How Marvel Generations Drew a Link to the Past
Marvel Generations gave an entire slew of Marvel heroes the chance to meet their predecessors in their roles.
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Marvel’s Generations, a 10-issue even series by a wealth of talented creators, was caused by the Vanishing Point. The Vanishing Point was the work Kobak, the living avatar of the Cosmic Cube, following the events of Secret Empire. With the various Marvel heroes coming together to defeat the evil version of Steve Rogers that was modified to become a member of HYDRA, the Marvel Universe was left in chaos.. After the battle Kobak decided to send a number of heroes, none of which were the first to bear the heroic title they’d taken on, so they could be introduced to the past people who bore their title.
In the process, many of the new generation Marvel heroes meet their predecessors. Some of the meetings go better than others, with some of the cross-generational heroes working together while others come together much more reluctantly. But on top of giving the former heroes a chance to see their legacies play out in front of them, the future incarnations of the heroes were given the opportunity to feel validated in their own choices. Now, we’re taking a look back at everything that happened in the crossover event.
Kate Bishop, who was trained by the original Hawkeye, ends up on an island with a younger version of Clint Barton. Aware of the possibility of changing the future, Kate tries to cover for herself, and accompanies Clint on a mission against a number of other marksmen for the title (and reward) of being the best sharpshooter in the world. The two get along quickly, with Kate teasing Clint and befriending him.
Eventually, the pair have to confront Bullseye, and the pair work together against the Daredevil villain, before the scheme was revealed to be the machinations of Eden, a time-traveler who would later encounter Kate in the present day. Kate eventually revealed what she was from the future and thanked Clint for being a good mentor, but Clint was revealed to be sleeping through it just as Kate is brought back to the future.
Laura Kinney has a tougher time than most of her compatriots. By this point in the modern-day, the original Wolverine was actually dead. In his stead, Laura had become the new Wolverine. Like Kate Bishop, Laura quickly realizes she’s in past, at a point in the timeline where Logan was watching after his foster daughter with Mariko Yashida, Amiko. Attacked by the Hand, Amiko was kidnapped and Wolverine was forced to fight his way through their soldiers. Laura’s arrival helps turn the tide of the battle, and eventually, the pair are able to save her.
Laura convinces Logan to spend more time with Amiko, something he takes to heart. Logan also (correctly) assumes there’s a connection between himself and Laura, which she confirms even as she fades back into the modern-day. She even gives him a big hug and calls him “dad,” something she didn’t often in earlier comics.
Sam Wilson came out of Secret Empire exhausted. After having to reclaim his title as Captain America to fight HYDRA’s forces, Sam was able to help bring down the evil HYDRA version of Captain America. But just as the battle was concluded, Sam was sent back into the 1940s. Sam spent by far the longest time in his period, even making something of a life for himself. He eventually joined the US military and, using his wings, became a hero of the skies. He keeps the wings a secret though, reasoning that they’d be taken away from him if the brass found out. Finding himself alone with an inexperienced Steve Rogers one day, Wilson gives him a pep talk that helps inspire him to keep fighting. He even gives Steve the idea to get a round shield instead of his original one.
Sam ended up coming back from the war, finding work as a minister and even beginning a family. He became a part of the Civil Rights movement. Sam is even still alive when Steve is unfrozen in the modern-day. The pair reunited, and Sam became something of a confidant for Steve over the years. He watched as his younger self became Steve’s partner, and watched the world play out in front of him. He became an inspiration for Steve and watched himself become Captain America. He even peacefully died in his bed, before waking up back in the modern-day in his younger body.
Unlike the other heroes, Carol Danvers didn’t transport to someplace or time on Earth. Instead, she was teleported across the galaxy and into the Negative Zone. She ends up fighting against a horde of aliens who target the peaceful Mydonians of a small world. Although Carol is briefly overwhelmed, she receives assistance from Mar-Vell, the Kree soldier who would eventually become a hero (and a lover to Carol) before his untimely death from cancer. At this point in his timeline, Carol is actually in a coma, recovering from the incident that will eventually give her superpowers in the first place.
The Mydonians briefly put the pair in prison for breaking their code of pacifism, but they are released to help fight a new invading horde. The Mydonians even rally to arms themselves, helping defeat the armies of Annihulus. The two briefly speak after the battle, and Carol even tries to tell Mar-Vell who she is. But she begins too late and is teleported back to the present with Mar-Vell none the wiser over her true identity.
There have been multiple people to be transformed into the Hulk over the years. One of the most recent people to be given those powers was Amadeus Cho, who became the Totally Awesome Hulk. He retained a certain amount of control over himself, leading him to believe he was proof the Hulk could be good all the time. Thrown into the past, Cho interrupts a confrontation between the original Hulk and the armed forces. Cho distracts Hulk into leaving the soldiers alone, and the pair get into a brawl at an abandoned beach.
