Before I get to the Alan Moore run of Supreme, here is a little side project that Extreme Studios launched, originally published by Image Comics. At the conclusion of Supreme #40, Lady Supreme decided to remain on that other Earth in deep space, while Supreme returned home, so this title was a spin-off to show Lady Supreme’s further adventures. I can only assume that this was planned before the company knew exactly what Moore’s ideas for the main title would be, because in his first issue he wrote Lady Supreme out of existence, making this title irrelevant. But even though this takes place after the events of Supreme #40, LADY SUPREME #1 was released in May 1996, the same month as Supreme #39.
Terry Moore (no relation to Alan) was enlisted as writer, with the art provided by Craig Wagner & [Mike] Deodato Studios. To catch new readers up on the character, the first issue opens with this prologue:
Once she was known as Probe, a beautiful woman from the future with psionic powers. A genetic spawn of the awesome Supreme, her valiant battles led her to our Earth, our time, and left trapped in the form of a man, the Supreme man. Struggling to find her own identity, our hero finally regained her female form but found her father’s blood and power now truly coursing through her veins. She was no longer simply Probe, she was reborn. She was, Lady Supreme!
As Lady Supreme she journeyed to another dimension to locate her father and found herself alongside him in moral combat against the great Loki on an alternate Earth that had fallen prey to the devastating Nu-Gene harvest of The Keep. When the battle was done, only Lady Supreme and her father stood victorious. The Supreme who had once guarded this alternate Earth was dead. Feeling the need of an oppressed civilization robbed of its hero, Lady Supreme elected to remain on this earth and serve the people in this place.
But that was last week. That was before Lady Supreme discovered her new home was an angry planet feeding on the greed and hatred of unlimited technology. A world where human life was of little value to the dark and endless ambitions of those in power. A world almost beyond hope. Here things were different. Here, the rules were simple…DIE AND LET DIE!
Got it? Good.
“Die And Let Die” was the name of the storyline, with the first chapter titled “World Without Pity.” Despite what the prologue says, in the story it’s revealed to be one month after the events of Supreme #40. During this time Lady Supreme has been trying to learn all she can about this new world. She immediately confronts a ruthless businesswoman known as Lady Coffin, who runs a worldwide conglomerate called Coffin Industries. According to Lady Supreme, most of the corruption on the planet leads to Lady Coffin, whom I presume is supposed to the “Lex Luthor” of this series. Lady Supreme is still trying to learn how to properly use her powers, and in this confrontation with Lady Coffin some innocent bystanders get hurt. A similar thing happens later in the issue when Lady Supreme attempts to save two people from getting attacked by three criminals in an alleyway. The issue ends with a surprise appearance by GLORY, who lectures Lady Supreme about using violence to solve her problems, and then reveals that she is Lady Supreme’s mother…
Three months later, in August 1996, LADY SUPREME #2 was published. Chapter two: “A Call To Armageddon.” This issue doesn’t feature much action, it’s mostly a “talking heads” story. Lady Supreme and Glory change into civilian clothes and sit and have a conversation in a diner. Then Glory leaves and Lady Supreme goes for a walk. We’re introduced to a man named John Ryder, an assassin hired by Lady Coffin to track and kill Lady Supreme, so we see him following her. And in the end, a new female supervillain named Manassa crashed into the middle of the city, from outer space, demanding to face Lady Supreme…
That was the last issue of the official series to be published. But 4 months later, in December 1996, the story that was meant to be in Lady Supreme #3 was instead published as the lead story in ASYLUM #10
Asylum was an anthology series, published by Rob Liefeld’s new comics imprint, MAXIMUM PRESS, with each issue featuring stories of a rotating cast of characters by different creative teams. This issue had “Die And Let Die” chapter 3: “Tomorrow’s Wind.” This story is basically one long fight scene, it’s Lady Supreme vs. Manassa, a blonde woman in a skimpy yellow outfit, who claims to be a demon, summoned by Lady Coffin to kill Lady Supreme. Manassa has control over the weather and also carries a large sword which can cut through even Lady Supreme’s supposedly invulnerable skin. It takes everything Lady Supreme has to defeat Manassa, and when it’s over, hundreds of innocent bystanders are dead or injured and there is massive property damage, and Lady Supreme vows to make Lady Coffin pay for what she’s done…
And that’s it for this version of Lady Supreme. No further adventures were published although Terry Moore did complete a script for a 4th issue, which he has posted online: Lady Supreme “DIE AND LET DIE” Chapter Four: The Missing Step
Interestingly, it looks like #4 was planned to be the final issue, as the script ends with the new Earth being destroyed and Lady Supreme disappearing and re-appearing in The Supremacy, where she meets Kid Supreme, who explains that they’ve been “revised” and this is their new home. The tagline then leads into the events if Supreme #41, where we would see Lady Supreme and Kid Supreme one “last” time…
Overall, I can’t say that I was particularly impressed with this series. Much like the original version of Supreme, this concept had a lot of potential that just never came to fruition. That’s probably somewhat unfair of a comparison, due to the very brief publication of the title. It’s possible that if this series had continued as originally planned, and was published on a regular basis, that it would have improved.
On the one hand, unlike the original character, this series does try to provide Lady Supreme with some characterization, letting us see into her thoughts as her guiding motivation is to help the people of this world, while facing and overcoming her own insecurities and self-doubt about whether she can truly fill Supreme’s shoes. On the other hand, the setting of the title is greatly under-used. This is a parallel Earth, a lot could be done with that? What’s it’s history like, how did it diverge from ours? The prologue alludes to it being more technologically advanced than ours, but we don’t see that much evidence of it. It’s also implied that it’s more of a matriarchal society, where gender roles are reversed and men are considered the “weaker sex,” but that’s not followed up on much either. Again, perhaps with more time that could have explored, but we’ll never know. And Glory’s appearance doesn’t make much sense. Is it Glory from the future, because the current version shouldn’t know anything about Probe/Lady Supreme or that it’s her daughter?
It also seems like Terry Moore is almost trying to ape Alan Moore’s writing style, at least superficially. This is most notable in the 2nd issue, which was released after Alan Moore began his run on Supreme. Suddenly the comic is full of multiple dense narrative captions, trying really hard to be “deep.” Such as on the opening page:
It’s cold outside. Pouring down rain. The steam rises from the streets like a sour perfume from Hell. The deadly break of a million machines blows through endless canyons of buildings, glass and technology like an angel of death, robbing the poor and the homeless of another day of life with every breath they take. The city weezes and coughs and smells like an old man shuffling through his last days.
It’s a nice attempt at setting a mood, I’ll admit. But it just falls flat.
As for the art, Craig Wagner does a decent job, although Lady Supreme and all of the other women in this series are drawn like typical 90’s comic-book babes. Everyone has very thin waists and large breasts, and Lady Supreme’s costume is drawn very skimpy. Even the “businesswomen” in this series tend to wear micro-miniskirts. So the cheesecake factor is high. Whether that’s a good or bad thing depends on the reader…
I wouldn’t consider these issues essential for your Supreme comics collection, but they’re not a bad addition to it.
*Note: Asylum #10 also features a 6-page BATTLESTAR GALACTICA story, written by Robert Napton and Scott Devine and drawn by Hector Gomez.