Heroes Reborn Week Four Finally Reveals The Villain (And Yes, We Knew It All Along Anyway) Spoilers!
Each week of Heroes Reborn peeled back a layer of how messed up the Squadron Supreme actually is. So far, the biggest atrocity was revealed in Heroes Reborn week three: the Squadron’s massacre against mutants. Or, as they call it, the “Squadron Massacre.” That was in Heroes Reborn: Magneto and the Mutant Force. The core series, however, presented us with Blur, the Squadron’s speedster. And as far as we can tell, Blur isn’t like the rest of the team. However, in Heroes Reborn week four, we meet a member of the Squadron who is by far the most unhinged yet. Hyperion might be a mass-murdering asshole, but Doctor Spectrum? He’s all of that and completely insane. So much so that the entire universe wants to kill him.
Heroes Reborn Week Four Makes Sinestro Look Like a Saint
Missing Thanos Dialogue: “Not that hand! Please not that hand!” (Image: Heroes Reborn #4, Marvel Comics)
I mention Sinestro because Doctor Spectrum’s powers make him the Squadron’s equivalent of Green Lantern. However, even though the Green Lantern Hal Jordan lost his mind and killed an entire city, plus his friends, Doctor Spectrum is far worse. And sure, Sinestro has committed some horrible acts in his career as a Yellow Lantern, but Spectrum? Well, he might look colorful, be he’s the kind of dark Zack Snyder wouldn’t even want to touch. Within pages of the core issue of Heroes Reborn week four, we see why that is.
The Most Hated Man in the Heavens
Writer: Jason Aaron
Artist: James Stokoe
In Heroes Reborn week one, Jason Aaron promised a massive battle between Doctor Spectrum and Thanos and his Infinity Rings. But what you see above? That’s the entire battle. Spectrum makes a high-caliber rifle construct and shoots off Thanos’s fingers. Now, this might feel like a “damn, why haven’t any of the non-Mephisto-created heroes went this far?” But turn the page, true believers, because you’re about to meet the most unhinged character in this reality:
In the words of Star-Lord, “There’s a little pee coming out of me right now.” (Image: Heroes Reborn #4, Marvel Comics)
Holy balls of Galactus, what in the Hell is this? Spectrum goes on to list the people or people he’s taken out. Beta Ray Bill, Super-Skrull, the entire race of Inhumans (of, awesome, more the Squadron committed two genocides), and the Ringmaster are either in prison waiting to die or already dead. So, it’s no mystery why the entire universe sets aside their differences to focus on killing one man. Spectrum is like the Joker of space, but with nearly unlimited power, no sense of humor, and no Batman to stop people from killing him. But of course, he’s not easy to kill. So the Watcher – who Doctor Spectrum burned his eyes out – hires the greatest bounty hunter in the galaxy: Rocket Raccoon.
Since Rocket is Alone(ish) in Heroes Reborn Week Four, What Happened to the Rest of the Starjammers?
I don’t remember these options at Build-a-Bear. (Image: Heroes Reborn #4, Marvel Comics)
We met the Starjammers in Heroes Reborn week two, but in an “old” comic issue. It was a great team…that mostly died somewhere along the way. Most likely, Hyperion killed them. Otherwise, the Rocket we meet in Heroes Reborn week four would have probably mentioned his dead team to Doctor Spectrum. That doesn’t mean he isn’t holding a grudge. Sure, he’s getting paid, but Rocket is also going all-in on this one. His gun – which is what is left of Groot – is upgraded to fire mini-Groots, which start growing around Spectrum and eating him (I think).
But when Spectrum escapes and starts beating Rocket, something really unexpected happens. Rocket temporarily becomes the Starbrand:
Isn’t it great that the Starbrand and Phoenix Force both come with convenient wardrobe changes? (Image: Heroes Reborn #4, Marvel Comics)
And yet, this still isn’t enough. All it does is make Spectrum even more pissed off. He eventually kills Rocket, sending the Starbrand back to its owner (we’ll get to that). But he also says something interesting about the Starbrand, “That shouldn’t even be in this reality. First nut to ever wield that claimed to be from some other new universe.” So…does Spectrum realize that this reality is skewed or just part of a larger multiverse? Well, it’s the next bit, and maybe the biggest, most obvious reveal of all. Yet, it’s not as simple as just the man in charge. It’s much more twisted than that.
