Can we at least all agree that naming this “Heroes Reborn”, the same name as the huge mistake of the 90s, was a bad idea? Has Marvel run out of names? They’ve had two events this century alone (and we’re only two decades in) using the name Secret War, “Armor Wars” likes to pop up now and then, and they had to use that time the Fantastic Four, the Hulk (who didn’t even get his own title) and a good number of Avengers (Captain America and Iron Man did get their own titles) got sent into Franklin Richards’ beach ball? You’re getting as bad as Transformers with the reuses. (Two “Robots In Disguise” just for the toys and another for one of the IDW series, War For Cybertron the game and the unconnected adult retro collector trilogy, and even Cyberverse used to be a cheap price point figure before being used for a full line.)

Thankfully we aren’t talking about letting Rob Liefeld and still green Jim Lee remake some of their beloved characters in an alternate universe. I’m also happy that it doesn’t appear to be another Future State where they replace the existing titles with this alternate universe…I think. Marvel and DC are ripping each other off like they’re both Chinese factories so who knows at this point? Instead we get a comic that asks the question “what if there weren’t any Avengers ever?” while we ponder if it was a question worth asking.

Wait, was Blade ever an Avenger? I mean, half the heroes in the Marvel universe were at one point or another, or even just reserve members, but I don’t remember Blade the vampire hunter being one of them. At any rate we do have a lot of questions that need answering. Is this yet another universe, because the Squadron Supreme, Marvel’s analog of the Justice League (no, that wasn’t Wonder Woman doing a crossover), exist in another dimension. What events lead Doctor Doom to gain the bands of Cyttorak just because the Avengers aren’t around? Why does Thanos have infinity rings instead of stones or gems or whatever? Maybe the official announcement by Marvel will give us some idea. Obviously not all the ideas because then you wouldn’t read the comic.

Last week, fans saw Marvel’s most iconic heroes in mysterious teasers. Today, Marvel Comics proudly announced that these characters will be part of a bold new vision of the Marvel Universe crafted by Super Hero masterminds writer Jason Aaron and artist Ed McGuiness. Their critically-acclaimed work on AVENGERS will reach its zenith with HEROES REBORN, a new series that answers the question of what the Marvel Universe would look like if the Avengers never assembled. What new super team would step up to fill the void, what deadly threats would emerge unchecked, and what would become of your favorite characters if they never became heroes…

I don’t know a lot about Aaron’s work but at least it’s not the new direction of the Marvel universe. Right? More on that theory later. McGuiness is a good artist though I think so at least it will look pretty, and some of the teaser images on the announcement look okay.

Welcome to a world where Tony Stark never built an Iron Man armor. Where Thor is a hard-drinking atheist who despises hammers. Where Wakanda is dismissed as a myth. And where Captain America was never found in the ice, because there were no Avengers to find him. Instead this world has always been protected by Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, the Squadron Supreme of America. And now the Squadron face an attack from some of their fiercest enemies, like Dr. Juggernaut, the Black Skull, the Silver Witch and Thanos with his Infinity Rings. Blade is the one man alive who seems to remember that the entire world has somehow been… reborn. And so begins his search for the cause behind this ominous shift in reality.

Wakanda’s debut was with the Fantastic Four and nobody’s really said what happened to them. Meanwhile Peter Parker is in the trailer while Venom is the only one seen fighting. How did Venom get to Earth without Spider-Man? Did the Beyonder still take everybody and somehow…I don’t know, Silk bonded with it before finding Eddie Brock? And is the Hulk smiling while punching monsters?

“Maybe the wildest story I’ve ever put on paper. I got to cut loose on this and release my inner comic-reared child in a really profound way, and together with a cadre of immensely imaginative artists, we built a world that I’m pretty confident in saying is quite unlike any version of the Marvel Universe you’ve seen before,” Aaron said of his latest Marvel saga. “It grew out of the pages of my AVENGERS run, but kept getting bigger and bigger as it went, and the more pieces I put in place for this Reborn world, the more gleeful and excited I became. This project really stoked the fires of my love for comics in all the right ways.”

I haven’t read his Avengers run so I don’t know what the spark is. If he was allowed to simply write the story, great. We could use more of that without editorial interference or political grandstanding. On the other hand modern writers hate continuity so it seems to be the only way to get a good story out of them anymore, making me wonder why they are writing older characters if they hate them so much? Just make your own comic.

