May 27, 2024

Gabbing Geek

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Noteworthy Issues: Heroes Reborn #3 (May 2021)

The Blur, the fastest man alive, dodges an attack by the Silver Witch.

Well, I found I rather liked the first two parts of the Heroes Reborn story where the Squadron Supreme, not the Avengers and more recognizable Marvel heroes, are the protectors of the world.   Since the opening seemed to remake the world into something resembling, say, the DC Universe, how would that work if the focus shifted from Superman stand-in Hyperion and go instead to Flash stand-in the Blur?

Issue:  Heroes Reborn #3, May 2021

Writer:  Jason Aaron

Artists:  Federico Vincentini and Ed McGuinness

The Plot:  The Blur is racing for his life against the threat of the superfast dispenser of hexes, the Silver Witch, while Blade and Captain America recruit another Avenger for help.

Commentary:  After the very DC-ish first week or so with Hyperion being very much a Superman stand-in, the Blur is, well, not so much a Flash.  Maybe it comes from reading a lot of Mark Waid’s run, but so many of those issues began with the words “My name is Wally West.  I am the Flash, the Fastest Man Alive!”  There’s nothing like that here.  The Blur, instead, opens by sitting at home watching multiple TVs all at once because his attention span is that short.  He even offers to count how many TVs he has because he keeps forgetting, a line that gets repeated many times.

However, it seems the Blur, like Hyperion before him, will be showing what exactly went down during his battle with the Silver Witch, seen briefly in the first issue.  While there were some clear stand-ins for Superman foes in the Hyperion book, some closer to the real thing than others, the Silver Witch is, well, not like any Flash foe I can think of unless the idea is to somehow combine the Reverse Flash with Captain Cold and Golden Glider.  This character, we were told in the first issue, is the result of Quicksilver dying in battle with the Squadron and a bereaved Scarlet Witch somehow taking his speed powers, giving her the power of both twins.  So, she’s a speedster that tosses hexes, not quite fast enough to outrun the Blur, but tricky enough to make bringing her down harder, even as the pair find themselves running through the Dread Dimension.

As characters go, the Blur wasn’t all that distinctive.  He seems to be characterized largely by his speed and how he doesn’t have much of an attention span as a result.  He does recount his origin story, how he got his speed thanks to a magic cloud and later learned to slow down with a bit of help from the Ancient One (Doctor Strange isn’t the Sorcerer Supreme here either), and that ability to stop is how he actually beats the Witch in the end, sending her back to Ravencroft in a straight jacket where she, like the Hulk in the second issue, seems to know the world is wrong.  All things being equal, the Blur was a bit of a bore.  What did peak my interest was the back-up story, the one drawn by Ed McGuinness.  See, Blade got Captain America back (mostly), but he needs other Avengers, and Maya Lopez, former Echo and current host of the Phoenix Force, is in there, biding her time.  Sure, she could escape any time she wants to, but she isn’t sure what happened to world isn’t her fault, an interesting development that remembers Maya has had the Phoenix inside of her for something like ten minutes in the grand scheme of things.  However, this back-up story was a short one, offering an update on Maya and little else.

There was a tie-in issue too, namely Magneto and the Mutant Force #1, but that was somehow less interesting than the main issue.  That one showed where many of the world’s mutants are, with Magneto running Island M and trying to live up to Charles’s dream after the Professor’s death at the hands of the Squadron at a mutant rights protest gone wrong, with artwork suggesting this is the same battle that ended Quicksilver’s life among others.  A sixth Squadron member, the last Skrull Skymaster, likewise died in that fight when Rogue absorbed his powers a little too well.  The premise sounds more interesting than the actual execution, but I don’t expect much from tie-in issues anyway.  The one thing I will note is while most issues from this event reference issues of comics in this continuity that blatantly do not exist, this particular tie-in actually ended in a cliffhanger for a second issue that will never come to pass. That was, well, odd.

So, #3 didn’t do much for me, and the tie-in issue was even less impressive.  Maybe the next issue spotlighting Green Lantern stand-in Doctor Spectrum will work out better.

Grade:  C+