They're the most dangerous superhero team to hit comics, and this December the creative team of James Robinson and Leonard Kirk are going to bring you a Squadron Supreme like you've never seen before. Before we get started we need to give you a fair warning.
This article has spoilers for Squadron Supreme #1.
Seriously, turn away if you don't want to know.
Following the events of Secret Wars, the Squadron Supreme is angry, real angry. The source of their anger? Namor. So much so that by the end of the debut issue, the team takes care of their problem, permanently. We had the chance to chat with writer James Robinson about the decision making process and how this first issue is the explosive kick-off he was hoping to have with the series.
Jumping right into this, lets talk about the decision to do what you guys did to Namor. Is this something that Marvel offered or was this something you wanted to do and they gave a green light for it?
James Robinson: It was a combination of a couple of things. One, it speaks of Squadron Supreme's mission statement. Which is that they really are this hard-line group that will not put up with anything or anybody who will detract work.
And also, it was kind based on the fact that Namor destroyed Doctor Spectrum's world.
Robinson: And was basically in the last few years Namor has crossed the line from an anti-hero to something a little bit darker.I mean we’ve seen absolutely no remorse whatsoever from him lately.
It’s well known that you're a fan of the Invaders. For you, seeing Namor go through this transformation from hero to downright villain, is there a bit of gratification on your end doing this or is it bittersweet? Do you feel Namor has finally gone too far that he needs to be dealt with?
Robinson: Well, I think it's a combination of things. It is bittersweet, but I think that people have to pay for what they do. I think that as you'll see in Squadron, Namor's death will open up a lot of amazing story opportunities which will evolve in the future.
Let's talk about the team for a bit. This has always been a team for the most part has sort of existed outside of the main Marvel Universe and is now being brought in. Are there any hoops to jump through to make this kind of team work in the mainline Marvel Universe or do you feel like a team like this always would have existed and now is just the time to tell that story?
Robinson: Well I think that it the group couldn't have existed without the prelude to Secret Wars when all their worlds were being destroyed. And luckily luckily for me and the series, Marvel readers and readers as a whole are conditioned to thinking of multiple versions the Squadron Supremes from multiple Earths.
Robinson: That's the longstanding thing. There really hasn't been one consistent Squadron Supreme that's been at the forefront of Marvel universe ever. There was Gruenwald’s version for a while, there was the JMS version. There was this version. There was Squadron Sinister during Secret Wars. The idea of putting them all together and including the New Universe, I think that's just the next logical step, especially when you bring it out of the Secret Wars which was in itself a mosaic of realities.
It felt organic and the right thing to do but also it made sense. It felt alright to do it now but actually I think we could have done it at any time had I, had Marvel had the idea before now.
Who on the team are you the most excited to write?
Robinson: Well, it always surprises you, and I said this about writing the members Fantastic Four when I was asked back when I was working with Leonard Kirk who i’m thrilled to be working with again on this book.
You literally jump around from one to another in terms of whop you prefer. Originally, the one I was most excited to be working with was Hyperion but since then I've enjoyed all the characters.
As I sat down to write these various characters and gotten a hook on their strengths and weaknesses and character strengths and flaws and what is it that they find good or bad about the world that they've chosen to protect -- how it's very unlike what they've come from. It made me really, really interested in Doctor Spectrum. It's made me really interested in Blur of the New Universe (which is a sentence I never thought I would say.) But I'm very excited to make Blur more of a character in the known universe. He actually has some great potential.
Is there a character that you think fans will latch onto first?
Robinson: I want to give you the joke answer and say Tyndall the elf from the original Weirdworld series who has a great role in the book, but I think, possibly, readers will latch on onto the new Nighthawk. Or they might latch onto the enigma of Doctor Spectrum in our world. The brilliant thing about using the Doctor Spectrum and the Great Society is that Jonathan Hickman showed just enough of that world to intrigue us, but there's a huge amount of wiggle room in order to do my own thing.
That's what's effective about Blur too -- so little is known about him. Like I said before, every character has their moment. I'm jazzed to see which characters we use more. I'm more interested myself, honestly.
Are you planning on diving a bit deeper into where the characters have come from or are you pretty much just going full-steam ahead and filling out bits and pieces as we go?
Robinson: No, actually how they got together, how they came to this world, will be an ongoing B-story subplot which will be revealed as the series goes on, but it's definitely something I'm very interested in addressing.
This team is, and essentially what they do in this first issue is ... It feels brutal. Like I got to the end of this issue and I was like, "I don't know if I can like this team," and I say that in the sense that they went in and cleaned house.
Is that sort of that gut reaction, one that you were going for and hoping that fans take away, or am I just being oversensitive?
Robinson: Some readers are going to be angered for sure. I think it’s going to be a split reaction though. There is a scene in the end where we see people on the street's reactions to what the Squadron has done. And I think you're going to get some of that with readers. That's sort of how it's meant to be.
But then as we see them go on and we also see the Squadron themselves -- some of them questioning what you're doing or what are the methods that they're employing.
And that will obviously lead to friction and a very big confrontation unfolding towards the series' progression.
As fans pick up the issue and they get through it, what's the thing that you hope they take away from both the first issue and also from what they can expect from the series as they go on?
Robinson: I think for the first issue they'll say “I have no idea what to expect from this book.” And I say that in the sense that we’re going to keep readers on their toes and unpredictable
This team takes that aspect of justice and retribution and everything else to the nth degree. I think it's a different look at the kind of teams that you have in the Marvel universe like the Avengers. I think that as they come into conflict with the Avengers and with Hydra and with different groups and factions, you're going to see them answering the challenges in a very different way than Captain America's Avengers team. And I think that readers will hopefully be intrigued by that and want to see more and be curious enough to come back and see how the team evolves and changes and some of the terrible things they do and some of the fantastic things they do.
So what do you think ComicBook.com readers? Are you excited to see Robinson's take on the Squadron Supreme? Will you miss Namor? Let us know in the comments below.