Heroes Reborn: Remnants #1

Issue Date: 
January 1999
Story Title: 
The Day The Earth Got Ill!

Joe Kelly (writer), Ethan Van Sciver (pencils), Labat, Koblish, Ramos, Hanna, Scummy, Czop (inks), Tom Smith (colors), Richard Starkings & Comicraft (letters), Tom Brevoort (editor), Bob Harras (editor-in-chief)

Brief Description: 

A young team of heroes, consisting out of Maxi-Woman, Miss Thing, Panther Cub, Mant and Sterling, are busy training robot versions of Dr. Doom and the Enchantress when they receive an emergency call from SHIELD. Upon arrival, General Darlegung informs the kids that their mentor, Deadpool, has gone insane and stolen their Helicarrier and has more evil schemes up his sleeve than they know of. He must be stopped. After receiving the Fantasticar as a new transport equipment, Mant remembers how Deadpool, at the time, then still called Swordsman of the Avengers, guided him into becoming a leader of his current team and confessing he had cancer. After entering the Helicarrier and defeating its security guards, the heroes locate Deadpool and discover he has stolen lots of nukes. Deadpool, joined by his sidekick, Timmy, reveals why he has turned evil: he found a little blue ball and, during a meditation, saw images of Franklin Richards and learned this universe was based on that kid’s imaginations. And now he plans on using the stolen nukes to destroy the fake world they are on. Mant makes a courageous speech to his teammates that, even though it’s difficult, Deadpool has to be stopped. They take on the group name of ‘Remnants’ and are ready to battle, though are too late. During Mant’s speech, Deadpool activated the nukes and voyages along with them to the moon, where the Watcher observes them explode. Confused, Mant asks his teammates if anybody knows how to sew up a universe.

Full Summary: 

In the heat after the great confusion, a handful of the bravest, most intrepid, most valiant individuals were culled from the ruins and trained to defend the Earth in her darkest hour. They are the finest humanity has to offer. Their tale of triumph is a warrior’s aria that will resonate until the end of time. But this, this ain’t them.

A young group of heroes are busy fighting Dr. Doom and the Enchantress. Suddenly, a loud voice asks Mant to stand still. The camera closes in on him, but Mant soon gets impatient. He asks if he can move again, as this “primal scream” face is giving him a cramp. A final blast destroys the robotic, imitative bodies of the villains.

Panther Cub has had enough, and calls out to the wardrobe people. The scion of Wakanda commands them to rebind his “holy vestments,” which have gotten a little loose. Despite this, the producer, Blaze, thanks the team for their work, as it looked fabulous. Miss Thing is glad that it’s over, as she was beginning to feel her bloodlust bubbling. Blaze proudly calls every one of the Remnants a galaxy of stars. He wants them to promise him that if this isn’t going to spread that they don’t give up their status and an illicit tryst will!

Maxi-Woman, taking a closer look at the fake Enchantress, wonders if her hips look like those of the villainess. Sterling notices that the photographer is on fire and thinks that somebody should put it out. Mant rather wants to know if Blaze really thought this was great. Blaze claims that he knows the bottom of his bells. A picture can say a thousand words, and this shot fits the Remnants to higher places. Mant can only agree. Sterling slides over to Maxi-Woman, wanting to continue their tête-à-tête from before, where he was explaining circling her cosmic globes and surfing her empyrean spaceways. Maxi-Woman sighs, as she told Sterling many times before: she isn’t human! Sterling thinks that’s fine, as… he isn’t either! See how much they’ve got in common?

At the same time, Panther Cub doesn’t realize he’s bothering Miss Thing, who’s reading a newspaper. He orders Thing to watch him disrobed, and that she must fulfill her female duties and… start sewing! Not responding, Miss Thing just kicks the tiny fellow. Blaze tells Mant to scratch his prior sentiment and insert revision. He thinks the shot is not exactly a pit, it’s more like camouflage: like when “large and lovely” wear vertical stripes. Mant agrees and thinks they need it, and mentions to Blaze that they are pretty new in the hero business. He doesn’t know if Blaze can believe it, but they don’t even have a team name yet. But, Mant can tell one thing for sure: they are going to be heroes.

