Writer: Jason Aaron
Artists: Esad Ribic, Steve McNiven, Others
Colors: Matt Wilson
Cover Art: Joe Quesada
Published: September 27, 2017
An alternate title suggestion for Marvel Legacy #1: Hi, a significant portion of the Marvel Universe. Legacy #1 has been touted all summer as a sort of return to the status quo, to the classic Marvel that you (or someone) know and love. And in that marketing context you cannot blame people/the internet for wanting to compare it to DC’s Rebirth initiative. But does Marvel really need a reset? DC believed that they did and so they said that some as of yet unnamed villain stole a decade of time from the DC Universe. That’s a hard reset, which Marvel don’t need right now. Marvel is publishing a number of quality books (Mighty Thor, All New Wolverine, Black Panther, Captain America: Sam Wilson, Black Bolt, Old Man Logan) and don’t need a continuity wipe. Thankfully Legacy is not a hard reset (despite the marketing) and really is an opportunity to check in and say hello.
The book opens with Odinson retrieving his misbehaving hammer as the members of the prehistoric avengers begin to gather. This “team” consists of Odinson, the Phoenix, Iron Fist (not Danny Rand), Starbrand, Ghost Rider Black Panther (not T’Challa), and Agamotto. It’s a very cool idea, and there is a great splash page of them rushing into combat, but it doesn’t have a ton to do with the rest of the issue. Arguably the real substance begins when Robbie Reyes (the current Ghost Rider) wakes up in his car in South Africa and is forced to evade the police. He is eventually confronted by the current Starboard and their battle plays out intermittently over the issue, eventually intertwining with Loki’s story (I think, it doesn’t really matter). Loki’s leading some Frost Giants to Earth, abandons them and ends up in front of the same unearthed Celestial that the Prehistoric Avengers battled and Ghost Rider was looking for. The Frost Giants Loki abandons attempt to infiltrate a former S.H.I.E.L.D. facility to retrieve an infinity gem, but instead run into Thor /Jane Foster, Captain America/Sam Wilson, and IronHeart. This confrontation had a sort of last hurrah feeling to it as the future of each of these characters is uncertain because of other developments in this issue. You see that Tony Stark is missing from his Stasis chamber, that Unworthy Thor is waiting for action in the mead halls of Asgard, and Steve Rodgers is back on the road and he brought his shield with him. And that’s really what this issue is, as series of vignettes, a one, two, or three, page look-in on a number of different characters that include Deadpool, Johnny Storm and Ben Grimm, Black Panther, Nadia Pymm, Jean Grey, Gamora, Loki, Unworthy Thor, and Amadeus Cho.
If the celestial plot line goes somewhere or the prehistoric avengers are more than a simple one-off that would do a little to justify the marketing of this book, whose biggest spoiler was leaked before the issue was released. And by biggest spoiler, that can only refer to the fact that there will now be three Wolverines in the Marvel Universe. Yes, Logan’s back, and he’s got an infinity gem (the page of him holding it is very cool). These are perhaps the most intriguing pages of Legacy as we see Logan has been working as a truck driver in the American south for what appear to be some time. He runs into the Frost Giants Loki sent and relives them of their package in typical Wolverine style, swift and brutal. It will be interesting to see where Logan goes from here, but hopefully it doesn’t interfere to much with what’s going on in Old Man Logan, or All New Wolverine (both really good books).
The final few pages contain another (maybe less significant) reveal that the ongoing narration, about heroes and how they confront the issue of legacy, was coming from Valeria Richards. Sue Storm and Mr. Fantastic are still MIA, but Valeria and Franklin are to flying around in space somewhere ruminating about heroes and legacies. If Marvel really wanted to get back to the status quo, then bringing Reed and Sue (two Jack Kirby creations during Marvel’s celebration of his 100th birthday) in a book crazy book would have been appropriate/exciting/timely for many comic fans. The hopeful out there will take Johnny Storm and Benn Grimm’s reunion, along with Valeria’s narration about how she is imagining her way home, as proof that a Fan4stic return is in the works.
The milage of the “major” reveals that were in this issue will vary from reader to reader, but learning that Logan’s back or Jonny and Ben are teaming up doesn’t make this an important or good issue. This wasn’t the big deal Marvel told us it would, or a hard reset like Rebirth, but this issue was fun. It showed readers in broad strokes what the state of the Marvel Universe and most of its biggest characters (no spidey though) is right now. The idea of a check in, just to see what’s happening without being too bogged down by continuity, is a good idea. But to that end, anyone reading Legacy, or even thinking about reading Legacy should look at the preview material that Marvel put out over the last month. They made one large preview book (get cbr file here) and twenty-seven primers that introduced the character’s/teams’ backstory and teased their upcoming arc (get cbr files here). So you probably don’t need to hurry to your local comic book store to pick this up (unless you’re a huge Marvel fan, but then you already know this), but if you are looking for a place/time to jump in on some great stories then Marvel has provide that.
(Subjective) Score out of 10: 6
Coming out of Legacy #1 I will be posting reviews of All New Wolverine, The Mighty Thor, Black Panther, and Runaways (which is not technically a Legacy book) as they are released each month. Please check back for thoughts about these books as a new chapter in Marvel comics begins.