Comic books were a different beast back in the 1990s. With Image Comics proving to be a disruptive beast in the industry and DC’s Death of Superman hauling in stupid amounts of cash for the distinguished competition, Marvel had to do something. That specific something was attempting to bottle Image’s own lightning from its successful relaunch, mixing in a few drops of DC’s patented reboot, and hiring the best chef-artists in the business to put the dish together.
The end result was Heroes Reborn! With some of Marvel’s biggest names apparently wiped out in a clash with the almighty Onslaught, Earth no longer had Avengers or the Fantastic Four to help save the day. Due to some reality-warping shenanigans by Mister Fantastic’s son Franklin Richards though (pocket universe created by the toddler, comic books!), heroes such as Captain America, Thor, and Iron Man still lived on but in all-new and all-different adventures that rewrote the book on their origins and personalities.
The status quo would eventually be restored, but for a time the universe of Heroes Reborn was a wacky and peak 90s experiment headed up by Jim Lee and Rob Liefeld. That was 25 years ago, and never one to miss an anniversary special, Marvel is teasing some sort of return to that universe. Or an ending at the very least.
For now there’s just a simple Whatever happened to Earth’s Mightiest Heroes?” banner available, but even that’s a potential clue. Back in 1986, Alan Moore and Curt Swan created a possible “final” Superman story titled “’Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow?”, which then inspired “Whatever Happened to the Caped Crusader?” tale by Neil Gaiman and Andy Kubert in 2009.
Now granted, these are two different comic book companies, but they’ve each got a history of not so subtle homages in their backpockets. But I’m just guessing, so who knows. Marvel could have a rebirth of its own in the works, even if the Heroes Reborn storyline was wrapped up in the Heroes Return event of 1997 that saw the dimension-displaced heroes folded back into the proper Marvel continuity.
Still, if it results in a return of Iron Man’s awesome Heroes Reborn armour, I’ll be down for that.
Last Updated: January 22, 2021