WARNING: The following contains major spoilers for Heroes Reborn #1 by Jason Aaron, Ed McGuinness, Mark Morales, Matthew Wilson, and VC’s Cory Petit, on sale now.
The latest comic book blockbuster event of the summer is finally here in the form of Marvel’s Heroes Reborn series. Not only has the Marvel Universe been turned into a world devoid of the Avengers, it has also become home to twisted versions of its most iconic villains.
Villains such as Doctor Doom, Thanos, and the Red Skull have received wildly powerful upgrades and have been transformed into even more powerful versions of themselves. Here is a list of the terrifying new and improved versions of the villains who were introduced in the first issue.
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One of the more recognizable villain mash-ups involves Doctor Doom. Much like his primary Marvel Universe counterpart, this Doom is still ruler of Latveria, or at least was at some point. It seems as though Doom was deposed and Latveria was overtaken by Western forces, if not destroyed entirely.
In retaliation, Doctor Doom sought out something that would give him the power he needs to overcome his oppressors singlehandedly – the Crimson Gem of Cyttorak. The same gem that transformed Cain Marko into the Juggernaut has been discovered in this timeline by Doom, leading to the creation of Doctor Juggernaut. In front of the White House, Doom transforms before unleashing his fury as well as his Masters of Doom upon the world, and his compatriots are just as wicked as their leader.
Wanda and Pietro Maximoff lived seemingly similar lives in this timeline as they did in the primary Marvel Universe. Though it doesn’t seem like there are any X-Men around, there most certainly are not and never have been any Avengers, meaning that Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch never got their shot at redemption. That also means that the two had to contend with the Squadron Supreme, something which led to the unfortunate demise of Pietro.
When her brother died, Wanda’s Chaos Magic absorbed Pietro’s powers and she became the Silver Witch. Wanda has long been one of the most powerful beings in all of existence, so it is hard to imagine her being any worse after gaining super speed. With her proclaimed ability to now cast a thousand spells a minute, exactly how much of Pietro she really saved, as well as how much her own powers have developed in this timeline, is yet to be seen.
The most surprising member of the Masters of Doom is the Unstoppable All-Gog. First introduced in 1971’s Amazing Spider-Man #103 by Roy Thomas and Gil Kane, Gog is part of an alien race known as the Tsiln, massive reptilian creatures who possess human traits. Originally given to an alien prince as a pet, a series of tragic occurrences led to Gog being trapped on Earth where he was found and raised by Kraven the Hunter.
Over the years Gog has gone from a serious threat to sympathetic figure and back again, though he has rarely ever been the aggressor in any situation by choice. Almost always acting as someone else’s pawn by threat of force, seeing Gog as a major villain, let alone one that has apparently left Asgard itself in ashes, is absolutely stunning.
Thanos is back, and it doesn’t seem like much has changed for the Mad Titan in the world of Heroes Reborn. The Mad Titan still lusts for the power of the Infinity Gems, which have now been refashioned into five rings that he now wears in place of the Infinity Gauntlet.
From the sounds of things during his encounter with Doctor Spectrum, it seems that Thanos has recently returned from having been reduced to dust. As the Mad Titan tells it, he has embraced death, which could very well be a more literal phrase than it sounds, depending on how closely this version of the character has followed the history of his mainstream counterpart.
The Black Skull
There are few villains who have stood the test of time like Johann Schmidt, aka the Red Skull. This longtime nemesis of Captain America appears to have gone on to command an organization very similar to Hydra with the Skull taking on a darker visage than usual, thanks to his bonding with the Venom symbiote. Not only are his soldiers decked out in black instead of green and hailing their dark master, but the typically average Red Skull is now a hulking brute outfitted with claws as massive as his fists.
As the Black Skull, Schmidt stands as tall and strong as any other host to the Venom symbiote ever has and sports new red markings on his torso where Venom’s white emblem would usually show. Not only that, but the Black Skull’s crimson eyes carry the iconic jagged, swirling pupils that are indicative of a connection to the greater symbiote Hive and even their dark god Knull. If the Black Skull is directly connected to one of the most ancient evil forces to ever grace the Marvel Universe, Blade is going to have a whole lot more to worry about than repairing the timeline.
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