Many comic fans are somewhat familiar with the alternate universe version of the Justice League..umm... we mean the "Avengers," yeah, the alternate universe version of the Avengers that Marvel created way back in Avengers #69-70 (1969). This group of super-powered villains were called the Squadron Sinister. Back in the good old Silver Age, you had to put an evil sounding word in your villain team name, just in case someone wasn't paying attention to your bad guy act.
Squadron Sinister #1 Secret Wars Cover
Anyway, long story short, the Squadron Sinister (Hyperion, Dr. Spectrum, Nighthawk, and the Whizzer), really were Marvel's attempt to poke fun at their competitor at DC Comics. These DC analogues (Hyperion/Superman, Dr. Spectrum/Green Lantern, Nighthawk/Batman, and Whizzer/Flash), were actually fun evil versions of classic old heroes to pit against the Avengers. Over time, Marvel developed a good-guy version of the Squadron, and called it Squadron Supreme. The good-guy version of Nighthawk joined the Defenders, while the good (but very alien) Hyperion joined the Avengers.
But what about the bad, Sinister Squadies? Well, they kept popping up also, and now that Marvel is the throes of the huge Secret Wars event, we have a Battleworlds book, Squadron Sinister #1. As with other characters we see in the various Secret Wars books, the Squadron Sinister, which has added some members from the old days, rule their own barony under the overall authority of the God of Battlworld, Dr. Doom. Doom is a somewhat hands-off ruler. He lets his subject barons do their own thing, as long as they do not cross him. The Squadron Sinister is all about conquering new territories, and when this book opens up, we see them destroying (literally), another version of themselves called Supreme Power. This issue is aptly titled "No Honor Among Thieves," as we see that the sinister teammates are up to their eyeballs in plotting against each other and against Doom's rule.
Without going into great detail, we can say that if you like stories that feature villains that explore what is behind their thinking and their motivations, this Secret Wars series is for you.
Plus, writer Marc Guggenheim, and artist Carlos Pacheco throw in fun easter eggs for old-time JLA fans and highlighting the Squadron's DC -inspired flavor. Notice the cover with the two sidebars featuring headshots of the Squadron Sinister and their opponent team? Straight out of the type of covers that graced Justice League books in the 1970s! Very cool! Compare this old JLA cover (below) with the Squadron cover (above).
Justice League of America #101 Cover
In addition, the wide-angle view of the Squadron's meeting room/trophy room features relics they have collected in their battles. We see almost exact replicas of Hawkman's helmet, Green Arrow's bow and quiver, Green Lantern's lantern, Batman's utility belt, Dr. Fate's cloak, Aquaman's trident, Wonder Woman's lasso and bracelets, and what must be Superman's Kryptonian crystals from his Fortress of Solitude. This was all pretty high on the cool factor for an old JLA fan!
Squadron Sinister #1 Trophies
This Secret Wars book is a fun (if bloody) read. Check it out!
Roger Lee is a life-long comic book and sci-fi aficionado. As such, he fell into the habit of writing about the superheroes and sci-fi scenarios that he reads in the comics and books and sees on screen. Since writings on superheroes need to be shared, he has written for web audiences for years. His writings have appeared on www.comicshistoryguy.com, www.comicbookmovie.com, www.bamsmackpow.com, and now in superheroreviews.com.