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Comic Book / Heroes Reborn

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Heroes Reborn was a 1996-1997 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.

Following the apparent deaths of The Avengers, Fantastic Four, and Doctor Doom, who died 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 eventually 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. Once the contract for the titles expired, the heroes were brought back to the mainstream Marvel Universe in the miniseries Heroes Reborn: The Return (or simply Heroes Return).

Doctor Doom returned to this universe in a series of one shots and found it in ruins with supervillains running rampant. He eventually managed to bring this Earth into the main Marvel Universe, taking the position of its new Counter-Earth.

An Onslaught Reborn miniseries featured an alternate version of the Heroes Reborn universe. There's also a 2018 storyline of Fantastic Four involving the Heroes Reborn universe. There is a "Heroes Reborn" arc for The Avengers (Jason Aaron), but it has no relation other than the name.

Not to be confused with Heroes Reborn, the Sequel Series to Heroes.



  • Aborted Arc: During the "Industrial Revolution" arc's climax, Onslaught briefly appeared in the gamma reactor on Avengers Island as the Hulk sealed it off. Outside of Reed noting that Onslaught was alive before he disappeared, nothing was done with it and Onslaught Reborn would tie Onslaught's return to the events of House of M instead.
  • Adaptation Origin Connection:
    • Reed Richards, Tony Stark, Hank Pym, Victor Von Doom, and Bruce Banner were all members of the same group in college working on plans for a set of Powered Armor that would become the basis for both the Iron Man armor and Doctor Doom's armor. It was while working on his version that Victor was disfigured in an accident.
    • It's the presence of Doctor Doom's minions which forces Reed to fly the ship with Ben, Johnny and Sue to reach a cosmic anomaly before they can destroy it. Besides, the anomaly turns out to be Silver Surfer.
    • Tony Stark is forced to don his "Promethium" Powered Armor when he's critically wounded investigating a Hydra attack on one of his facilities where Bruce Banner, his browbeaten subordinate and former friend, was creating a gamma bomb. Meanwhile, Bruce's accident happens while he's trying to keep the sabotaged bomb from killing innocents when it explodes. Iron Man and the Hulk literally name each other when they meet at the end of the first issue, and the Hulk is a major subplot in the Iron Man title as Tony tries to help Bruce.
  • Age Lift:
    • Reed Richards, who is middle-aged in the comics (as the grey streaks are the result of age) is more much closer in age to Sue. By extension, this also applied to Ben Grimm and Doctor Doom.
    • The Vision is actually older than Ultron in this, as Ultron was created in this reality to replace Vision as Hank Pym's lab assistant.
  • Canon Foreigner:
    • The finale featured a herald for Galactus named Plasma.
    • The first Captain America issue after the change from Liefeld to Wildstorm also introduced two characters named Colonel von Wagner and Iron Valkyrie into Reborn Cap's World War II backstory.
    • Iron Man's backstory involved a character named Connor "Rebel" O'Reilly, who, in the Heroes Reborn universe, was the first to have worn what'd become the Iron Man armor.
    • Sue and Johnny's uncle Matthew Storm.
  • Canon Immigrant: The Nomad series about Rikki featured the debut of her brother, John's, counterpart on the proper Earth-616. Presumably, given the history of Earth-616, he's not the grandson of Bucky Barnes and Peggy Carter.
  • Counter-Earth: As mentioned in the main article, Doctor Doom eventually brought the entire Heroes Reborn Earth into the 616 universe, placing it in the position of its original Counter-Earth.
  • Everyone Went to School Together: Reed Richards, Victor Von Doom, Tony Stark, Bruce Banner, and Henry Pym studied together when they went to college. They even called themselves "The Atomic Knightsnote  of the Round Table" before drifting apart.
  • Face–Heel Turn: The HR Swordsman was revealed to have went mad after the heroes return in the below-mentioned Fifth Week Event in 2000. In addition to turning out to be the Counter-Earth version of Deadpool, he ended up with Wade's bad luck and contracted cancer. Along the way, he let himself go and get fat, learned the true origins of Counter-Earth, and decided to destroy reality. He even joined the Evil Deadpool Corps.
  • Fifth Week Event: Although Heroes Reborn was only scheduled for twelve issues, each title had a thirteenth issue inserted that was an Intercontinuity Crossover with WildStorm's characters, called "World War III". The Heroes Reborn Earth was also the subject of another Fifth Week Event in 2000.
  • Generic Doomsday Villain: Onslaught
  • Going to Give It More Energy: The defeat of Galactus. But Galactus consumes planets, and a mere group of super powered beings are supposed to be capable of generating even more than that, exponentially more than that? Clearly Sci-Fi Writers Have No Sense of Scale.
  • "Groundhog Day" Loop: The Heroes Reborn take on the Galactus saga. In each of the four titles, the heroes face the threat of Galactus, almost defeat him before being curbstomped, and as dinner starts, Doctor Doom fires up his time machine to try another plan in another title, saying "Time and time again."
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Bucky rammed the Fantasticar into Onslaught, sending them both into the Negative Zone at the end of Onslaught Reborn. Somehow he wound up in the main Marvel Universe.
  • In Name Only: Most versions of the group called "Hulkbusters" are teams dedicated to trying to take out the Hulk. Here, the Hulkbusters are a trio of gamma-irritated people, including the Hulk himself (the other two being She-Hulk and Doc Samson).
  • Military Superhero: The Falcon is a pilot for the U.S. Navy, and his Codename is taken from his military call sign. Surprisingly (given the Heroes Reborn line's Audience-Alienating Era status), both of these elements were used in the Ultimate comics and Captain America: The Winter Soldier (though in those examples, he served in S.H.I.E.L.D. and the Air Force respectively instead of the Navy).
  • Negative Space Wedgie: Gamma Core, the nuclear reactor powering Avengers Island, turns out to be this, explaining why there is a nuclear reactor near Manhattan.
  • Ret-Canon:
    • If one thing has stuck from Heroes Reborn (besides the return of adult Tony and Wasp looking like a normal person), it's Tony sporting a beard in addition to his mustache. It's become so linked to the character that many recent incarnations, including the Ultimate Marvel and Marvel Cinematic Universe versions, have had Tony with it.
    • While it could just be a coincidence, when the Ultimate Marvel imprint decided to reimagine the Avengers into The Ultimates, it reused the idea originally presented here of S.H.I.E.L.D. helping to set up the team. The Live-Action Adaptation of The Avengers reused the idea, though it was likely inspired by The Ultimates.
    • As pointed out in Military Superhero above, The Falcon having served in the military was also imported to the Ultimate Universe and the MCU.
    • Heroes Reborn also introduced the idea of Tony Stark and Bruce Banner being close friends, an idea that was later used prominently in the Avengers movies. In the classic continuity, Bruce and Tony don't like each other at all.
    • After the changeover from Liefeld to Lee, an LMD of Fury lied and said Captain America was put in suspended animation by President Truman after a disagreement over the Atomic Bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Chuck Austen attempted to integrate the idea as fact into the mainstream continuity during the controversial "Ice" story arc, where it was revealed that the government had Cap frozen so that he couldn't stop the atom bombs from being dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Of course, the story was so reviled that it was later rendered Canon Discontinuity, but still...
  • Series Continuity Error: She-Hulk and The Inhumans are shown among the returning heroes once the storyline ends, even though only Crystal was one of the Avengers killed during the battle with Onslaught, with Jen and the other Inhumans having stayed out of the battle.
  • Ultimate Universe: Before Marvel's Ultimate Universe proper, Heroes Reborn was meant as an example of this trope.