The two fight to a stand-still and revert back to their human forms. Cho gets to see first hand how tough things were for Bruce Banner in the past. He also speaks with Banner about losing control of his transformations, arguing that the Hulks can be controlled. But when the military keeps causing destruction in their mission to destroy the Hulks (and a newly awakened sea monster), Cho loses his cool and goes on a rampage. The original Hulk stops him, and Banner very matter of factly teaches Cho an important lesson about the Hulk: he’s a threat, and he needs to be contained. This actually spurs on Cho’s own stories about trying to control the Hulk in him, and the troubles that can cause.
Of all the heroes sent back to meet the past people who held their titles, Ironheart is the most inexperienced. Unlike everyone else, Riri Williams wasn’t sent to the past. Instead, she ended up in the Chicago of the future. After meeting the Avengers of this time period, Riri is brought to the Sorcerer Supreme of this day and age: Tony Stark.
Stark explains to Riri how the future has changed for the better since the modern-day. After uniting and finally defeating Thanos once and for all, the Avengers returned to Earth with alien technology and fauna. Using this (and working with the world governments,) the heroes were able to eventually set up a genuine peace. Riri was eventually sent back to her present time – with the foreknowledge that she would eventually be Doctor Riri Williams and become famous across the entire galaxy.
Kamala Khan, the modern Ms. Marvel and resident “biggest Captain Marvel fan ever,” is sent back to the early days of Carol Danvers’ time as a hero. Posing as the new intern at the magazine Carol works for, Kamala gets an up-close look at how Carol operated in her youth. When the Shi’Ar exile Nightscream attempts to take ownership of the magazine though, Carol goes into costume to confront her as Captain Marvel.
It’s revealed that Nightscream is trying to take over media outlets all across the planet. Kamala sees this as a chance to work with Carol on helping change the world for the better, bringing her an impressive story about fighting for social justice while not losing sight of yourself. The pair eventually work together to stop Nightscream, and part on good terms as Kamala is taken back to the present.
The younger, original five X-Men were forcibly brought into the modern-day by Beast in an attempt to get through to the modern-day Cyclops. While all five teenagers were horrified to learn about their fates in the future, Jean in particular was shaken by the revelations of the Phoenix. She also never got to talk to Jean, because at this point Jean was dead again. Generations at least gave Jean the chance to speak with a version of herself. Or, more specifically, the Phoenix posing as Jean before the events of the “Dark Phoenix Saga.”
After spending so much time in the present-day dealing with the memories people have of her, the teenage Jean is surprised to see this much of herself in the older version. The two spend the day hanging out and having fun, before heading into the cosmos so the older Jean can showcase the powers of the Phoenix Force. The pair even work together to save a planet from Galactus and Terrax. The young Jean even considers warning her about her eventual fate but chooses not to so as to not risk the future before being brought back.
The Mighty Thor (otherwise known as Jane Foster) was flung further back in time than almost any other hero in the event. She was sent back so far that Thor Odinson hadn’t even claimed Mjolnir for himself yet. Still the brash brawler of his youth, the original Thor isn’t yet the man he’ll become. At the sound of prayers from Earth, Thor went into battle to fight alongside a band of Vikings going to war in Egypt. There, Thor ended up dueling a younger version of Apocalypse. This is when the Mighty Thor arrives. Although the pair initially don’t get along (largely because of Odinson’s reaction to seeing a woman carrying the hammer he isn’t yet worthy to wield,) they end up proving to be a strong team and work together to bring down Apocalypse.
It’s revealed that Loki orchestrated the battle in an attempt to have him die in battle against Apocalypse, but the trickster god decides the knowledge of another holding Mjolnir will hurt Thor Odinson even more. The two Thors share a drink and Foster reveals that one day, the Odinson will carry the hammer and become a great god because of his humanity. Foster thanks him for reminding her about the strength of carrying on through difficult times (such as her own secret battle with cancer) and bids him farewell as she’s taken back into the present.
Miles Morales is sent back to Empire State University, during the early years of Peter Parker’s time as Spider-Man, right around the time of the now-famous “The Final Chapter.” Miles quickly sees how tough things were for Peter in his youth, and even chews out Flash Thompson and Harry Osborn for messing with him while his life is so tough. Going through a crisis of faith in himself following the events of Secret Invasion, Miles finds himself alone with Peter at Peter’s childhood home.
Miles wastes no time and outright reveals who he is, including that he’s from the future where there are multiple people known as Spider-Man. Peter eventually falls asleep from sheer exhaustion, having come to the conclusion that Miles is a hallucination from stress. Miles thanks the sleeping Peter for inspiring him before disappearing back home.
Brandon Zachary is an Associate Writer with Comic Book Resources and has written for CBR since 2018. He covers breakouts on comics, film, television, video games, and anime. He also conducts industry interviews, is a Rotten Tomatoes certified film critic, and knows SO MUCH about the X-Men. For requests, comments, or to hear his pitch for a third Avatar series that incorporates robots, you can contact him through [email protected].