This. Is. It. Marvel Legacy #1, the one-shot ushering in the beginning of The Marvel Universe, is here. You’re kidding yourself if you think AJ Frost and I don’t have thoughts on the title. Will Jason Aaron and Esad Ribic be able to strike lightning from the hammer of Thor and deliver something worthy of the epic Legacy name? Find out today in The Marvel Rundown:
Marvel Legacy #1
Written by Jason Aaron
Illustrated by Esad Ribic with Steve McNiven
Colored by Matthew Wilson
Lettered by VC’s Cory Petit
Additional art by Chris Samnee, Russell Dauterman, Alex Maleev, Ed McGuinness, Stuart Immonen & Wade Von Grawbadger, Pepe Larraz, Jim Cheung, Daniel Acuna, Greg Land & Jay Leisten, Mike Deodato Jr and David Marquez
Alexander Jones: AJ, Marvel Legacy #1 is finally here! What did you think of the bombastic returns and reveals; and what were your overall impressions at a glance of the huge book?
AJ Frost: Hey Alex! Well, firstly, I wasn’t pumped up around all the hype for this book, so my expectations were measured. I went into without thinking it would be the greatest work Marvel ever published, nor did I think it would be a mess. Because of this, the one-shot as a whole was a lot of fun, had some interesting twists, pretty great art, and a solid foundation for future stories.
Jones: Everything on the page was pretty much fantastic but the big surprise factor was not there for me throughout the comic. The contents of the story itself surprised me as lots of weird plot threads were opened up here. The main story with Ghost Rider threw me off but in a good way. It was hard not to compare that book to DC Universe: Rebirth #1 which seemed to carry a much more focused approach to the massive comic book spectacle. However, there is a lot of goofy, insane stuff to enjoy here and the final bookend is a pretty great way to cap off the issue.
Frost: It was a smorgasbord of how many Marvel characters they could fit into one coherent narrative. Just keeping track of who was where must have been a nightmare, but the effect of not only going between time periods and physical was handled well.
Jones: One reveal we can definitely talk about without fear of spoiling anything is the first official debut of the 1,000,000 BC. AJ, were you enchanted by this new cast of characters? Did any of them stand out against the contemporary counterparts? The sprawling nature of the book was a great way to get the comic started.
Frost: The introduction of Avengers B.C through me for a loop during my first read-through. It was only after seeing them in the broader context of “Legacy” that made me understand their role in the narrative. It was a bold move to begin so far in the past and time skip so far in the future (a little too wantonly at times, but suspension of disbelief weighed against thinking about it too much). As a whole, the vignette featuring 1,000,000 BC was a fun meta-diversion and help cement the ideas behind the “Legacy” story structure. What were your thoughts on them?
Jones: Yeah, as I briefly mentioned before, the little tease at the characters was interesting but there wasn’t some kind of huge hook that interests me in them right from the get-go. My biggest questions about Starbrand Hulk and Ghost Rider still kind of remain. Aside from the larger chunks of captions, it would have been great to see something that linked the main storyline back to the present a little more smoothly. Some of Odin’s dialogue was cheesy but in kind of an endearing way. There’s a lot to like about the newest Avengers team, but we didn’t see any true team dynamics or something to truly hook readers right away–I wish it was handled just a bit differently and still thoroughly enjoy what writer Jason Aaron is trying to do.
Frost: It was a bold way to open the book because they only appear for this one sequence before we start the larger narrative. Cheezy dialogue is part and parcel of the comix experience!
Jones: What did you think of the main Ghost Rider plot? I imaged the sequence had you scratching your head a bit?
Frost: Indeed. It was a bit random. Something about million-year conquests to defeat evil or some such. But it was rendered so well I let it slide a bit. Actually, what I found interesting is that throughout the comic, introductions of certain characters often felt as though they came out from way out of left-field. It was nice to see some of them, especially ones that seemed to have been underused (or maybe forgotten?) since the ramping up of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Jones: As far as I can there is no direct book leading up to the story. After looking at the teases in the back of the book, I’m not sure what comic this plot thread spills into? The story could be the launching pad for the next event, and I am so fucking excited the publisher is doing something with Starbrand again. He’s a character from the New Universe brought back in Jonathan Hickman and Dustin Weaver’s Avenger’s run that was really interesting and has a great costume and symbol but never found his niche in the overall Universe. Marvel is pushing him hard now in Legacy with the Hulk version and what-not. AJ what do you think about this concept of Legacy? The publisher now even has two Starbrand characters–everybody has a double!
