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Supreme is a comic book superhero created by Rob Liefeld who has gone through two distinct phases of existence.
In 1997, Alan Moore took over the series, with permission to Retcon anything he didn't like. Moore threw out most of Supreme's history and recreated him as an explicit Superman homage, complete with his own scientific archnemesis with a name ending in X, a younger and more innocent Distaff Counterpart, a superteam similar to the Justice League of America, and so on.
Moore's run on the series was heavy on the meta-text: his first issue is about the fact that the entire series is being retconned, with Supreme watching in amazement as some cosmic force recreates the world around him, and meeting a parade of earlier Supremes who were cast out of continuity by earlier retcons (most of which Moore had just made up for the occasion). As he explores his new history over the following issues, it's filled in via means of a series of flashbacks that are each written and illustrated in a contemporary comics style (for example, a flashback set during the 1960s resembles a Silver Age story). The fact that Moore's Supreme is now a noble figure (much like Superman) instead of his former dark self is linked to the fact that, in the new continuity, Supreme spent the eighties and nineties pursuing a quest in outer space and thus missed the Age of Dark Superheroes entirely.
Another layer of meta-commentary is brought in by Supreme's new civilian identity: instead of working at a newspaper, he and his newly-acquired equivalents of Lois Lane, Perry White, and Jimmy Olsen work at a comic book company. Their conversations frequently reflect contemporary trends in the comic book industry, and even (sometimes without their entirely realising) things happening around them in their own story.
A new run of Supreme by Savage Dragon creator Erik Larsen is scheduled to come out in 2012. It will begin with an adaptation of Alan Moore's final script, and from there will go on to present a balance between the original anti-hero vision of the character and Moore's revisioning.
Original Supreme provides examples of:
Alan Moore's Supreme provides examples of:
- Affectionate Parody: Of many, many comic titles, from Tales from the Crypt to Sgt Rock (or, alternatively, Nick Fury).
- AI Is a Crapshoot: Sort of. Supreme deliberately made one of his robot doubles autonomous so he could have a full-time backup in case things got really hairy, but he returned to the Citadel Supreme after a decade in space to find that S-1 had gotten a little lonely in the meantime. That is, he made robot doubles of all his old friends and pretended to be both the real Supreme and a member of the family.
- Alliterative Name: Darius Dax, Diana Dane, Judy Jordan
- Alternate Timeline: One where the South won the Civil War, slavery is still legal, and everything is given a racist, Southern touch is created by Wild Bill Hickok.
- Animal Superheroes: Squeak the Supremouse
- Arch Enemy: Darius Dax. After finding out about Daxia he starts to think his struggle with Supreme is the basis of the Universe.
- Art Shift
- Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence: Jack Kirby Really.
- Also Optilux. He eventually gets brought down.
- Back From the Dead: Darius Dax, via the Daxia.
- Butt Monkey: Billy Friday
- The Bus Came Back: Supreme and his counterparts are forced to release Liefeld's Supreme from his prison in the Supremacy as a last ditch effort to stop the invading army of Darius Daxes. He then murders all the alternate Daxes, then exposes the other Supremes to Silver Supremium, permanently depowering them and leaving him the only functioning Supreme left.
- Card-Carrying Villain: Almost all of them.
- The Cape
- Captain Ersatz: Apart from a few Rob Liefeld characters who survived the retcon (namely Diehard of Youngblood fame), and a couple of guest-starring Erik Larsen characters, pretty much everybody. (And even the Larsen characters, Superpatriot and Mighty Man, are used as an Ersatz Captain America and an Ersatz Captain Marvel respectively.)
- Clark Kenting: Supreme actually wonders why it works.
- Create Your Own Villain: Inverted. Darius Dax inadvertently creates Supreme with a Stable Time Loop.
- Cut Short
- Dark Messiah: More like Light Messiah. Optilux fervently believes he is saving people by turning them into light. It's made clear he's really arrogant and delusional.
