So, here we are at last. The long-awaited Marvel Legacy #1 is out.
I'm going to go ahead and throw a spoiler warning here. Much of this comic has already been spoiled by numerous sources, but the plot itself was even hinted at in the marketing. I mean, the name Marvel Legacy doesn't indicate any characters or plots apart from Genis-Vell, who went by Legacy for a while.
Unfortunately, Genis-Vell is not in this comic. I'm not expecting to ever see a return from him.
Anyway, the comic opens with a meeting of the Avengers of 1,000,000 B.C. They consist of Odin, the Phoenix, an Iron Fist, a Black Panther, a Hulked-out Starbrand, Sorcerer Supreme Agamatto, and a mastodon-riding Ghost Rider. They are facing down a Celestial that has landed on Earth.
In the present, Robbie Reyes, AKA the Ghost Rider, has woken up in South Africa. He is soon met by the Starbrand of the present, who believes that Robbie is here for something specific, and he doesn't want the Ghost Rider to have it. This naturally leads to a fight, which knocks the two across South Africa.
Loki is planning a heist of a S.H.I.E.L.D. installation, and he enlists a brigade of small Frost Giants to do it. They are met by Sam Wilson (Captain America), Jane Foster (Thor), and Riri Williams (Ironheart).
Beyond these three plot threads, there is a random smattering of smaller vignettes mixed in. Steve Rogers, AKA also Captain America, is brooding in a diner while a news network talks about the events of Secret Empire. Norman Osborn attempts a heist of the Sanctum Santorum while Iron Fist discusses his dreams of the Avengers 1,000,000 B.C with the current Sorcerer Supreme, Doctor Strange. Skaar puts out a call for the Hulk to return to their planet. The Avengers statue at the mansion changes, but Jarvis and Nadia Pym, aka the Wasp, cannot notice it for some reason. The Human Torch and the Thing ponder if the world still needs them. A planet ruled by Wakanda is shown. Deadpool ponders how much of a terrible person he is.
This comic makes the same missteps that Dark Days: The Forge made, if to a lesser extent. The meat of this comic consists of endless teasing and hint-dropping. Many of the other Marvel checkpoint issues, such as the endless iterations of Marvel NOW! did this, too.
"Hey, look at all these cool stories we're going to tell. Aren't you excited? We already gave you a bunch of solicits and teasers for these comics, but here's a $6.00 book that will do it again with slightly more detail!"
And it's not that I'm not excited for some of these books. I'm looking forward to Mark Waid and Chris Samnee on Captain America. I'm willing to try the Avengers again. Marvel Two-in-One looks sweet. Doctor Strange, Iron Fist, and Defenders have all been solid reads. The "Mayor Fisk" arc of Daredevil should be awesome. I trust Ta-Nehisi Coates to continue to rock Black Panther.
I just hoped that Marvel Legacy would be something a little more than teasers.
It bothered me less because the narrative is at least slightly more cohesive than Dark Days: The Forge, and this wasn't burdened with the presence of Batman. However, this comic is actually more pointless than The Forge. That comic at least presented some new information, even if most it was bafflingly frustrating at the time.
The title and attempted theme of "legacy" doesn't even really hold up through the comic. There's nothing here that really has much to do with the characters' legacies. You could argue the prominence of Riri, Sam, and Jane shows the legacy of Tony Stark, Steve Rogers, and the Odinson, but even they are kind of referred to as abnormalities by the narration, which leaves me feeling a little queasy with its implications.
More spoilers ahead, so watch out.
The thing Loki sent the Frost Giants after was an Infinity Gem. Oh wait, no, an Infinity Stone, because that's what they are called in the movies now.
It randomly showed up in a S.H.I.E.L.D. bunker. No one knows how it got there. This is a new threat which I'm sure will come to a head in time for the Infinity War film.
Hey, wait, I thought we weren't doing big events again any time soon. What's all this Infinity Stone business?
Also, there is some presumably Celestial-related stuff about a Sleeper, a Horde, and the Final Host. This also sounds like something that will culminate in a giant summer event.
Also — da-da-da-daaa, James Logan Howlett is back! The Wolverine of old.
Does that excite you? Well, I know I'm not alone in feeling unenthused.
And I say that as someone who does love Wolverine. He just seems so superfluous now, though. We have a bunch of other Wolverines running around already. There is Laura Kinney, Old Man Logan, Jimmy Hudson, Sabretooth, Gabby, and Daken is returning. I know some of those are debatable, but at the very least, Old Man Logan is almost functionally identical the old Wolverine.
They show Franklin and Valeria Richards to tease the return of the Fantastic Four. That feels a little cheap, because there's nothing stopping them from just bringing back the Fantastic Four. They are the ones that took them away; there is no universal force keeping the Fantastic Four from getting their own comic again. You could argue the narrative, but even that could be resolved in the first issue of a new Fantastic Four comic.
The dialogue is overall solid though. Jason Aaron is a good writer, and, though I get the impression he didn't get a lot of say in the contents, the character presentations are solid.
Esad Ribic and the murderer's row of all-star artists, such as Chris Samnee, Steve McNiven, Daniel Acuna, Alex Maleev, Mike Deodato Jr., Jim Cheung, and others do a rockin' job fleshing out this book. The smattering of artists does make the visual style a bit non-cohesive, and it does bother me how it tries to make them appear interchangeable. However, I can't argue the individual talents involved.
The color art by Matthew Wilson does its best to keep a cohesive atmosphere with paler shades to evoke the idea of a new dawn. It's really admirable work, and it does keep the story together for the most part.
So, Marvel Legacy #1 is, unfortunately, mediocre overall. It's a teaser book. It wants you to buy the new titles. It adds very little story of its own. The characters are cool, and the art is great, if disparate taken as a whole. I can't really recommend it, though. The price point is too high, and it really is just an advert for all the new titles and directions Marvel is putting out there now. Give this one a pass.