Heroes Reborn #7, published by Marvel Comics, finally sees the Squadron Supreme and the Avengers meeting each other. The issue contains two stories: “The World of No Return!” is written by Jason Aaron, illustrated by Aaron Kuder, and colored by Dean White. “The President’s Best Friend” is also written by Aaron, and features pencils by Ed McGuinness, inks by Mark Morales, and colors by Matt Wilson. The entire issue is lettered by VC’s Cory Petit.
“The World of No Return!” picks up shortly after the events of Heroes Reborn #6, with Power Princess discussing her battle with Thor to the other members of the Squadron Supreme. The Squadron track down the Avengers, while recalling various battles they’ve had over the years. “The President’s Best Friend” centers on Phil Coulson, who is President of the United States in this reality, and the devil’s deal he made to bring this world into being. Eagle-eyed Marvel fans will probably pick up on the fact that that’s not a euphemism.
While previous issues have focused on the solo exploits of the Squadron members, this issue marks the first time they’re all together. And they actually work well together as a team for the most part. Aaron takes great care to make sure these characters feel like they’ve had decades of history together, from Doctor Spectrum and the Blur having a contentious friendship to the “big three” of Power Princess, Nighthawk, and Hyperion. True I could have done without a love triangle between the latter group, but the issue shows that the five can work together without killing each other. Aaron also peppers the issue with the Squadron’s take on Marvel events, including Civil War (which saw a symbiote-possessed Nighthawk battling Hyperion) and the Squadron’s fight with Weapon X and Final Flight.
“The World of No Return” features Kuder on art duties, with his hyper-detailed artwork making the Squadron feel like the living legends this universe has painted them as. He also has the chance to draw intense action sequences, whether it’s Wolverine stabbing Hyperion in the throat or Hyperion carrying a symbiote-possessed Nighthawk into the atmosphere. The best image comes toward the end of the story, which features the newly assembled Avengers ready to take on the Squadron. Kuder gives each Avenger their own unique look, including a bearded look for Captain America that resembles his appearance in Avengers: Infinity War and Starbrand having a cobbled together superhero costume that you’d expect a girl her age to wear. In contrast, the Squadron’s costumes are more brightly colored and reminiscent of classic superheroes thanks to White’s color art.
“The President’s Best Friend” finally reveals how Coulson transformed the universe, and while it explains a lot about things I can’t help but feel the revelation could have taken place an issue or two earlier. Despite this little quibble, it’s still shocking to see Coulson-who has become a fan-favorite character thanks to Clark Gregg’s performance as the character-in thrall with one of the worst villains in Marvel. Aaron, McGuinness, Morales and Wilson also continue to play with established Marvel canon by making General Thaddeus “Thunderbolt” Ross and J. Jonah Jameson high-ranking officials in Coulson’s cabinet, along with a demonic twist on a Marvel artifact.
Heroes Reborn #7 finally pits the Squadron Supreme and the Avengers against each other, while revealing the malevolent mastermind behind this new universe. Next week will bring this alternate reality tale to a close with the Heroes Return one-shot, and I can’t wait to see how Aaron and co. wrap things up.
Heroes Reborn #7 is available wherever comics are sold.
Heroes Reborn #7
Collier “CJ” Jennings is a freelance reporter and film critic living in Seattle. He uses his love of comics and film/TV to craft reviews and essays on genre projects. He is also a host on Into the Spider-Cast.