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August 2003
2003 Ernest Lilley / SFRevu
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Supreme - The Story of the Year by Alan Moore (writer); Gil Kane, Chris Sprouse, Jim Starlin, Rick Veitch (illustrators)
Checker Book Publishing Group Trade: ISBN 0971024952 PubDate: 08/01/03
Review by Daniel Dern

332 pgs. List price $26.95
Buy this book and support SFRevu at halfprice.com / Amazon US / Amazon UK

Supreme - The Return by Alan Moore (writer); Joe Bennett (illustrator)
Checker Book Publishing Group Trade: ISBN
0971024960 PubDate: 04/03/03
Review by Daniel Dern

332 pgs. List price $26.95
Buy this book and support SFRevu at halfprice.com / Amazon US / Amazon UK

Even if you're not a reader of comic books, you may recognize the name Alan Moore as the guy who wrote the groundbreaking limited-series/graphic novel, The Watchmen, still readily available (and highly recommende!).

Or his The Leauge of Exraordinary Gentlemen -- yes, the Summer 2003 movie starring Sean Connery and others,

If you are a comic fan (and/or had followed my Daniel's Comic Book Column here in SFRevu last year, you may also recognize Moore as the author of fan faves and critical-(well)-received work like his ground-breaking run on DC's Swamp Thing; MiracleMan; V For Vendetta, his final two issues of the pre-Byrne Superman; his delightful "1963" "annual"; and related issues; V For Vendetta...anyway, you get the idea.

If you've read enough of Moore's comics, you know he's the complete master of the genre, its tropes and flavors, from deadly serious to deeply moving to farce and parody. (And he works with similarly-gifted artists who can render the appropriate styles.)

The Story of the Year and The Return collect Moore's two-year run (1996-1997) on Supreme, a way powerful, over-muscled, well...supreme kind of superhero, created by Rob Liefield.

The Story of the Year is issues #41-51, 52A, and 52B. (I have no idea what the A and B stuff is, I just report what I know.) The Return is issues #53-56 and 1-6.

In Supreme, Moore takes a Superman-like character cast and surrounds. Supreme has a civilian identify -- Ethan Crane, comic artist. He's got a girl friend and an arch-enemy, whose first and last names start with the same letter. (Judy Jordan, Darius Dax.) He's got a super-powered sibling, Suprema, and a super-powered dog. He's got a secret fortress, filled with dangerous souvenirs. He's got robots. He's got a foe from another dimension. And he's got supreme adventures...

Across these two volumes, Moore gives us, with great balance,

  • Several bone-chilling story arcs, with seriously bad villians. And a few heartbreakers.
  • Amusing plots
  • Parodies of MAD and other old comics
  • Homages to many a DC Silver Age (1950s-1960s) Superman/Batman and Justice League and Legion of Super-Heroes story
  • Meta-comic plots about super-hero origins and revisions, "Crisis on Infinite Earth" scale reality-warping events, and comic "logic" in general.
  • Guest appearance by Bill and Hillary Clinton.
  • A tribute to Jack Kirby, and serious tips of the hats to Julie Schwartz, Mort Weisinger, John Broome and others.
  • The super-dog story you've always wanted to read, but never knew it until you read it here.

You'll enjoy Supreme more if you've read way too many Silver Age Superman comics, including the antics of Lois Lane, Jimmy Olsen, et c. (All of whom are being treated, and are behaving, much more respectfully and maturely these days, IMHO.) But you'll enjoy these collections even if you haven't.

I could say a lot more (as reviews you'll find on other web sites make clear), but I think I'll just conclude with : Highly and unhesitatingly recommended -- they're Enjoyment Supreme :-)

2003 Ernest Lilley / SFRevu
columns - events - features - booksmedia                    home  /  subscribe