SUPREME MADNESS

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SUPREME MADNESS is a 6-part story, the first full Supreme-centric crossover, which ran from SUPREME #13-18 and firmly established Supreme within the broader Image Comics Universe at the time, as opposed to simply just Rob Liefeld’s Extreme Studios corner of Image. This arc benefited from a coherent, if simple, storyline. Rob Liefeld is credited with the story, with Kurt Hathaway scripting it. Unfortunately the art is still inconsistent, with Shawn McManus and Cedric Nocon on #13, Dan Fraga on #14, Pedi on #15, Norm Rapmund on #16, Marat Mychaels and Cedric Nocon on #17, with Nocon by himself on #18.

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The first issue picks up from the cliffhanger of Supreme #12, with Supreme fighting Zachariah Grizlock on the White House lawn. Despite being armed with a giant robotic suit of armor, Grizlock is still no match for Supreme, who defeats him. But, to spare his life, Zachariah Grizlock makes a deal with Supreme to get him his powers back, claiming that he has machines in his secret laboratory (beneath Fort Knox) which can restore Supreme to his previous state. But Grizlock’s experiment goes wrong and instead Supreme just goes insane, he kills Grizlock (this happens off-panel, we’re told of it in the following issue) and then just goes around acting crazy (still powerless, but armed with Thor’s hammer).

Over the course of the series he encounters and fights superheroes from other Image Comics series, including Mark Teixeira’s UNION, Todd McFarlane’s SPAWN, Jim Lee’s STORMWATCH, and Dale Keown’s PITT.

I should also note that in January 1995, several months after this storyline ended, Jim Valentino wrote and drew a story which, although it’s not specified as such, appears to take place during this time period, in SHADOWHAWK #16 where the two heroes confront each other.

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The standout of this series is #15, where Supreme meets Spawn. The two heroes meet in an alley and just talk about their pasts, with Supreme re-iterating the origin story he gave in Supreme #10, except this time mentioning that he was 18 years old when he was forced to take part in Dr. Wells’ experiment. This was another rare attempt at some actual characterization as Supreme lets his guard down for minute, talking about how he misses the way he was idolized back in the 40’s (even Spawn admits that Supreme was his childhood hero) and now he’s either forgotten or mis-trusted. But overall this arc is decent if not exactly ground-breaking. It’s mostly a bunch of fight scenes, which Supreme always wins. In Supreme #18, which has Supreme vs. Pitt (who recognizes Supreme as someone who once saved the homeworld of his alien race from a meteor, during the time that Supreme was in outer space), Supreme finally comes to his senses (after being attacked by and defeating Simple Simon), and is back to normal (well, “normal” for him).

I will also note that, as predicted in Supreme #25, Supreme #18 is the first appearance of the new KID SUPREME (who, despite what was said in #25, was not Black). Well, sort of. He doesn’t actually appear in the story, in the back of the issue there is an 8-page KID SUPREME SNEAK PREVIEW, which shows a picture of Kid Supreme (“he’s strong, he’s smart, he’s fast, and he’s young! He’s the newest hero on the streets—just where he’s needed most!”) and an assortment of supervillains (“meet the various characters that give the Kid a hard time! Get to know them and be sure to let us know what you think!”). The villains are ROCKWELL (He can morph into almost anything and he spells real danger for Kid Supreme), FX (Don’t take you eyes off this one! He’s a wizard with the art of illusion!), WART (One ugly brute and twice as mean!), KILOWATT (This guy’s got a real bad attitude and he’s full of electrick juice!) BUZZARD (With villainy in his heart and a craving for human flesh, he rules the skies!), GATOR (This swamp denizen is just a fierce as he looks!) HEADBUTT (This masked man proves to be no picnic for Kid Supreme!) and BLACKTOP (A killer and all around bad-dude!).

There’s an artist signature on the first page, but I can’t make out what it says, and there are no credits listed for it, so I don’t know who drew all of these characters, or what was planned at the time for all of them. But it looks nice.

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