Heroes Reborn? Really?

This is a serious Marvel Thing.  No Joke.

This is a serious Marvel Thing. No Joke.

I spoke about this earlier. Not only did “Axis” revolve around a return of the “Onslaught” character, but the current Fantastic Four revolves around a previously unknown mastermind who employs the characters of Heroes Reborn as henchmen.

Why would you do that? The Heroes Reborn characters are disposable versions of the originals, who are in fact described as such by the Quiet Man, the newly retconned bad guy! I don’t want disposable henchmen, unless I’m Cobra, Hydra or AIM. Otherwise, I want henchmen who are pulling their weight.

Let’s talk about Heroes Reborn a bit. Specifically, the Avengers title, from which the henchpeople are drawn. “Heroes Reborn: Avengers” is a study in bad comics. What starts out as as early exercise in alternate continuity (like the Ultimate Universe) goes terribly wrong, but some smart writing brings it back from the brink. Issues No.1-7 of the “Heroes Reborn” Avengers were co-plotted by Rob Liefeld; the scripts for these issues were provided first by Jim Valentino, then by Jeph Loeb. Because of this, Avengers feels like an early Image title, with clichéd dialogue and a bland plot which serves as an excuse for a series of fight scenes.

Then there’s the art. The art isn’t too bad by 1990s Marvel standards. The women have ridiculous proportions and every one seems to be snarling, but that’s par for the course. Those unfortunate women also haven’t yet reared their heads in the FF plot as henchpeople. However, the other reason I couldn’t get past “Heroes Reborn” as an idea is what I might describe as a “smash cut.” As the Avengers assemble against Loki, we see the Vision and Scarlet Witch running through a hallway, and then…BAM!

Double-page Liefeld spread.

From there, it descends into what feels almost like a Rob Liefeld parody, with constant snarls, tiny eyes and the ridiculously long legs of the Enchantress. It’s not helped by some terrible costume designs. Hellcat has suddenly become Feral from X-Force, but without a nose. Had this been Tigra, it would’ve been more understandable, but the lack of a nose makes the character look strange. Hawkeye has been given a putrid brown costume and a full face mask. It seems like Liefeld and company wanted to have Wolverine but were saddled with Hawkeye, so they gave him a version of the tiger stripe costume and Wolverine’s mask.

All that? That’s the source material for the big reveal, for the people in Panel One above.

It bugs me that as Fantastic Four rides to its close, to be cancelled for the short term, THIS is the final arc. The Quiet Man is a poor mastermind, a pastiche of previous characters retconned in, and the Heroes Reborn Avengers are a sad counterpoint. I can’t imagine that our hero and Ben Grimm would even work up a sweat schooling them, en route to tacos.

Next Issue: Professor Zoom!

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