Marvel Comics has a history of growing young heroes into staples within their comic universe. Such reinventions are the lifeblood of the worlds they've created. Entire teams of promising young heroes have answered the call, from the Young Avengers to the New Mutants and, more recently, the Champions. Not all young heroes reach their potential, though. Such is the case with Marvel's once-promising hero Gravity.
An endearing young man with a distinctively formative debut, Greg Willis stood shoulder to shoulder with Spidey and even protected the universe. So, why isn't he a big deal today? Where has Sean McKeever and Mike Norton's creation gone?
Intentionally drawing comparisons to the style of 1980's Spider-Man, Gravity's creators wanted to make a character akin to the Spider-Man they grew up with. Unlike Spidey, however, Greg was a small-town boy who traveled to New York to be a hero like Earth's Mightiest, the Avengers. He would find the initial adjustment to city life hard, his mishaps helping him to realize he might not be as street smart as most heroes.
Using his gravity-based powers, he accidentally attacked a hero who looked like a villain on one of his first outings, allowing a villain to escape. Readers watching Greg go through this practical reality check were presented with a relatable and empathetic character. This would also trigger an internal conflict within Greg, one of the running themes of his character being that superhero work might not be for him.
A villain known as Black Death saw the inexperienced hero as a potential victim, seeking to humiliate and crush the young man. This didn't work, however. Upon his defeat, Gravity was personally congratulated by one of his childhood heroes, Spider-Man. This sated Greg for a time, and he decided to continue on as a hero.
Greg proved to be an excellent hero, but not a great leader. He would unfortunately perish holding an entire planet together to save several other heroes in a conflict with a cosmic being known as The Stranger. He would be honored and buried by his peers, though this was not the end of Gravity's story.
Unfortunately, his grave would be desecrated not long after his passing, as discovered by the Fantastic Four. Upon further investigation, it was revealed he had been placed in a regenerative cocoon by the cosmic entity Epoch, who had designs on making Gravity the next Protector of the Universe.
This title had previously been held by Quasar, who had recently been lost in the Annihilation War. Understandably uneasy after being resurrected, Gravity's internal conflict once tugged at him. He would give up his Protector of the Universe powers to sate an encroaching Galactus, citing he just wanted to return home and live a normal life.
However, following the establishment of the 50 State Initiative, Gravity once again took to heroics, as he could now remain in his home state and use his powers to do good. When Secret Invasion took place, the Initiative was mobilized, drawing Gravity back to New York. The Initiative was decimated in a battle with several Super Skrulls, saved by the Young Avengers and a returning Nick Fury along with his Secret Warriors.
Seemingly returning to heroics full-time, Greg bounced around several teams, including the Young Allies and a new Initiative under the direction of Steve Rogers. Despite all of his achievements, Greg still saw himself as expendable, even vocalizing these sentiments while fighting alongside Spider-Man during the Spider-Island event.
Gravity was last seen when the Young Avengers put out a call for allies in a battle with an interdimensional parasite known as Mother. They succeeded and Gravity survived the battle, though he hasn't been seen since. Whether he had once again retired and answered the call as a favor remains to be seen, but the young hero still had so much potential.
While it is a shame Gravity isn't as prevalent as he once was, he turned down ultimate power and took part in several major events in recent Marvel history. From holding planets together to defying Galactus, Gravity may not have seen himself as a hero, but he certainly behaved like one.