Heroes Reborn (comics)

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"Heroes Reborn"
Heroes Reborn.jpg
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
Fantastic Four: Heroes Reborn ISBN 0-7851-0744-4

"Heroes Reborn" was a 1996–97 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[edit]

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-1990s 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[edit]

  • Fantastic Four #416 - September 1996. (Relaunched as Fantastic Four Vol. 2 #1)
  • Avengers #402 - September 1996. (Relaunched as Avengers Vol. 2 #1)
  • Iron Man #332 - September 1996. (Relaunched as Iron Man Vol. 2 #1)
  • Captain America #454 - August 1996. (Relaunched as Captain America Vol. 2 #1)
  • Thor #502 - September 1996. (Renamed Journey into Mystery from #503)

Heroes Return[edit]

It started with Heroes Reborn: The Return, a four issue limited series (December 1997) which saw Franklin bringing several characters who died during the Onslaught Saga back from limbo to the main Marvel Universe.

Cancelled and relaunched titles[edit]

  • Fantastic Four Vol. 2 #13 (Relaunched as Fantastic Four Vol. 3 #1 - January 1998)
  • Avengers Vol. 2 #13 (Relaunched as Avengers Vol. 3 #1 - February 1998)
  • Iron Man Vol. 2 #13 (Relaunched as Iron Man Vol. 3 #1 - February 1998)
  • Captain America Vol. 2 #13 (Relaunched as Captain America Vol. 3 #1 - January 1998)
  • Thor Vol. 2 #1 - July 1998

"Heroes Reborn" revisited[edit]

In 1999, Marvel collected Heroes Reborn: The Return #1-4 limited series re-titled as the Return of the Heroes trade paperback, it was re-released in 2009 as Heroes Reborn: The Return trade paperback again collecting the 4-issue mini-series, and also the Heroes Reborn one-shot specials from 2000: Doomsday #1, Ashema #1, Masters of Evil #1, Rebel #1, Remnants #1, Young Allies #1, and Doom #1.

In July 2000, Marvel collected Fantastic Four vol. 2, issues #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[edit]


  1. ^ a b McLauchlin, Jim (August 1997). "Lee Extends 'Reborn' Run". Wizard (72). pp. 18–19. 
  2. ^ "An interview with Walt Simonson". Archived from the original on 2007-10-17. Retrieved 2007-10-18. 
  3. ^ Senreich, Matthew (August 1997). "The Wizard Q&A: Mark Waid & Ron Garney". Wizard (72). pp. 68–72. 
  4. ^ Miller, John Jackson. "Capital Sale Tops Turbulent Year: The Top 10 Comics News Stories of 1996". CBGXtra. Archived from the original on 2007-11-07. Retrieved 2007-12-20. 
  5. ^ "Ten Years Later: Onslaught Reborn". Archived from the original on 2007-10-12. Retrieved 2007-12-20. 
  6. ^ "Onslaught Reborn #1 Preview with Loeb & Liefeld Video Interviews". Archived from the original on 2007-12-24. Retrieved 2007-12-20. 

External links[edit]