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"Heroes Reborn"

Cover of Onslaught Reborn #2. Art by Rob Liefeld.
Publisher Marvel Comics
Publication date 1996 – 1997


Main character(s) The Avengers
Fantastic Four
Doctor Doom
Collected editions
Fantastic Four: Heroes Reborn ISBN 0-7851-0744-4

"Heroes Reborn" was a 1996-1997 crossover story arc among comic-book series published by the American company Marvel Comics. During this one-year, multi-title story arc, Marvel temporarily outsourced the production of several of its most famous comic books to the studios of its popular former employees Jim Lee and Rob Liefeld.

Publication history

Following the apparent deaths of the Avengers, the Fantastic Four, and Dr. Doom battling Onslaught in Onslaught: Marvel Universe, they were "reborn" and certain aspects of their earlier stories were expanded with the intent of telling their adventures anew for modern generations. This was explained, in-story, as their having been transported into a Pocket universe by Franklin Richards, the near-omnipotent, psychic son of Mr. Fantastic and the Invisible Woman, to save them, where they lived in the so-called "Franklin-verse", oblivious to what had happened to them. The characters' origins and histories were revised and updated circa mid-nineties for modern audiences. For instance, Ben Grimm fought as a pilot in the Gulf War instead of World War II, and Susan and Johnny Storm were explained to have been financial backers for Reed Richards' rocket, hence their presence on the mission. In addition, while Richards' goal of becoming the first man to get to Mars remained, it was revealed that he secretly aimed to explore the interstellar anomalies of that area.

For this reworking, Marvel "farmed out" the properties to some of their former employees who had left the company to form Image Comics. Jim Lee's Wildstorm Productions studios handled Fantastic Four and Iron Man, and Rob Liefeld's Extreme Studios took the reins of The Avengers and Captain America. However, after six issues, Marvel ended Liefeld's contract early, citing low sales on his two titles.[1] Liefeld's titles were reassigned to Lee. Walt Simonson took over Avengers when it moved to WildStorm.[2] Although the four titles in "Heroes Reborn" were slated for a 12-issue run, James Robinson wrote a thirteenth and final issue for each book. The storyline, entitled "World War III", was a crossover between the Marvel and WildStorm characters.

The changes to the characters were controversial, provoking debates amongst fans. The change in creative team on Captain America was also controversial, since the pre-Heroes Reborn team of Mark Waid and Ron Garney had already been bringing increased sales and critical acclaim to the series.[3] However, all of the titles experienced a large upsurge in sales.[4] According to Lee, Marvel proposed continuing the Heroes Reborn lineup indefinitely, but under the condition that Lee would draw at least one of them; Lee refused.[1]

At the end of the storyline, the Fantastic Four and Avengers were returned to the mainstream Marvel Universe, again through the intervention of Franklin Richards, in the miniseries Heroes Reborn: The Return (She-Hulk and several members of the Inhuman Royal Family were incorrectly depicted as returning heroes, even though they were not among the missing heroes from Onslaught: Marvel Universe). The ensuing storyline, dubbed "Heroes Return" was once again created in-house at Marvel Comics.

Cancelled and relaunched titles

  • Fantastic Four #416 (Relaunched as Fantastic Four Vol. 2 #1)
  • Avengers #402 (Relaunched as Avengers Vol. 2 #1)
  • Iron Man #332 (Relaunched as Iron Man Vol. 2 #1)
  • Captain America #454 (Relaunched as Captain America Vol. 2 #1)
  • Thor #502 (Renamed Journey into Mystery from #503)

Heroes Return

It started with Heroes Reborn: The Return, a four issue limited series which saw Franklin bringing several characters who died during the Onslaught Saga back from limbo to the main Marvel Universe.

Cancelled and relaunched titles

  • Fantastic Four Vol. 2 #13 (Relaunched as Fantastic Four Vol. 3 #1)
  • Avengers Vol. 2 #13 (Relaunched as Avengers Vol. 3 #1)
  • Iron Man Vol. 2 #13 (Relaunched as Iron Man Vol. 3 #1)
  • Captain America Vol. 2 #13 (Relaunched as Captain America Vol. 3 #1)
  • Thor Vol. 2 #1

"Heroes Reborn" revisited

In July 2000, Marvel collected issues Fantastic Four vol. 2, #1-6 in the trade paperback Fantastic Four: Heroes Reborn, but no other "Heroes Reborn" reprints followed for some time.

With 2006 marking the 10th anniversary of the "Heroes Reborn" crossover, Marvel marked the occasion by having the reality-traversing Exiles team visit the "Heroes Reborn" Earth, in Exiles #81-82. The company also announced it was reprinting original "Heroes Reborn" series and produced trade paperbacks collecting issues 1-12 (excluding the series finale cross-over "World War III") of the four titles. Also, Marvel announced that Jeph Loeb and Rob Liefeld would reunite in November 2006 for Onslaught Reborn, a five-part weekly limited series that would feature both Onslaught and a world similar to the "Heroes Reborn" universe. This was planned to tie in with the memorial scholarship fund established in honor of Loeb's son Sam.[5][6]

Collected editions


External links