AVENGERS #85-86 (1971): 1st Squadron Supreme

This story presents the Squadron Supreme. As distinguished from the Squadron Sinister, who were analogs of the Justice League’s main members, the Supremes are analogs of the JLA’s lesser-known members.

The Avengers are returning home from Arkon’s dimension when Vision, Scarlet Witch, Quicksilver and Goliath are shunted over into the alternate universe of The Squadron Supreme. 

  • America Eagle: A mix of Hawkman and an extremely right wing Captain America.  He later becomes known as Captain Hawk, which isn’t a much better name.
  • Whizzer, who is obviously Flash, even though Marvel already had a Flash (Quicksilver) and a Whizzer (from Squadron Sinister, who later changed his name to Speed Demon), and yet another Whizzer from the Golden Age of Marvel (but that Whizzer wasn’t in continuity when Roy Thomas named this character).  Yes, Marvel has multiple Whizzers-despite the fact that it’s one of the worst superhero names of all time.
  • Hawkeye, an obvious Green Arrow parallel who later is named Golden Archer by the 616 Universe’s own Hawkeye who, at the time of this story, is still going by the name Goliath.  Confused yet?
  • Lady Lark, who is Marvel’s take on Black Canary only not nearly as sexy.
  • Tom Thumb, who is like a more James Bond version of Iron Man.  He’s a dwarf, too.  No obvious DC parallel here.
  • Hyperion and Doctor Spectrum (Superman and Green Lantern), who also have Squadron Sinister analogs. Just to be super confusing.
  • And then there’s Nighthawk (Batman). The Nighthawk in this comic is NOT THE SAME NIGHTHAWK. In other words, this Nighthawk is an analog of Batman not an analog of Nighthawk, who was an analog of Batman and was a villain when we met him as part of the Squadron Sinister that we met in Avengers #69-71.  This one–Kyle Richmond–will soon join the 616 Universe and become the leader of The Defenders. Of course, the other one also becomes a hero and joins the Defenders. It’s all incredibly confusing and I can’t keep all the Kyle Richmonds straight. (Oh, and then there will be other people who become other Nighthawks after Richmond dies.). So I’ve given all the Kyle Richmond Nighthawks the same tag despite the fact that they ARE NOT THE SAME NIGHTHAWK. Got that?

When the Avengers first arrive, they fight.

Tom Thumb kicks Goliath’s ass.

The girls fight too.

After they fight (because that’s what guys in costumes do instead of shaking hands) the Avengers realize that these are good guys, not the Squadron Sinister. 

So they all join together to fight an evil kid with massive psychic powers called, imaginatively  enough, Brain-Child.

Wanda’s powers continue to be a fascination of the creators of these comics…

To save the day, Clint does his version of a Fastball Special–using Hyperion as an arrow.

And when it’s all over and the Avengers return home, Vision gives us our deep thought/lesson learned…

Because Marvel loved to end on those “the more you know” type notes.

Good stuff.  It’s clunky and dopey but I love all these types of crossover comics.

Note: #86 is John Buscema’s last issue.

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