Suddenly, the Elvis song of “Love me tender” can be heard. It’s the hotline! Maxi-Woman didn’t even know they had a hotline. Miss Thing suggests that somebody better goes to answer it before she kicks Maxi in her butt. Sterling jokes that, if it’s that telemarketer again, Mant can tell him they’ve asked to be taken off the list, and if they call again they’re going to sue them for five thousand dollars, as he’s out of vodka. Mant picks up the phone. A few moments later, he’s freaked out, and tells the caller that if there’s a God in heaven, the caller will tell him that this is a cruel joke!

A few minutes later…

General Darlegung sadly has to report to the heroes to look upon the work the criminal performed, and get really scared. Darelung’s best officers were massacred. The nation’s finest war machine, the Helicarrier… stolen. The most popular monument on the planet created by a sand-dwelling subculture, an Egyptian pyramid… defaced by placing funny glasses and a fake nose on it! While crunching on a carrot, Darlegung admits that this isn’t really SHIELD’s finest hour. He didn’t take a deep brain probe to figure out that they were dealing with a force of nature, something more than human. Something SHIELD couldn’t handle alone.

As the new team might have noticed, Darlegung continues, there’s a certain… dearth of actual heroes at the moment, so they decided to call in them. While Maxi-Woman tries look at her best and thinking she must use less rouge, Mant explains that they formed this team to handle exact situations, and to fill in the gap left in the wake of the departed heroes. He is glad the General called them.

Darlegung admits there’s also a second reason they called the new heroes. Upon reading their press release, SHIELD has cause to believe the heroes may have an edge. He opens a viewing screen. Maxi shouts out that the press release was her idea and even picked out the colors herself. She’s thrilled to hear the General liked it. Miss Thing angrily reminds Maxi about the time they discussed what would happen if she spoke out like that in public ever again? Maxi remembers, and apologizes. Mant wants to know what the General specifically thinks they can offer. Was it prompt service? The itemized billing? The free tote bag?

Darlegung corrects that it actually was knowledge. He explains that the man responsible for the carnage in Egypt is the same man who organized the new heroes into a team. He is their former leader… DEADPOOL!

The kids are startled by this news, as, in their eyes, Deadpool is the kindest, most noble, handsome, intelligent and most intelligent hero of the entire world. He was even a snappy dresser, and even Panther Cub trusted him since after all, Deadpool was the last Avenger. Darlegung mentions to have popped a truss himself when he heard about the news, since, after all, everyone reveres the great Deadpool. But, the kids can believe Darlegung when he claims that this news is no mistake. Darlegung shows the kids something his troops found after the accident: a sword. Mant defends that could be anybody’s sword. Maxi-Woman believes otherwise, as on the sword can be read, “property of Deadpool.” Mant refuses to believe that as anyone could have written it down.

Darlegung further reveals that the man who killed his agents is not their friend. He’s a sick and demented man. And SHIELD needs them to stop this sickness before Deadpool starts killing again. Miss Thing agrees and asks Darlegung how he wants Deadpool stabbed. Mant whispers to Mary not to get too enthusiastic, believing they are not ready yet, as they don’t even have a team name yet. Miss Thing doesn’t care about that, as the only thing they will need is the proper transport. Darlegung has just the thing.

A few minutes later, everyone sits into the Fantasticar! Panther Cub feels a bit down, thinking he is the only black member of the team and he has to sit back of the car. Everyone else is amazed at the flying car’s amazing speed, thinking they’ll probably be finished by lunch. Miss Thing asks Mant if he’s already figured out a plan about how to defeat Deadpool, as they’ll probably arrive in about five minutes. Hesitating, Mant mentions that he’s currently trying to narrate down some scenarios and battle strategies in his head, promising to inform everyone once they are there.

Mant thinks that this is just like that dream he had. The dream where he goes to his math test and leaves his pants at home and little Marjie laughs at him. He thinks this is happening right now, only it’s worse than Calculus, they are going up against Deadpool. And they know nothing. Mant wants to know how they are possibly going to be able to take down the man who gave them everything?

Mant remembers a time when he was talking to the Swordsman, a member of the Avengers. Mant was surprised that Swordsman wasn’t going to beat him up. He didn’t understand, not sure if Swordsman knew he wasn’t the real Ant-Man. Swordsman mentioned to Ernest that of course he knew. He doesn’t exactly carry off the suit as well as Dr. Pym did. Mant feared it was because his love handles giving him away. He promised that was because he had been working out. Swordsman sighed, asking Ernest why he took off his janitorial gear and decided to put on the Ant-Man suit. Mant claimed it was because he stopped coming to work and no one else seemed to care so someone had to do something.

