Heroes Reborn has been outstanding, swing-for-the-fences event storytelling. We’re talking about the kind of comics that throw you in the deep end and delight with ideas that wouldn’t feel out of place in Saturday morning cartoons, but under the premise of another universe make sense. So far, Jason Aaron has used the first three issues of this event to focus on a different character in the Squadron Supreme, and this week Doctor Spectrum gets the focus. All rendered by the incredible James Stokoe. Nuff said?
Rossmo pencils and colors every page and it’s all very detailed, bizarre, and downright incredible. From Rocket Racoon holding a Groot-gun — sorry, there’s no other way to describe it — to Ego the Living Planet seemingly getting every crack and crevice rendered is a sight to see. Stokoe’s now-iconic color scheme that bleeds purples and pinks in intense hues is paired well with the alien creatures seen throughout the book. It also suits the rainbow-colored look of Doctor Spectrum and helps enhance the gory elements as Stokoe uses fleshy tones.
This issue is set in space and features the incredible power of Doctor Spectrum as he faces off against the greatest bounty hunter in the universe: Rocket Raccoon. The issue serves as a means to show how powerful Doctor Spectrum is while revealing cosmic elements to catch us up on where characters are and what has happened to this corner of the Marvel universe without any Avengers in existence. We get to find out what Rocket is up to, of course, but also how the Watcher holds a major grudge, and how another super-powerful force is being hidden away.
If you haven’t guessed yet, the Squadron Supreme characters seem to be overly powerful to the point where it doesn’t make sense. This issue goes far to have an explanation for that, which helps subdue your urge to be annoyed with how off-base the Squadron Supreme characters are from their usual existence in the main universe.
The most enjoyable aspect of this issue is how it does not hold back. There are multiple over-the-top ideas relayed over a few pages and each idea could literally be the focus of an entire event. It could also make you roll your eyes. Yes, the over-the-top nature is sort of baked into Elseworlds — anything goes really, but it’s a lot to take in very quickly. It can make this book read like Aaron unloaded an entire drawer of ideas since so many are too outlandish to get away within mainline books.
As far as plot development goes, the backup by Aaron and Ed McGuinness helps move things along. The heroes are going to need all the help they can get and it’s revealed they may just get it in a surprising form. Then again, if you’ve seen the solicit to the 7th issue you can guess at what the cliffhanger means here!
If it wasn’t clear to you yet, Heroes Reborn is all about going for broke with crazy stakes and even crazier ideas. It almost seems like a reaction to DC Comics’ Death Metal, only it’s not taking itself too seriously, and we know it’ll all be reset before too long. The best advice when reading Heroes Reborn might be to remember what it was like to smash action figures together when you were little and not caring one bit if anyone is watching while a big grin forms across your face.
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