SUPREME (and Suprema) in JUDGMENT DAY by Alan Moore (and other stuff)

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Judgment Day was a 3-issue miniseries (plus one Aftermath special) published by Awesome Comics in 1997. It was written by Alan Moore and drawn by an assortment of artists including Rob Liefeld, Jon Sibal, Gil Kane, Stephen Platt, Joe Weems V, Keith Giffen, Bill Wray, Adam Pollina, Jon Sibal, Dan Jurgens, Al Gordon, Chris Sprouse, Steve Skroce, Stephen Platt, Lary Stucker, Jim Starlin, Alan Weiss, Terry Dodson, Rachel Dodson, Marat Mychaels, Cedric Nocon, Norm Rapmund, Jeff Johnson, Dan Panosian, Rick Veitch, Ian Churchill and Marlo Alquiza (yeah, I know that sounds like a lot, but I’m including pencilers and inkers and there were a lot of flashback sequences in this series which were drawn by different teams, in order to replicate different eras).

Alan Moore had already been writing SUPREME for awhile at this point, and this series was an attempt to revamp the entire Rob Liefeld Extreme Universe, launching a string of new titles. The thrust of the stories was that RIPTIDE from YOUNGBLOOD is found brutally murdered, and her team member KNIGHTSABER is accused of killing her. Supreme lends his Citadel for the trial to be held, with a jury full of superheroes.

I’m not going to really delve into the series, nor spoil the ending. Tim Callahan has a pretty good review (which does spoil the ending) HERE, although I enjoyed the series more than he did. Other than the setting of the trial, this series doesn’t impact Supreme all that much. There was supposed to be a new ongoing series featuring the super-team The Allies, which Supreme was to be a member of, written by Alan Moore and drawn by Rob Liefeld , spinning off from Judgment Day, but although there were ads for it, the series never came to pass.

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A plotline from Judgment Day would briefly factor into another series from Awesome Comics two years later, in The Coven (vol. 2), written by Jeph Loeb and drawn by Ian Churchill. The members of this supernatural team try to break into Supreme’s Citadel to look for a magical artifact from the trial. Supreme appears in the cliffhanger to issue #1 and then confronts the team in issue #2.

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Interestingly, although this story is clearly set in the Alan Moore continuity (Radar, The Hound Supreme also makes an appearance), Supreme is written more like the original version, he’s angry and violent, even threatening to snap one Coven member’s neck. But I guess we can just attribute that to him being in a bad mood, with all of these strangers invading his home.

But the Judgment Day miniseries actually has a much bigger impact on SUPREMA. In the Aftermath issue of this series, the U.S. Government shuts down the Youngblood program. So Waxy Doyle, the old retired superhero whom we later saw in Nitrogen #1 forms a new team. Shaft, Suprema, and Twilight (the former sidekick of Professor Night, a Batman analog whom was a former ally of Supreme) join new heroes Big Brother, Doc Rocket, and Johnny Panic in what was to be a new series written by Alan Moore. This would lead to what would be one of Alan Moore’s most-promising but short-lived projects.

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AWESOME HOLIDAY SPECIAL came out in December 1997 featuring an 8-page story Alan Moore and drawn by Steve Skroce (who was to be the regular artist for the series) starring Shaft, detailing how he signed up with Waxy Doyle and the recruiting process for new members. When he gets to SUPREMA she’s described as: “Imagine Nancy Drew with a thermonuclear capacity and you’ve pretty much got the idea. After scorching my fingers with a superspeed handshake, she said I could join her team, but that I should get a haircut. Then she left because she had to go polish the moon or something.”

*Note: This issues also contains an 8-page COVEN story by Jeph Loeb and Ian Churchill, an 8-page KABOOM story by Jeph Loeb and Jeff Matsuda, and an 8-page S.P.I.C.E. story by Rob Liefeld

In February 1998, the first issue of the new YOUNGBLOOD came out.
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In this issue, in a plot straight out of the Denzel Washington film FALLEN (which came out a month earlier) the team faces an entity which can posses people, going from person to person and committing murder. And what happens when this entity possess the extremely powerful SUPREMA?!?