- Deconstructor Fleet
- Deliberate Values Dissonance: Lampshaded frequently as the comic explores changes in society's attitudes towards gender and race over the decades. Best shown when Supreme takes his lady interest to the city of alternate continuities, and she gets some advice on how to get a man from her alternates. Grim 80's Battered Traumatized Drug Addict Diana Dane says they like it when you cry!
- Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: Suprema arm-wrestling with an alien baby and ending in a draw. Why? Because the baby was the incarnation of all evil in the history of mankind.
- Distaff Counterpart: Suprema, his (adopted) sister who by chance gained similar powers.
- Driven to Suicide: A equivalent of that happens to the robot replicas of Supreme's parents and old love interest when they discover that Supreme S-1 made them think they were the real ones. They urge the real Supreme to shut them down, that he does.
- Even Evil Has Standards: An alien warlord named Korgo attempted to become President by dueling Bill Clinton. However, Korgo then quietly begged Supreme to put him back in prison after spending a few hours with Hilary.
- Evil Counterpart: Shadow Supreme, as evil as Supreme is good, which makes him a Complete Monster.
- Evil Twin: Shadow Supreme and Emerpus both fill this role, though Emerpus doesn't know he's doing wrong.
- Face Heel Turn: Wild Bill Hickok, a member of the Legion of Super-Heroes expy the League of Infinity, went back in time and used modern resources to help the South win the Civil War, creating a new timeline where slavery is still legal and the United States are now the Confederated States of America. All to win the love of a woman he desperately pined for. Supreme and the League were forced to go back before he attempted to change things and kill him.
- Faking the Dead: Optilux. Darius Dax does die, but he pulls a Grand Theft Me on Judy.
- Freudian Excuse: Averted. When Billy Friday ask villains if they have any, it only annoys them. To the point they accuse Supreme of performing act of cruel and unusual punishment by keeping him with them.
- Fun with Acronyms: HILDA
- Galactic Conqueror: Korgo the Space Tyrant
- Genre Savvy: All over the place. For example, Suprema gives the exact date and time of an attack on the Citadel Supreme on public news so that the time traveling League of Infinity will get the message and show up through the Citadel's time portal.
- Genius Loci: Gorrl, the Living Galaxy
- Grand Theft Me: Darius Dax pulls one on Judy. For decades. Even after he tells Supreme the truth, he still acts like her until he takes over the body of the android Magno, which has All Your Powers Combined.
- Go Mad From the Isolation: What Supreme thinks that happened to S-1.
- Gratuitous Iambic Pentameter
- Great Gazoo: Szasz, the Sprite Supreme, his version of Mr Mxyzptlk. Also, Professor Night (Batman) and Roy Roman (Aquaman) have their own sprites: Nite-Mite and Qyrk.
- Green Rocks: Supremium. It comes in emerald (promotes growth of organic life), sapphire (affects probabilities), ruby (transmutes matter), amber (alters time and allows time travel), onyx (erases time), white (which the others originate from), and violet (which is unstable). The Supremium Man once tricked Supreme into thinking there was a pink variety which cures cancer.
- There's also Silver Supremium, a nod to Gold Kryptonite in that exposure causes permanent nullification of Supreme's powers. Liefeld's Supreme is immune, and exposes the other Supremes to a sample of it so he'll be the only empowered Supreme left.
- Happily Adopted: Ethan Crane, Sally Crane
- Heroic Albino: Supreme along with his sister. Their white hair is the result of exposure to Green Rocks, though one of his villains does refer to Supreme as an albino.
- Identity Impersonator: Supreme has a bunch of robot doubles for this purpose. In between times they hang out in the Citadel Supreme, dust the trophies, keep an eye on his experiments, etc. When visitors to the Citadel note that he also has one of Ethan Crane, he hastily claims he's been making one for all of his acquaintences just in case, then mentally notes that now he has to actually do that to allay suspicions.
