Marvel Comics' 25th anniversary revival of its 1996 Heroes Reborn branding has started to expand beyond the four issues of the core limited series announced for May, with a pair of tie-ins now added to the mix.
First up, there's Young Squadron – a Heroes Reborn 2021 take on the core trio of Marvel's Champions teen team from former Champions writer Jim Zub and artist Steve Cummings.
In this case, Miles Morales, Kamala Khan, and Sam Alexander (the core universe's Spider-Man, Ms. Marvel, and Nova, respectively) will take on totally new super heroic identities and even powers inspired not by the Avengers, who never formed in the new Heroes Reborn universe, but by America's super protectors the Squadron Supreme.
Sam Alexander will gain Doctor Spectrum's light construct powers as Kid Spectrum. Miles Morales will become the Falcon, partner of Nighthawk, replacing Nighthawk's now-deceased original sidekick. And finally, Kamala Khan will become Girl Power, gaining her powers not through the Inhuman Terrigen Mists, but an artifact from the homeworld of Power Princess.
Who the heck are Doctor Spectrum, Power Princess, and Nighthawk? They're core members of Marvel's Squadron Supreme.
Originally introduced in 1969's Avengers #69 as the villainous Squadron Sinister, 1971's Avengers #85 reintroduced the characters as the Squadron Supreme, the heroes of an alternate world, who are essentially all pastiche/homage characters based on the DC's Justice League as a sly way of having the two team's kinda face off before a for-real intercompany Avengers/JLA fight was actually possible on the page.
Since then they've appeared in several different titles, in different incarnations from a variety of Multiversal worlds, though some, such as Hyperion and Nighthawk, have had extended stays in the core Marvel Universe.
Oddly enough, Young Squadron will also feature Deadpool, whose fourth-wall-breaking nature may come into play.
"Beneath the flashy facade of colorful adventure, something grim is stirring and Deadpool is determined to bring it to light," reads Marvel's official description, released through ComicBook.
"[Heroes Reborn limited series writer Jason Aaron and artist Ed McGuiness] have built an incredibly fun premise in Heroes Reborn," Zub tells ComicBook.
"It's a twisted mirror that reflects the characters we know and love set against both the familiar and the wildly unexpected," he continues. "Taking that core idea and pulling it further out to show how it affects the Champions trio of Miles, Kamala, and Sam is a blast, and getting to do that with my Champions collaborator Steven Cummings makes it even more fun."
Then there's Magneto and the Mutant Force, from writer Steve Orlando and artist Bernard Chang, which picks up the adventures of Magneto (now apparently using a floating wheelchair-like conveyance like Charles Xavier did in the '90s) as he leads a team of mutants on a mission of "hope for mutantkind," in Orlando's words.
"I didn't expect Magneto & The Mutant Force, and those unexpected moments are where some of the most exciting stories are found," Orlando tells AiPT, who announced Magneto and the Mutant Force.
"The world of Heroes Reborn is a beautiful nod to the iconic traditions of events like Age of Apocalypse or House of M, the very kinds of events that pulled me in from the mall hallways and guided me to the spinner rack as a kid," he continues. "Jason [Aaron] and Ed' [McGuinness] world shows us just how pivotal the Avengers are by their absence, and for Magneto and his Mutant Force, the fight for mutant freedom is deadlier than ever."
Marvel's official description sheds a bit more light on what life is like for mutants in the world of Heroes Reborn 2021.
"Years ago, Magneto and Professor X led Earth's mutants in a final push for independence against the Squadron Supreme of America," reads Marvel's description of Magneto and the Mutant Force #1. "What followed was the Squadron's Mutant Massacre, a violent rebuttal that left Mutantkind forever wounded, and Xavier dead…or so Magneto thought."
"Years later, Magneto discovers Xavier clinging to life in the astral plane and gathers his allies for a first-of-its-kind rescue mission. Too bad the same mission puts the Mutant Force back on the Squadron's radar!" it continues.
"Failure means the last gasp of Mutant-kind, but success means the first breaths of something even more elusive to the mutants of Heroes Reborn: HOPE."
For longtime Marvel fans, the name Mutant Force may ring a bell. It's a name used by an obscure '70s version of Magneto's Brotherhood of Evil Mutants who took on Captain America. Created by Jack Kirby, the team consisted of such oddballs as Lifter, Burner, Shocker, and Peeper (who recently returned in S.W.O.R.D. #1). No word yet if any of these characters will show up in the new title, but given writer Steve Orlando's reputation for encyclopedic comic book knowledge and his self-professed love of obscure characters, it's a safe bet someone interesting and weird will show up.
Neither title has a stated length, though both will debut in May alongside the core Heroes Reborn limited series.
Watch for Marvel's full May 2021 solicitations later this month on Newsarama.
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