In 1996, a large portion of the Marvel Universe was rebooted in a Jim Lee, Rob Liefeld, and Jeph Loeb-led revamp called 'Heroes Reborn.' Now 25 years later, a new 'Heroes Reborn' is coming - starting with a rhetorical question in a marketing teaser: "Whatever happened to Earth's Mightiest Heroes?"
Marvel's 'Earth's Mightiest Heroes' are, of course, its nickname for the Avengers.
Back in December, Marvel executive editor/senior VP of publishing Tom Brevoort teased a Marvel "rebirth" following the current Avengers arc 'Enter the Phoenix.'
DC has somewhat cornered the market on the term 'Rebirth' with a series of revamped origin story arcs for the Flash and Green Lantern, followed by a line-wide revamp in 2016. 'Reborn' is seemingly the next best thing terminology-wise, but along with it comes the weight of history.
In 1996, former Marvel star artists/writers Jim Lee and Rob Liefeld were lured back to the House of Ideas with a deal to revamp/reboot the Avengers, Fantastic Four, Iron Man, Captain America, and Hulk under their guidance. That project, 'Heroes Reborn,' (opens in new tab) lasted a year, before a rushed finale and then the characters being folded back into the main Marvel U with a series of specials titled 'Heroes Return.'
A new omnibus collection of 1996-1997's 'Heroes Reborn' goes on sale in June - no coincidence.
The rhetorical question to Marvel's 2021 'Heroes Reborn' - "Whatever happened to Earth's Mightiest Heroes?" - alludes to a much older story which was not a rebirth/reborn type of situation, but a finale: Alan Moore and Curt Swan's 'Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow?' (opens in new tab) in 1986.
While the title itself was a homage to the similarly-finale like nature of the '70s BBC show Whatever Happened to the Likely Lads, Moore and Swan's story ended up being a seminal Superman work which went on to inspire numerous additional stories - including one for Batman in 2009 titled 'Whatever Happened to the Caped Crusader?' (opens in new tab) by Neil Gaiman and Andy Kubert.
So while Marvel's usage of 'Heroes Reborn' signals a new beginning of sorts, the homage of 'Whatever happened to…' could also signal an ending of sorts before a new beginning.
Stay tuned to Newsarama for more on Marvel's 2021 'Heroes Reborn.'
A new 'Heroes Reborn' would promise a big impact on Marvel Comics. Check out Newsarama's list of the most impactful Marvel events of all time.