- See also the above-noted incident wherein S-1, the robot double programmed to have his own will, pretended to be the real Supreme as he lived with android copies of Supreme's original supporting cast.
- Incredibly Lame Pun: Supremium, the comic's Kryptonite, is white in its most deadly form. This is a Stealth Pun for most of the series until it's explicitly Lampshaded in a flashback with "the deadly power of white supremium!"
- Let's not forget that there was an issue where time got altered so that the South won. Supreme ended up as "The Supremacist," and wrote a comic about the Klansman.
- The issue where the defeated/dead Darius Dax winds up in the Daxia, home of every incarnation of Supreme's greatest enemy, is titled "A Brief History of Crime", which is both a pun on the fact that Dax is a criminal and a scientist and a fairly accurate summary of the issue's story.
- It Got Worse: In #63 and 64, the Supremacy is destroyed by an army of Darius Dax counterparts, which is then wiped out by Liefeld's Supreme. He then depowers all his counterparts.
- Kick the Dog: Shadow Supreme tried to kill Radar, Supreme's super-powered dog.
- The Dog Bites Back: Radar returned and bit off most of Shadow Supreme's left arm, much to the shock of Supreme and Suprema.
- Kryptonite Factor: Supremium, the mysterious substance that gave Supreme his powers, is subsequently also his version of Kryptonite.
- Magic Meteor: The source of Supreme's powers.
- Magic Mirror: Supreme keeps his Rogues Gallery in a prison created from a magic mirror referred to as the Hell of Mirrors. Said mirror was previously owned by a descendant of Lewis Carroll which provided the inspiration for Alice's Adventures in Wonderland.
- Meta Fiction: This comic is basically fueled by metafictional tropes. Aside from what we already mentioned, a noteworthy example is an issue about Ethan and Diana's date, during which they discuss the plot to the next issue of their Omni Man comic, which is about the eponymous character having a date with his Love Interest. The issue follows the same plot structure as the one they're discussing including the cliffhanger at the end.
- Most Writers Are Writers: Ethan Crane is a comic book artist and both Diana Dane and Billy Friday are comic book writers
- Multiple Head Case
- Naive Everygirl: Suprema, by virtue of having been in what amounts to a coma for decades, is not very worldly for her age.
- No Celebrities Were Harmed: Billy Friday is almost definitely based on Grant Morrison.
- And possibly Alan Moore himself.
- Personality Powers: Suggested to be at work when the series does the obligatory Superman's-Pal-Jimmy-Olsen-gains-weird-superpowers plot. Comicbook writer Billy Friday, exposed to Violet Supremium, begins sprouting extra limbs, rapidly becoming an ungainly mess that collapses under its own weight. Supreme remarks that it reminds him of the way Friday plots story arcs.
- Phantom Zone
- The Resenter
- Retraux Flashback: Supreme's flashbacks are all told with era-appropriate art and storytelling techniques
- Retroactive Legacy: In the first issue. It manages to be both hilarious and awesome. Probably one of the inspirations behind a similar gag in a episode featuring the Crimson Chin. The only one who wasn't invented for the ocasion was exactly the original, as expected.
- Robotic Reveal: Supreme only discovers exactly what is happening after meeting their supposedly dead parents, love interest and another him when he punches out the head out of a robotic Radar.
- Rogues Gallery: Darius Dax (Lex Luthor), Szasz (Mr. Mxyzptlk), Shadow Supreme and Emerpus (Bizarro), Slaver Ant, Televillain, Optilux (Brainiac), Korgo, Vor-Em, and the Supremium Man (Kryptonite Man).
- Sdrawkcab Name: Supreme's well-meaning counterpart from a world that operates backwards is named Emerpus
- Secret Identity
- Self-Deprecation: Supreme's comment about Billy Friday's tendency toward kudzu plotting is phrased in a way that indicates it's an attribute common to all British comicbook writers (ie. including Alan Moore).
- Sequential Artist: Ethan Crane
- Seven Deadly Sins: Master Sin, from one of Suprema's flashbacks. He has seven heads, each representing one sin.