“It’s only natural that after the Phoenix burns the world to ash, there should come a rebirth, and so REBORN is the next big step in the massive super-story that Jason and Ed have been crafting in Avengers,” Executive Editor Tom Brevoort said. “Prepare to enter a very different yet hauntingly familiar Marvel Universe!”

Okay, so do the X-Men still exist? The Phoenix will be explained in a moment but I’m not seeing anything from the mutants in this at all, but somehow Doctor Doom beat Cain “I want something to beat up my stepbrother with” Marko in becoming Juggernaut. I’m not sure how this is stopped because Tony Stark didn’t end up with shrapnel in his chest (the cave thing is from the movies…he was in a jungle camp in his original origin), nobody’s around to rescue Captain America (I guess Batman 2 and Robin 2 were busy as well), but Thor’s story is really out of wack now that I think about it.

Thor’s origin as far as becoming a superhero is concerned was originally Donald Blake found the hammer and was given the power of Thor, and if that had remained the origin then Jane Foster using the name when she got the powers wouldn’t have been so bad. Instead, it was later retconned that Blake was THE Thor, put into the form of a lame-legged doctor as punishment because Mr. Odinson needed an ego check. So here he’s still Thor but doesn’t have the hammer? Shouldn’t he still be Donald Blake if he doesn’t believe in the hammer’s power and has opted not to become a superhero?

“I’ve been having an absolute blast designing and drawing some new spins on old favorites Jason Aaron has brought to the table,” McGuinness said. “They are all with a purpose story wise which makes them really cool to get into from the art side of things. He may be the maddest scientist of all!”

It’s a shame they can’t have that same blast with the actual character not getting remade, like they don’t care about the characters who have been around before they were born. Because of this I do have one more concern, and I do admit it may well be a wild conspiracy theory on my part rather than an actual goal. However, given the various attempts these past few years to toss out beloved characters from the 1960s onward to replace them with new, younger, racial and socially diverse (not politically or spiritually of course outside of Muslim) namesakes they can then mold into their own image…something they can’t get away with when it comes to characters with a decades-long established personality and perspective…is it possible this is yet another attempt, a way to “convince” readers to abandon characters the writers no longer want to make in favor of versions they do? Probably not but like I said, history at least leads to asking the question. It’s the same concern with G5/Future State (although G5 was being promoted in a way that indicated that very goal with DC characters) and while that at least is no longer the case any may not be the intention here I wouldn’t be surprise if it’s not under consideration given the almost hostile approach to beloved characters they can’t create to reflect themselves.

For some more information, including stuff I’m not aware of, Perch of Comics By Perch, a comic store owner, has a video with more details.

Wait, there’s a tournament for a new Phoenix host? I don’t think that’s how the Phoenix Force works. I thought it was going to be someone else gets the Phoenix during the altered timeline, but apparently it’s the new host responsible. That’s one question solved I guess, but a good What If? story requires the sequence of events to make some form of sense. That’s probably the only thing Brand New Day got right until you try to figure out how Peter and MJ not getting married led to Harry coming back to life and Peter not getting organic webbing by being reborn from his own mutated spider body and no, it doesn’t make any more sense in context so don’t even think about that last one. The story is still going to have to explain why Reed and Ben work for SHIELD, why Hulk doesn’t appear so angry and is fighting monster, why Tony didn’t need to create his armor (and does that mean no Ironheart, War Machine, or Rescue), why Peter doesn’t seem to have spider powers (and how this affects the other spider-people yet still gives us the Venom symbiote) and pretty much everything involving Thor. That’s a lot to work on for one miniseries.

If they aren’t replacing any of the regular series for this the concept isn’t bad for a huge “what if” style miniseries, but they’re going to have to convince readers that some of these events are even possible given the importance of certain characters (the Avengers never formed in this version while the X-Men aren’t even acknowledged outside of whatever happened to Wolverine’s arms because heaven forbid we go one story without that jerk, and one of the teaser images shows Reed and Ben working for SHIELD despite getting their powers apart and before the Avengers) so continuity is going to play more of a role than you think unless you just go total parallel universe and just have certain characters pop up for some reason. And why is Blade the only one to remember the way it was? Will that explanation make sense? Time will tell how well thought out this story turns out to be. Good concepts have been ruined before.

About ShadowWing Tronix

A would be comic writer looking to organize his living space as well as his thoughts. So I have a blog for each goal. :)

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