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Marvel Heroes Reborn 2021: Character mash-ups are the key

Heroes Reborn 2021
(Image credit: Marvel Comics)

Marvel Comics has released a series of eight teaser images by artist Carlos Pacheco following up on their brief reveal of a new 'Heroes Reborn' storyline involving their Avengers family of titles/characters. 

(Image credit: Marvel Comics)

Following this week's previous teases of a return to the concept of Heroes Reborn for the 1996-97 story's 25th anniversary, the character art Marvel has now debuted hints that the story, whatever form it takes, may have some thematic commonalities with other stories Marvel has told in recent years.

With eight images released, it appears that most of the characters featured in the new Heroes Reborn will be some kind of mash-ups of known Marvel characters, though it's unclear whether they'll be some kind of 'amalgam' style combinations of origins and powers as Marvel's previous Infinity Warps concept which mashed-up characters into totally new heroes, or if there will be another story explanation.

(Image credit: Marvel Comics)

The first is an apparent mash-up Doctor Doom and Juggernaut, with the character wearing armor that, while somewhat shaped like Juggernaut's massive helmet and gear, stylistically resembles Doom's armor. The character seems to have the Gem of Cyttorak, the source of Juggernaut's power, embedded in his chest piece.

The second image appears to be a mash-up of Wanda Maximoff, the Scarlet Witch, and the Asgardian villain the Enchantress, who has often used her powers to try and charm the Avengers. The character wears an outfit similar to Wanda's classic gear, complete with the funky headpiece, though she's in Enchantress's green and black color scheme. It's worth noting that Scarlet Witch's brother Quicksilver has often worn green as well, so there may be another angle to this one.

(Image credit: Marvel Comics)

The third image shows Reed Richards and Ben Grimm (in his human guise) apparently as agents of SHIELD - a story holdover from the original Heroes Reborn. Though not distinctly a 'mash-up' per se, the images does combine the concepts of the Fantastic Four and SHIELD.

Then there's an image of Peter Parker taking pictures of a mostly unseen hero from the roof of the Daily Bugle, implying a Jimmy Olsen-esque role for someone else. Again, not strictly a mash-up on its face, but we also haven't seen more than the yellow boots of the hero he's photographing. (Maybe a version of Tony Stark/Iron Man? He's been Peter's mentor in the past and the color scheme adds up).

(Image credit: Marvel Comics)

There's an image of Thanos apparently wearing at least five of the Mandarin's ten rings of power (Thanos + Mandarin = Manos the Hands of Fate? MST3K fans understand). 

Though in comic books there are six Infinity Stones and ten Makluan rings of power wielded by the Mandarin (each with their own unique abilities combining alien science and magic), a mash-up of the pair could feasibly also include a mash-up of their unique power artifacts. 

And it's worth noting that, given his previous predilections for altering reality, any mash-up that's half or part Thanos could have a hand - or gauntlet - in the rebirthing of reality.

(Image credit: Marvel Comics)

The image featuring the Hulk poses its own sort of mystery beyond the story it's teasing. In this case, somewhat similar to the Peter Parker image, there's not much of an apparent mash-up going on (though there are clues that this is not the Hulk we know and love).

For one thing, he's smiling, and not especially menacingly - a rarity for ol' Jade Jaws, who in most cases is notably angry (it's like his whole thing). Then there are the monsters he's facing off with, which have a distinct '70s superhero sci-fi feel - but even us comic book eggheads at Newsarama can't quite put our finger on where they may originate, or if they're simply paying homage to a certain style.

Weirdly, it appears as though Hulk may be in some way draining the creatures, with the yellow/green color palette shifting between Hulk's hand and the creature's scales - though it could be us reading into a quirk of the piece's lighting. But maybe that's an indicator he's got something in common with his old foe Absorbing Man?

Got a good guess, Hulkamaniacs? We're all ears on Twitter and Facebook.

(Image credit: Marvel Comics)

The last two teasers feature Phil Coulson in what appears to be his campaign for the Presidency of the United States along with a couple of instances of his apparent slogan "He's Unique" (which no doubt has some story meaning). 

And then finally there is Wolverine along with a team of modified Alpha Flight characters. Logan's somewhat cybernetic modifications don't ring any bells, nor do Aurora or Sasquatch's new looks.

The mystical character could perhaps be a mash-up of Shaman and Doctor Strange, while the armored character seems like a version of Guardian/Vindicator crossed with Cable, maybe? 

(Image credit: Marvel Comics)

Interestingly enough, several of the characters including Peter Parker, Juggernaut, and Thanos did not play roles in the original Heroes Reborn, indicating this story will go beyond the scope of the original.

As for how these characters might fit together or how the new Heroes Reborn will look, that remains to be seen. But check out a gallery of all of the teasers below. 

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Heroes Reborn 2021

(Image credit: Marvel Comics)
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Juggernaut/Doctor Doom

(Image credit: Marvel Comics)

A new 'Heroes Reborn' has the potential to make a huge impact on the Marvel Universe. Maybe enough to someday make Newsarama's list of the most impactful Marvel events of all time.

I've been Newsarama's resident Marvel Comics expert and general comic book historian since 2011. I've also been the on-site reporter at most major comic conventions such as Comic-Con International: San Diego, New York Comic Con, and C2E2. Outside of comic journalism, I am the artist of many weird pictures, and the guitarist of many heavy riffs. (They/Them)