- Stable Time Loop: Actually, if you call yourself Supremium Man you may as well change name to "Mr. Stable Time Loop" as this name is associated with two of those that happens in this series.
- First one: A meteorite made of Supremium land on Earth, giving Ethan his powers. Later, the monstrous Supremium Man appears out of nowhere, accidentally gives Suprema her powers, absorbs the Supremium meteorite and disappears. Supreme never finds any other Supremium, but makes synthetic Supremium from his blood. Many years later Darius Dax fights Supreme and Allies in the body of android Magno. Desperate to win, he absorbs synthetic Supremium, but it makes him fall through time where he becomes the Supremium Man. The when he absorbs the Supremium meteorite, he goes back even further and become the meteorite itself.
- Second one: During his day as Kid Supreme, our hero has to fight a Supremium Man called Meteor Master. He claimed to come from another timeline and has a collection of Supremium in different colors. When he a added fragment of the Supremium meteorite to his collection, it all turned into the White Supremium and Supremium Man suddenly realized he wants revenge on Supreme for sending him to an asylum. He then heads to the future. He reappears in the present, fights Supreme and is suddenly approached by Billy Friday, who just come back from an asylum where he was sent after his traumatic adventures. When Supremium-infected Friday touches Supremium Man, they fuse together into... a Supremium Man with a multi-colored Supremium collection, who immediately goes back in time to find white Supremium.
- The strong implication is that Supremium is what all time-looped matter eventually turns into.
- Superhero Trophy Shelf: Supreme has a large collection of mementos from previous adventures in the Citadel Supreme. This includes many superweapons, some of which sometimes get stolen by his enemies and used against him, and several of which he is attempting to reverse-engineer for the betterment of humanity.
- Take That: Optilux, an insane alien evangelist, showed up at a Bon Jovi concert and converted hundreds of fans into light, which was then transported to the prism world Amalynth. After Suprema manages to send Optilux back, she explains to Supreme about the fans. He simply says "can't be helped" with the least amount of care. A few issues later, we find out the fans are referred to as cultists in the prism world and are kept in jail.
- Punctuated! For! Emphasis!
- Tomato in the Mirror:The other robot replicas were reprogramed to think they were the real ones by Supreme S-1. When they discovered it, they urged the real one to shut down them, unable to deal with the pain.
- Too Spicy for Yog-Sothoth: Korgo the Space Tyrant assumes the presidency of the United States after defeating Bill Clinton in single combat, but after taking Hilary as his consort he is extremely grateful to Supreme for sending him back to Looking-Glass Land.
- Trapped in TV Land: The Televillain has the ability to enter into a TV show's fictional world as well as draw others into it.
- Villainous Breakdown: Optilux gets very angry when Supreme tells him that he turned Amalynth back to normal. Just as Supreme intended - he was lying.
- Wham! Line: This series is very good at this.
- "Hello Optilux"
- "Tell him I'm not Judy" which is made even more effective with the following:
Next Issue: The Return of Darius Dax!
- What Could Have Been: To Moore's and fandom's regret, last issue of the series never came to be, because Liefeld had to close his company.
- Robert Kirkman's Supreme Sacrifice mini-series, which was supposed to tell a story of Liefed's Supreme dealing with being revisioned and replaced by Moore's Supreme, ended up as an idea and nothing more.
- We also never got to see Alex Ross's redesign of Suprema's costume in action. ("Ms. Fanservice" hardly begins to cover it.)
- White-Haired Pretty Girl: Suprema, though her hair is white as a side effect of exposure to Supremium, just like Supreme's.
- Would Hurt a Child: In a sense. The Slaver Ant steals children and babies, renaming them "Worker-0X" and has them build hives and hideouts for her. She dubs them workers because she doesn't see the point in getting too attached.
- Zerg Rush: A bunch of citizens gang up on the Televillain when they recognize him as the guy who killed Monica on Friends.