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 your resident Marvel fanatic. Above you’ll see Marvel Legacy’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***
X-Men: Gold #17
“The Negative Zone War” Part Two
It’s a major advantage to have this comic operate in both longstanding continuity and the continuity introduced by Guggenheim. I’ve been saying since the start of ResurreXion that Guggenheim is playing with shadowy figures in the background of issues like Chris Claremont did.
Now as we get a classic X-Men off-world adventure, we’re also getting big payoff to little things touched on briefly before. The “creepy new guy” in the New Brotherhood ends up being a major player in the Negative Zone War. Classic elements and storytelling tools making for a classic X-Men story.
As our mutant heroes find themselves in the middle of a war, Guggenheim has them asking the right questions and taking responsible actions, which complicates things further. They’re not just fighting their way through a conflict blindly. Marc Guggenheim clearly put serious thought into his script from multiple angles.
Ken Lashley and Juan Fernandez also do their part in making X-Men: Gold read like a comic from the glory years. From mission prep with Blue Marvel to each new Negative Zone landscape, these pages are filled with splendid sci-fi art.
The action sequences and layouts are smooth and colorful. This comic moves like a less-clunky episode of the 90s X-Men cartoon, complete with a cliffhanger that’ll surely have you coming back.
“The Negative Zone War” is a smartly crafted off-world X-Men tale. Guggenheim and company don’t waste the opportunity to tap into the same vein that made so many great X-Men stories in the past.
Spirits Of Vengeance #3
“War At The Gates Of Hell” Part Three
There’s a lot of word balloons to get through before we get any action, but this issue is never uninteresting. The more we see of this mysterious and dreadful underworld, the better.
Victor Gischler’s script feels like Men In Black meets Justice League Dark in the best possible way. This cast continues to entertain, but Blade steals every scene.
During our trip through the history of these silver coins, we get some of the best art yet, making story time feel like less of a chore.
With most of the action being engulfed in flames, the fire effect is particularly strong. This also makes for some great Ghost Rider panels, including a pulse pounding chase sequence. David Baldeón and Andres Mossa make this book’s visuals very much their own.
Creature designs are interesting and all very different from each other, especially once we get underground. With so many similarly demonic foes, there’s no confusing any of them for each other.
Spirits Of Vengeance is an important book for Marvel, learning that it’s now a mini-series is unfortunate. Other than Doctor Strange, this is a corner of the 616 we rarely get to journey through. Even if Ghost Rider and Blade get their own series, SOV will be sincerely missed.
“Sinister Six Reborn” Part Two
This issue was kind of a snoozer. The new Sinister Six is a fun group, but their recon session isn’t the most exciting mission. Bendis shows his lack of care for continuity with the Red Hulk. Anyone reading U.S.Avengers knows he can only be Hulk for a certain amount of time per day. Highly unlikely he would be wasting his Hulk-time on a nap.
Miles is going through this phase where he wants to play hero without his mask on for some reason. The motivation isn’t clear, it doesn’t make much sense, it’s a pointless obstacle.
He’s also without his web shooters and develops a new venom web ability. “Superhero puberty” is a great idea, but organic webbing of any sort is not a route Spidey fans need to go down again. How many powers does Miles need to have?
Despite being a quieter issue, dragging its feet for the most part, the inevitable showdown between Miles and Uncle Aaron is still very promising. The Sinister Six is still the best part of this arc so far.
The distrust among villains is believable and worth exploring. There’s one major issue however, Roderick Kingsley is way too quiet. Hobgoblin wouldn’t be marching to the beat of some random new guy’s drum.
Oscar Bazaldua and Brian Reber keep things interesting despite a boring script. The Iron Spider suit is a pleasing repurposing, Armadillo’s bridge fight is choreographed well.
It’s funny that in order to do recon, the Sinister Six are all wearing trench coats on top of their costumes. The panel of Goldballs and Ganke standing next to each other is infuriating. I can’t be the only one who gets angry when they do nothing to differentiate the two other than a few chin lines.
