On those long summer days in the early ’70s, reading comics was so much fun because, in part, I didn’t know much about comics. I was right at the starting line, ready to sprint into it all. The world that comics cracked the door open to was endless and endlessly fascinating. There was so much to learn about the characters, about publishing history, about creators. I wanted to know it all: the past, the present, and the future – those coming attractions of what was just around the corner.
Paradoxically, it’s kind of a shame that now I know a lot of comics history. Maybe you do too. I can’t help but pick up a copy of an old Fantastic Four, for instance, and think about the conflicts and struggles of the creators. In those glorious summer days of yore, oblivious to the backstories of Stan Lee, Jack Kirby, Martin Goodman, etc., I would just frantically devour the comic and worry, “How the heck will the FF would defeat Dr. Doom this time?”
I just bought a brand-new comic. Marvel Double Action #1 is part of a Marvel event called Heroes Reborn. Although the nomenclature is recycled from a reboot I’m happy to forget about, this event focuses on an alternate reality where the Avengers never existed.
The Most Fun Batman Adventure this Month
In this slightly “off” reality, Nighthawk is essentially Batman. He has the all the Batman tropes – his own cave, his custom car, his own “batarang”. Creators Tim Seeley, Dan Jurgens, Scott Hanna, Chris Sotomayor, and Cory Petit have created clever new riffs. In this version, the hero’s career in national politics has replaced the millionaire philanthropist angle. There’s a whiff of Bridgerton in it too. The interracial cast interacts without all the angst and tensions that so often accompany race relations in the real world and the fictional world. How refreshing, right?
As kids, we willingly bought into the hype of Marvel Comics in the ’70s. It was one big party, and the editorial voices were constantly inviting readers to join in the fun. Oh sure, there was an admission price (15 cents, or 20 cents or even 25 cents for a short time), but it was worth it.
This comic captures that endless salesmanship all the way through the romp. There are editor’s notes referencing past issues (not available in comic shops on our Earth, sadly), bottom-of-the-page teasers celebrating “other” comics series and even discussions of past storylines in the faux letters page.
For me, this comic is a time machine with a one-way setting back to “summertimes past”, when the world was fresh and full of wonder waiting to be discovered. Your mileage may vary, of course.
Baby’s Got Back (Back Cover, That Is)
Even the back cover is fun. Interestingly, it’s not a throwback or retro ad, but a real live ad for a band called Joywave. How encouraging to see an actual ad in a comic again. It makes you feel like the advertising community is once again understanding the power of this media.
This ad has a QR code for a song called “Every Window is a Mirror“. The video, I warn you, is creepy. I’d instead suggest you check out their video Obsession. It’s an exceedingly clever montage of movie clips, complete with logos. The catch: none of these movies actually existed. But you wish they did.
Maybe they were all movies seen by kids in the alternate reality of Heroes Reborn? Talk about an immersive experience.
Heroes Reborn: Marvel Double Action #1
Written by Tim Seeley
Pencils by Dan Jurgens
Inks by Scott Hanna
Colors by Chris Sotomayor
Letters by Cory Petit
Cover art by Dave Johnson
A TALE FROM THE SQUADRON’S PAST! Years ago, Nighthawk and his trusted partner, the Falcon, patrolled the streets of Washington, DC, from the vile criminals that lurked in the dark. But that all changed one fateful night… Re-presenting for the first time ever: the Night Sam Wilson Died!