Heroes Reborn Just Became a Blatant X-Men Rip-Off, But Maybe That's a Good Thing

Friday, 02 October 2015 - 10:40AM
Heroes Reborn
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Friday, 02 October 2015 - 10:40AM
Heroes Reborn Just Became a Blatant X-Men Rip-Off, But Maybe That's a Good Thing
The Heroes mythology has always been somewhat derivative of X-Men: a group of unconnected people who discover burgeoning powers that are the result of a latent mutant gene. (Technically, there was never any official confirmation that the Heroes' powers were genetic, but the constant discussion of "evolution" in the new series seems to verify it.) In Heroes Reborn, the mutants, or "Evos," have been revealed to the public, blamed for societal problems, and persecuted as a class of people, which is even more X-Men-esque than the original series. And in last night's episode, it was revealed that the nefarious organization Renautus has built a machine that can detect Evos anywhere in the world, which is literally just a rip-off of Cerebro.

But ripping off X-Men may not be the worst thing Heroes Reborn could do. X-Men is a classic for a reason, and most works of art, good and bad, take inspiration from other works. Although Heroes Reborn may not be saying anything particularly original yet, the E.P.I.C. machine is arguably the most intriguing part of the show so far. The idea that a machine created for the express purpose of rounding up a certain class of people would be greeted by raucous cheers is terrifying, but all too true to life, and the fact that the machine literally runs on Molly Walker viscerally demonstrates that the Evos are being systematically dehumanized. Like the X-Men, the Heroes can be compared to many different oppressed groups throughout history, but the Evos have an interesting relationship with society in the sense that they are viewed as both subhuman and extremely valuable, which I hope is more deeply explored over the course of the series.

Some fans have been grumbling that in real life, the machine would never be unveiled in public, that the discrimination would happen, but would happen more covertly. The discrimination is certainly not subtle, but I wouldn't say it was over-the-top, especially considering the obvious parallels to post-9/11 America. Almost fifteen years after 9/11, overt discrimination against Muslims is still rampant, and in Heroes Reborn, it's only been a year since the terrorist event. As long as people could use fear as a rationale for their prejudice-fear for their safety, fear for their families, fear for the moral decay of society, etc- it would be perfectly socially acceptable to discriminate against the Evos. The fact that this "racism" is occurring in plain sight is actually a much more apt commentary on the effects of fear mongering after a terrorist event.

Don't get me wrong, Heroes Reborn is not without its problems; many of the new characters are still extremely thin and difficult to care about, the June 13th conspiracy is intriguing, but too vague to be actively exciting, and don't get me started on that ridiculous video game superpower. But if the show shifts the focus to the prejudice and human rights violations experienced by the Evos, it could at least be an entertaining, if pale, imitation of X-Men, and a respectably withering metaphor for post 9/11 America.
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Heroes Reborn
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