Even though this a bit of a snoozer, it’s still more enjoyable than the last few pre-Legacy arcs. Miles and his circle are dull and uninspired still, the Sinister Six are easily the more interesting bunch.
Miles versus Uncle Aaron will hopefully be Bendis going out on a high note. Otherwise, we’re all ready for a new writer to breathe some new life into what should be one of Marvel’s best comics.
Iron Fist #75
“Sabretooth: Round Two” Part Three
One of the great things about Ed Brisson’s increased writing duties at Marvel is the diversity of his work. Old Man Logan, Cable, and Iron Fist are all very different stories and directions.
We finally get to the new Constrictor’s unmasking, it wasn’t who readers or Sabretooth thought it would be. This revelation leads to some Sabretooth moments showing he’s still got a heart after all.
His status as a “kind of good guy” is a longstanding effect of Axis. Brisson successfully toes the line between good and evil with Victor Creed.
Brisson’s script continues to unravel at an appropriately effective pace. This arc doesn’t drag its feet and is constantly moving forward as our two heroes adapt on the fly to obstacles in the way of saving K’un L’un.
The down and dirty grit in the art style by Mike Perkins makes fight scenes carry an extra crunch. Every punch that lands is like biting into a Butterfinger.
There are minor inconsistencies, like Danny’s foot disappearing into an enemy he’s kicking like a choppy video game.
The alleyway scene with the red sky backdrop is fantastic. Andy Troy’s blood red sky offsets Danny’s Iron Fist tracksuit colors gorgeously.
These two share a inexplicably wondering chemistry, tastefully mined by Ed Brisson. The winner of “Iron Fist vs. Sabretooth” is the reader.
“Iceman Vs. Iceman”
Two Bobby Drakes are better than one. The two Icemen take on the Drake parents together during an awkward dinner.
Sina Grace is still struggling to make this comic a fully-formed piece of entertainment, but young Iceman surely helps. Him standing up to his not-parents was the most satisfying moment in the series so far.
Daken’s subplot development hopefully has some major payoff next issue. The pages including him here read like somebody just trying to eat time off the clock. He deserves better, like in All-New Wolverine.
Robert Gill and Rachelle Rosenberg do an exceptional job in keeping the art from being repetitive and dull. There’s so much detail in every ice slide and slope that seeing the same trick over and over again doesn’t get stale.
Both Icemen use their powers differently, we don’t see the same blast twice. The art is the biggest source for satisfaction in Iceman.
Sina Grace is still working out the kinks but this issue is an improvement. Gill and Rosenberg carry the bulk of duty to entertain the reader. Iceman struggles to give you anything to take with you afterwards other than some fun situational dialogue.
“Family Reunion” Part One
Kate Bishop is one of the most lovable characters at Marvel right now. Kate Thompson has done wonders with this series in turning her into way more than just another “legacy hero.”
She has so much character and personality. She’s an old soul who’s out of touch with the youth, but would never admit it. She’s always finding her way into trouble but her undeniable charm and sharpness always prevail.
Her relationship with Clint Barton is a complicated but loving one. Thompson plays them off of each other flawlessly, also utilizing their chemistry perfectly to push along the narrative. Also, props to Kelly Thompson for being the only person to reference their Generations issue so far.
This arc gets off to a wonderful start, putting Bishop in a tough spot. It’s a family reunion that works on every level.
Leonardo Romero gives this comic its infectious pulp appeal. Kate’s detective adventures aren’t always about “a missing dame” but they always have a touch of Chinatown that makes this book feel special.
Jordie Bellaire plays a big part in making this feel tastefully pulpy. The simple and solid color choices give an added layer of timely noir action. From Kate’s piercing blue eyes to the yellow window panes in the warehouse she’s captured in.
Hawkeye is one of the best titles at Marvel and not getting enough credit. Kelly Thompson, Leonardo Romero, and Jordie Bellaire are a dynamite creative team. Kate Bishop is a national treasure and deserves to be treated as such. All thanks to Kelly Thompson’s work developing the character fully into her own.
