REVIEW: Go to Great Lengths for Hyperion & The Imperial Guard #1
In the latest issues of the Marvel Comics Heroes Reborn crossover event, the foundations laid in Heroes Reborn #1 begin to deliver significant pay off! While all three comics that were released this week for the event are excellent, one in particular stands out: Hyperion & The Imperial Guard #1 by Ryan Cady, Michele Bandini, Elisabetta D’Amico, Erick Arciniega, and Cory Petit.
Hyperion & The Imperial Guard #121
When you open this issue, you may be momentarily confused at the numbering, which suggests that the event takes place in the “final issue” of an ongoing series that has lasted one hundred twenty-one issues. However, rest assured, Marvel Blog True Believers, this is all just part of the meta-fictional fun that makes this one-shot so irresistible!
Throughout the whole story, there are “callbacks” to issues of Hyperion’s comic that never existed. That’s because the Heroes Reborn event postulates a world where the Avengers never came to fruition, largely because Captain America (Steve Rogers edition) was never thawed out of the ice after stopping the nefarious World War II era machinations of the Red Skull!
As a result, this brave new Marvel Comics universe saw Hyperion become the decades-long All-American hero. But if that’s the case, he must have had years and years of back issues…
Which is exactly the idea that this issue plays with by suggesting that there’s more available narrative where there’s not, using the long-established language of references made within comics, an extensive canon can be suggested where none actually exists!
Marvel creators have played with in-universe editorial canon before (even immortalizing certain issues as legal precedent in the court of superhuman law), and in Hyperion & the Imperial Guard, the effect is a comic book that’s incredibly immersive and engaging!
The Imperial Mailbag
The meta is elevated to a new level when the reader arrives at The Imperial Mailbag. Just like other parts of the comic, this segment uses the established language of comics to suggest that more narrative exists… this time, by calling to mind what Marvel Comics would have looked like as a publisher if not for the Avengers!
These circa 1992 letters from fictional readers are some of the best material in the book. In addition to taking the chance to poke fun at readers who maintain an all-too-serious devotion to canon, there are plenty of meta-jokes about how great it would be if Marvel Comics acquired the Alien license, or how people viewed variant covers when the concept was still new.
Without giving too much away, this comic book is an all-out celebration of some of the unique facets of issue-by-issue serialized storytelling, and because the creators had so much fun with it, it’s hard not to have loads of fun yourself!
However, that isn’t the end of the adventures in Hyperion & The Imperial Guard #1, thanks to a “special preview” of a new* series: Starjammers (*new meaning it will be available in this timeline’s version of “June 1992”) by Cady, Stephen Byrne, and Petit.
According to some of the clues in the special preview issue, this comic is essentially a replacement for the alternate universe ongoing comic, Hyperion & The Imperial Guard. While it’s not unusual for an issue of Marvel Comics to have a second story in the back material, especially when it comes to the publisher’s one-shots, this story is unique, because it moves forward the meta-narrative of what publishing paths Marvel Comics might have followed if the Avengers never been assembled.
Plus, this story includes the parallel universe version of
Trash Panda Rocket and Groot! Who are not that different from the versions we already know, it turns out. But hey: more Groot is good!
Hyperion & The Imperial Guard #1
Did you get to pick up Hyperion & The Imperial Guard #1 (or either of the other two Heroes Reborn issues released this week) at your local comic shop? We want to hear from you, Marvel Blog True Believers! Let us know in the comment section.