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Heroic Age

Age of Heroes: Age Matters

Paul Cornell, Sean McKeever and Brian Reed present more titanic tales of the Heroic Age

By Jim Beard

With four writers and four more new tales of derring-do, the Heroic Age hits hard once again in AGE OF HEROES #2, out June 16 courtesy of storytellers Sean McKeever, Paul Cornell, Brian Reed and Dan Slott. The limited series spotlights the diversity of characters in the Marvel Universe, allowing them to shine in exciting adventures all their own.

This time up: Gravity, the Young Masters, American Son and Gauntlet!

"In one sense, it takes [Greg Willis] back to square one, but in another sense it opens up the next chapter in his life," says McKeever of his Gravity story. "Now that he's left the 50 State Initiative he's ready to return to his studies at NYU, but he's not so ready to be Gravity anymore.

"First and foremost, he goes up against Warhead, who's one of the

AGE OF HEROES #2 preview art by David Baldeon
Bastards of Evil featured in the first story arc of YOUNG ALLIES. The result of their meeting puts the very nature of and need for Gravity in a whole new light for Greg."

McKeever, who co-created Gravity, looks on this story as a kind of homecoming and a great opportunity to say something about the young man before his appearance in YOUNG ALLIES.

"Seeing as Gravity's my 'baby'-well, mine and [artist] Mike Norton's-it was a real delight to get to write him again after five years. The best part is it was like I'd never stopped. Everything about him came flooding right back into my noggin. Since I do have such a close relationship with the character, I'm biased like nobody's business, but I feel like Mike and I tapped into something traditional and yet fresh within the Marvel Universe that's worth another look under the microscope. Fortunately, [artist] David Baldeon and I get to do just that, not only in AGE OF HEROES, but in YOUNG ALLIES, too!"

Paul Cornell's also been itching for another crack at that modern kid gang, the Young Masters, first seen in DARK REIGN: YOUNG AVENGERS. AGE OF HEROES #2 affords him that chance.

"One moment they were reacting to having got onto the wrong side of Norman Osborn, and now they have to deal with the fact that he's gone, and their world has changed," he says of his tale. "They've been considering a robbery, a really 'harmless' robbery where nobody gets hurt and... oh, it's never going to be like that, is it? They're tangled up in

AGE OF HEROES #2 preview art by David Baldeon
knots. As always, they're trying to work it out. They literally don't know if they're 'heroes' or 'villains', if they should define themselves as one or the other, if other people will, even if they get to choose. I think that's what makes them so fascinating to write for."

As with most groups, their writer can usually be coerced into picking a favorite from among them. Cornell's no exception in regards to the Young Masters:

"Coat of Arms is always my favorite. She's interested in the world of super heroes without really being part of it. She's got this long distance perspective which I really enjoy."

AGE OF HEROES #2 also serves as a lead-in to another new series, AMAZING SPIDER-MAN PRESENTS: AMERICAN SON. Writer Brian Reed calls his AGE OF HEROES chapter "a little glimpse at the action that brings FBI Agent Owen on the scene."

"American Son-the armor-was built by Norman Osborn for his son, Harry," he explains. "Now, the armor is only supposed to work for an Osborn. Norman's in jail. Harry swears it wasn't him; that only leaves so many people in the world that could be parading around as American Son.

"[The new] American Son is a bit more rough and tumble than he needs to be, as evidenced by his actions in this prelude story, and in AMERICAN SON #1. The 'why' of that behavior gets explained in coming issues [of that series]."


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