Rating: 4/5 – A Squadron that’s Definitely Sinister!
by ComicSpectrum senior reviewer Shawn Hoklas.
With a cover that harkens back to the older Justice League covers featuring different Justice League team head shots running along each side, Squadron Sinister has the two versions of the Squadron Supreme framing the center action shot. The cover image highlights what’s in store for this opening issue of yet another Secret Wars tie-in. It’s the Squadron Sinister that first appeared in Avengers number eighty-five that are the stars of this issue, and they are definitely back to their “sinister” ways. This isn’t the somewhat heroic team we’ve read about in the more recent incarnations and appearances, or even the wonderful Gruenwald interpretation from the 1980s. The Squadron Sinister are an evil version of the Justice League, and writer Marc Guggenheim gives us numerous examples of why in this first issue.
Guggenheim wastes little time getting to the action as we’re immediately thrown into a battle between Squadron Sinister and the Squadron team that J. Michael Straczynski and Gary Frank made popular in their reboot of the characters back in the early 2000s. It’s a brutal fight that’s both very one-sided, and shows just how dangerous the Sinister team can be. From there we see how this team is living within the larger Battleworld, and how they’re continuing to expand their Utopia. Guggenheim throws a bunch of nods to the character’s varied pasts, and the additional appearance of an “Iron Thor” ties it right into the larger Secret Wars event.
For the most part, artist Carlos Pacheco’s pencils are solid. He uses plenty of different panel layouts throughout this first issue and embraces the old character designs including the somewhat awkward looking Nighthawk costume, which comes off looking great. Although Pacheco’s close up panels show the detail, when he draws a shot that pulls the camera out, they look rushed and plain and unfortunately there’s a lot of them. As an overall package though, the art works. Pacheco draws plenty of Easter Eggs, like a giant dollar bill hanging in Nighthawk’s cave, that are fun to see and pay homage to the Squadron team and their obvious influence, the Justice League.
Secret Wars continues to release engaging and compelling tie-ins that are using characters from throughout Marvel’s rich history. Although Hyperion has played an important role in Hickman’s Avengers over the past couple years, the rest of the Squadron Supreme team have been missing in action for quite some time. I’m glad to see them back in all their evil glory, and it remains to be seen just what type of impact this all-powerful team will have on the larger Battleworld.
Reviewed by: Shawn Hoklas
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