Guardians Of The Galaxy #148
“Infinity Quest” Part Three
Gerry Duggan broke the news this week that this ongoing series will be ending at #150, which is a travesty. He promises it’s due to a huge project involving our favorite space scumbags, so we’ll give him the benefit of the doubt. Enjoy GOTG while we can!
This issue we get a whole lot of Drax, he sniffs out the Shi’ar spies Rocket has been searching for. We also get to see some of the evil trees from Planet X that were teased a while back. Our beloved Russian canine, Cosmo, also returns to the cosmic drama in spectacular fashion.
Duggan has a knack for extracting touching moments from Drax. He’s a big softy when it calls for it, saving a family of Ultron’s victims from the crooked Nova Corpsmen.
The time spent with the Nova Corps has been delightful. Rocket has been MVP, along with his adorable Nova superior (who he now outranks). Duggan has a lot of gears turning at once, juggling them flawlessly. The balance of heart, humor, and stake is what makes this run so special.
Marcus To and Ian Herring do marvelous work in making this sleek cosmic atmosphere feel both pristine and lived-in. The dust and rust that made the original Star Wars movies so unique, with some of the shininess of the Star Wars prequels (but more tasteful).
Beautifully colored planets and skylines make each planet a stunning set piece. Each panel and layout is beautifully cinematic when Drax confronts the crooked Nova Corpsmen. There’s a touch of anime to the frames and backdrops.
Guardians Of The Galaxy continues to be one of the brightest shining stars in the Marvel cosmic galaxy. Gerry Duggan and his artists are a godsend. This run has been spectacular, to abandon it would be a travesty. Gerry, please don’t go anywhere.
Doctor Strange #382
“Loki: Sorcerer Supreme” Part Two
Doctor Strange as a veterinarian and Loki as Sorcerer Supreme is so much fun I almost never want them to revert back. This issue has so many highlight moments, heartbreakers, and bombshells.
Donny Cates has quickly made the world known he is a Sorcerer Supreme caliber Doctor Strange scribe. Cates picks up where Jason Aaron left off, in keeping a similar tone and humor, but takes it even further.
The bombshell at the issue’s end legitimately made my jaw drop. What an incredibly effective scene in both substance and layout. The Sentry immediately makes the stakes of this arc more complicated and intense.
Gabriel Hernandez Walta and Jordie Bellaire are a dynamite, superstar duo. Every nuance and comedic or dramatic moment hits perfectly because of the art. Panels are framed and executed flawlessly, everything has a texture to it you can feel on your fingers.
This Doctor Strange series is already a major triumph from a monumental creative dream team. After only two issues, this is a can’t miss comic. You can safely assume anything with Donny Cates involved is head-to-toe a spectacle you’ll not soon forget.
Captain America #696
“Home Of The Brave” Part Two
It’s easy to get lost in the nostalgia that this book brings with it. The anti-Secret Empire argument was tiresome and outdated out of the gate. The “good ol’ boy” Cap traditionalists may be unbearable, but goddamn does this comic grab you.
Every time Captain America busts onto the scene, it’s as beautiful as he’s ever looked. Chris Samnee and Matthew Wilson have outdone themselves again, this almost makes the golden age Cap pale in comparison.
It’s not even just the costume or vibrant color, it’s Cap’s size, posture, and build as well. The texture to his suit, the look in his eyes, it’s all perfect. The art is a total home run.
The fight against the Swordsman is an absolute triumph. It has some major legs on it, leaping from one set to another, each one more stunning than the last. Everything from the closeups to the motion blur, is damn fine comic book artwork.
Mark Waid is also firing on all cylinders once again. This issue is perfectly paced, a wonderful homage, and tastefully wholesome. It’s oozing with heart, and not in a preachy way which is crucial.
It’s feels good to see Steve on his own, doing what he does best. This road trip of his is important for the character, the reader, and the 616 population. Waid’s jab at the “cap and glasses” disguise from the MCU was a nice chuckle.
