‘Heroes Return’ #1 is an amazing book visually, but another wasted opportunity giving us a very predictable dust-up between The Supreme Squadron of America and the Avengers. Well, some of them anyway. A series that seems deigned to set up the next big title-wide crossover for Marvel which I’ll be giving a miss based on this slim storyline stretched out to breaking point. Whatever the opposite of “Excelsior” is, this is that series.
With this one-shot issue the one-trick pony of a superhero event series, Heroes Reborn, draws to its inevitable conclusion with the all-out bust-up between the Avengers and the Squadron Supreme of America. An events this series has all too slowly been leading up to. And like all the previous instalments there is a pattern. A lack of story stretched over the requisite pages – admittedly with some good remixes of classic Marvel moment along the way – with a last page reveal that acts as the hook. And while this one-shot’s revelations are the most exciting of the whole event coming at the end of this comic isn’t really worth wading through one big-ass battle for. Albeit a big-ass battle beautifully rendered by Ed McGuinness. I could watch him draw the curtains, so to have a whole oversized issue adorned with his top-tier art almost made up for a lacklustre series. Almost.
In the grander designs for the Marvel universe moving forward – and I dare say the plans writer Jason Aaron has for The Avengers comic book – the revelations for this issue does a good job of whet the appetite and baiting the reader. But more and more in today’s comic book landscape such series as Heroes Reborn are nothing more than appetisers for the next big thing. And so too is this. And at seven issues, a one-shot and a fistful of tie-ins, it’s a very expensive appetiser for whatever the main course may be. Although to be fair, that main course does seem to suggest some of the gangbuster storytelling Aaron is better known for. After all, nothing ever ends in comics. They just seem to return more bombastically. And boy, does the ending to this special issue point to on Hell of a bombastic saga to come.
What was a joy to behold – beyond McGuinness’s stocky, blocky, smooth-lined figures and action sequences was the returns of old-school Marvel costumes for Thor, Black Panther and Captain America as they take on the Squadron. But then, McGuinness makes them work because of his style being so timeless and majestic. Our generation’s John Buscema at his best. An artist who doesn’t need to rely on too much fussiness or cross-hatching to deliver truly god-like heroes across each page. McGuinness juts knows how to do superheroes. And do them really, really well.
Great art – which has on the whole been the standout for all the separate issue of this series – but a story I still feel could have been wrapped up in a much shorter time. And while the ending smacks of great things to come, why oh why did I have to wait eight issues to get here? If the desired effect from this series is to keep an eye out on The Avengers and other titles to be affected by the big reveal, then it hasn’t worked on this comic book lovin’ fan.
Heroes Return #1 is out Wednesday 23rd June from Marvel