Marvel Comics recently started the publishing initiative, Legacy, and today I am looking at the book that kicked it off, Marvel Legacy #1.
This special is written by Jason Aaron, and drawn by a plethora of artists.
With the new era of Marvel Legacy, this issue is supposed to be ground zero for the Marvel Universe for some time to come. Now, I don’t read much Marvel, but I figured something in here would relate to stories I will read later on. In the interest of being an informed reader, I decided to pick it up.
The tale starts off with a group that is being called the Avengers of One Million B.C.
In keeping with the theme of “legacy”, this group is composed of ancient predecessors for modern-day characters. Odin, standing in for his son Thor, and analogues/ancestors for Iron Fist, Star Brand, Phoenix, Black Panther, Dr. Strange, and Ghost Rider. Surrounded by primitive man, these heroes protect the Earth. Specifically, as we find a few pages in, from a Celestial.
I’ve always like the alien look Kirby gave the Celestials and am pleased to see that carry on with newer iterations of the characters.
Next up we find current Ghost Rider, Robbie Reyes, awakening in South Africa with no idea how he got there. Apparently, Reyes has been dreaming of these prehistoric Avengers. Reyes is confronted by Star Brand who seems intent on killing him to counter a greater threat.
This is the first “whaaaaat???” I encountered while reading this issue. As far as I knew, Star Brand was just a part of the New Universe books of the ’80’s and was separate from the main Marvel universe. I am aware that Warren Ellis had a critically acclaimed run with the New Universe characters a few years ago, and am presuming something changed during that.
The story then cuts to Loki goading a group of Frost Giants to steal a container from a secret S.H.I.E.L.D. installation for him. S.H.I.E.L.D. is shutting down (???) and the military is here to collect the contents of the warehouse. While discussing the packages, they mention that one of the crates is not on any manifest and no one knows what is in it. Surprise, this is the crate that Loki has tasked the Frost Giants to retrieve!
“4 1939” is the designated code on the crate in question. I feel that this is an easter egg in the story, but I’m not exactly sure what it means. Marvel Comics started in 1939, so that’s surely part of it. However, Marvel Comic number 1 premiered in October of that year, not April, so I’m not sure what the significance of the “4” is.
Once the Frost Giants attack the base, Sam Wilson Captain America, Jane Foster Thor, and Ironheart show up to save the day. These are all the current incarnations of those particular heroes. Again, continuing with the theme of legacy, but let’s be honest, these characters days in their counterparts’ shoes are numbered.
There are some interludes during the fight. First off, is Steve Rogers chilling out in a diner, watching the news. Here we are given our first look at Chris Samnee’s Cap run with Mark Waid. This is one of the books I am looking forward to coming out of Legacy.
Next up is a foreboding page about Asgard and Thor, and a page about Tony Stark seemingly awakening from a coma. (???)
The tale then cuts back to Robbie Reyes Ghost Rider duking it out with Star Brand, already in progress. Their fight stumbles across an archaeological site. (FORESHADOWIIIIING!)
We then get one page cuts checking in on Deadpool, Dr. Strange and Iron Fist, and Jarvis at Avengers Mansion.
Now, back to the fight at the S.H.I.E.L.D. compound. Our heroes save the day and defeat all of the Frost Giants. Except for the one that escapes with the mysterious “4 1939” box.
Then we get a page of what is another thing I am excited about with Marvel Legacy.
Johnny Storm and Ben Grimm! Soon to be co-starring in the relaunched Marvel Two-in-One title. Presumably, they are no longer on Marvel’s blacklist and we will see a return of Marvel’s First Family shortly.
After this is a page that I’m not sure how to feel about.
Apparently they are introducing an extraterrestrial aspect to Wakanda. This could be interesting, but I don’t agree with the concept of Wakanda’s achievements being the result of anything other than the people of Wakanda. Presumably, they are suggesting that their accomplishments are the result of alien technology.
It’s my hope that like 1,000,000 B.C. Avengers, this is instead a look into the future for Wakanda. That their nation has prospered so much that they have expanded to other worlds. I think story-wise you get a lot more out of this concept.
Just please promise me that Marvel is aware enough to not suggest a “black people are from outer space” concept with this.
We get a page of an outer space monitoring station that precludes a return for some part of the Planet Hulk story.
Then we are back to the Ghost Rider/Star Brand fight. Ghost Rider obliterates Star Brand which opens up a hole into where the archaeologists were digging. Once Reyes departs, they go down into the cavern. Here the archaeologists find the Celestial from the beginning of the issue, and their final fate. On the cave wall we see drawings representing the ancient Avengers from before.
Back at the S.H.I.E.L.D. base, the heroes are wrapping things up and the Frost Giant is making good his escape. That is until he is hit by a beer truck. The giant confronts the driver whose face is obscured but is wearing a familiar hat and wifebeater. This mysterious stranger also attack the Frost Giant with claws that come out of his hand!
Cut to Jean Grey looking at Wolverine’s final resting place where the adamantium he had been encased in is now split open and empty.
Here is one of the highlights of this story. The mysterious stranger, having defeated the giant, cracks open a cold one and gives us one of the most innovative uses of the Frost Giant’s abilities.
He then opens up the mcguffin of this tale, the mysterious container from S.H.I.E.L.D. On the following page we see the stranger and item revealed.
I really hope that this is not the last we see of this. Wolverine, returned from the dead, wielding an Infinity gem. While he will presumably turn it over to someone in authority, that will be booooooriing. How about instead, let Logan discover what has changed while he has been gone? Maybe there are some things he decides need to change. Possibly, this will tie into the upcoming Phoenix Resurrection story about the return of Jean Grey. Fingers crossed, they don’t let this great concept just slide away.
The story closes with Loki coming across the Celestial, a quick check-in with the heroes in this story, and another hint at the return of the Fantastic Four.
The rest of the issue contains info about Marvel Legacy books to come. Also, the return of Marvel Value Stamps. Be sure to clip them out to upset comic book collectors of the future. Let’s continue the cycle of disappointment started by our predecessors from the ’70’s. How’s that for a legacy?
At the end of the book is a checklist for Marvel Legacy titles.
A literal checklist. I can see listing the titles, but why put the boxes next to them? If they’re concerned collectors won’t want to rip out stamps, who do they think is going to check off boxes?
All in all, this is a good book that I’m glad I picked up. One thing that really stood out to me with this is its familiarity to DC’s Rebirth special that they released last year. My review of which starts here: https://detective651.wordpress.com/2016/05/30/dc-universe-rebirth-part-one-west-side-is-the-best-side/
It reminds me of it in that there is a focus on reinstating the classic versions of the characters, and setting up stories for the foreseeable future. There is also the return of a dead, fan-favorite character. Also, I really like the issue. Not as much as I did Rebirth, but well enough that I want to look into some of these books.
That’s another thing it has in common with DC Rebirth, the problems. Where do I go from here? There’s even a checklist, but I don’t know where the stories I want to read are heading to. Surely, Loki and the Celestial is part of something bigger, but where does that go?
I was part of a discussion where the similarities to this book and DC’s counterpart came up. On the second episode of the Campus Comics Cast, we talk about the new installment of Previews catalog and another participant and I brought this topic up. It is available to listen to here if you would like to: http://www.burgcomics.com/
There’s a lot of interesting concepts being thrown around here, but will I have to scramble to get pricey back issues once it becomes clear what I want? I have been apprehensive to get into a Marvel crossover since the disappointing Age of Ultron. Hopefully Marvel doesn’t miss the opportunity of bringing in new readers.