Welcome to the return of Geekfinity’s comic book review feature/column It Came From the Longbox! Each entry will feature one to multiple reviews of comic books or graphic novels. These reviews will cover both brand new released comics as well as comics from the past that we’re looking to spotlight/recommend. This latest entry covers the beginning of Marvel Comics new reorganization of their publishing line, Marvel Legacy #1!
Marvel Legacy #1
Writer: Jason Aaron
Artists: Esad Ribic & Steve McNiven
Colorist: Matthew Wilson
Letterer: VC’s Cory Petit
Additional Artists: Chris Samnee, Russell Dauterman, Alex Maleev, Ed McGuinness, Stuart Immonen, Wade Von Grawbadger, Pepe Larraz, Jim Cheung, Daniel Acuna, Greg Land, Jay Leisten, Mike Deodato Jr., David Marquez
Rating: 8 out of 10
(Spoilers about the issue are ahead…so read at your own risk.)
After months of build-up and teasing, the one-shot that kicks off the big Marvel Legacy initiative that is said to be a way to bring back classic Marvel characters & aspects together with many of the new legacy aspects has arrived.
Comparison’s to DC Comics DC Universe Rebirth #1 from well over a year ago are being drawn because it’s hard not to because in essence the two issues are doing the same thing, yet they are also doing something very different. DC Rebirth had the Herculean task of trying to bring back tons of continuity and characters that the publisher had either cast aside or warped beyond recognition to longtime fans when they rebooted their entire universe in 2011. Overall this succeeded and they were able to wipe out large parts of the New 52 continuity to bring back older ideas, as well as tie in the Watchmen characters as being behind the whole thing.
Marvel Legacy didn’t have that same task because while many classic characters were somewhat taken off the board in ways, they were still there and a big part of the universe so bringing some of those characters and concepts was far easier. That wasn’t the main focus of this issue though, instead of adding a big new mystery and showing off where the Marvel Universe is going moving forward in various books and avenues was the true goal that the issue succeeded at doing.
When thinking of big stories that really get to the heart of a character/team and their continuity the name Jason Aaron is more than likely one that pops up right away and he continued that trend with this issue be delving into the history and continuity of the entire Marvel Universe and he, along with other writers & editors at Marvel that helped craft the tale, wasn’t afraid to turn some stuff over and introduce a lot of new concepts.
While the main story was about the brand new 1,000,000 B.C. Avengers and their legacy that is still touching the modern Marvel Universe, the various bits slipped in along the way focusing on characters from Captain America to Deadpool to the Avengers and others never once felt out of place because the entire issue was narrated about legacy and each of the characters used are dealing with parts of their legacy and the legacy they might be leaving.
It is likely to upset some of the more vocal fans out there that seem to only want comics that replicate some bygone era that they think was best, the great thing that Aaron and others did with the 1,000,000 B.C. Avengers and the idea of legacy was a great move. While it should not be a shock to most it was set up so that there are a great number of heroes that we know in modern day that are just a legacy, or replacement as many fans say, hero. Those like Iron Fist and Black Panther and even the Phoenix and Ghost Rider this has been known (with each heroes books over the years dealing with this idea and their predecessors) but by putting this idea all the way back to the start of things on Earth cements the idea that these roles of heroes in the Marvel Universe cycle in and out and their legacy and their heroic concepts are far more flexible than most give credit.
Art wise the book is a gorgeous display of a variety of Marvel’s top artists with Esad Ribic and Steve McNiven doing much of the heavy lifting when it comes to the big ideas that Aaron is putting out there with the ancient Avengers and the effect it has on modern versions of Starbrand and Ghost Rider. All the artists though brought their A-game as most of the artists and teams came in just to do a page or two that focuses on a character or a team that they are normally handling in books or will be handling with Legacy touches all the books starting next month. None of the art jumps were jarring which can sometimes happen when you have styles change from one page to the next, and the story flowed easily through each page whether it was the main story or one of the various interludes.
Now for the big part of the issue, the promised returns. Even though the series was selling terribly for years outside of some more modern runs like Hickman, fans have been crying for the Fantastic Four to return and Legacy brings the first confirmation that they should be on their way back very soon. Franklin and Valeria Richards make their return at the very end of the issue, Val having been the omnipotent narrator the entire time, still out in the multiverse with their parents helping re-create universes after the events of Secret Wars saw most universes destroyed. Many claimed that Marvel took the FF away after that event because they hated them or it was a money conspiracy, but the fact that fans are pumped at their upcoming likely return, with the relaunching Marvel Two-in-One with Human Torch & Thing clearly set to kick it all off, it proves Marvel knew what they were doing. They gave the FF the same treatment that they gave Thor after Avengers Disassembled in the early 2000s. Left him off the table for years after years of low sales till fans were clamoring for his return, and now the Thor book has been selling great for years.
Marvel Legacy’s other return is a bit more lackluster in a way. Yes, the original Wolverine has come back from his adamantium covered death in Death of Wolverine back in 2014. Somehow his healing factor is back and he emerged from his cocoon and showed up just in time in a beer truck (nice touch there) to stop an escaping Frost Giant and obtain one of the Infinity Stones. Unlike the FF who were truly gone Logan’s return feels a lot less earned because the man was not truly gone fully because not only did Laura (the former X-23) pick up and run with his legacy but he was literally replaced by his older alternate reality self Old Man Logan. This now means that the publisher now has three Wolverines running around alongside Logan’s son Daken making a return and his alternate reality son Jimmy Hudson (who used to be called Wolverine too) running around as well. So essentially in a way we’re back to the days of Wolverine being everywhere at once, just it’s not the same Wolverine.
Marvel Legacy isn’t a revolutionary issue and it’s not meant to be. In the end, it does it’s job wonderfully to lay out where the Marvel Universe is going now and what classic aspects are coming back but it also returns the universe to a state of hope. Hope for the future and for the characters to be able to truly be heroes again after many years of them coming to blows against one another for various reasons. It may be disliked by many but Secret Empire helped a lot with this idea as it cemented the fact that the heroes are at their best when they are working together and taking on a common evil to save the world they love. This is a good start to the Marvel Legacy era, and we’ll just have to wait and see where things go from here.