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 get right to it!
***SPOILERS LIE AHEAD***
X-Men: Gold #13
“Mojo Worldwide” Part One
Having already re-established their mission statement and focus with ResurreXion, the X-Men books have the smoothest transition into Legacy. X-Men: Gold has been getting better with each issue, this crossover has a ton of potential.
Even with the inevitable political commentary looming in a Mojo story during Trump’s presidency, this gets off to a great start. The massive roster of mutants is juggled flawlessly and there’s a lot of fun to be had with the X-Men facing their “Greatest Hits.”
I imagine, and hope, this crossover addresses some of the duplicate heroes (Jimmy Hudson, Bloodstorm) and finds them a new home. I did a full review of this issue here.
“Worlds Collide” Part One
This lineup of Avengers is far from traditional. The Champions have struggled to grow on a lot of readers. This crossover between them sets the two teams on a path to find an audience.
Avengers mentoring Champions as they face an incoming meteor. Creative power collaborations are a true delight. There are a lot of interesting dynamics between these characters and their counterparts.
With Mark Waid having written both Avengers and Champions leading up to Legacy, he has a really great handle on both squads. This is the best they’ve been written. It’s as if this was the end game and the previous Marvel NOW! titles were kicking tires as a warm-up for this story.
Some of the issues readers had with both Avengers and Champions prior to Legacy had to do with the art. Personally, I enjoyed the different approach in Avengers but I see why people could be turned off.
The art in this issue is a nice middle ground for them both. A more traditional look without just looking like the superhero standard. Jesus Saiz does a wonderful job blending these two teams together in a new style that suits them both for new readers.
This may not feel exactly like the Avengers of old, but the enjoyment does. This certainly feels more like a classic Avengers title than the most recent handful of various Avengers titles.
Spirits Of Vengeance #1
“War At The Gates Of Hell” Part One
One of the biggest wild cards of Marvel’s Legacy lineup, this could potentially be their Justice League Dark. Combining the supernatural appeal of Johnny Blaze, Blade, and the Hellstrom siblings, this was a blast.
There’s a mysterious and demonic threat that drops itself into Johnny and Daimon’s lap. The two begin investigating the supernatural world before starting to assemble their team of occult-based characters.
I really dig the atmosphere of this book. Being geared towards the weird, dark corners of the 616 without taking itself too seriously, this may scratch an itch Marvel fans didn’t know they had.
The cartoon-style art has pros and cons, it doesn’t do Ghost Rider any favors but Blade sure as hell looked badass. While I would prefer a darker look, it helps maintain the looser tone of the book.
Spirits Of Vengeance #1 provides a spectacular jumping-on point for a book sporting some underused fan favorite characters. It even provides quick profile pages for the four members in the back of the issue.
“Fire From Heaven” Part One
Cosmic Marvel has been quietly coming back in a big way. Black Bolt, Royals, All-New Guardians, and Mighty Thor have all been pulling their weight across the galaxy. Royals puts the Inhuman royal family back into orbit, and for the better.
Led by Maximus, the former Attilan residents trek across the galaxy following a Kree prophecy concerning their precious Terrigen. The Inhumans are are getting more fleshed out than ever before. The biggest difference now is that they’re back to being off Earth and not being forced into replacing the X-Men.
Aside from Gorgon and Medusa’s uncomfortable relationship, there’s a lot of growth throughout the cast. The Inhumans are sporting a much different look, starting with the king and queen not being together.
Al Ewing is one of the best cosmic storytellers right now, he’s been consistently delivering top-notch sci-fi comics for Marvel. His trajectory for this cast is one full of mystery on a grand scale.
Royals has had a distinctly fresh visual appeal. It’s not what you expect coming into an Inhumans book, but it works superbly. The art is cold and dark with some strikingly sharp moments and a vibrant neon glow.
It’s almost Kirby-esque in how colorful and complex these cosmic layouts are. That alone makes it worthy of the Legacy banner.
Iron Fist #73
“Sabretooth: Round Two” Part One
Writer Ed Brisson comes into Marvel Legacy on an Iron Fist series that has been everything we all wanted from the Netflix series. It’s one of the books that have quietly been great, merely getting a Legacy facelift.
Danny Rand seeks out Victor Creed’s help finding another classic Marvel character after discovering they’ve robbed him. The two work out their differences before joining forces while a dark force approaches New York to destroy Danny.