He Arrives in Heroes Reborn Week Four…Now With a Capital “H”
What’s the conversion rate between ten Mephisto dollars and ten God dollars? A hell of a lot…I’m so sorry. (Image: Heroes Reborn #4, Marvel Comics)
In Mephisto We Trust. Wait – What? So, we all assumed that Mephisto was behind this reality. But, unlike WandaVision, we were all right this time! However, the extent of Mephisto’s control over this reality is much bigger than “the man behind the curtain.” In fact, there is no curtain. He made himself God. And how thoroughly has he replaced God? Well, for one, throughout the Heroes Reborn week four, anytime a character would generally say “God,” they say “Mephisto” instead. For instance, “Thank Mephisto.” But there’s also one minor change to this reality. In this final scene of The Most Hated Man in the Heavens, we go to the National Cathedral in Washington DC, where President Coulson and Doctor Spectrum (out of costume) sit in a pew and talk. All the windows are blood red. Oh, and there’s also this:
Okay, so James Stokoe is a brilliant artist. (Image: Heroes Reborn #4, Marvel Comics)
This raises a different question: If Blade remembers everything that once was, wouldn’t Mephisto replacing God be a little obvious? Unless he doesn’t have as much freedom from this reality as he thinks.
Has Jason Aaron Stopped Playing Coy in Heroes Reborn Week Four?
So, there is definitely some political commentary in Heroes Reborn, even before the big reveal in week four. Hyperion’s nationalism in issue #2 seemed like a mockery of the toxic patriotism we’ve seen in recent years. But this? Doctor Spectrum? A nationalist worshiping Mephisto in what in reality is a Christian church? Mephisto’s name on our money instead of “God?” Yeah, we’re way past light commentary. This is similar to Secret Empire, the controversial 2017 event that turned Captain America into a Hydra agent, was a commentary on the destructive nationalism we saw in places like Charlottesville, Virginia. However, Aaron’s story takes it a step further. As of week four, Heroes Reborn turned into a commentary on nationalist Christians. And we know where Aaron stands on this matter – this perversion of both patriotism and faith? Straight up evil.
But now, we have to go to the other big story in Heroes Reborn week four. Remember how Rocket temporarily had the Starbrand? Time to meet the person who gave it to him.
Born in the Stars
Kid’s parents were a cyborg raccoon and sentient tree. Those are going to be some steep therapy bills. (Image: Heroes Reborn #4, Marvel Comics)
Writer: Jason Aaron
Penciler: Ed McGuinness
Inker: Mark Morales
Colorist: Matthew Wilson
As one mystery closes, another one begins. Who is this young girl that now possesses the Starbrand? All we know so far is that Rocket and Groot found her as a baby floating in space like the star child at the end of 2001: A Space Odyssey. The two raised the little girl while also keeping her hidden. Rocket succeeds in this mission, even after Doctor Spectrum infects him with the cancer-verse and beats him into a sun. When Rocket dies, the power goes back to the girl, and a prerecorded message from Rocket plays, telling her to stay hidden. Instead, she bursts from the ship, demanding that a very much alive Groot take her to Earth. Groot refuses, but there’s one more twist coming.
Another Major Player Enters Heroes Reborn Week Four
Calm down, kid. Your Uber is about to arrive. (Image: Heroes Reborn #4, Marvel Comics)
One interesting aspect of this Heroes Reborn week four is we don’t see our main heroes, Blade, Captain America, and as of last week, Echo as the Phoenix. Instead, we get Starbrand’s story and how she enters into the event. So, if it isn’t Blade and the band that picks her up, It’s a Wakandan ship with Okoye at the helm! Where’s T’Challa? We don’t know yet. Yet this development should have been a little more obvious. Earlier in the issue, we see Doctor Spectrum torture Ego the Living Planet into telling him what ships had launched from Earth. When Ego finally answers, Spectrum doesn’t believe him, thinking Wakanda a myth, and throws the Elder of the Universe into a black hole. Seriously, this guy has problems.
But this is just the core issue of Heroes Reborn week four. The two tie-ins bring a lot more to this Mephisto-altered reality.
Heroes Reborn Week Four: Siege Society
Our choices: an unhinged, dangerous fascist OR Baron Zemo. Wait… (Image: Heroes Reborn: Siege Society #1, Marvel Comics)
Writer: Cody Ziglar
Artist: Paco Medina
Colorist: Pete Pantazis
In a normal Avengers or Justice League comic, xenophobic characters like Baron Zemo (far worse in the comics than in the MCU) are the obvious bad guys. But in the Heroes Reborn week four tie-in Siege Society, we have to ask another question. Which fascist guy in a mask is the more fascisty (that’s a word, right?) But it’s not Hyperion or Doctor Spectrum that we’re talking about. This time, it’s Nighthawk and Blur.
After the Squadron’s own Civil War, Nighthawk and his side of the team fled to Europe. Because of this, Zemo wants to purify the continent, not by eliminating a race or religion, but by getting rid of Americans. Nighthawk, however, wants to take out Zemo. So he lets Zemo break into their London base of operations and kill a bunch of second-stringers of the Squadron Supreme. The Forget the Batman Who Laughs. This nightmare version of the Dark Knight used his friends and allies’ deaths as part of a plan to capture one guy. So much for Nighthawk being more reasonable than Hyperion.
