Second String (Who Do You Call To Replace Earth's Mightiest Heroes?)

Second String

Who Do You Call To Replace Earth’s Mightiest Heroes?

by Phil Perich for the True Believers


There has been much discussion lately about the legacy of Marvel’s classic characters.  Some fans love the next generation of heroes that have surfaced in the last few years, while others want to only keep the original classic version of each.  When you think about it, many Marvel heroes have been replaced temporarily by those worth to carry on their roles.


Stark Contrast

Probably the most famous and well known example of someone stepping into a Marvel heroes shoes and serving honorable until gaining their own heroic identity is James “Rhodey” Rhodes, who is the only one on this list to appear in a major live action Marvel movie.  when Tony Stark fell prey to the machinations of Obadiah Stane driving him back to alcoholism, Rhodes assumed the Identity of Iron Man until Stark’s recovery.  Years later Rhodes would become his own armored hero in the identity of War Machine. 


Strongest One There Is

When Bruce Banner and the Hulk are about to die after they are separated, an attempt to remerge them transforms Bruce Banner into the original, weaker gray Hulk.  Soon after, a new mysterious green Hulk appears and causes damage to nearby towns.  The new Hulk is revealed to be Rick Jones, caught in the middle of the process that rebonded Banner with the Hulk.  Rick is eventually cured when Samuel Sterns steals his gamma radiation to transform himself back into the villainous leader. 


American Nightmare

When the world believed him dead, the Red Skull resurrected in a clone body of Steve Rogers, works behind the scenes to manipulate the Commission into firing Steve Rogers from his role as the United States number one champion.  With the costume and responsibilities of Captain America empty, the Commission drafts the super strong Super Patriot aka John Walker to become the new Captain America.  After the being outed to the public and the brutal deaths of his parents, Walker has a nervous breakdown and eventually agrees to give back the Cap identity to Steve Rogers while Walker’s death is faked by the Commission so he can continue operating as the US Agent.


If He Be Worthy…

After Thor apparently kills his brother Loki after Loki nearly kills an innocent bystander, Heimdall, filling in for Odin temporarily as ruler of Asgard, banished Thor for eternity to an unknown location but gives his hammer and powers to Eric Masterson, the human Thor had been bonded with so Earth would still have a protector.  Masterson would split his time trying to stay alive while battling Thor’s enemies and trying to find lost Thunder god.  Masterson would eventually find Thor locked in his human psyche and after freeing him, gained his own identity and powers as the hero Thunderstrike. 


With Second Hand Power…

Following up on a storyline from the 70s Ben Reilly, the clone of Peter Parker, returned to New York City after the world thought him dead.  After months of acting as new hero the Scarlet Spider, Ben took the role of Spider-Man after a faked test result “revealed” him to be the original Peter Parker.  Ben eventually sacrificed his life to save the real Spider-Man from the Green Goblin until his recent resurrection.


Coming of Age

And a new and improved version of a character that no one saw coming was Nate Grey, The X-Man.  Nate came from an alternate reality named the Age of Apocalypse where Charles Xavier had died and Magneto had formed the X-men.  Nate was that reality’s version of Cable.  Eventually making it to Marvel 616 universe, Nate was feared by many because of his young age and vast powers.  He eventually died and was reborn, but at a very weakened power level.


So as you can see, Marvel has been creating new versions of classic characters for decades already.  What are some of YOUR favorite takes on old characters? &


@Nightwingpdp & @marvel_roundup on Twitter


You can hear me discussing all things Marvel (comics, movies, TV) every week with my friends on the All New Marvel Roundup, Wade’s World and Superconnectivity, all part of the Nuff Said Podcast.  I also write another blog, the Legends of DC and do a podcast of the same name.  You can find all my podcasts, blogs and those of others at You can also find all my creative endeavors at



Posted on February 28, 2017 .