For the last few years, #MarvelComics has been particularly known for its focus on 'Legacy Heroes' - heroes who stand in the shadow of another, inheriting the mantle of power. These range from Sam Wilson's #CaptainAmerica to Kamala Khan's #MsMarvel, and frequently they've inherited the legacy due to the death of the original. Now, though - in what promises to be the culmination of years of storytelling - #Marvel is preparing to unite young and old in an event titled 'Generations'.
In addition to bringing these legacy heroes together, this event also promises to bring some major superhero figures back into play including Wolverine, who was killed in 2014's Death of Wolverine miniseries and Bruce Banner's Hulk, who died in last year's Summer Event, Civil War II. Some of these resurrections are even more incredible. The teaser also includes Mar-Vell, who died in the 1982 graphic novel The Death of Captain Marvel, and even Jean Grey, who was killed (again) by Grant Morrison back in 2006.
What's Going On?
Marvel's been teasing some specific resurrections for quite a while - most notably Wolverine. The cover of May's X-Men: Blue #4 features a mysterious clawed mutant, and the solicit is a simple one:
What's more, the solicits of the next few issues have shown us the same clawed figure, with the full image obscured in such a way as to build anticipation. Most fans have already concluded that Wolverine's return was inevitable, but what we'd not expected was for it to be part of such a wide-ranging return of classic heroes.
In an interview with ABC, Marvel's Editor-in-Chief Axel Alonso refused to spill the beans; all he'd say is that Marvel has an "ingenious device" that makes all this possible. What he did say, though, is that this is really happening:
"These stories do happen, they really count. They really matter. This isn't some alternate reality story or some time-travel story. I wish I could tell you the mechanism [to bring these characters back], but that's also a bit of a spoiler."
Significantly, though, Alonso also assured ABC that the story would affect both the younger heroes and their older counterparts. Which really does mean Marvel is bringing these classic heroes back into play!
How Will This Play Out?
Fans of the resurrected characters will be thrilled at this news. Jean Grey fans, for example, have always longed for the return of the real Jean Grey - not just the All-New X-Men version, a teenage time-traveler from the past. What's more, as part of the X-Men's ResurrXion event Dennis Hopeless is about to launch a new series starring the time-tossed Jean Grey - one in which she explores her older self's legacy, and the legacy of the Phoenix. That arc is clearly designed to dovetail with Generations; Hopeless is penning the issue bringing the two Jeans together.
Meanwhile, Wolverine's story has grown even more confusing than Jean's. While X-23 has taken up the mantle of Wolverine, we also have a time-traveling Wolverine from another reality, Old Man Logan, working alongside the X-Men. Perhaps wisely, Marvel is focusing on the dynamic between the returning Wolverine and X-23, in a story written by Tom Taylor.
I have to admit, though, that I'm particularly surprised to see Bruce Banner's Hulk return. Banner was only killed last year, in a Summer Event that's generally viewed as disappointing, so such a swift resurrection is pretty surprising. That said, he may be a key figure in this story. In an interview earlier this year, Axel Alonso teased that Banner may have had a "contingency plan" for his death at Hawkeye's hands. As strange as this quick resurrection may be, I suspect that Bruce Banner is an integral part of the Generations story.
Finally, Mar-Vell is perhaps the strangest decision. The character is most famous for dying of cancer in 1982, but Marvel has toyed with resurrecting him several times since - usually to explore his impact on Carol Danvers. Given Marvel recently rewrote Carol's origin story, it's going to be interesting to see how this one plays out.
Is This a Smart Move?
Marvel is presenting this as the ultimate endgame for their "Legacy Hero" strategy. Alonso told ABC:
"We are looking to honor the legacy of the entire universe, so we are taking the iconic legacy heroes and pairing them with the new class... It very much indicates where we are going in the future with all of these characters and what we've been planning for some time for the universe."
Comic book resurrections have often been mocked, as they generally rob the deaths of meaning. In this case, though, Marvel's claiming that these mysterious resurrections are part of a bigger picture. They're viewed as the culmination of years' worth of work. Again, earlier this year Alonso told us:
"While we hoped and prayed these characters would connect with fans, we never lost sight of our classic characters. We always had a plan for each of them. In 2017, a lot of those plans will be revealed. Keep your eyes peeled for teasers and clues."
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- 'Back To Basics': Marvel Reportedly Shelving Politics & Legacy Heroes, But Doubling Down On X-Men
I'm not going to pretend that I don't have a certain sense of reserve and caution when it comes to this move. At the same time, though, this doesn't sound like your typical resurrection story. Instead, if Axel Alonso is to be believed, this has been in the works for a long time. I always love it when comics play the long game. That's when you have the chance to really get a sense of payoff. I'll definitely be eagerly waiting to see what happens.
Do you think Marvel should resurrect these iconic heroes?
(Source: ABC; Poll Image Credit: Marvel Comics)