Heroes Reborn: Man, Do We Have A Mess Of A Reality On Our Hands
WARNING! SPOILERS AHEAD!
DC’s New 52 and Rebirth sucks! Well, maybe not depending on who you’re talking to, but the bottom line is, changing a universe’s status quo can be quite risky. Sure, alternate realities are generally the way to go with storylines such as Flashpoint, Old Man Logan, and Incredible Hulk: Imperfect Future (Maestro) having succeeded largely because the storylines suggest a potential future or reality that could or could’ve happened. However, publishing comics such as these can still be risky, Like DC’s current Future State event that has proven to be somewhat hit or miss with readers, but then again, success has still been found with titles such as Batman Beyond or Miles Morales comics, turning into one of Marvel’s more successful characters in recent years. So, what’s the issue? What leads to so much inconsistency? Well, the prominent problem is when companies such as Marvel or DC present a particular title as something that is the current, main-universe within their comics. That’s why the New 52 and Rebirth events were met with mixed results, forcing a new “meta” of sorts on the reader and if your favorite characters were altered in ways you didn’t like, you generally were left disappointed (I’m still upset about Lobo in the New 52). So, when presenting a comic that alters reality, it’s generally a safer option to do an alternate timeline because it doesn’t force readers to accept it as the main reality and can simply choose to ignore it if they don’t like it. Plus, if it flops, readers and writers alike can move on from it without having to read comics for several years that take place within this “new” reality.
Of course, most of this might be bashing DC’s recent reboots, but it’s simply risky to change everything and force readers to accept it as canon. So, when diving into Heroes Reborn, it’s easy to see that Marvel is going about it the safest way possible. It’s an event that doesn’t affect the current releases, and if you hate it, well, you can just act like it doesn’t exist. However, the idea of a world without the Avengers, Fantastic Four, or X-Men sounds somewhat interesting, right? Well, that’s the main point within the comic, serving as the major concept to draw readers in, and that’s it on the surface. So far, there aren’t any major, Earth-shattering events to pull fans in or momentous battles for the fate of the world, but those will likely come. As of now, there are only two issues out, with two other issues serving as spin-offs featuring Peter Parker and the Squadron Supreme.
Now, just because I said there isn’t much that pulls you to the event, it doesn’t mean these issues aren’t worth reading, because I still think these issues are interesting and contain a certain amount of value that most readers can appreciate. In the opening issue, readers are following Blade -for whatever reason- as he finds himself in a world without the Avengers. Or, most notably, a reality in which Captain America was never found in the ice, Tony Stark never created Iron Man, and Thor never reunited with his hammer after being exiled to Earth. Blade is the only one who remembers the Avengers, and he’s left wondering how such a thing could happen before he learned of Cap’s icy fate, digging him out for the second issue. But what’s also interesting is to see how such a void of heroes could have possibly been filled, with the Squadron Supreme stepping in as the world’s prominent hero team.
With the event lacking the majority of Marvel’s A-list heroes, Hyperion is the most interesting part of the first couple of issues. As a ninth-grade history teacher, Hyperion sort of fills the role of America’s hero, and let’s just say he isn’t anything like Cap. He’s almost constructed like a slightly more stable US Agent as he protects his country but isn’t afraid to send his opponents into the afterlife. For example, he fought Hulk, and through battling an opponent so powerful, Hyperion decided that Hulk couldn’t be stopped, and even if he was, it would only be a matter of time before Banner reemerged. So, the god-like hero killed Hulk with his laser eyes, not once, but two-dozen times before Banner finally had enough. It’s brutal, but it serves to show how the world would be different without Steve Rogers, a man who believes in mercy as much as he does victory- and without that precedent, it’s easy to assume that Hyperion would be more ruthless and the surrounding world would be ok with it.
We also see Hyperion punch a literal hole through Galactus as the Silver Surfer never met the Fantastic Four, leading the world-eater to Earth for nutrition. Yet, through his feats, Hyperion is still showing signs of wearing thin similar to what we would see in Wolverine. He hasn’t admitted to it, but through his actions and words, readers are given subtle hints that the effects of constant battle are wearing him thin, being America’s prominent and most powerful hero. Although, I must admit that this is really the only interesting conflict presented to us thus far outside of Steve being freed from the ice by Blade. It’s a smaller event compared to behemoths such as Absolute Carnage or King in Black but it still shows promise as later issues featuring Magneto, characters from the X-Men, and an issue featuring Squadron Savage (including Punisher and Elektra) are slated to release in the upcoming weeks. So, is it good? Yes, I would say so. Is it a must-read though? Maybe not, but it’s an interesting reality nonetheless as it introduces a heavily altered Marvel universe caused by one minor change. But then again, in recent weeks, I guess my opinion could change.