Warning: contains spoilers for Heroes Reborn #2!
Marvel’s vampire-hunting hero Blade is the last Avenger left in the warped reality of Heroes Reborn, but his efforts to set the world right have already proved he’s a hero equal to DC’s Batman. In Heroes Reborn, a mysterious force has tampered with the timeline of the Marvel Universe, making it so that the Avengers never formed, and heroes like Thor and Iron Man live shattered versions of their former lives. Thankfully, Eric Brooks is on the case, traveling the globe to re-assemble the Avengers and set the world to rights.
Blade joined the Avengers in 2019’s Avengers #12, filling what was at the time considered a rotating seat reserved for heroes who could bring unique powers or knowledge to specific threats. But Blade fit the team so well he’s been around ever since, only recently leaving Avengers Mountain to become the sheriff of Dracula’s burgeoning vampire nation, located in Chernobyl. No sooner had Blade stepped out of the door than the world changed around him, and Marvel’s premier vampire hunter was left in a world with no vampires, no Avengers, and no-one else who remembered the way things should be.
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After contacting his former teammates and being brushed off, Blade goes in search of Nighthawk, “the world’s greatest detective” and a major figure in the Squadron Supreme. The team have long been used in Marvel Comics as a deliberate pastiche of the Justice League, with Hyperion, Nighthawk, and Power Princess presented as flawed versions of Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman. In the world of Heroes Reborn, this is truer than ever, as the new timeline seems tailor-made to empower the members of the Squadron. Hyperion is powerful enough to kill the Hulk, Power Princess is a legendary warrior who personally killed Hitler, and Nighthawk is the smartest man in the world. Blade takes advantage of Nighthawk’s brilliance, tracking down the wealthy vigilante in hopes of finding someone else who remembers how the world should be.
After holding his own against the Black Skull and his minions alongside Nighthawk, Blade gets what he’s looking for, as Marvel’s Batman is unable to hide his recognition that something has happened to reality. The heroes face off, with Blade assuring Nighthawk, “You people can change things around all you want, but I’m telling you right now, pal. Ain’t no world where you can lay a hand on me without losing it.” Nighthawk appears to agree, as he allows Blade to escape while attempting to track him with a global surveillance system Bruce Wayne could only dream of.
Heroes Reborn doesn’t just treat the Squadron Supreme as stand-ins for the Justice League, but as expressions of them at their most power-hungry and domineering. Facing down Marvel’s Batman in a reality designed to empower the Squadron suggests Blade would give the true Dark Knight a run for his money, but it’s actually Blade’s quest that shows he’s a hero on the same scale as Gotham’s protector.
By the end of Heroes Reborn #2, Blade has traveled the world, learning the truth of this new reality, studying its history, and even finding and freeing Steve Rogers from the ice in which he’s been suspended since WWII. Blade’s globe-trotting investigation is a Batman-level endeavor, as he’s dropped into a world where he has no resources and no contacts, but methodically searches out powerful allies, learning that the Starbrand and Spirit of Vengeance are trapped in the negative zone, that Wakanda and K’un-Lun remain hidden, and that Thor is drinking himself to death in Norway. Even then, Blade doesn’t try to change the world until he’s confirmed his suspicions with Nighthawk, entertaining the more logical theory that his own memories could be incorrect.
For years, Blade has been a hero operating on the fringes of the Marvel Universe, pledged to the almost impossible mission of killing every single vampire. Eric Brooks’ time as an Avenger has shown he deserves his place alongside Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, but his role in Heroes Reborn proves that Blade is a match for Batman himself, with his indomitable will and keen investigative mind succeeding where more powerful heroes would have already failed.
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