What if Marvel was DC? That’s the vibe I got from Heroes Reborn #1, the latest Marvel “event” that has Blade awaken in a world he does not know. This is a world where the Avengers never formed and existed. Instead, the Squadron Supreme has stepped in and things have progressed differently in other ways. The result is a ho-hum start that has an interesting mystery but lacks memorable excitement.
Jason Aaron continues his Avengers run with this sidequest. Heroes Reborn #1 isn’t a bad debut but it also doesn’t quite deliver a punch. Instead, we’re guided around the world by Blade as he attempts to figure out what has happened. He’s the only one, maybe, that remembers the world isn’t right. Blade, as our guide, introduces us to the various members of the Squadron Supreme and lets us know what has happened to key Avengers members like Tony Stark, Carol Danvers, Thor, Captain America, and the Hulk. We also get to meet this world’s twist on classic Marvel villains. Most just feel like riffs on the combination of characters we’ve seen so many times before. Take two characters, mash them together for a whole new thing to sell.
And that’s part of the problem with the comic. It’s entire draw is to see what’s different expecting readers to be excited that Dr. Doom is mashed with the Juggernaut. The dialogue is a bit on the cheese end of things and the various introductions don’t feel like complete stories. In fact most are not. So there’s an emptiness in a way. We’re also left pondering how Blade is getting around in this strange world as he travels to see Thor or his final stop. We just accept he’s able to.
But, in a way, Aaron has a bit of a success with the comic. It hearkens back with a retro style in its dialogue and battles. It forgoes an edgy darkness for a classic pop-superhero sensibility about it. When I read the comic, I didn’t feel like I was reading a Marvel comic. Instead, the style in dialogue and look was more akin to DC. It’s an interesting stylized choice and not too surprising based on the fact the Squadron Supreme is front and center.
There’s also a lot that does work in the comic. Blade’s confrontation with Nighthawk and Thor are solid and the teases at the end is the really “meat” of the debut issue. But, it doesn’t quite feel like enough. This feels more like a “zero” issue than a solid debut issue.
Ed McGuinness‘ art is fantastic as expected. There’s some fun imagery on the pages with interesting layouts that catch the eye. With Mark Morales on ink, Matthew Wilson on color, and lettering by Cory Petit, the art pops often. There’s some rough spots, some uninspired villain designs, but like the writing there’s a bit of a throwback to the art style and some of the panels. The art does some interesting things blending “classic” comics, the 90s, and modern comics seamlessly. Page layouts are a bit more modern. Some the character design is more 90s and 00s and some of the character stances feel much older and classic. It works in a fun sort of way.
Heroes Reborn #1 is a bit of a mixed bag. Some of what works does so really well. But, there’s also a lot that feels like clunkers. There’s a mix of styles and voices in a way and it doesn’t always blend together. Some of the comic feels like a spoof of the past. Some of the comic feels like an homage. And some of the comic feels like it’s taking itself too seriously. It’s a bit mixed as to what it wants to be. But, its mystery is one that has me wanting to come back and see what’s behind all of this and more importantly, what comes after.
Story: Jason Aaron Art: Ed McGuinness
Ink: Mark Morales Color: Matthew Wilson Letterer: Cory Petit
Story: 7.0 Art: 7.85 Overall: 7.0 Recommendation: Read
Marvel provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review
Purchase: comiXology – Kindle – Zeus Comics – TFAW