Swordsman agreed. He explained to Mant that now, more than ever, injustice and greed threaten to crush this world. Swordsman mentioned he was the last Avenger and, if the treatment he was about to undergo for his cancer doesn’t work out, well the last Avenger will be a dead Avenger. He showed Mant a statue in honor of the Avenger, and explained to him that this world needs heroes. And heroes… they need a leader. And Ernest is that leader. Mant was surprised. Swordsman confirmed, as with the proper training, a diet and some diction lessons, he believed Mant has what it takes to carry on the legacy.

Mant wanted to know who he was going to lead. Swordsman explained that, in New Jersey, the once malevolent Super-Adaptoid has gained sentience and an identity. She is perhaps the most powerful android on the world and shall be known as Maxi-Woman. In New York, the son of a Wakandan valet has taken the outlawed name of Panther to avenge his missing king. He is a young liege in training. In Las Vegas, the residual energies left in the wake of the Silver Surfer’s passing have congealed, and taken on a shape, a form even, with sublime power and calls itself Sterling. In Canada, a woman who’d spend her life a victim finally fought back and won. She’s a warrior, with the remains of her attacker and is known simply as Miss Thing.

Swordsman claimed that these… remnants… from the Age of Heroes have great potential so long as a strong foundation is laid. Swordsman promised to teach Mant everything he knew, realizing Ernest would make him proud. Mant was up to the challenge.

Today, Mant still can’t believe he agreed. But still, Swordsman did it. He trusted him and trained him, even after the cancer went bad and stopped calling himself Swordsman and re-named himself as Deadpool. But still, the guy believed in Ernest and he isn’t planning on letting him down. Sterling asks Mant if he really believes Deadpool is the culprit. The guy was the model citizen, all meditate on this and fortune cookie that. Could it be really possible he has gone bad? Mant thinks it’s maybe possible in some hideous alternate version of their own world, but Ernest doesn’t think it will be the case in their reality. Deadpool is a hero. But today, they are facing a madman.

The young heroes arrive at Deadpool’s airship. His assistant, Timmy, informs his master that infidels are approaching their Helicarrier. Deadpool, putting on his uniform, doesn’t care if they’re infidels. Even if the genius joker enters their kingdom, they can still stand to the side at the same time with mega-chests, as they are warrior poets. Poets with little blue balls. Deadpool opens his hand, and a blue ball reveals itself. He orders Timmy to let his heroes enter.

They do. Mant shouts at his troops that this is their moment of truth. He orders them to pull an Alpha Bravo pattern, Kirby spread with a dash of lime on the port side. Everyone goes to stand in their battle poses, but get the wrong idea and everyone hits each other. Everyone starts arguing, but Mant shouts that he can’t take the Helicarrier back alone and that they should all get it together and work as a team. Suddenly, Maxi-Woman screams and releases an energy beam. Her friends think she must be malfunctioning but, as the beam hits a security agent, everyone realizes they are under attack and thank Max for the quick reaction.

Miss Thing, in a full rage, attacks her share of soldiers, and Panther Cub and Sterling work together on their foes. Panther warns that his frocks are coming undone and asks Sterling if he has a safety pin. Sterling helps out and freezes Panther Cub’s attackers, and shouts at him to take his uniform to a tailor or something and have it man-made. They’ll never make an action figure of a hero whose costume doesn’t even fit. After a while, all of the soldiers are finally defeated. Mant congratulates everyone on a job well done and suggest to wait and explain his battle strategy. But nobody wants to wait that long and just head to the control room where they all think Deadpool is hiding. Mant tries to hold everyone back, but fails to and is left alone.

The others go through lots of hallways and find one last wall between them and the control room. Miss Thing and Maxi blast a hole in the wall and, upon looking through it, everyone is startled. Mant meets up with them and laughs, thinking they must be lost. Mant joins his troops and is also startled, when they find an awesome assembly of… nukes! The floor is open to suggestions. Deadpool enters, and mentions to have a suggestion. The heroes panic.

Deadpool and Timmy arrive, with Deadpool holding his sword and blue ball ready. He tells the heroes to shut down the reasoning center of their brains, pick up a sychophantic sidekick and eat lots of fatty food. Oh wait, he already did that, since Deadpool is now really fat and has a sidekick standing next to him. He forgets things sometimes as blue balls can do that to a person.