As of Heroes Reborn Week Four, Blur is the Only Member Showing Any Morality
“Mephisto save the Queen. The fascist regime.” Hmm. It’s got a nice ring to it. Heroes Reborn: Siege Society #1, Marvel Comics)
Even though Mephisto created the Squadron, don’t assume that every member of the Squadron Supreme of America is a Satan-worshipping sociopath. Some of them are Satan-worshiping heroes doing the best they can. Once again, as we saw in Heroes Reborn week three, Blur is a bit different from his colleagues. He questions Nighthawk’s actions. Between Siege Society in week four and Heroes Reborn #3 last week, we definitely see seeds that Blur could actually break away from Mephisto control. Which probably, definitely, means he’s going to die, right? Still thinking that’s a “yeah, probably.”
Heroes Reborn Week Four: Young Squadron
The kids are not alright. (Image: heroes Reborn: Young Squadron #1, Marvel Comics)
Truth at All Costs
Writer: Jim Zub
Artist: Steven Cummings
Colorist: Erick Arciniega
What would a fake Justice League be without a fake Young Justice? Of course, in this Marvel reality, they’re known as Young Squadron instead. The three teens we know well from the real universe: Mark Morales, Kamala Khan, and Sam Alexander. In a world where the Avengers do exist, they’re known as Spider-Man, Ms Marvel, and Nova. But the three teen heroes we meet in Heroes Reborn week four never had those mentors or powers.
So instead, we have Miles Morales as the second Flacon. Sam Wilson, the original Falcon and Nighthawk’s partner, died at the hands of the Goblin. Nighthawk got his revenge, but left another complication. Kamala is Girl Power. Instead of the Terrigen Mists empowering her, Power Princess gives her enchanted Utopian armor, making her incredibly strong and able to fly. And finally, Sam is Kid Spectrum. After saving Doctor Spectrum in a fight with MODAC (Not our beloved MODOK), he’s left with some of Spectrum’s powers. Spectrum decides to mentor Sam, which we know from Heroes Reborn #4 is a terrible idea. However, we meet one more character in Heroes Reborn that changes everything for the Young Squadron – even their name.
What Would an Event With Meta Storytelling Be Without the Merc With the Mouth?
Does Harley know Deadpool stole her hammer? (Image: heroes Reborn: Young Squadron #1, Marvel Comics)
As the Young Squadron fights the Wrecking Crew, we finally get to see the Heroes Reborn version of Deadpool – and he isn’t much different. However, that actually works well for this story. Because Deadpool can interact with the narration, he realizes that things are off, even if he doesn’t know how. But what’s more interesting is how he impacts the Young Squadron. At first, to avenge the death of his pal, the Goblin, Deadpool tries to kill Falcon (Miles). But as he reverts to our regular Deadpool for a minute, he makes the teens realize that their heroes are far from heroic.
When Deadpool is giving the wisest advice, there is something very wrong happening in the universe. (Image: Heroes Reborn: Young Squadron #1, Marvel Comics)
So, Deadpool using the term “Avengers” raises another question. Does he know there is supposed to be a team called the Avengers, or is it a coincidence? Regardless, the three teens know that what he’s saying is true, crazy or not. They decide that they would no longer follow in the footsteps of their heroes, and even ditch the name “Young Squadron.” It’s another ending that cements the atrocities of the Squadron Supreme.
Final Thoughts on Heroes Reborn Week Four
This was a pivotal week for the event. There’s no redemption for these characters, except for Blur – maybe. But the body count is so high now that Heroes Reborn week four should just be called Mephisto’s Merry Massacre. Doctor Spectrum, Hyperion, Princess Power, and Nighthawk have all participated in at least one massacre (looking back, Blur wasn’t in Magneto and the Mutant Force at all). Hyperion killed the Hulk, Spectrum killed Rocket, and Nighthawk killed, though by someone else’s hand, his own team members. Poor Thumb.
But we still have two characters left to explore in the main series: Nighthawk, which is next week, and Power Princess, the week after. There’s not much Jason Aaron could do to make them redeemable, but that probably isn’t the goal. But the more I think about Blur, the more convinced I am that he’ll do something that – to put it in computer terms – goes against his programming. What will that mean for the rest of the Squadron and after Heroes Reborn week four? We’ll have to find out.
(Featured Image: Heroes Reborn #4, Marvel Comics)
Roman Colombo finished his MFA in 2010 and now teaches writing and graphic novel literature at various Philadelphia colleges. His first novel, Trading Saints for Sinners, was published in 2014. He's currently working on his next novel and hoping to find an agent soon.