Today is a good day in the world of comics. The Slingers are coming back. Who are the Slingers? They’re some of my all-time favorite obscure comic book characters, from a truly delightful comic I read and loved in the 1990s. They were a quartet of teen heroes using costumed identities developed by Spider-Man during the Identity Crisis storyline. It’s not worth getting into. They were just a team of cool superheroes who had a very short-lived comic back when I was just getting into comics, and then they largely faded into obscurity, only popping up here and there in random cameo appearances throughout the years.
Well now they’re coming back for another such cameo in the pages of Amazing Spider-Man as part of the current Spider-Man Beyond storyline.
I’m very excited. It’s going to happen in the new year, and I’m enjoying the new Amazing Spider-Man storyline. This should be a lot of fun. We don’t yet know the identities of the Slingers that will appear. One assumes they will be themselves…except for one very, very important distinction.
Hobie Brown is going to be the new Hornet.
I know, I’m excited too.
This has actually been in the works for a while now, but I haven’t done an article on it for some reason. Now is my chance.
So in the original Identity Crisis storyline, Peter Parker turned to his old friend Hobie Brown — a.k.a. The Prowler — to make him a new costumed superhero suit. Hobie designed the Hornet outfit. Then when the Slingers got together and had their own comic, new hero Eddie McDonough took on the Hornet identity. He was my favorite of the crew…which, of course, is why he was later killed off in one of their random cameo appearances. Sigh.
Anyway, the Slingers came back before as part of Peter David’s Ben Reilly comic a couple of years ago. In a really strange bit of storytelling, the new Hornet in this story was actually Cyber, that classic Wolveirne villain with the Adamantium arms. Weird, right? Of all the secret identities of the new Hornet, PAD went with Cyber?!
After that whole storyline came to an end, the Slingers went silent for a while…until that big King in Black storyline with Knull and Venom. In one of the many spin-off comics, it was revealed that Hobie Brown took up the Hornet identity!
And this Hobie Brown version of the Hornet is going to be the one joining the Slingers in this upcoming Spider-Man Beyond storyline. I think that’s really cool!
I love Hobie Brown, I love Hornet, I love the Slingers; for once in my comic book-loving life, characters and concepts I like are actually coming together to create something awesome instead of just getting killed or whatever usually happens to characters I like.
Of course, I will point out that it’s a little disappointing that Hobie isn’t still the Prowler. Not too long ago, Marvel actually had two active Prowlers in their comics, both Hobie and then Ultimate Prowler, Aaron Davis. I can see why Marvel would want Aaron Davis to be their one and only Prowler, since he’s been the Prowler in movies and is far more well known by general audiences. But…SPOILERS…Aaron Davis is dead. He was killed in a recently Miles Morales comic. So there’s no conflict if Hobie wanted to keep being the Prowler in the comics.
But that’s just me. I’m very excited to see the Slingers come back. I’m very excited to put Hobie Brown and Hornet to good use. And I can’t wait to read these new comics next year!