The Heroic Age is the most recent of a long line of Mavel epic cross-over type stories that started way back when Brian Michael Bendis began writing for Marvel in 2004 and have been running back to back ever since! Except this time, there are no cross-overs; just a theme that is running through each of the titles creating a unifying a company storytelling concept.
For those of us who have been reading since the start of the Bendis mega-saga the Heroic Age promises to be a breath of fresh air. Starting in 2004, Bendis took the Marvel-verse through a series of climactic hero-altering story lines in which the good heroes we've come to know and love have to get gritty and dark by making choices they never thought they would have to in a world where they are constantly on the run and don't know who to trust. It all started when the Avengers fell apart in "Avengers Disassembled", which led directly into an alternate reality ran by Magneto in "House of M", a super hero "Civil War" followed closely by a full on "World War (with) Hulk", the conspiratorial who-can-you-trust "Skrull Invasion", the bad-guys took over in "Dark Reign" and it all culminated in the most recent "Siege" of Asgard.
Six years, this has taken. Six years of our favourite characters running around not knowing who to trust, fighting their friends, making completely out of character choices to "fit in with the new dark era" and generally feeling like one overly extended REALLY bad 90's emo comic. Now don't get me wrong, I like the sense of continuity that Bendis brought in and I fully realise that bad things happen and even heroes sometimes have to make tough decisions, but six years, SIX YEARS?!? This has been WAY too long in coming.
But it's here now, so the complaining might as well stop. So far Marvel has graced us with a slew of new #1 issues to get readers back on track with the heroes we know and love. For those of you who would like a wider look at the grand picture that Marvel is set to lay out, Marvel has published titles like Enter the Heroic Age, a one-shot that highlights the upcoming exploits of the Avengers Academy (formerly the Avengers Initiative), the Agents of Atlas, a new solo series for long-time fan-boy favourite spy-girl Black Widow, a new title featuring the newly ressurected Hawk-Eye and Mockingbird (which of course is nothing like D.C.'s popular Green Arrow and Black Canary series...), and a new line-up of villains you love to hate in Thunderbolts. The four-part "Age of Heroes" is a series of short stories that highlight the new atmosphere of the Heroic Age with stories like "Thumb on the Pulse" which stars Mayor J. Johna Jameson coming to terms with the public outpouring of love for the return of the Avengers.
For those of you who are still quick you can get your hands on a copy of "The Avengers" #1 in which Steve Rogers, formerly Captain America currently America's "top cop" in other words the head of S.H.I.E.L.D. or whatever they decide to call the superhero equivalent of the F.B.I., picks out the new avengers squads and sets up a new epic battle with the most classic of all Avengers villains: Kang the Conquerer! Also fresh out of the gates are "Atlas" #1, which features the Agents of Atlas and their newest recruit 3-D man, the Invincible Iron Man is on part 2 of his first Heroic Age story, Amadeus Cho is the 8th smartest person in the world and is taking on the daunting task of ressurecting Hercules in "The Prince of Power", and Deadpool is even getting in on the fun with issue 23 of his new series starting off a fresh heroic take on Deadpool in Las Vegas!
Whether you're a new fan wanting to jump into comics or an old vet. like myself who is desperately searching for a hero that you can actually respect instead of a mopey, dark, "I don't wanna be bad" emo-jerk, now is the time to Make Mine Marvel!
Face Front True Believers -big G-