I was a freshman in college during the Fall of 1997, but I wasn’t having any fun. Because I was a low life freshman. I wasn’t able to get into the classes I wanted to or needed, so I was taking stuff I really didn’t care about.
My schedule was such a mess, that on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, I had nothing to do between 12-3 pm. so I would often go have a long lunch, take in a movie, or even hit the nearest comic book store.
One of these occasions took place October 8, 1997, when Heroes Reborn: The Return #1 was released. The four-issue Marvel Comics event series was written by Peter David, with art by Salvador Larroca and inks by Art Thibert.
Peter David may have gotten top billing as the writer, but in the credits page for every issue, there are at least a dozen names listed as contributors. Pretty much anyone who was writing for Marvel at the time was listed. I’m guessing since this event included so many characters, it would affect other creator’s books so they got some input on this series.
Heroes Reborn: The Return came a little over a year after Marvel Comics hired Jim Lee and Rob Liefeld to oversee The Fantastic Four, Captain America, The Avengers, and Iron Man in what became known as the Heroes Reborn era. But just a few months after Lee and Liefeld took over those books, Marvel filed for bankruptcy. I guess after that Marvel decided it should control its own characters again, and Heroes Reborn: The Return would bring all the heroes back to the proper Marvel universe.
Anyway, I remember the day Heroes Reborn: The Return #1 came out rather well because instead of going to lunch, I drove from school 20 minutes to the New England Comics in Brockton Ma. My sole objective was to grab this book, and luckily for me, NEC had ordered a truckload of them. As I paid for my comics, I even bought a bag and board since I knew I was headed back to school and I didn’t want to damage it before I had a chance to read it. But traffic was light, and I got back to school well before my next class. I found a bench and sat down to enjoy Heroes Reborn: The Return #1.
Issue one opens on the one-year anniversary of the disappearance of the Avengers and the Fantastic Four. The media celebrate the heroes many accomplishments and state that after all this time, there are still few answers as to what really happened to them during the battle with Onslaught. As usual, the media lays the blame on the X-Men who were present when the others vanished. At home in Queens, Spider-Man watches the news reports, knowing full well the X-Men were not to blame.
Meanwhile, in Florida, Franklin Richards is asleep when he is visited by a projection of Ashema, the human personification of the god-like Celestials. She tells Franklin that his great power has been noticed by her peers and she will visit him very soon to help him make the most difficult decision of his young life. Eventually, Franklin awakens from his sleep and looks at the blue ball he carries everywhere with him. In the ball, he sees images of the Thing and Thor fighting the Hulk in the Heroes Reborn universe.
Ashema arrives on earth and she explains that the blue ball he carries contains a new world that he created to save his family and the Avengers. All of them still exist in this new universe, and While the Celestials are impressed with what he’s accomplished, they state that only one of these worlds can continue to exist. Ashema then transports Franklin to his parents where with tears in his eyes he begs them to help him make this decision.
As I read this comic waiting for my next class, I thought Ashima’s explanation for why one world must be destroyed was a little too convenient. Everything made sense, but I had this feeling of “Why didn’t I think of that?” But at the same time, I was thankful that Peter David was trying to keep things simple. The first issue brought readers up to date, explained what happened a year ago, and set up the rest of the series. All in all, that’s a pretty good first issue.
In the art department, Salvador Larroca and Art Thibert were awesome. This was back when Larroca has a unique style and couldn’t go wrong. The way he drew Iron Man, Captain America, and some of the other heroes, they looked like action figures which I loved. Since Heroes Reborn: The Return, the artist has drifted dramatically from this style to the point where I don’t recognize his work anymore. But back in 1997, Salvador Larroca was one of my favorite artists in comics.
Anywho, a few minutes before class started, one of my classmates sat next to me and told me he to was a comic book fan. We discussed Heroes Reborn, Wizard Magazine, and comics in general for a bit. He then asked if he could read Heroes Reborn: The Return #1 while we waited for our crazy professor to arrive, and I said sure and handed him the book.
The professor arrives 10 minutes late because he missed the shuttle from the other side of campus, and then went on to tell us about his experiences as a pickpocket in Boston in the late 1970s. I guess for the rest of the class I was trying to figure out whether the professor was telling the truth or not because when it was time to go, I completely forgot to ask for my comic back. My copy of Heroes Reborn: The Return #1 and my classmate were never to be seen again. I later found out that he transferred colleges, and I guess he took my comic with him.