cover image SUPREME: The Return

SUPREME: The Return

Alan Moore, Alan Moore, and others. . Checker, $24.95 (258pp) ISBN 978-0-9710249-6-0

Following last year's Supreme: The Story of the Year, here are the remaining stories in Moore's provocative reinvention of Rob Liefeld's mediocre superhero. The story doesn't feel as complete as the earlier saga, since Liefeld's company collapsed before Moore's last two scripts in this plot arc could be illustrated and published, but it's still remarkable. With hulking blond Supreme now in full possession of his pals, toys and mortal enemies, Moore is free to explore the existence of a comics superhero who possesses superhuman powers but who can be "revised" without warning by inept human publishers who want to exploit a fad. Comics are bigger than that, Moore suggests. There's something wonderful about how humans keep extending our imaginations beyond our everyday needs. There's also something absurd about the ways we childishly fumble when we try to imagine superhuman characters, and Moore is skilled at writing underplayed, deadpan comedy. Supreme is smart but naïve and dim in his personal relationships. But he's learning. Moore also deftly exploits opportunities for outrageous farce. Like all great humor, though, Supreme concerns serious subjects. Moore has always been obsessed by how we try to escape reality's constraints by imagining superheroes—by what that does for readers and what it does to them. The results are both ridiculous and hopeful, and Moore (assisted by a talented crew of artists) is smart and creative enough to effectively work out his ideas. It's even ironically appropriate that the story ends unfinished, since it illustrates how the grubby real world interferes with comics creators' imagination. (Aug.)