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'Heroes': 'The Second Coming' is here (SPOILERS)

July 30, 2008 |  1:38 pm

So, sitting at Comic-Con, watching the "Heroes" panel, the excitement came back.  Anticipating the next season, the next episode, the speculation, the (I hope) twists and the powers.

Full disclosure, I didn't mind last season overall. It's no secret that the first six episodes were really slow in unfolding, but I thought the last five or so were building pretty well. The strike hurt. Many of the viewers had left but could've been drawn back. The writers-producers didn't get the chance to straighten it all out. But with their villain-themed upcoming season, the 'it' that made "Heroes" a hit -- no, not the 'save the cheerleader' tagline -- seems to be returning in its two-hour premiere, airing Sept. 22.

A soap opera (I know, you hate to hear it called that), comic-book type of 'need to see the next one' atmosphere surrounded the screening before and after its Comic-Con presentation. "The Second Coming" was both the name of the episode and a hopeful path for the show. Conflict is the name of the game, and last season lacked a lot of it.  The direction that this took, especially Sylar's first act, puts this on a conflict collision, adding lots of characters, lots of powers and lots to look forward to.

More powers and people, you say? Wasn't that part of last season's downfall?  Yes, but when it's a do-or-die situation, which it's likely to be, you still have the tension and conflict (with increasingly less people as they are killed off).

The episode itself updated where everyone is (except Monica and Micah down in New Orleans -- but we did only get to see the first hour), and you get a good sense of where the season will go from what's set up. Hiro has a new mission (when Ando attacks?!) and a new nemesis, we see glimpses of a darker future Peter and Claire, Matt's suddenly in a desert alone (courtesy of Peter, you'll see), Sylar gets his wish and moves on (yep, I'm gonna be that cryptic), Maya doesn't get the help she sought and Mohinder is -- umm -- well, we'll leave that one alone.  The fates of Nathan and Ali Larter's character (never know what to call her -- Niki, Jessica, Gina?) are up in the air, so you can wait to see what happened. Others may give you the full spoilers, but that's often part of the fun.

We asked executive producer Jeph Loeb about coming to Comic-Con and the upcoming season, and he offered these insights:

-- Jevon Phillips