As we enter a new era of Marvel Comics, I’ll be providing a weekly report on all Legacy titles. Your one-stop guide to what’s going on in the 616 universe from MFR’s resident Marvel fan. Above you’ll see Marvel’s report card for the week, then below we’ll dive into each book. Let’s dig in!
Also, check out our coverage from the previous weeks!
***SPOILERS LIE AHEAD***
“Arms Race” Part One
The Legacy makeover for Deadpool has, so far, turned out to be a success. Dropping the hero act and getting back to his more diabolical ways makes for much better Deadpool comics. Reverting back to his old ways puts this title in a particularly different direction.
Spider-Man was never Wade Wilson’s biggest fan, he most definitely doesn’t tolerate murderous psychos up to no good. Pitting Deadpool against a Faux-Pool, with Spidey mixed up in the chaos, is a wonderful place to start the next chapter of Spider-Man/Deadpool.
Chris Bachalo is a fantastic comic book artist, his work here is on-par with his Doctor Stranger and Wolverine & The X-Men output. There’s one exception, he doesn’t draw Spider-Man or Peter Parker particularly well. His janky and rigged style just doesn’t suit the wall crawler as well as it does literally every other character in this book.
Deadpool fatigue was a real thing for a while, Marvel seems to be toning it back a bit. Robbie Thompson tastefully delivers a fun Deadpool without leaning too heavily into the jokes. There’s no better time than now to give Spider-Man/Deadpool a try. It’s a wacky, fun book that pokes fun at both characters efficiently enough to entertain fans of both.
“Jen Walters Must Die” Part One
Jennifer Walters has been carrying a lot of the Hulk weight in the wake of Bruce Banner’s death. Her new strand of uncontrollable rage has been making her juggling of law practice and crime fighting more challenging. Just when she starts to get more of a handle on things, classic Hulk villain, The Leader, makes a comeback.
Mariko Tamari was a superior talent for writing conversational dialogue. There’s very little action in this issue, but it never feels like it’s dragging. There’s no word balloon clutter, each scene is short, sweet, and keeps the pace moving forward. Jen’s phone call to Hellcat makes you feel like you’re listening in on a real conversation between two best friends.
Jen’s inner-monologue is also spectacular, her “fuck this” reaction to everything unfolding makes it easy for readers to put themselves in her shoes. The title may have shifted from Hulk to She-Hulk, but the heavy focus on human characters in superhuman situations continues to be the focus.
Another classic Marvel villain returns as Jennifer Walters finds herself in a new mess. Her friendship with Hellcat is one of the realest feeling relationships in Marvel comics. Jahnoy Lindsay’s art keeps up and fleshes out the incredibly plotted conversation pieces that give this comic a spectacular human element.
Master Of Kung Fu #126
“Shang-Chi’s Day Off”
Master Of Kung Fu is the second of the classic Marvel series’ to get a brief return in the form of a one-shot. This time we follow Shang Chi and his monkey sidekick as they attempt to have a day off.
CM Punk’s script is stale, going through the motions of a standard crime fighter story with an extra layer of stupid. Shang Chi is charming enough to liven scenes up, but it’s still a pretty dull read in the end. There’s a silly but fun Kung Fu adventure here, it’s just hidden under too much exposition and a predictable story that’s lamer than it thinks it is.
Dalibor Talajic’s art has the essence of an old Kung Fu movie, successfully hammering home the intended tone along with Erick Arciniega’s color. Unfortunately there isn’t much else to grab onto here. Fans of Shang Chi should look to the recent arc of Ed Brisson’s Iron Fist for a more satisfying experience worthy of both the character and their time.
“Mayor Fisk” Part One
Horn Head returns home, from rescuing Blindspot in China, to find his oldest enemy has been elected mayor of New York City. Mayor Fisk’s first act is to wage war with the city’s vigilantes.
Charles Soule is using Mayor Fisk as less of a Trump analog and more of a super villain turning the city upside down. Turning the people against the heroes, with Matt Murdock trying to fight the good fight through legal means, capitalizes on every strength this book has. Kingpin is waging a war on both Murdock and Daredevil.
