BY MATT TUCK
Squadron Supreme is incoming, and the rumor is Loki will introduce them to the MCU via Disney+.
The Norse god of mischief is about go time and dimension hopping, and that means just about everything is on the table. The hot gossip has it that Disney+’s Loki series will usher Squadron Supreme (or possibly Squadron Sinister) into the MCU. If it doesn’t, there are plenty of other interdimensional movies on the horizon to make for convenient ways to incorporate Hyperion and his cohorts into the MCU.
This is not the first time Hyperion and the gang have been the center of movie gossip. Although far-fetched, there was unconfirmed speculation that Marvel was considering Brad Pitt for the role of Hyperion. Even if there is nothing to that gossip, it shows that fans want to see Squadron Supreme in a movie, on Disney+, or both.
WHO ARE THEY?
Way back in 1969, Roy Thomas and John Buscema unapologetically mimicked the Justice League of America. At the time, the Fantastic Four, the Avengers, and the JLA were the primary teams in comics, and there was a budding rivalry among fans of Marvel and DC. Thomas and Buscema decided to somewhat bridge the gap, having the Avengers step into Earth 712 where they would find Marvel’s very own, off-brand JLA.
Squadron Supreme has never been overly popular, especially compared to Marvel’s mainstay teams, like the aforementioned Avengers and FF, as well as the X-Men. For decades, they would appear here and there, even starring in their own limited series, just to fade into the background. Since the early part of the 2000s, there has been a growing interest in Marvel’s Justice League.
In 2003, J. Michael Straczynski brought the team into the modern age with the mature title, Supreme Power that takes place on Earth 31916. As part of that Marvel MAX imprint, Hyperion and Doctor Spectrum would both get their own self-titled spinoffs in 2006 as well as a Hyperion vs. Nighthawk comic.
Beginning in 2015, a new version of the clique would star in another Squadron Supreme series, but this time on Earth 616. Spinning out of Secret Wars, this incarnation was made of heroes displaced by the events in the crossover. Around that same time, Hyperion appeared in different Marvel cartoons, including the Superhero Squad Show and Avengers Assemble, which helped expose the Squad to a new generation of fans.
It has all led to 2021 and Heroes Reborn. In this alternate-reality Marvel Universe (much along the lines of House of M), the cast of characters exist in a world where the Avengers never formed. To fill the void, Squadron Supreme takes point, and they have been the stars of Heroes Reborn.
What’s it all mean? Remember that Kevin Feige oversees all things Marvel from the MCU to the comics and beyond. Suddenly having Squadron Supreme starring in a major series with Hyperion and Doctor Spectrum once again getting their own spinoff comics should raise eyebrows. Nothing happens by coincidence, and it stands to reason that all of this could be a way to raise awareness for the Squad ahead of their live-action debut in the MCU.
With that in mind, let’s take a closer look at five Squad keys that should be on your watch list.
Technically, this is the first appearance of Squadron Sinister. Basically, the two teams are the exact same, except this is the inherently evil version of Squadron Supreme. As the story goes, they were brought into the Marvel 616 timeline by the Grandmaster, who also made his debut in this particular issue. Think of them this way: if Squadron Supreme is Marvel’s Justice League, then Squadron Sinister would be the Crime Syndicate.
Since the Grandmaster made his first cameo appearance in these pages, this is by far the most expensive key on today’s list. Couple that with all the Squadron Supreme gossip, and it explains the elevated prices for this issue.
The highest grade sold this year has been the 9.8, which brought $4,800 in February. Considering this is a Silver Age comic with first appearances, that is not an unexpected price, though it was a $1,618 comic just two years ago. More recently, a 9.6 sold for $1,650 last month.
The better deals start around the 9.0, which last sold for $300. If you want to stay in the $200 range, drop down to a 7.5. Need something closer to $100? Look at everything up to a 5.5.
Because Squadron Supreme and Squadron Sinister are good/evil versions of the exact same characters, their key issues can cause a bit of a debate. That is what makes finding their first cover appearance a bit tricky.
Here we have the Squadron Sinister on their first cover, and technically, that is not Squadron Supreme. Still, collectors tend to pick up both the Sinister and Supreme keys all the same. In either case, Avengers #70 may be the one to have as cover collecting becomes more coveted. A 9.4 sold for $479 in January, while a 9.2 brought $249 in February. Last month, an 8.5 was purchased online for $250, and a 6.0 went for $112.
The heroic and true Squadron Supreme made their entrance into Marvel 616 two years after their dopplegangers first appeared. More importantly, this issue features the debut of Mark Milton, who would go on to be better known as the real Hyperion. If there is any member of Squadron Supreme who has the best chance at being an MCU powerhouse, it is Hyperion. He is by far the best known member of the team, though Doctor Spectrum has been getting a push in the Heroes Reborn titles.
Although this is technically the first appearance of the real Squad, Avengers #85 is the cheaper of the Silver Age Squadron keys. Bear in mind, the prices are not widely different. A 9.6 sold for $1,381 a month ago, and a 9.2 brought an even $1k in May as well. The lowest grade that has traded hands online this year was the 6.0, which earned $129 in April.
As best as I can tell, this is the first comic with the words “Squadron Supreme” on the cover. Up until then, it had been Squadron Sinister, so that would make Avengers #148 the first cover appearance of the actual Squadron Supreme.
With the MCU rumors spreading, more collectors are turning their attention to this issue. On May 9, there was a record-breaking $250 sale for a 9.8. In April, a 9.6 earned a record high $145.
SQUADRON SUPREME #1 (1985)
Over the years, the Squad has had its own self-titled series on and off, and it started in 1985. The 12-issue limited series did not exactly set the market on fire. However, with the recent push we’re seeing this year, there could be renewed interest in this overlooked series. If the team does appear in the MCU, you can expect this one to become more popular in a short time.
At least graded at a 9.8, the ‘85 first issue is beginning to get some respect from collectors. After it averaged just $118 in 2020, it reached a new record high of $226 in April. Looking for a better deal? All the other grades from a 9.6 and below don’t exceed $53, minus the Candadian price variant that fetched $112 for a 9.6 in April.
THE MARVEL MULTIVERSE
After Endgame, we all wondered what would be the linchpin of the MCU. For 10 years, Thanos and the Infinity Stones pulled the storylines together, and most fans were looking for a new villain to fill his shoes. Between WandaVision, Loki, Spider-Man: No Way Home, and Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, it appears that instead of a single, all-powerful antagonist, the common thread is the multiverse. That opens the MCU to endless possibilities, and it makes for an easy plot device to introduce Squadron Supreme in their own separate reality that could eventually merge with Earth 616.
While there are no guarantees, the pieces are definitely in place for some version of the Squad to invade the MCU.
Matt Tuck is the author of the novel, Lost Bones of the Dead. He is a former teacher, freelance writer, comic collector, and an international man of mystery. You can follow him on his Facebook page, The Comic Blog.