The heroes are amazed at how fat their leader has gotten, and Miss Thing can’t believe she used to fantasize about that body. Mant asks Deadpool if it’s really him. Deadpool recognizes Mant and takes a closer look at him. He smiles at how grown up Mant has gotten and is now even in charge of his own team, and Deadpool bets Ernest is even wearing big boy pants now. Mant asks Deadpool what’s up with all the murders he has heard about. Deadpool smiles, and asks Timmy what this means. Timmy shouts this means exposition time! Deadpool jokes that exposition time is the only way to tell a story.

It was only a few weeks ago. Deadpool was in a deep meditation trying to get his mojo working and trying to find a name for his team, when, miraculously, he slipped on a cosmic banana peel and attained Nirvana. It was complete bliss and integration with a universe. Along with seeing Robin Quivers nude and solving the Times crossword in pen, it was Deadpool’s third life’s goal. He should have shot higher. Instead of being one with the cosmic jambalaya, he discovered their entire universe is the product of Franklin Richards’ imagination. They are toys, figments, less than zero on a stick. A preschooler’s mental hiccup stuck in a little blue ball.

Panther Cub can’t believe that he, the pride of Wakanda, is just an imagination. He is nobody’s toy. Sterling tells him to check out the source, as he wouldn’t put too much stock in a lard-bottom like Deadpool wearing a feather on his head. Besides, you would have to have a pretty weak imagination to think of them as losers. Deadpool shouts that all he ever fought for was one big fat joke. It sort of put a crimp in his day, so he snapped, kablooey. Deadpool figured that instead of watching his cholesterol and keeping his life rated boring, he would tear through the dream, express all of the anti-social behavior that he had been repressing all those years. One would be amazed how many of the spandex-clan have serious frustration issues.

Deadpool explains he started with little trifles, pranks and such, but finally it hit him: the mother of all absurdities. His swan song. The punchline of this cosmic knock knock joke. Him, the alpha beta potato. Yadda, yadda. Now, he thinks it’s adorable the kids all sewed costumes for themselves and put on a little show the way they just did, but Deadpool is confident they can’t beat him as he taught they everything they know. He thinks they are nothing compared to his corpulent genius.

Most of the young heroes want to go back home, but Mant refuses. They are heroes, and they shall put this maniac down. He speeches that he’s not much for public speaking, but this is what they signed up for. This is one of those great challenges they hoped to face one day. This is the gum they will have to scrape off the floor of life if they’re going to be the good guys. Sure, he knows they aren’t coordinated, or that some of them aren’t that bright (heck Panther Cub’s costume doesn’t even fit his body), but hey, they are the Remnants for something! They’re leftovers from yesterday, left to protect tomorrow… today, as a team!

Everyone likes the idea of Remnants as their group name. With full confidence, Mant manages to re-group everyone and proudly shouts their battle cry: “Remnants… congregate!” It’s time they showed this psychopath why they are heroes. Sterling holds Mant back, and tells him to take a closer look at their adversary. They do, and find Deadpool sitting on a nuke!

Deadpool cries a little, telling Ernest that was outstanding. He feels like a father on a graduation day (unfortunately, a father with ugly children). But still, inspirational speeches take a long time to get out, and a leader really shouldn’t keep a super-villain with attention deficit disorder waiting. He mentions to have activated the launch sequence when Mant began his little speech.

Hesitant, Mant wants to know what about their final battle. He even made up a battle cry and everything. Deadpool jokes that despite that, they are still bush league. He suggests they start to get serious, as even though this may be A.B.S. universe, there is still some reality to this… reality. He throws a book at the Remnants, which is a transcription of his many years of hero-type knowledge. Mant grabs it, and reads Deadpool’s rule number fourteen: “when you’re the star of the book, you’ll always live to fight another day even if you screwed up real bad.”

This is not good. The nuke departs. Deadpool shouts that, no matter what happens, the kids should stay together. They shouldn’t let some Yoko-type like him suck the life out of him. They shouldn’t change their secret formula and never switch Darrens. And, when sales slip, the only thing they need to do is introduce a cute mop-top cousin to the public. In the end, it may be a tale told by an idiot signifying nothing, but you’ll know what’s so funny about peace, love and understanding if they get through it together.

The nukes all depart, with Deadpool sitting on it and laughing. Mant is upset a bit and Panther Cub thinks he should have joined up with the Young Allies instead.