This run of Daredevil shines brightest when Ron Garney provides pencils, however Stefano Landini steps in this time and rises to the challenge. Garney still reigns supreme, but this is by no means a significant step down. Matt Milla is a superstar colorist no matter who is drawing.
This arc is shaping up to be a satisfying culmination of the preceding stories with a major shake-up thanks to Fisk. Readers who haven’t been following Soule’s stellar run should have no trouble diving into this arc here. Soule’s been telling classic Daredevil tales long before Marvel Legacy began, but now he seems to be raising the bar even higher.
Moon Knight #188
“Crazy Runs In The Family” Part One
Max Bemis’ Moon Knight emerges as a slow-burning case study of both mental disorder and Egyptian pantheon. This new creative team immediately establishes itself as an absolute powerhouse.
Boldly diving deep into the psychology of a brand-new antagonist, this first issue barely even features our beloved Marc Spector. Regardless, it draws you in through the eyes of a doctor obsessed with her patient, with the presence of Moon Knight and Konshu lurking in the background. By the end of the issue, you’re left in total shock, dying to absorb more of what could seemingly be another Moon Knight masterpiece.
Everything Max Bemis brings to the table is on display here. It only took this one issue to have fans wrapped completely around his finger. Jacen Burrows’ art, with Mat Lopes’ color, is like if you took the atmosphere from Clean Room and turned up the crazy. This bizarre and haunting issue is a work of art both visually and conceptually.
Following the Jeff Lemire and Greg Smallwood run is no easy task. Moon Knight‘s Marvel Legacy debut proves that Bemis and company are not only up for the challenge, but could possibly raise the bar even higher. This is a must-read book for Moon Knight fans, Marvel fans, and comic book fans in general.
X-Men: Gold #15
“Mojo Worldwide” Part Five
X-Men: Gold/Blue‘s crossover continues rolling, this issue is more of the same. Different groups of mutants fighting different waves of enemies while Mojo broadcasts it to the world. It’s still a fun, quick read but it’s approaching a repetitive place of no return.
These big clusters of X-Men continue to produce interesting character interactions. Marc Guggenheim capitalizes on having Old Man Logan and Jimmy Hudson together. Longshot is a bit more one-note than I would have liked, hopefully this doesn’t end up being a waste of his involvement.
There’s still plenty of wonderfully big set pieces and layouts, but this installment doesn’t have much to differentiate itself from the previous issue. It’s an average issue but the overall crossover isn’t tainted. However, there is a sigh of relief seeing that the next chapter will be the conclusion.
“Lethal Protector” Part Three
Venom is fighting to protect the innocent dinosaurs living under the streets of New York from Kraven The Hunter. It’s one of the more ridiculous comic book premises we’ve seen for Marvel Legacy but there certainly is charm in it’s dumb fun.
We get a Maximum Carnage reunion with Shriek making an appearance, helping Kraven with his hunt. It’s nice to see overall continuity reflected upon with Mayor Fisk appearing to sanction Kraven and a task force to hunt these monsters.
Those looking for an ultra-violent, anti-hero Venom experience will be disappointed. Instead, this lighter and less serious take on Eddie Brock’s brand of justice is as enjoyable as it is stupid. We’ll have to wait and see how much of it’s charm relies on featuring Kraven and whether or not Venom can still entertain after the hunt is over.
Spirits Of Vengeance #2
“War At The Gates Of Hell” Part Two
If Justice League Dark and Men In Black had a comic book baby, it would be Spirits Of Vengeance. That’s a high compliment, this is a pleasurable dip into the weirder side of Marvel. It’s also a palatable one that isn’t overly ambitious and won’t lose it’s casual reader appeal.
David Baldeón dresses this book up nice with creative creature designs and swift action scenes. The art style still doesn’t do Ghost Rider any favors, but suits the rest of the cast very well. Andres Mossa really colors the hell out of this issue as well, making certain moments pop and the journey as a whole more memorable.
With the Hellstrom siblings reunited, our fearsome foursome is officially assembled. Spirits Of Vengeance promises a war with demons and darkness that doesn’t seem to be following the same old schematic. A strong start for a team book that could be really strong in how different it is from others.
DC said if Marvel isn’t going to make Fantastic Four comics, we will with The Terrifics. Marvel says if DC isn’t going to do a proper Justice League Dark, we’ll take care of it with Spirits Of Venegance.