As much as I enjoy this series, Danny housing Shou Lao in a New York City apartment is absurd. So is feeding it like the T. Rex from Jurassic Park, also in his apartment.
Brisson writes Sabretooth well, it’s a refreshing palette cleanser after only having him and his “sub-tweets” in Weapon X recently. His relationship with Danny provides a satisfying chemistry built on good old-fashioned hate between a hero and a villain.
This story is a testament to Marvel leaving behind the “hero vs hero” obsession that had been plaguing their comics for years. We’re getting back to the days of heroes fighting villains, and reluctant team-ups with anti-hero murderers.
Gritty and dark with explosive action and detailed sequences, Mike Perkins draws a very convincing Kung-Fu comic.
Jessica Jones #13
“Return Of The Purple Man” Part One
Marvel Legacy for Jessica means revisiting her most prominent arc and villain. Bendis and Gaydos don’t have to alter much to earn that Legacy banner, they’ve pretty much already been trying to continue where the original Alias series left off in both script and art.
Killgrave is back and Jessica takes her daughter into hiding with Carol Danvers. Luke is on the outside, everyone is preparing for the worst as Jessica’s most feared enemy, The Purple Man, has returned.
Brian Michael Bendis is one of the big dogs at Marvel, that means he’ll most likely be staying the course he was already on with his titles. It remains to be seen whether or not that’ll help or hurt his books if he’s part of the problem or solution for Marvel’s comics.
One thing it does for sure is allowed Bendis to keep doing these obnoxiously wordy monologues at the beginning of his issues. Once you get through that the issue starts rolling and Bendis’ stronger traits appear. His dialogue makes or breaks every scene he writes, Jessica Jones #13 has some fantastic conversations and some that linger too long.
Jessica is one of the rare comic book characters that has found tv success that hasn’t forced a creator to alter their comic book version to better fit their “new audience.” Despite how much I love Kristen Ritter, I still don’t read Jessica Jones’ dialogue in her voice.
This first installment was pretty unfulfilling. After reading the issue, there isn’t a real sense of stakes or impending doom. The danger of Purple Man is implied but drowned out by dull conversation scenes that go nowhere.
This is a comic in which the art is so drenched in photorealism that it relies heavily on the script to make it pop. Unfortunately, this script was dull and the art never really gets a chance to go anywhere.
Jessica Jones #13 is the first Marvel Legacy book to fall flat for me.
“Champions Reunited” Part One
One of the quieter ResurreXion titles goes through the Legacy filter. Bobby Drake reunited with his former Champions comrades to mourn the death of Black Widow.
I’m invested in Bobby’s search for happiness and understanding. However, this book quite often reads like a depressed teenager’s attention seeking Facebook timeline. There’s not a clear sense of direction or anything of real interest in six issues.
Iceman is kind of a downer and over-shares every detail of his life. None of the supporting cast seems to find his struggles interesting or important and readers share the sentiment. It’s a book that thinks it’s as cute and charming as Hawkeye but hasn’t come close.
The movie prop designer activating a bunch of sentinels to get footage of them fighting Iceman is a monumentally lame conflict.
Bobby coming out and learning how to act on his true feelings should be the emotional core of this book. Instead, it’s a chore to get through. Instead of Bobby discovering the real him, the series can be summed up so far as “Iceman is gay, and that’s weird, right?”
“Lethal Protector” Part One
Eddie Brock and his trusty symbiote are back together again. Venom got the early lead on legacy numbering but this is the first official Marvel Legacy release.
Venom gets back to their anti-hero ways, hitting the streets to put an end to crime and corrupt cops in a misguided effort to be a hero. Brock also finds himself with an underground tribe of dinosaur people in his debt and seeks their help in feeding his symbiote.
I can’t think of a compelling reason for this book to exist outside of 90s nostalgia.
This book does absolutely nothing for the character, it’s a story comic fans have read hundreds of times. Even with the legion of dinosaur people at their disposal, every turn of the page was an expected and boring sense of deja vu.
At least Venom returns to their former handsome 90s look, there are some satisfying panels that aren’t polluted by ridiculous dinosaur people.
At the end of each issue, there’s a primer written by Robbie Thompson and illustrated by Mark Bagley. They are absolutely crucial, and perfect for any new reader jumping in with Legacy. Even the origins you don’t need catching up on are fun refreshers drawn in classic Marvel style.