“Supreme” #67 is the fourth issue written by Erik Larsen on the title, but surprisingly it’s already his second-to-last. While there’s an 80-page conclusion in “Supreme” #68 still to come, this issue is already setting the stage to wrap things up. And while Larsen’s run hasn’t been a bad one, this short length feels like just the right amount of time.
“Supreme” #67 is the first issue that feels like it drags a bit; it’s easy to imagine that writing this comic was when Larsen decided that he needed to bring his time on the book to a conclusion. After depowering the Alan Moore New Supreme (and the rest of the Supremacy) and unleashing the Mean Supreme from the original run on the title, it feels like Larsen’s point was quickly made. Namely, that while the New Supreme might be a little old-fashioned and out of place at times, he’s still preferable to the modern and ultra-violent Mean Supreme. The end result is an extended fight scene between Mean Supreme and Omni-Man (guest-starring from “Invincible”), and considering that the previous issue had a fight scene between Mean Supreme and Suprema, it’s easy to start feeling like we’ve already seen this.
Instead, the high point of the comic is New Supreme interacting with the other surviving members of the Supremacy. Squeak Supreme’s rummaging through New Supreme’s fridge is amusing, and the inevitable return of Darius Duck feels especially on point. You knew it was going to happen, and more importantly it feels like it’s playing out exactly as it should with a combination of mistrust and desperation. Add in a hysterical call-out to the early issues of “Supreme” on the final page (I literally laughed out loud) and it feels like we’re on track for a satisfying conclusion in “Supreme” #68.
Cory Hamscher provides the finished art over Larsen’s breakdowns (some of which are reproduced in the back of the comic, giving you an idea of how much work Hamscher does) and it’s good. It reminds me very much of Larsen’s own finished art; angular and muscular, with a lot of energy on every page. Some poses are a little odd here and there (I’m not sure what the heck is going on in that early splash page where Mean Supreme is arcing his back in mid-flight while punching Omni-Man) but it’s fun. I also appreciated that after several pages of ridiculously buff characters hitting one another, you turn the page and see the much more slimmed down New Supreme; it provides a good contrast between the ultra-powered and the non-powered versions of the same overall character.
The return of “Supreme” (first with Alan Moore’s last script in #63 drawn by Larsen, then Larsen and Hamscher on #64-67) has been a fun coda, one that works in part because it’s been so long since Moore’s original run. It feels like it’s hitting just the right length, not overstaying its welcome by too much, and that’s exactly what a creator should aim for when taking over a title. (Hopefully this will spur some high-quality collections of Moore’s run on “Supreme,” too.) I’m not sure when we’ll actually see the 80-page “Supreme” #68, but hopefully it won’t be too long.