Heroes Reborn: Hyperion and the Imperial Guard #1 is published by Marvel Comics, written by Ryan Cady, with art by Michele Bandini and Stephen Bryne, inks by Elisabetta D’Amico and Michele Bandini, colors by Erick Arciniega, and letters by Cory Petit. In a world where the Avengers never existed, the Squadron Supreme of America is Earth’s Mightiest Heroes. But before the Squadron, Hyperion spent some time in the Shi’ar Empire training with the Imperial Guard. Under the tutelage of Praetor Gladiator, Hyperion has learned much about being a protector for his people. And the day has finally come to return to them. Plus, the Starjammers are about to become participants in an intergalactic civil war. Whether they want to or not.
I’ve always been a big fan of comic book companies utilizing their shared universes in interesting and surprising ways. Much like when my favorite classic X-Men villains, Arcade, appeared in recent issues of Black Widow, Hyperion and the Imperial Guard #1 utilizes another classic piece of the X-Men corner of the Marvel Universe in a way I wouldn’t have expected. And the ramifications of this story’s events make one wonder where the Shi’ite has gone in this intriguing alternative timeline.
As our story opens, we see a contemplative Hyperion meditating outside the Imperial Guard’s flagship. It’s his last day with the Guard, and he is in a reflective mood. This look is already a rather different one than I am familiar with. The few stories I’ve read featuring Hyperion always depicted the character as someone far too rash for inward soul searching. However, his contemplations don’t last long, as he is soon brought out of his thoughts by fellow Guardsman Oracle. As this is Hyperion’s last day with them, she would be rather upset if he spent it without her.
But as it turns out, idle time is not the order of the day. Having recently brought the usurper Deathbird to justice, The imperial Guard has learned the location of her secret hideout. Believing it to be empty, the Guard decide to see their comrade off with one final victory, even if it is a simple one.
Alternate realities in comic books are a dime a dozen. Making one that stands out can be a tricky proposition. With fantastic examples of alternate timelines like Age of Apocalypse and House of M under Marvel’s belt, the current Heroes Reborn storyline has its work cut out for it. As this is the first issue I’ve read, I must say it has me intrigued. And the biggest reason why is its approach to the past.
Hyperion and the Imperial Guard #1 says it’s issue one on the cover, but as soon as you open that cover, you are treated with a credits page that says it’s issue #121. To further the feeling of this being part of an ongoing series the book even contains the classic editor’s notes denoting which previous issue readers can turn to for more information about events this book references. Every effort is being made to make this issue feel like you are holding a book from another timeline. I love it.
One of the biggest struggles with alternate timeline stories is the lack of history. This issue feels steeped in it. But, even though its “past” is omnipresent, it never feels disorienting or slowed down due to it. The book thrives just like any other comic with a bit of self-reference does.
Beyond the excellent overall approach to Hyperion and the Imperial Guard #1’s design, writer Cady delivers a quality story. The characters feel fleshed out, and the emotional moments land well despite these new versions being veritable strangers.
The art here also does a solid job of delivering the characters and story. The design of our heroes has just enough change to make them feel new, while not so different as to feel completely alien to the reader. I also love how artist Bandini arranges the panels throughout this story. The way the panels are laid out is different and visually pleasing while still being clear and easy to navigate.
The colors in this story give the art a vibrant feel. Along with some strong color palette selections, Arciniega also utilizes some lovely lighting to elevate the visual presentation further.
In Hyperion and the Imperial Guard #1’s secondary story, we are taken to the pirate ship Starjammer, operated by the Summers family and their comrades, Rocket and Groot. When the team receives an unexpected visit from a stray Nova Corpsman, the situation gets dicey fast. Luckily the Starjammers can always make do in a scrap.
This story, much like the primary tale, does a great job delivering familiar faces in a new situation. And while there are the subtle differences one expects from an alternate timeline, some things just never change with characters. The art and colors in this tale further reinforce both the similarities and the differences of these characters.
Rounding out this book’s presentation is Petit’s lettering. Throughout both stories, Petit does a great job delivering the narratives in a clear and smoothly presented fashion.
When all is said and done, Hyperion and the Imperial Guard #1 brings a unique tale from another timeline. The characters are well delivered, and the creative team does an excellent job establishing them despite the limited amount of time.
Heroes: Reborn Hyperion and the Imperial Guard #1 is available now wherever comics are sold.
Heroes Reborn: Hyperion and the Imperial Guard #1
Hyperion and the Imperial Guard #1 brings a unique tale from another timeline. The characters are well delivered, and the creative team does an excellent job establishing them despite the limited amount of time.