Comic Polity – The Rebirth Phenomenon

Captain America Reborn

With the new Captain America Trailer out, I thought it would be timely to discuss a trend in the Marvel U that I like to call the “Rebirth Phenomenon.”  Now this could be considered the repetitive bringing back of countless heroes and villains, or it could be the massaging of a character to new heights and depths, or it could just be a story about Jean Grey and the Phoenix-stravaganza.  But really the infatuation that Marvel has with the Rebirth Phenomenon goes a might deeper (though it does encompass all of the above ideas and stories).

Just this past week or so, we’ve seen Venom, Daredevil, and Silver Surfer go through something of a Rebirth.  This again, has been a reinvention or new take on the character, but we also see it in Wolverine & Jubilee as well as the new Future Foundation (FF #1).

  • Jubilee is coming into new powers
  • The Fantastic Four is starting over with new members and a new direction
  • Venom has a new host and new purpose
  • Silver Surfer is rediscovering life as a new person again
  • Daredevil is remaking himself to become the man he once was

But, like I said, this stems even from the very beginning with Captain America and Erskine’s Project Rebirth.  The idea is so prevalent throughout Marvel lore that we have to stop and take notice of it and ask why this is even a phenomenon.

FF Reborn

The short answer is money.  Sales.  These types of stories sell.  Therefore people are interested in them—therefore there is a fascination the must be looked into.  The idea of Rebirth can be something as subtle as a new costume or as extreme as a character overcoming an obstacle that keeps him or her from being self-actualized.  Rebirth is the turning over of a new leaf, the end of an old and subsequent beginning of a new era or age, and the resurrection from defeat.  All of these have a profound impact on the human reader.

Mankind often struggles to be better than what we are.  I look in the mirror every single day and say to myself, “I will be better than I was yesterday.”  Yet, ultimately I fall flat on my face.  I lose my temper, lie, or fall short in any number of other ways.  Then I go to bed, get reborn the next morning, and go through the same process all over again.  And I’m not alone.

I submit to you that all of mankind struggles with this idea and the desire for Rebirth; whether it be spiritual in nature or as superficial as a change to the physical.  No matter what, our collective dissatisfaction with our individual shortcomings presses us onward to new personal innovations and greater heights of character.

Daredevil Reborn

This is why we read so much about the different forms and functions of our favorite heroes participating in the Rebirth Phenomenon.  Those fictional characters represent very real trials that we must persevere through.  As we watch them struggle toward independent and collective perfection, so too we lean forward and take those wary steps to our seemingly impossible goals.  And as we take the next hardest step…and then the next hardest step, we begin to realize that we not only can change for the better, but we already are changing for the better as we participate in the Rebirth Phenomenon.


What can get us there?


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Comments (2)


People are def obsessed with becoming better, Like at New Year's they (including me) set these extravagant goals that they think are going to help them become a better person. Which most of those plans like you said fall flat. (which I have also experienced.) We all wanna be better though considering what wretches we are right now. I think these sorts of stories kind of give us a short burst of inspiration to wanna be better. Like candy, it gives you all this great feeling energy for a while and then it wears out and the spark is gone. Nice article Mr. Andy I always enjoy em =) ~PickleLover

BTW. You know any good places I could find some comic books, Cuz I think I need more sufficient comic book knowledge to completely understand what your talking about 😛

It's true. We get inspired in short bursts. And that is evidenced by the trends in the media. When shows are wrapping up nowadays, they often have a song or tune attached to the show.

This is an interesting method because it seems to bridge the gap between the show/writers and the audience. By adding something that people already associate with, they can get their episode's message across with a hint of emotion instead of trying to convince them with only visual presentation.

anyway…i'm off topic. Email me and I'll see what I can do about giving you ideas for where to get the kind of books you're looking for!

Thanks for reading!!

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