This is “Look Back,” a feature that I plan to do for at least all of 2019 and possibly beyond that (and possibly forget about in a week, who knows?). The concept is that every week (I’ll probably be skipping the four fifth weeks in the year, but maybe not) of a month, I will spotlight a single issue of a comic book that came out in the past and talk about that issue (often in terms of a larger scale, like the series overall, etc.). Each week will be a look at a comic book from a different year that came out the same month X amount of years ago. The first week of the month looks at a book that came out this month ten years ago. The second week looks at a book that came out this month 25 years ago. The third week looks at a book that came out this month 50 years ago. The fourth week looks at a book that came out this month 75 years ago. The occasional fifth week looks at books from 20/30/40/60/70/80 years ago.
Today, I go back to May 1995 to see the introduction of the Sovereign Seven into the DC Universe in Sovereign Seven #1 by Chris Claremont and Dwayne Turner (with Claremont’s longtime X-Men letter, the legendary Tom Orzechowski, along for the ride, as well!).
Sovereign Seven was a creator-owned title, so DC clearly believed getting the first new superhero series that Chris Claremont wrote after leaving the X-Men to be a big enough deal to agree to do a creator-owned superhero series set in the DC Universe. I legitimately don’t believe that DC would do such a deal now, not with media rights being SO valuable.
DC hyped this new series up like crazy, even doing a poster (posters then, like now, are not something that companies had out wily nily)…
In a lot of ways, Sovereign Seven was Claremont trying to do almost a FIFTH world, as an ode to Jack Kirby’s Fourth World books when Kirby, like Claremont, left Marvel for DC. It is no coincidence that the series kicks off with a Boom Tube, as Claremont likely figured that since people were already going to be drawing Kirby/Claremont parallels, he might as well do them himself…
The Sovereigns are introduced via the Boom Tube and then they fight against the Female Furies (also from Jack Kirby’s Fourth World) to save a stranger who the Furies were attacking.
The concept behind the team is that they are all royalty (hence the “Sovereign” part) from different worlds that were each destroyed by a mysterious “Rapture.” They were each saved before their worlds were lost by the teleportation abilities of their leader, Cascade. It appears as though Claremont really intended them to come from alternate reality versions of Earth, but since the DC Universe, at this point in time, did not have an official Multiverse, then instead they each come from different planets that all just happen to seem like alternate reality versions of Earth.
In this sequence from Sovereign Seven #1, we get to meet the team….
The members of the team were Cascade, a teleporter whose mother was a powerful, evil being, who wanted her daughter’s teleportation powers to help her escape the prison she was trapped in. She had winged armor, but she could only fly when another team member used telekinesis on her.
That telekinesis was directed by Network, the telepath who cleverly connected the entire team together. Rampart created shields. Reflex was a giant who also had super speed. Finale was a mysterious masked woman with a sword. Cruiser was the team telekinetic, whose power fed off of his own body weight, so he had to eat constantly and always keep himself a little chubby to use his powers. Finally, Indigo was a mysterious being (without a set gender) who was the tactician of the group (and could also smooth talk anyone into doing pretty much anything).
When they landed on Earth, they found themselves at the mysterious “Crossroads Coffee Bar, owned by two sisters, Violet Smith and Pansy Jones, the comic book alter egos of the folk group, The Flash Girls, who Claremont was a big fan of (Violet Smith was based on Emma Bull, who was part of another group, Cat’s Laughing, that Claremont had heavily promoted in the pages of his past comic books). The Sovereigns took up a gig working at the coffeehouse…
As the name might suggest, Crossroads turned out to be a sort of interdimensional nexus point, where doorways could open to all sorts of realities. This allowed Claremont to have a little fun by having all sorts of characters make cute little cameos. It did not take long before one of Claremont’s old friends from Marvel made a visit. This is seriously in just the second issue that Wolverine shows up…
Anyhow, that’s the basic setup of the book. They are at an inter-dimensional crossroads, so crazy stuff could always just pop up. Cascade’s mother is out there trying to break free from her prison. The Rapture is an impending threat. Plus, of course, they do typical superhero stuff like every other superhero team out there. If there is a problem in town, they show up and help. And that was really all set up in just that first issue.
Sadly, the series didn’t last two long, just three years. It was a fun series. Claremont owns the copyright, but I believe that there is some tricky rights issues where he’d have to take them outside of comics if he wanted to use them (like novels or whatever).
If you folks have any suggestions for May (or any other later months) 2010, 1995, 1970 and 1945 comic books for me to spotlight, drop me a line at email@example.com! Here is the guide, though, for the cover dates of books so that you can make suggestions for books that actually came out in the correct month. Generally speaking, the traditional amount of time between the cover date and the release date of a comic book throughout most of comic history has been two months (it was three months at times, but not during the times we’re discussing here). So the comic books will have a cover date that is two months ahead of the actual release date (so October for a book that came out in August). Obviously, it is easier to tell when a book from 10 years ago was released, since there was internet coverage of books back then.
In their feature looking back on comics from 10/25/50/75 years ago, CSBG spotlights the May 1995 debut of Sovereign Seven.