6 months later (that’s right, 6 months), in August 1998, YOUNGBLOOD #2 came out.
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In this issue, the team faces BADBLOOD, a group of supervillains, including Suprema’s arch-nemesis Satana, lead by a former Youngblood member (I won’t say whom, because it would reveal a spoiler from Judgment Day).

The story that was meant to be in the third issue of this series would not see print until a year later, in August 1999, when Awesome Comics released ALAN MOORE’S AWESOME ADVENTURES #1
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In this issue, Youngblood faces another attack by old supervillains, and have to solve a mystery about who is behind it. This issue features a brief appearance by Supreme in his Ethan Crane secret identity, and leads them to an old hideout of Supreme’s old foe DARIUS DAX.

Sadly, this was to be the end of Alan Moore’s Youngblood. No further issues were published, although Moore’s completed script for #4 is available online HERE These few issues show a lot of promise, Alan Moore was writing some good traditional but modern superhero stories, lacking the dark deconstruction he was known for, and not so much of the Silver Age homages he was utilizing in SUPREME. And Skorce’s artwork was perfect, these two made a great team. I definitely recommend tracking these issues down, if you’re an Alan Moore fan. Awesome would also publish a comic titled Alan Moore’s Awesome Universe Handbook later that same year.

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This book featured Alan Moore’s written proposals for both YOUNGBLOOD (mapping out the first year of the series) and GLORY (whom he seemed to plan to write as an homage to Wonder Woman in the same manner in which he was writing Supreme), plus several unused sketches of Supreme, Suprema and Radar by the great ALEX ROSS, who explains his process behind these drawings HERE

SUPREMA would appear again in 2002’s YOUNGBLOOD BLOODSPORT #1 by Rob Liefeld and Mark Millar (which was supposed to be a 4-part miniseries, then later just a 3-part series), in an updated costume which I really like.
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But this was an out-of-continuity tale, and no 2nd issue was ever completed or published, although a half-completed bootleg edition exists (good luck finding a copy).

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In 2012 a new Bloodstrike series was launched at Image Comics, written by Tim Seeley and drawn by Franchesco Gaston. SUPREMA shows up in Bloodstrike #32 (Oct. 2012) and #33 (Dec. 2012).
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A retired superhero who used to be called Kid Achilles is killed, and the government takes his corpse in order to re-animate him and have him join the Bloodstike team. It turns out that back in the 1960’s Kid Achilles was on a superhero team with Suprema (back in her original outfit) and Twlight, who both show up to stop Bloodstrike from using him, a fight ensues. Along the way, Suprema gets possessed (again) by an old supervillain, so now Twlight has to team up with Bloodstrike to save Suprema before the villain kills her.

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I enjoyed this series, for the most part. Tim Seeley is a great writer, and a longtime fan of Liefeld’s Extreme Universe, so he writes these characters very well. However, the one drawback to this series was the art. I just don’t care for Gaston’s style.

Another Extreme Universe in 2012 was Joe Keatinge and Ross Campbell’s dramatic revamp of GLORY, which lasted from #23 to #34

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SUPREME appears, in flashbacks in issues #23, #25, and then in the present in #32 and #33 (the later two issues also feature SUPREMA, wearing the updated costume from Bloodsport). It should be noted that the Supreme who appears in these books is written like the Alan Moore version. This series is FANTASTIC, and I can’t recommend it high enough.

And one last Supreme-related appearance: KID SUPREME makes a very brief appearance in AVENGELYNE #7, written by Mark Poulton and drawn by Owen Gieni, published in March 2012. He’s back to wearing his original costume with the purple jacket, not the new costume from the end of his series, or the updated “Superion” armor from Nitrogen. This was also a pretty good series.

  3 comments for “SUPREME (and Suprema) in JUDGMENT DAY by Alan Moore (and other stuff)

  1. June 5, 2015 at 10:54 AM

    Judgment Day was interesting in that Alan Moore came up with a clever in-story explanation for why superhero comic books had become so dark & violent in the 1980s and 90s. It was certainly a very meta-textual miniseries, and I rather liked it. Plus there was the epilogue featuring artwork by the legendary Gil Kane. I second J.R.’s recommendation to search out the Judgment Day issues.

    Liked by 1 person

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