The Squadron Supreme is a fictional superhero team that exists in the Earth-31916 universe, and was created by J. Michael Straczynski (writing) and Gary Frank (art). The team first appeared in Squadron Supreme vol. 1, #1 (2006).
The Squadron Supreme is formed when the U.S. government recruits both current (eg. Hyperion) and new (eg. Amphibian) superhumans to carry out missions on its behalf. While some of the team's missions are international in scope and have a "positive public relations" aspect, others are covert and apparently involve military strikes and assassinations.
The team's first mission involves travelling to Africa, to neutralise an African general named John M'Butu, whose voice can compel obedience. The general, however, is actually executed by a group of African superhumans who tell the Squadron to leave, stating that "Africa is now off-limits". The team then travel to the Ilam Province in Iran, where they have been ordered to stop a group of insurgents. Hyperion quells the doubts of comrade The Blur about their agenda by showing him a mass grave filled with the bodies of innocents. After this mission the Blur asks the vigilante Nighthawk to join the Squadron, but Nighthawk refuses.
Shortly after this, Hyperion engages in a public battle with a super-powered serial killer named Michael Redstone, who was previously captured by Hyperion, the Blur and Nighthawk. Unfortunately, the battle results in the deaths of several innocent bystanders, and Redstone then attempts to blackmail Hyperion with a nuclear device, although team mate Zarda apparently deals with the bomb. The Blur and Nighthawk then join Hyperion for the final confrontation with Redstone. Five years after the Squadron Supreme fought a superhuman serial killer named Michael Redstone and the Ultimate Power incident, the Squadron Supreme have disappeared.
Other characters are soon introduced, starting with the Blur, a youthful farm boy living with his single mother, whose speed powers are unexplained; Amphibian, a freakish baby girl left to die in the ocean, but who manages to survive under the oceans after her mother committed suicide when she was born and her father went insane; Nighthawk, a child who saw his parents murdered as victims of a hate crime; Princess Zarda, apparently a Greek goddess who sleeps in a mausoleum; and Dr. Spectrum, an army corporal specialized in black ops, who is called in to test a crystal-shaped weapon taken from Hyperion's ship, absorbing it into his skin and lapsing into a coma.
After Hyperion's first field missions as the Government's secret weapon, Washington Herald reporter Jason Scott learns of his existence, and the government outs him as a state-sponsored superhero to prevent a media exposé. This prompts the Blur, originally an urban myth called the "Atlanta Blur", out of hiding as a corporate icon, while Nighthawk begins acting as a vigilante who solely preys on those criminals whose victims are African-American. After Hyperion's foster parents' deaths are faked to increase Mark's dependence on the Government, he meets Nighthawk and the Blur. Dr. Spectrum wakes up from his years-long coma.
Princess Zarda wakes up and finds the injured Hyperion, healing him in the light of the sun. She alludes to having similar origins and powers to Hyperion's, explaining she was waiting for him for two-thousand years, and they have a mission to colonize and conquer the planet, but her memories seem mixed up. After separating, Zarda goes on a rampage, disregarding human life and private property. Nighthawk finds a super-human serial killer who preys on black prostitutes and goads the Blur and Hyperion to help him stop the murderer.
Spectrum and Dr. Bill Steadman discover the scientist currently in charge of Hyperion's project has created a retro virus based on Hyperion's DNA, which has been grafted to military convicts who volunteered as human guinea pigs. One of those test subjects tore out an entire prison wall with his bare hands, as was the super-powered serial killer, who escaped captivity with other test subjects and is at large and out of control.
General Richard Alexander is appointed head of the government's super-human program and attempts to bring Hyperion back under government control and track down the other super-humans the Government made. Hyperion, Nighthawk and the Blur break up over a political disagreement. After learning of his extraterrestrial origin and the Government's propaganda, Hyperion declares himself outside the system.
Doctor Spectrum is ordered to look for and capture Amphibian for the government, after a picture showing her killing the first humans who spotted her is revealed to the media. Spectrum learned she killed them in self-defense, and after capturing her and giving her the name "Kingsley Rice", he starts a romantic relationship with her. Later, he meets Princess Zarda who attempts to remove the power prism and retrieve her memories, but is attacked by Amphibian in retaliation for harming Spectrum. After escaping Rice, Zarda kills a stranger and steals her identification, presumably in hopes of using the woman's identity to hide and bide for time.
General Alexander makes a final attempt to sway Hyperion back into the government's fold. When he refuses, he leaks information to journalist Jason Scott that Hyperion is an extraterrestrial. Alexander then drafts all existing super-humans into the army's super-human program. Super-humans over America listen to the reports over radio and on television. Hyperion gives his final ultimatum to Blur to rush to Alexander. Hyperion rises into the atmosphere and shows his true power for the first time, warning Alexander and the army to never contact him again.
