Heroes Reborn Week Six Tie-In Issues Are Much Better Than The Core Series’ Issue
While the main title in Heroes Reborn week six didn’t progress the story or enrich the world very much, the tie-in issues made up for it. Mostly, while Squadron Savage is good, Vita Ayala and Farid Karami’s Night-Gwen is extraordinary. Simultaneously a call back to the 1990s while a brilliant story too. So, let’s start there because Mephisto’s world is coming to a close, and we won’t get many stories like this Heroes Reborn week six tie-in again. Or at least, not any time soon.
Heroes Reborn Week Six Tie-In: Knight-Gwen Belonged In Last Week’s Tie-In Issues
Okay, it looks cool, but wouldn’t the cape cause a lot of drag? #SuperheroesBreakingLawsOfPhysics. (Image: Heroes Reborn: Night-Gwen #1, Marvel Comics)
Hunters and Prey
Writer: Vita Ayala
Artist: Farid Karami
Colorist: Erick Arciniega
One of Marvel’s most popular but newer characters is Spider-Gwen. Readers loved her since she debuted in Spider-Verse. Not the movie, the comic. Into the Spider-Verse just made her even more popular and even made another Gwen title sell: Gwenpool. So, it shouldn’t be surprising that Night-Gwen, the Nightwing to Nighthawk, is also a wonderful character. In fact, Night-Gwen #1 is probably the best issue of Heroes Reborn week six. So, let’s take a look at the newest member of the Gwen-Verse.
Night-Gwen is Part Birds of Prey, Part Nightwing, Part Part Harley Quinn, and Part Silence of the Lambs
Okay, Farid, you’re showing off now…please continue. (Image: Heroes Reborn: Night-Gwen #1, Marvel Comics)
It seems that, throughout the Heroes Reborn event, the Batman characters are amalgamations of several DC characters. Night-Gwen is Batgirl, Nightwing, Batwoman, and Harley Quinn (or, more accurately, Harleen Quinzel, combined into one character. Ayala writes this character wonderfully while using some 1990s writing styles to show how far we’ve come.
The story is about obsession. Gwen, as both her real-life self and her superhero self, is being hunted by the Jackal. For years, she had been dealing with him ever since he was a college professor and Gwen was his student. But there was someone else obsessed with her that proved to be more dangerous – Flash Thompson. In Heroes Reborn week six, we get to see what would happen to Flash – Agent Venom, one of the best heroes in the Marvel Universe – if Spider-Man never inspired him.
The answer: Batshit crazy. Or is it Nightshit crazy? Anyway, this is where we get some Silence of the Lambs level crazy. Flash abducts the original Jackal, skins him, and wears him as a Jackal-suit:
It looks comfortable, but they never make these things in my size. (Image: Heroes Reborn: Night-Gwen #1, Marvel Comics)
Though Gwen is a psychiatrist at Ravencroft Asylum (sound familiar?), she makes the smart choice to let someone else treat Flash Thompson, who has figured out she is “Nightbird.” Thankfully, he’s so crazy that no one believes him. But if Flash ever thought he had a chance with Gwen, he probably didn’t know her all that well. Let’s find out why!
Heroes Reborn Week Six Tie-In: Night-Gwen Utilizes the Ambiguous Queer Coding of the 1990s
About as tender as two super-heroines can get, unlike their villains. (Image: Heroes Reborn: Night-Gwen #1, Marvel Comics)
For most of comics history, if a character were queer, it would only be alluded to. However, through the 1990s, more writers pushed the boundaries of “queer coding.” The best example of this “obvious secret” is Rictor and Shatterstar. However, there were many others, and the writing was sometimes cringe-worthy because they didn’t – or couldn’t – just come out and show their sexuality.
In the Heroes Reborn week six, Vita Ayala uses a lot of queer coding to “suggest” that Gwen Stacy and Detective Misty Knight have a relationship. In this world, Night-Gwen is very much Batwoman while Misty Knight is our Renée Montoya, two of DC’s most popular queer characters. And Ayala stretches this subtlety-not-subtle style far. The two characters go on a date, lament at work constantly pulling them apart, never getting ice cream, and more. However, the ending really shows it:
Don’t have too much fun. You aren’t villains, after all. (Image: Heroes Reborn: Night-Gwen #1, Marvel Comics)
How do we know that this is queer coding? For one, we have one of the best upcoming writers in comics, Vita Ayala, who expertly writes queer characters. Both Marvel and DC currently having her writing their comics, a rarity in the industry. Why? Because they’re damn good, and, since Ayala is queer themselves, can write queer characters more authentically. But it’s also in Farid Karami’s art. Yes, one scene shows them holding hands, but it’s the way he has the two women look at each other. It’s the most subtle moments, but, like Meghan Hale says about Thor: Ragnarok’s bisexual coding, the comic “exudes energy.”
Sadly, we won’t see Night-Gwen and Misty together again, but we can hope.
Heroes Reborn Week Six: Squadron Savage Is More Messed Up Than the Suicide Squad Ever Was
Throw in Conan the Barbarian, and you have Savage Avengers. (Image: Heroes Reborn: Squadron Savage #1, Marvel Comics)
The Queen’s Sacrifice
Writer: Ethan Sacks
Artist: Luca Pizzari
Colorist: Carlos Lopez
Suicide Squad members get a crap deal. For each mission, they get 10 years removed from their sentence. That sounds like a lot, but most of them are serving several back-to-back lifetime sentences. How does that even work? Do they get to put imprison their souls when they die? Anyway, they also have bombs implanted in their necks so that if they try to escape or kill someone Amanda Waller doesn’t want them to, their heads explode. But what the members of Squadron Savage go through is a bit more twisted.
This is a violent comic, and most of the characters die. Whether it’s taking out an enemy like Quinten Quire or killing a teammate, or an enemy killing a teammate, we get an impressive body count. At the beginning of the mission, the team consists of Elektra, the group leader, Frank Castle, Crossbones, Murder Hornet, Cloak (sans Dagger), and the Winter Soldier hiding in the shadows. By the end, Frank, Crossbones, and Bucky are all dead, and several of their enemies. Squadron Savage takes the unlucky survivors back to their base. In this case, two characters named Foxfire and Moonglow – who turns out to be Dagger.
Once there, we learn who controls the team and how—Secretary of Defense Wilson Fisk. Generally, Waller is the most frightening government official in comics, but Secretary Fisk, in the Heroes Reborn world, upstages her in week six. Waller allows her prisoners to rehabilitate. In fact, she’s even dismissed a few sentences, such as Killer Croc. Fisk doesn’t just keep them locked up; he wipes their memory, so they don’t even remember their heroic attempts. As he says, “the board must always be reset.” And that’s what he does. Puts the pawns back on the board. …damn, that’s cold.
Heroes Reborn Week Six Fixes a Plot Hole We Kind of Didn’t Even Think About
Mephisto really screwed with the timeline, which, as we’ve learned from the TVA, really causes many headaches. However, there’s one character in Marvel, a classic villain, whose entire thing is manipulating the timeline:
Kang has several powers, so this is pretty messed up and misogynistic. (Image: Heroes Reborn: Squadron Savage #1, Marvel Comics)
Kang! Where is Kang when all these alternate realities, timeline warping events happen? So, Kang is here to set things right. Fix the timeline. Take out Mephisto.
Holy horns of Mephisto that was violent! (Image: Heroes Reborn: Squadron Savage #1, Marvel Comics)
What did you think of the Heroes reborn week six tie-ins?
(Featured Image: Heroes Reborn: Night-Gwen, 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.