We all knew this would be good, yet Waid/Samnee/Wilson still found ways to exceed expectations. Captain America is a comic book that’ll no doubt bring a smile to your face and a swell to your heart as you utter “I f*cking love comics” to yourself.
Black Bolt #8
“The Midnight King Returns To Earth” Part One
These are strange times for the Inhuman royal family. Medusa and her crew are trekking across space, Black Bolt was imprisoned in another galaxy, leaving the Inhumans on Earth under new leadership.
Saladin Ahmed has crafted a tragic and triumphant comic book series. We’ve seen Blackagar Boltagon like never before, and gone places along with him that we never thought we’d go.
Ahmed has taken one of the great Marvel character of all-time, stripped him down, and built him up as a much more layered and emotionally powerful hero.
Blinky is a wonderful sidekick character, replacing Medusa as Black Bolt’s voice. We’ve been through a lot to get back to Earth along with Blackagar, making this homecoming all the more emotional.
Black Bolt’s exchange with Ahura was a brief heartbreaker. The Inhuman king is a changed man and his son barely recognizes him. Breaking the news to Titania about Crusher Creel is likely to be a tear jerker as well.
Christian Ward deserves all the accolades imaginable for this Black Bolt series. Every page turn catches you off guard in just how beautiful and immersive comic book art can truly be.
Little things like Black Bolt’s eyes as he holds back tears approaching his home show the major level of detail to Ward’s art. The grand scale and blends of color on display make every single panel a living, breathing abstract environment. There’s nothing else that looks quite like this comic.
Black Bolt is an emotional masterpiece with art that never ceases to blow your brain through the back of your skull. Ahmed and Ward are two creators you need to pay attention to, this series is an absolute triumph.
“Worlds Collide” Part Five
Mark Waid has been carrying a brightly burning Avengers torch into Legacy and will continue to carry it into the weekly Avengers: No Surrender. He’s got himself a handful of very strong Marvel books all of a sudden. Avengers, Champions, and Captain America have all been top-notch to start Marvel Legacy.
I love when superheroes use their extraordinary powers as solutions to minor problems. Thor using her lighting to see how deep a dark hole in the ground is a quick, simple example of using ones power for much than just punching.
Vision and Viv’s evolving relationship keeps hitting right in the heart. We don’t spend too much time with it here, but just enough to make the ending a total heartbreaker.
Jesús Saiz delivers the best art we’ve seen on this crossover yet. He nails the varying ages within our cast of Avengers, this might be the best Ms. Marvel has ever looked.
As the clock runs down, the shots of the two Earths getting closer and closer is a nice touch, making the impending doom more imminent. The High Evolutionary’s hidden offspring is a classic comic book twist that panned out quickly. He could be an interesting character going forward.
The only problem with the issue is that it wraps up all of a sudden. We go from Viv saving the day directly to her gravestone. Can we get some closure on High Evolutionary?
The same thing happened with U.S.Avengers last week too, Marvel must’ve pulled the chord on all Avengers books earlier than expected in order to consolidate for the weekly series.
The fifth installment of this Avengers/Champions crossover is a fast read, but a highly entertaining one at that. Viv Vision and her father are very much the heart of this entire crossover story.
The Unbelievable Gwenpool #23
“Doom Sees You” Part Three
Christopher Hastings ends up giving us a touching end to this Gwenpool Vs. Doom showdown. This title continues to utilize the breaking of fourth-wall as a storytelling tool like no other comic before.
Victor Von Doom and Gwen sitting on the edge of a comic book talking about her series ending is a unexpectedly memorable moment.
The gag with Gwen calling the Avengers hotline, going through all the options, was hysterical. As was Doom’s sarcastic reaction to being rejected by his creation.
Irene Stryhalski delivers a Nick Derrington-lite cartoon approach that never gets tiring. Rachelle Rosenberg keeps the book’s color simple but effective.
Gwenpool is a blast every issue. It’s one of the best comedy series around right now. Don’t write this comic off, it packs a lot more than one-note knockoffs of the past.