The government puts together a squad to take down Hyperion: Dr. Emil Burbank, Arcanna, Shape and Nuke. They track Hyperion down and in the battle, a combination of energies appears to send them into an alternate reality. They discover that several major cities have been devestated and Hyperion and a Squadron Supreme are in full control.
Meeting a battered Nighthawk, the group learns that in this world, Hyperion returned to work with the government, gathering new heroes to his side. Suspicious, Nighthawk convinced Blur to spy on Hyperion. Blur soon discovered that Hyperion was using alien technology to effect the minds of these heroes, making them compliant to whatever Hyperion wanted. Hyperion then captured Blur, imprisoning him in a small cell (which, to the speedster, was a fate worse than death).
This world's Hyperion (romantically involved with Zarda) tracked down his counterpart, showing him another alien ship that crashed on Earth and created a massive center of technology. He told his counterpart this was the only way to save the planet and detailed exactly how he did it.
The first Hyperion clashed with the four government agents, agreeing to come back if they could find a way back to their world. Combining energies, they suceeded, Hyperion arriving at a press conference to announce his return to the fold. Arcanna and the government consider this alternate world a warning of what could be if Hyperion is allowed to continue his maverick ways.
However, what none of them are aware of is what Burbank had discovered: That this world under Hyperion's control was not an alternate reality at all; it was their world, only two years in the future and Hyperion knew how to bring it about.
After the Squadron is formed, the government asks the team members to sign identification and non-disclosure forms. Three days later, it is learned that the nano-virus that was released from Hyperion's ship has spread worldwide. An African general named John M'Butu, a fast-rising tribal leader gifted with a powerful psychic suggestion ability and calling himself the Voice, is leading a genocidal campaign in the Salawe region of Uganda. The US government identifies him as a super-human after he survives an assassination attempt. The team is sent to the region "to take him out".
Early in the fight, Hyperion, Doctor Spectrum and Amphibian are affected by M'Butu's power to control anyone who hears his voice. M'Butu commands the trio to hunt down their comrades. Zarda immediately notices that there is another voice in Hyperion's head and not the One True Voice.
Zarda manages to free Doctor Spectrum by calling to the voice within the Power Prism, which takes control of Spectrum, and frees Hyperion. Amphibian attacks Burbank, who attempts to defeat her with a powder of his own design, but she is saved by Doctor Spectrum just in time. Burbank reveals that he has developed counter measures to defend himself from everyone on his team, except for Hyperion and Doctor Spectrum.
Blur then meets five unnamed African super-humans, who claim that three of them have killed M'Butu. The other two inform the rest of the Squadron that America armed M'Butu with weapons to rule Uganda in the first place, since the United States couldn't afford to see a peaceful united Africa with a growing economy. The five super-humans tell the Squadron to leave, stating that "Africa is now off-limits".
After the end of the mission, the Squadron are then ordered to take down insurgents in Ilam Province in Iran. During this mission, codenamed "Long Walk", Stanley Stewart wonders if the team is doing the right thing. Inertia then stumbles across a little girl whose mother and older sisters were raped by four of the insurgents. Emil asks the girl to identify the men. After identifying them, Inertia tracks them down, buries them up to their necks in the sand and hands the little girl an improvised club, with which the girl then kills them.
After the end of "Long Walk", the team is given rest and recreation time. Blur goes home to see how his mother is doing and invites Nighthawk to join the Squadron, but Richmond declines the offer. Doctor Spectrum is briefing the joint chiefs and their staff on the details of "Long Walk". Hyperion gives a press conference of the "Long Walk" mission. At the interview, he is surprised by Redstone posing as a reporter, and a fight starts.
Volume 1 of Squadron Supreme is left at this cliffhanger, as of the departure of J Michael Straczynski from the project. the plot continues in Ultimate Power a few months after the battle with Redstone. The exact outcome of this battle remains unknown.
Several new characters are introduced, expanding the Supreme Power world and reinvigorating older superhero personalities. The group of Astronauts returning from a lunar expedition, Jon and Catherine Mora, Ted Munn and Peter Boyer, are an obvious Fantastic Four pastiche. A mysterious essence seems to leave the astronauts after they land, which passes through touch to many others, eventually coming to Nell Ruggles, a psychopathic teenager with a history of murder, who becomes a version of the Spider-Man Symbiote.
A mysterious, homeless man known as Old Soldier appears on the streets of Washington, draped in blood stained American flags and World War 1 era armaments, and uses his helmet as a throwing weapon as Captain America uses his shield.