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If you've been reading Marvel comics since the beginning of the decade, you've likely seen that many of the classic superhero identities have been passed on to other individuals. In some cases, two people are rocking the identity at the same time, like Steve Rogers and Sam Wilson both being Captain America, while in other cases, it's more of a "passing the torch" sort of thing thing, like Kamala Khan inheriting the Ms. Marvel guise from Carol Danvers, who herself is rocking the Captain Marvel identity originally held by the alien Mar-Vell. Well, Marvel Comics is gearing up to point the spotlight on this legacy trend in the upcoming event Generations, and we have our first look at what's to come.
Earlier today, Marvel Comics posted the above Generations artwork from artist Alex Ross. No details were provided, other than that the story will begin in summer 2017, and that we should "stay tuned." Ross is famous in the comic book world for his photorealistic illustrations, so as per usual, this looks stunning. From left to right, we have the two different Jean Greys (the adult one and the time-displaced teenage one); the Wolverines (Logan and his clone "daughter" X-23); the Captain Americas (Steve Rogers and Sam Wilson); the Thors (the Asgardian Odison and Jane Foster); the Novas (Richard Rider and Sam Alexander), the Captain Marvels (Mar-Vell and Carol Danvers); the Ms. Marvels (another version of Carol Danvers and Kamala Khan); the Hawkeyes (Clint Barton and Kate Bishop); the Iron heroes (Tony Stark and Riri Williams, who goes by Ironheart); the Spider-Mans (Peter Parker and Miles Morales) and the Hulks (Bruce Banner and Amadeus Cho).
Since no specific information came with the image, it remains to be seen what the Generations plot will be and how these heroes will band together. Granted, many of them interact with each other regularly, but for something like this, you know that something especially weird is at work. However, it's worth noting that some of the characters featured are dead. For instance, Bruce Banner was killed during the Civil War II event, and Wolverine was suffocated during the Death of Wolverine event (although his alternate future "Old Man Logan" self has been wandering around the new Marvel universe created after Secret Wars).
While it's possible that Generations could see all of the deceased players revived, which is an all-too-common trope in super comics, the classic costumes suggest that we may be dealing with another temporal story. The dead heroes could be pulled from the past to team up with the present-day heroes, and once the event is over, they'll be returned to their proper place in the timeline, presumably with their memories of the adventure erased. Marvel did something similar to this in the 2007 event Avengers/Invaders, where the World War II Invaders team was brought to the present by the Cosmic Cube to help Earth's Mightiest Heroes.
With all the focus Marvel has placed in recent years on the idea that these superhero identities aren't limited to just one person, it's fitting that they're moving forward with a story bringing the "generations" of heroes all together for the first time. However this plays out, expect Generations to be one of the bigger comic book happenings this summer.