Title: Marvel Legacy #1
Writer: Jason Aaron
Artists: Esad Ribic, Steve McNiven and various others
Colorist: Matthew Wilson
Letterer: Cory Petit
Rebooting a long-established universe is a tricky business. On the one hand you want to imbue the story with plenty of mythology and cater toward longtime readers, but you also have to entice newer fans to give it a shot and make it an easy jumping-on point. Marvel Legacy #1 is admittedly less successful in the latter, but it remains a rich celebration of the Marvel universe that sets the stage for the post-Secret Empire era.
Now, there’s no denying that many of this issue’s story beats are based on DC’s widely acclaimed Rebirth one-shot from last year. Old characters who have either been dead or absent for a while return, generations of heroes collide and new cosmic elements are added to the universe which have the potential to alter everything from here on. Yet whereas the Rebirth one-shot revealed Wally West as the point-of-view protagonist a few pages into the story and told a more personal character piece, in this book Jason Aaron waits until the last page to reveal the narrator. The reveal itself is quite satisfying, as it serves as a kind of meta-narrative for how the Marvel universe has evolved in the decades since Jack Kirby and Stan Lee created these characters.
In terms of the story itself, Aaron opens in the Stone Age, where it’s revealed that some of the world’s greatest heroes have their ancestral roots here. Mjolnir and the Asgardian mythos play a big role here, which is befitting given how beloved Aaron’s Thor run is. The original Cap however only makes a brief appearance, as Steve finds himself wandering the countryside following the events of Secret Empire. Likewise, Tony Stark only gets a brief mention, stating that he’s been off the grid for a while. We also get glimpses of Ben Grimm and Johnny Storm wondering if the world still needs or remembers them, Deadpool apparently seeking redemption, Doctor Strange and Iron Fist conversing about dreams and the return of an iconic hero. If all this sounds overtly expository, it’s because this issue is the exposition of the new Marvel era. The only major character absent is Spider-Man, but the Spider-Man Generations book also came out today.
There’s little I need to do to convince you to buy this comic, especially if you’re a hardcore Marvel fan or are just interested in reading any of the new titles this fall. It may come across as a bit convoluted if you haven’t been following Marvel for a while, but nonetheless Aaron handles the material with the skills of a master storyteller. Couple that with the book’s team of superstar artists ranging from Steve McNiven to Ed McGuinness, and you’ve got yourself a nice collector’s item here. Pick it up this week at any Ultimate Comics location and you’ll get it for half off, as well as a free copy of the Marvel Previews magazine. Excelsior!