“Fire From Heaven” Part Two
Al Ewing and company are making serious progress in making Inhumans matter again. Royals is a bold and adventurous space epic that harkens back to the glory days of Marvel’s cosmic tales.
Kirby-esque atmosphere, design, and color make this massive layouts pour out of the page into the reader’s eye. This art team (composed of Javier Rodriguez, Jordie Bellaire, and Alvaro Lopez) is absolutely lights-out.
There might not be a comic carrying out Marvel Legacy‘s mission statement better than Royals. The script is a dense sci-fi wonderland of survival and exploration illustrated in a hyper-imaginative way. This may be the most underrated Marvel title right now.
Inhumans are back to prominence in all the right ways with Royals and Black Bolt both setting a new standard.
“Take Flight” Part Two
The darkest corner of Marvel Legacy comes from an unlikely source. That’s what happens when you send Sam Wilson, who’s having a rough fallout from Secret Empire, to a city being overrun by Blackheart.
At times, the dark tone bleeds too much into the art. Some of the quieter moments are quite jarring just by how heavy and thick the absence of color is. Action scenes, and every panel with Doctor Voodoo, lighten the spectrum a bit more and are more enjoyable.
Falcon and Patriot’s new partnership, and budding friendship, is the heart of this book. Sam having a young partner to mentor should be the driving force to him growing past the darkness in his rear view mirror. Rodney Barnes has good handle on the duo, tapping into their potential confidently.
Despicable Deadpool #289
“Deadpool Kills Cable” Part Three
Deadpool’s return to blood soaked lunacy continues serving up chaos and comic book goodness. Gerry Duggan has some fun with time travel rules and maximizes the strengths of our mutant duo.
This Cable and Deadpool reunion has been enjoyable. Nothing new to their dynamic, not letting nostalgia drag down their current standing, just a solid read. Scott Koblish and Nick Filardi take full advantage of Wade’s change of heart, painting the walls of every panel with bloody carnage.
Jessica Jones #14
“Return Of The Purple Man” Part Two
Purple Man has a hold of Jessica and Luke’s daughter in a tense opening scene. Killgrave strikes at Jones’ heart to get her attention.
That’s the peak of this issue, from there it’s like a checklist for Jessica Jones comics. Conversations that wear out their welcome, a visit to Carol Danvers, at least one “duck face” head tilt shot, and plenty of smirks.
Michael Gaydos and Matt Hollingsworth are still producing high quality art, but this still feels stale. Even with a larger cast than the last run-in with Purple Man, there’s not a sense of danger or anything new to hook readers who have been here before.
If this is your first Jessica Jones experience, it’s probably great. For the rest of us it’s just a lot more of the same.
Uncanny Avengers #29
“Stars And Garters” Part Two
A big, clunky (in a good way) battle against the Juggernaut escalates quickly into a superhero scenario we haven’t seen in a while. Juggs does a number on Synapse, it’s Quicksilver’s fault, he takes heat for it and is shown the door after trying to play the blame game.
That’s a ton of inner-group turmoil to happen in one issue, it’s laid out flawlessly with a fast pace that goes down easy. Uncanny Avengers has been one of the stronger team books throughout the entire run, this arc shifts the focus to be on the people wearing these costumes.
There’s a lot of personality on display, Jim Zub lays the ground work for each character’s development; Sean Izaakse, Juanan Ramirez, and Tamra Bonvillain flesh everything out in spectacular fashion.
This issue takes a heavier concept and paints it with a lighter brush. It’s a beautiful book that juggles the cast and all their differing views and personalities effortlessly.
The Unbelievable Gwenpool #22
“Doom Sees You” Part Two
Gwenpool is giving her male namesake a real run for his money on best fourth-wall-breaking-character. Christopher Hastings wields her ability to speak to the audience and circumvent the rules of reality as a tool rather than a punchline delivery system.
As skeptical as I may have initially been with this series, I can’t get enough of it now that it’s hitting its stride. Irene Strychalski’s cartooning and Rachelle Rosenberg’s vibrant coloring make this is a visual joy to read.
What were your favorites from this week of Marvel Legacy? Be sure to check back next week for another healthy installment of Marvel Legacy Report!