The Daily Comic Book Coffee, number 39: Sovereign Seven, created by writer Chris Claremont and penciler Dwayne Turner, was the result of an interesting arrangement: It was published by DC Comics, and set within the DC Universe, but all of the original characters introduced in it were owned by Claremont. These two pages are from S7 #1, cover-dated July 1995, and issue #6, cover-dated December 1995. Turner inked issue #1, and Jerome K. Moore inked #6. Letters are by Tom Orzechowski & Clem Robbins, and colors are by Gloria Vasquez.
The Sovereigns were a group of aristocratic refugees from different parallel Earths whose worlds had all been conquered by the mysterious Rapture. They were gathered together by Rhian Douglas, aka Cascade, who was fleeing from her seemingly-tyrannical mother Maitresse, although eventually we discover there is much more going on there than either we the readers or Rhian herself suspect.
The main setting of S7 is the Crossroads Coffee Bar, situated at the intersection of three state borders (implied to be Vermont, New Hampshire and Massachusetts) and which contains portals to other dimensions. Crossroads is run by sisters Violet Smith and Pansy Jones, who were based on folk musicians Emma Bull and Lorraine Garland. It is here that the fleeing Sovereigns find sanctuary. As a result, there were a lot of characters drinking a lot of coffee in a lot of issues.
To earn their keep the Sovereigns end up working at the Crossroads. It’s somewhat odd to see a group of what are basically One Percenters sliding into the thankless service industry with a bare minimum of complains, although it is implied that the societies they came from all possessed systems of noblesse oblige, and that the conquest of those worlds by the Rapture brought these seven down to Earth, both symbolically and literally.
Darkseid shows up at Crossroads in the first issue, and it is suggested that he has frequented the establishment in the past. Sipping an espresso, he satisfactorily comments…
“An excellent brew, Violet, as always. I can’t get anything quite like it at home.”
Perhaps someone ought to explain to Darkseid that if he hadn’t transformed Apokolips into an industrialized fascist hellhole it might be much easier to come by quality caffeinated beverages?
Jumping forward to issue #6, it’s Halloween at Crossroads. Italian mercenary Marcello Veronese has come to town, and he is instantly taken with the fully-armored Fatale, who he spots serving coffee…
Marcello: That waitress in black, she is one striking woman!
Pansy: Say that to her face, you’ll see just how striking.
Marcello: The reward, I’ll wager, would be well worth the risk.
Pansy: You want risk, chum, I’ll introduce you to my sister.
I found S7 an interesting & enjoyable series. That said it probably was overly ambitious. Launching a book with seven lead characters, an expanded supporting cast, and a complex backstory right when the comic book market was experiencing a glut might have been a mistake. I think S7 ended up getting lost in the crowd. It did ultimately last for 36 issues, plus two annuals and one special, which is a fairly respectable run.
We will return to S7 and the coffee-drinking crowd of Crossroads in a future entry, when we look at the work of the series’ second regular penciler.