Volume One Awakenings

It’s been nine years since the mantra “Save the cheerleader, save the world” played across the airwaves and “Heroes” took the world by storm. In that first year, it was the talk of the small screen. Sadly, due to questionable decisions on the show’s direction and the unfortunate television strike, “Heroes” explosive start trickled into a fizzle.  In the ensuing years, the super hero has become a staple of American pop culture. Now it’s 2015 and Tim Kring takes us back to the helix and eclipse world in “Heroes Reborn.” But is it a welcome return or will “Heroes Reborn” be nothing more than a failed attempt to recapture previous glory?

Noah Bennett, one of the many familiar faces to appear in the Heroes Reborn series

The first few minutes introduce us to our new heroes as well as the shape of the world. June 13th was a turning point for humans and Evos (or evolved, aka, those with powers). Thousands died in Odessa in a terrorist attack on the Primatech facility (once known as the HQ for all research into the super powered). Mohinder Suresh, brilliant scientist and Evo advocate, took responsibility for the attack and though it’s not clear just how bad things were for the Evos prior to this event, his declaration has created an almost police state for Evos. With more than a few characters introduced, it would be easy to get lost in the storylines. As it stands, there are five primary veins though all five will eventually merge into one road leading to what’s coming.

Tommy—we meet Tommy and his mother early own. After a mystery text saves him from a horrible fate at an Evos underground meeting, Tommy’s landed in Carbondale, Illinois. There he befriends Emily, the cute girl at the ice cream shop. As fate would have it, Tommy runs across Luke, a mysterious man who, along with wife Joanna, wants all the Evos dead. It’s here we discover Tommy’s power; the ability to teleport people to an unknown location. But Tommy’s not alone in his struggle. In addition to Emily, he manages to befriend her once bullying boyfriend Brett and, another, stranger man whose power involves something as simple as a copper penny.

Zach Levy plays the quiet but determined Luke. The steadying force in the relationship of his barmy wife, Joanna.

Luke and Joanna—a husband and wife duo still pained over the loss of their son the prior year in Odessa, the couple are not Evos but are driven by the ignorant rage that all Evos must die. After killing the Evos at an earlier meeting, they track Tommy down only to be teleported to an empty room with no doors and no light switch. Escaping the room, the vengeful couple find themselves in the basement of Primatech. After an unbelievably bad shootout with incompetent security, get their hands on the names and address of pretty much every Evo catalogued by none other than…

HRG/Noah Bennett/Ted—once a covert agent tasked with bringing down those exhibiting powers, Noah is peacefully selling cars in Austin when conspiracy theorist Quentin Frady enters his life. Frady wants the truth behind the destruction of Odessa, not the fiction being given now. Frady’s arrested when Noah’s new woman calls the cops. Clues end up leading Noah to Rene, the Haitian’s whose can erase people’s memories. If Noah is shocked when the Haitian tries to kill him, he’s flabbergasted when the Haitian reveals he was Noah’s plan all along.

With not many avenues of information, Noah bails Quentin out of jail and the two head to the abandoned husk of Primatech in Odessa to find information on Molly Walker, the Evo who can find the truth by finding Mohinder. The plan goes awry when Luke and Joanna steal Noah’s car and information on all the Evos and all data on Molly—who’s the linchpin for the mysterious Epic and Midian—has been lost. The only good thing to come out of the situation is that Noah has a new partner and, more importantly, he discovers that his daughter Claire, thought to be a victim of the Odessa tragedy, may still be alive.

So her power is to traverse reality into…a video game? Not the greatest power ever created…

Miko and Ren—speaking of daughters, Miko is a young Japanese woman who is thrust into this fantastical world of Evos when a non-Evo gamer named Ren arrives at her house, spouting off about the game Evernow and, later her uncanny likeness to Katana Girl, a character in the game. After showing her a book on her exploits, Miko takes her father’s sword, hidden under the floor and is transported into the world of Evernow.

Yes, you read it right. This magical sword transports her into a game and she must fight to free her father from the clutches of a nameless enemy. But the enemy in the game has a physical representation, one that leads her to a Yamagata towers in Tokyo.

Carlos, Oscar, and Jose—In East LA, Medal of Honor winner Carlos has the recognition of his battlefield heroics but turns to alcohol in order to lessen the pain of his fractured family. His brother Oscar tries to bridge the gap between them, one lessened by Jose. He idolizes his uncle Carlos nearly as much as El Vengador, a masked vigilante who’s almost certainly an Evo. Carlos is stunned to discover his brother is the masked man but it’s nearly too late as Oscar was set up. Before he dies, Oscar wants Carlos to continue on his mission. “You can put on the mask,” Oscar chokes out, “you can be a hero.”

Though he doesn’t want the responsibility, Carlos takes on his brother’s cause, discovering the name of Captain Diering as the man possibly behind a shadow group hunting down Evos. With the help of the good Father (who himself is an Evo), Carlos re-opens his brother’s underground passages for Evos (evidently Canada has a safe haven) and begins on the road to being a true hero. If only he knew of his nephew’s newly developed powers of phasing.

Alas, there are two more pieces to the puzzle. First, in New York, the red head Zoe finds herself in quite a pickle, one that becomes infinitely worse when she’s captured by a couple who makes the call that they’ve nabbed Molly Walker. The second piece is the Penny Man. Though he relegates himself to the shadows, he seems to be watching over young Tommy for reasons unknown but the message is clear. Something’s coming and only the Evos can help stop it.

Where does it come from? This fear. This quest. This need to hide in a simpler past when the future cannot be avoided. It’s coming. And when it does, everything will change. Yet there are those who can stop it. Do we know how?

Hero Space

So after the deluge of happenings, is there a final verdict? Thankfully for this mini-series, it’s too early to tell. Don’t get me wrong, there are some very interesting plot points—the ‘It’ that’s coming, Noah’s involvement, Molly Walker as the primary cog in all of it—that have me excited for the next twelve weeks. But there are also some solid cracks ranging from the utter silliness of Miko’s journey into a video game to Luke and Joanna’s uncanny ability to take out a roomful of Evos (and armed guards) paired with a very unconvincing motivation to kill the Evo abominations.

At the end of the day, “Heroes Reborn” was an uneven start to a show once lauded for its magical storytelling. Kring and company hit some good notes in their attempts to recapture the lighting-in-a-bottle of that first season nearly a decade past. But it’s not without some misses and questionable directions of creativity. My hope is some of the loose fat gets pared down and the focus returns to a more grounded reality. Well, as grounded as a show can be when men fly, teleport, and pull memories into pennies.