With Jim Lee, Rob Liefeld, etc. all leaving (or being fired, depending on what version. of the truth you believe), Peter David picks up the Heroes Reborn universe and ends it. At last.
Peter David, at the time, was the most dependably good writer in Marvel’s stable, but even he can’t make this good. It’s a cosmic whamajamee thing.
On Earth 616, the weather starts going nutso and a new, female Celestial named Ashema appears. She tells Franklin that the world is wrong, and only he can help her unwind all the chaos.
The best elements (unsurprisingly) are those that surround Hulk. Especially this sequence, where the 616 and counter-Earth heroes are both fighting him when the universes collide.
As the worlds begin to re-merge, the Hulks unite into a singular being, the heroes get their memories back and realize many of the characters they’ve been interacting with are fake creations of Franklin…
…they all say their goodbyes…
(Yes, of course there’s a tribute to the classic “hands-in” panel from Fantastic Four #1.)
And the counter universe is wiped out, along with Alesha.
The big reunion showcases Salvador Larroca…
The important thing is that when they do return, they get better than they were a year ago, when both the FF and Avengers series were seriously running out of steam.
The FF will return to Scott Lobdell and Alan Davis, a run that I’ve heard is good but haven’t yet read myself. We’ll find out together, as I read them.
The Avengers are picked up by Kurt Busiek and George Perez–a legendary run.
Iron Man also gets Busiek, with artist Sean Chen.
Cap returns to the able hands of Mark Waid and Ron Garney.
Journey Into Mystery is replaced by Thor #1, with Dan Jurgens (known as a Superman writer) and John Romita, Jr., who has never had a run on Thor before.
Hulk returns to his own comic, but later in the year gets a second (and third) ongoing series. Which makes sense. Peter David’s work on Incredible Hulk was incredibly good–in terms of quality, Hulk was easily top tier for Marvel at this time.