The Avengers have gathered in Wakanda to fight for the true reality, but the Squadron Supreme of America has arrived to take them out, once and for all!  Your Major Spoilers review of Heroes Return #1 from Marvel Comics awaits!


Writer: Jason Aaron
Penciler: Ed McGuinness
Inker: Mark Morales
Colorist: Matthew Wilson
Letterer: VC’s Cory Petit
Editor: Tom Brevoort
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Cover Price: $5.99
Release Date: June 23, 2021

Previously in Heroes Return: Using the power of the Pandemonium Cube, Phil Coulson and Mephisto remade reality to create a world in which Mephisto is worshipped as a god, Coulson is President of the United States and the Avengers never existed.  Instead, the Squadron Supreme of America are and always have been Earth’s Mightiest Heroes.

Blade is about to put the lie to that illusion.


At the White House, Phil Coulson has murdered Reed Richards and Peter Parker, just in time to set out for Wakanda, where he is ready to see his Squadron murder the would-have-been Avengers in final triumph.  Fortunately, Heroes Return #1 shows that the heroes still have a few aces up their sleeve.  Black Panther uses Vibranium to keep up with The Blur, while Hyperion finds that his literal Kryptonite is the radioactive properties of the same metal.  While Captain America tracks down President Coulson, the new Starbrand and Phoenix team up to take out Power Princess.  Captain America wrests the Pandemonium Cube away from Mephisto’s pawn, allowing Thor, Starband and Phoenix to combine their powers and destroy it.  Reality reverts to normal, where the entire Avengers team is surprised to find baby Brandy has grown into a foul-mouthed school-age girl who does NOT want to be called a baby.

And, of course, Mephisto gets away clear, and reveals the true scope of his plans…  and those of his 615 extra-dimensional other selves.


As Heroes Return #1 ends, The Blur is in government custody, forced to come to terms with the fact that he’s not real, Hyperion is left adrft and Nighthawk vows not only revenge, but to return his team to their preferred reality.  It’s horrible stuff, but for me, the worst part is seeing that it’s not entirely over, as the 616 Mephistos still have something up their blood-red sleeves.  That’s a bummer, given that this particular crossover event felt self-contained and I would have preferred a more definite ending.  And maybe one where Clark Gregg isn’t consigned to Hades.  Still, even for those weaknesses of story, the art is top notch in this issue, providing a number of excellent Batman moments for not-Batman, some excellent battle sequences and a few moments of flat-out awesome.  Black Panther slashing Blur’s tendons is epic, but more remarkable is the amount of emotion and flat-out “acting” that McGuiness and Morales give the cast.


In short, Heroes Return #1 isn’t the definitive ending that I hoped for, but it is a good one for the story, featuring very strong art, some wonderful character moments and a knock-down dragout battle that comic book fans have been hoping for since 1996, making for a better-than-average 4 out of 5 stars overall.  Had it been a dollar less and/or given us a bit more closure on the devil we know, I could have gone another half-star, but regardless, this is a good read and a book that Marvel has been building to since Avengers #1.

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616 Mephistos

I'm not happy about Coulson going to hell, and the fates of the Squadron Supreme are horrifying, but it's a solid ending, if a bit overpriced.

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Once upon a time, there was a young nerd from the Midwest, who loved Matter-Eater Lad and the McKenzie Brothers... If pop culture were a maze, Matthew would be the Minotaur at its center. Were it a mall, he'd be the Food Court. Were it a parking lot, he’d be the distant Cart Corral where the weird kids gather to smoke, but that’s not important right now... Matthew enjoys body surfing (so long as the bodies are fresh), writing in the third person, and dark-eyed women. Amongst his weaponry are such diverse elements as: Fear! Surprise! Ruthless efficiency! An almost fanatical devotion to pop culture! And a nice red uniform.

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