With remarkable succinctness and the mixture of levity and action that has made the Mouse House of Ideas so much money on the silver screen, Marvel Voices: Legacy #1 is an anthology of short stories by Black creators and focused largely on Black characters is a true treasure that achieves at a very high level of difficulty.
First, let's look at the message. Nnedi Okorafor writes a story called "A Luta Continua," taking a look at the difference that just a little bit of a power differential can make in situations like Nigeria, where corruption and state-sanctioned violence are leveled against a largely homogeneous population, mimicking the behavior of the colonial powers that take so much from this region. It's a lot of ground to cover and some complex issues to address. How long does this story take to get it done, with artwork by the legendary ChrisCross (who's having a big month) and Rachelle Rosenberg? Four pages. Big ideas, complex political situation, action scenes, all of it. To have all that wrapped up in four pages is not the "write for the trades" decompression some have come to consider the standard operating procedure.
To have achieved that story alone would be amazing, but no, there's more. Tochi Onyebuchi writes one of the most effective Domino stories ever, one with the wonderful monologuing of early seasons of The Blacklist and thrilling action, brought to life by the dazzling talents of Ken Lashley and Juan Fernandez. The twist ending is really worth waiting for, and again, it's a lot of ground to cover in just eight pages.
If you're on Twitter, you might know of the genius of Stephanie Williams. Her skill in short-form characterization made her parody book Living Heroes such a hoot. Here, she wields Thor, Monica Rambeau, and Jennifer Walters with a gentle touch, managing a lot in two pages, with the crisp visuals from Natacha Bustos and Rachelle Rosenberg making a supermarket trip thrilling.
The final three stories — a perfect "slice of life" look at young heroines from Mohale Mashigo, Chris Allen, and Rachelle Rosenberg; a Danny Lore wrote Blade quickie where he has an amazing moment in the end with Valentine de Landro and Dan Brown; and an iconic take on Miles Morales by John Ridley with Olivier Coipel — are strong as well, making this a rare anthology take that really feels like a significant chunk of something with the clear, crisp brilliance of Travis Lanham's lettering making it all consistent.
While it would be nice to see work (and creators) like this more regularly during the year, this is engaging work that's well worth the time and money. RATING: BUY.
Marvel Voices: Legacy #1
CELEBRATING BLACK HISTORY MONTH IN MIGHTY MARVEL STYLE! Black Panther. Storm. Blade. Falcon. Ironheart. Luke Cage. Spectrum. And so many more. Marvel's incredible legacy of black heroes gets the star treatment in this action-packed special! New and established creators take on their favorite heroes in a dizzying array of stories designed to inspire and uplift! The Marvel's Voices program is your #1 stop for 'the world outside your window' – don't sleep on this one!