The following contains spoilers for Avengers Forever # 6, available now from Marvel.
Avengers Forever # 6 (by Jason Aaron, Jim Towe, Guru-eFX and VC’s Cory Petit) revealed a new variant of the Black Panther known as Vibranium Man. While his story was both well thought out and engaging, it showed that the true power of Avengers Forever is its variety. That said, its overall storyline is wildly different from the original 12-issue run created by Kurt Busiek, Roger Stern and Carlos Pacheco. Even though the series may not follow the same story beats of one series, that does not mean it’s not reminiscent of another equally famous title.
Heroes Reborn was an initiative in the ’90s that offered a fresh start for Marvel Comics and its heroes. Now the likes of the Avengers, Fantastic Four and many others existed in a pocket reality where their origins were slightly altered, and much of their lives were changed for a modern audience. While this initiative did not last long, it showed the constant regenerative qualities of Marvel and that no matter how many times a hero can be introduced, there’s still room for them to be just as interesting as their first appearances. Because of this, the current Avengers Forever series may have been better suited than yet another Heroes Reborn. But sadly, that title had recently been used in a miniseries that did not click nearly as well with its audience as its inspiration.
In Jason Aaron and Ed McGuiness’ Heroes Reborn, a new reality made the Avengers forget who they were and the Squadron Supreme protected the Earth. The miniseries ultimately ended with the real Avengers returning and stopping the plan but did not do much to impact the larger Marvel Universe. However, Avengers Forever would have been a much better choice for a Heroes Reborn revisit based on the storyline and how it’s about forging a new era of heroes from the many who already existed in multiple realities.
For example, rather than existing in one pocket dimension, this new series has Robbie Reyes traveling the multiverse and assembling a team of unique heroes to make up a new version of Avengers to stop a more powerful threat. While that may not scream Heroes Reborn at the start, most of these members were Marvel heroes or amalgamations of multiple ones who have lost their way. One hero, in particular, Ant-Man, was Tony Stark, who had become a scavenger in a world overrun by a variant of the Red Skull. But when Robbie appeared, he inspired Tony to be better and reignited his fire to be a hero. Since then, the same story has been told for different heroes in other ways as more and more heroes have become reborn.
The original Heroes Reborn was also a more dimensionally focused story, whereas the original Avengers Forever was mainly focused on time. As a result, those heroes were based in distant futures that may not occur, while Heroes Reborn was more focused on a new reality with familiar faces. The current Avengers Forever mirrors the latter more greatly and has used that to its advantage as it has built up worlds of unique heroes who have never been seen before.
Avengers Forever has been a fun exploration into the Marvel multiverse and has shown that the company’s creativity is as prevalent as ever. However, in terms of story and themes, there’s no doubt that this particular series would’ve served better as a Heroes Reborn story due to how it has shown the redemption of many heroes and travels to various realities. Nevertheless, the name has not hindered how engaging and creative the story has been thus far.
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