Created by writer Roy Thomas and artist Sal Buscema, the Squadron Sinister was Marvel’s shot across the bow of DC Comics. The original four members were just shy of actionable — there was Hyperion, the flying, super strong leader of the group, decked out in primary colors and prominent underpants. Nighthawk served as the group’s nocturnal animal enthusiast, while Doctor Spectrum created color-based energy attacks without ever landing on a singular hue the way Green Lantern did. Then there was the Whizzer, who ran very fast. With a name like that, it’s hard to blame him.
After a few appearances as villains, the Squadron Sinister got a reimagining in 1971, returning as the alternate reality superhero group the Squadron Supreme. For the next decade or so, they popped their heads up from time to time, adding new yet familiar members like Power Princess and Golden Archer, all generally in the name of offering fans a series of royalty-free crossover events.
In the mid-’80s, the Squadron Supreme got their own solo series, and stuff got pretty dark — not The Boys dark, but certainly Orwellian. In their self-titled miniseries, members of the Squadron decided to skip all of the bureaucracy of answering to their Earth’s governments by simply taking over the world. Totalitarianism ensues in a story that seems to just scream, “You think Superman is so great? Because we here at Marvel Comics tend to disagree.”
All told, the Squadron Supreme reads as a midway point between the Justice League and the Seven — not too good, but not too horrifying, either. Whether Billy Butcher could slaughter all of them with a crowbar remains a point of conjecture among fans.