I’m just going to start off with this here, because I don’t want to have to post this image in all my reviews. So be forewarned now, if you haven’t read Erik Larsen’s run on Supreme, just go ahead and do so now, because I’m going to be spoiling the frack out of it in this and the next four reviews. I mean, I’ll try to avoid giving away every little plot detail, but I don’t want to limit myself to holding back the major developments. So…
Picking up right from the end of the previous issue, Supreme and Diana are roused from bed as the army of Darius Daxes attack the Citadel. We see every variation of Dax, from a Black woman to a talking duck, viciously attacking, quickly bringing the Citadel crashing down right into the middle of Omegalopolis. Diana opens the special gateway to the Supremacy, unleashing all of the Supremes, who rush to fight back. But that’s exactly what the Daxes wanted, as they were ready with specialized weapons which they use to destroy the Supremacy, killing off the non-powered inhabitants (the variants of Billy Friday, Judy Jordan, and Diana Dane). The Daxes continue their assault, killing the Supremes. It all seems hopeless, as only a few Supremes are left, when one last secret weapon is revealed. One of the Supreme’s takes the Alan Moore Supreme to locked vault, explaining:
“When the last revision happened, HE was relegated to the Supremacy. It took our combined effort to contain him. He was nothing like the others, he was brutal, savage, egotistic and mean. The most powerful Supreme of them all!”
That’s right, the original Rob Liefeld version of Supreme is back!
He’s released from his chains and immediately goes on a quick and brutal rampage slaughtering all of the Daxes until none are left. He then takes a box containing a piece of Silver Supremium and exposes the few remaining Supreme’s to it, wiping out their powers for ever, declaring himself the one true SUPREME once again, and flies off…
WOW. That was some great stuff. The issue is pretty much a long series of fight scenes, but it works really well. And this type of story plays well to Erik Larsen’s strengths as an artist. Ably backed by inker Cory Hamscher, Larsen illustrates the carnage without seeming gratuitous. The multiple variations of both Dax and Supreme are also fun to see. This is a book you can read two or three times before you’re sure you’ve caught everything. But most importantly Larsen’s way of bringing back Rob Liefeld’s SUPREME into continuity is ingenious.
I feel the need to go through this next point in some detail. A couple of years ago, some fellow popped up in The Rob Liefeld / Extreme Studios Fan Group on Facebook, complaining that Larsen’s story didn’t make sense, because he said that Alan Moore’s Supreme was the same character as Rob Liefeld’s Supreme, merely revised, so how could Liefeld’s Supreme have been locked up in the Supremacy all this time? He was very insistent about this, eventually getting himself banned because he kept arguing with everyone.
However, it was never expressly detailed that Moore’s Supreme was the same character as Liefeld’s Supreme. And looking back at the original series we can see where the change occurred. SUPREME #40 ends with Liefeld’s Supreme leaving the other Earth in deep space to return to original Earth. And then in Supreme #41, we see “Supreme” returning to Earth, but noticing that things have changed, and now he has a bunch of gaps in his memory.
I submit that the revision happened inbetween those two issues. And, in hindsight, it explains a lot. So, after SUPREME #40, continuity was revised and Liefeld’s Supreme was regulated to the Supremacy. But, as explained in this issue, he didn’t take kindly to being written out of existence, and so he put up a fight which took the combined effort of the entire population of The Supremacy to contain him and lock him. It was this ruckus which damaged the revision, so when the new Supreme was created in SUPREME #41, the new continuity was incomplete, hence why his memory was faded, he still shares some memories of the previous Supreme, and reality was in flux.
When a group of Supremes arrive on Earth to find the new Supreme, one of them even says “He’s got that ‘Born Yesterday’ look!” and later the new Supreme thinks to himself “If what they say is true, I’ve barely existed before this incredible moment! My real past hasn’t been filled in yet…”, which is what Moore proceeds to do in the following issues. So Erik Larsen’s story makes perfect sense. And I, for one, couldn’t wait to see what he would come up with next…