Frost: Seeing that every hero has a double is maddening on one level and refreshing on another; Marvel is attempting to give readers two levels of access. Because there is so much continuity, it can be nearly impossible to simply pick up a random floppy and read with enjoyment because you’re so confused about what’s happening. Having a double allows for new story ideas, which if executed correctly, leads to exciting avenues of reader engagement. I’m not too aware of Starbrand, so it was cool seeing him interact with Ghost Rider.
Jones: The plot thread which drove me the craziest what was going on with the Avengers of the present day. I was waiting for the big driving story to kick in during the whole issue and pacing-wise this aspect of the comic felt which slowed things down. The cutesy conversation between Sam Wilson and Jane Foster Thor was particularly out of place for me here. There was also something about the art which was drawn by who I think was Steve McNiven did not sit right with me. The composition of the figures and flat coloring left a bad taste in my mouth and in my opinion, did not grasp the tone and style these sequences were going for. Was your impression different?
Frost: Ok, so the art was all over the place on this issue. (The credits list like a million different pencillers for this issue.) As you said, sometimes it seemed flat, but at other times it was really sharp. I’d point to the cameo from Deadpool, which looked compositionally stellar and was a great sequence to boot. As for the modern-day Avenger stuff, I can see where you’re coming from, but I thought it wasn’t any better or worse than the stuff from “Generations.” So, in that way, it’s typical house style art.
Jones: Esad Ribic is a national treasure and should be treated as such, most of the art in the book was pretty good.
Frost: Yeah, there was a definitely a mix-and-match aesthetic to the “Legacy”–but it seemed that’s what the creators were going for.
Jones: Some creators were the same ones set to launch books in the upcoming weeks and months so that was pretty cool–Captain America’s Chris Samnee draws a sequence which set the tone very low-key for the upcoming storyline. I like the Jim Cheung tease to for Marvel Two-In-One and the All-New Guardians stuff. This book made the Universe feel cohesive for me but I just wish the Ghost Rider storyline could have hit some massive climax that made the whole thing come together. I almost loved this comic, but as of right now I like it a lot. The end of Ghost Rider story hit us with something cool (no spoilers here) but nothing hit a true emotional peak the same way Wally West running through DC Universe: Rebirth #1 crying made me feel.
Frost: Glad to see that you enjoyed the issue! As for me, I did- end up enjoying it a lot.
Jones: The book is a little cryptic but did it work for you overall? Are you interested in continuing with the other books after Legacy that the title teased?
Frost: Overall, I was entertained by “Legacy” and its little teases piqued my interest. Indeed, some of the character reveals were interesting, but will it hold my attention in stuff coming up? It all depends on how well the publisher can transition their ambitious ideas into really solid stories.
Jones: Did you think the reveals lived up to the hype? The content in the issue was good but nothing blew my mind when we got to the last few pages. I understand that Marvel didn’t to play all of their cards in this one huge issue but maybe there was too much hype in the some of the language they used for the solicitation. Would you recommend this to new readers or old readers?
Frost: You ask a good question, Alex, and I’m not sure what the correct answer is. For new readers, there will be a sense that because this is a one-shot. For old hands at Marvel, the nuances and nods are enough for the price of admission.
Jones: I agree with all of the points you made above. Going into final thoughts here it sounds like we both liked this issue. How much did you ending up liking this issue though?
Frost: A tougher question at a second glance! I enjoyed it, as I often enjoy reading Marvel. Maybe it was a good thing to avoid the hype because, overall, it’s definitely a solid comic with lots of good things going for it. On the other hand, it leaves readers with a lot of carrots to follow, rather than leave a conclusive ending (I know, I know… that’s how comics usually work.) Nonetheless, for something that was carved out to be one of the most special releases, “Legacy” feels more like a unique one-off rather than an event. If readers go into the issue with the narrative in mind, I think they will enjoy it much more.
Jones: If this issue contained a stronger connective tissue I would have loved it but I’ll be damned if there isn’t a ton of Easter eggs to enjoy peppered throughout this comic book. Comic books can be hard to get into especially if they are part of a massive shared Universe and if you are starting anywhere I don’t think Marvel Legacy #1 is the worst place to jump in. You get to meet lots of new characters which should interest you and get a feel for how different publishing is versus the films. This was a thoroughly enjoyable title and anyone even slightly interested should give it a buy. Like you said before I just think you need a very open mind to absorb everything going on in these pages.
Frost: Well said!
Jones: what’s your verdict?
Jones: Make Mine Marvel.