Meanwhile, at the Moon…

Again, the Watcher finds himself lost in the pages of a book. His words are nothing in light of what comes. Again, a world, a universe, is rocked to its core, as he, Uatu, observes the grand machinations of the Celestial dance they call life and records it all. And again, he blows it all to kingdom come. Of course it was him, the man called Deadpool. It had to be him. In countless galaxies across fathomless eons, he is written about in journals such as these. Chaos. Mania. Death. No matter pocket universe, parallel world or paradoxical construct, every universe must have a Deadpool. The Watcher takes a look as the nukes approach the Moon, and pulls out his tongue. On impact, all the nukes explode and fireworks are left.

Back on Earth…

The heroes are amazed. Sterling asks Mant if this means they’ll have to give back the Fantasticar. Mant believes something like that might happen. Upon looking at the moon and green lights coming from it, and purple clouds surrounding it, Mant asks his teammates if anyone knows how to sew up a universe.

Characters Involved: 

Amazo Maxi-Woman, Mant, Miss Thing, Panther Cub, Sterling (all Remnants)

Deadpool (formerly the Swordsman)

Timmy (Deadpool’s sidekick)

General Darlegung (head of SHIELD)

Watcher (Uatu)

various TV producers including Blaze (others unnamed)

fake robotic bodies of Dr. Doom & Enchantress

through-out Mant’s flash-back

Mant (in his Ant-Man identity)

Swordsman (before becoming Deadpool)

Through-out Deadpool’s discoveries of Earth-616

Deadpool, Dr. Doom, Franklin Richards

Story Notes: 

This one-shot story was released as a means of Marvel to revisit the ‘Heroes Reborn’ universe, which was created by Franklin Richards. His plan was to send out the fallen heroes there, who had seemingly sacrificed their lives to defeat the menace of Onslaught, so they could live on, though on a new world though without memories of their previous lives. Though a few months later, Franklin regretted it and together with the help of Ashema, one of the Celestials, managed to travel to the new universe and convince all of the heroes of the truth and had them travel back home. [Heroes Reborn: the Return #1-4]

The characters in this one-shot all represent actual Marvel heroes, from the 616 universe or otherwise. Amazo Maxi-Woman looks like Polaris and Mant like Ant-Man, due to their similar uniform as hinted in this issue. Panther Cub obviously looks like the Black Panther and Sterling is a replica of Iceman. Miss Thing is partly based on MC2’s Wild Thing, the possible future daughter of Wolverine and Elektra.

However, during the 616-heroes stay on this new universe, some new never before seen heroes had arisen and they couldn’t be brought over to the normal Earth to avoid confusion. So, they had to stay behind and continue to protect this world on their own.

Swordsman is one of those heroes. He was first introduced in Avengers (2nd series) #1, though got badly injured when the Hulk attacked the base in Avengers (2nd series) #4. This issue finally reveals what happened to him afterwards.

Hank Pym temporarily disappeared in Vision’s body in Avengers (2nd series) #4 but re-emerged in Avengers (2nd series) #9. This issue reveals that at least somebody besides the Avengers were worried about him, namely Mant.

Dr. Doom was revealed in this universe in Fantastic Four (2nd series) #4. More about the Silver Surfer can be found in Fantastic Four (2nd series) #6. The Enchantress was first introduced in Avengers (2nd series) #1.

When Mant thinks back about his training with the Swordsman, he learns about Miss Thing and that she was attacked. One of her attackers resembles Wolverine, as he has adamantium claws, though it’s unclear if it’s him, as he isn’t fully shown.

The telemarketing reference refers to the “Do-Not-Call Implementation Act of 2003,” which formed a national list of phone numbers, which telemarketers could not call. If they did, they would face a penalty of thousands of dollars.

Panther Cub having to sit in the back of the Fantasticar is a reference to the period of Segregation in the American South, where “coloreds” would have to sit in the back of the bus.

Robin Quivers the female sidekick to Howard Stern in his radio program.

The New York Times crossword is renowned as being one of the most difficult. To do any crossword in pen would be inadvisable, especially one as difficult as the Times’.

“Yoko-type” refers to Yoko Ono, wife of former Beatle, John Lennon. Her detractors attribute the breakup of the band to her influence on Lennon.

“Darrens” refers to the two different actors who played the part of Darrin Stephens, first by Dick York and then by Dick Sargent.

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