well with his disability. It’s the first time he’s ever known weakness, so even the moments they’re off when he’s having repairs done are intolerable for him. Not only that, but people are starting to notice. Nighthawk’s crew picked up on his new shades. And other details, such as Mt. Rushmore being turned into rubble. While Hyperion started out wishing for transparency, even having the team reveal their identities in the process, he’s in some ways become more secretive than ever. Though he hasn’t hidden his secrets well enough to keep them from working against him.

Also, Arcanna is still hiding how pregnant she actually is. And Firefox and Spectrum continue to be horny on main. I may have shouted “Oh come on!” when he carried her on a flying bed.

Paul Ryan’s back on art. While I like Bob Hall’s expressiveness a tad bit more, Ryan’s still pretty much on part. For as shifty as the creative team has been, it’s a minor miracle that the images on the page have been as consistently solid as they have been. Janice Chiang stepped back into lettering this time around, but that’s the only change from last issue. And I do like the Quagmire text on the cover. For as solid as the writing has been, it’s very much appreciated that the art continues to be good. Especially now that the cracks forming since the earliest issues have been noticed, and we’re only two issues away from the end.

//TAGS | 2022 Summer Comics Binge

Chris Cole

Chris Cole lives in a tiny village built around a haunted prison. He is a writer, letterer, and occasional charity Dungeon Master. Follow his ramblings about comics and his TTRPG adventures on Twitter @CcoleWritings.


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