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!
Also check out our full review of Phoenix Resurrection: The Return Of Jean Grey from this week!
***SPOILERS LIE AHEAD***
Amazing Spider-Man #793
“Venom Inc.” Part Four
The days of Venom being a legitimately scary Spidey villain are long gone. At least this ASM/Venom crossover is already on chapter four and we can get back to Pete soon.
It doesn’t help having the fabulous “Gwenom” story happening at the same time. Spider-Gwen‘s venom story is a fresh, exciting take. “Venom Inc.” is a boring, ugly mess. We’re not going anywhere new, not looking at Venom from a different angle, it’s just more of the same.
The one main issue that’s plagued this story from the very start is Lee Price. A throwaway character that nobody asked to be repurposed. Him being the center of this story made it a steep, uphill battle to start. Why couldn’t this just be a story for the Venom series? Why does this need to halt Slott’s Spidey? It’s a step down in every way.
There are a couple of positives to take away, although not worth the price of admission. Having Flash Thompson back in a symbiote is great, he’s the only host that makes Venom fun anymore. His Anti-Venom suit looks as cool as Eddie’s did. Ryan Stegman did a nice job, even if it’s really just a color swap.
“Venom Inc.” is a chore to get through. Symbiotes don’t really move the needle anymore, especially not when centered Lee Price. This story makes me miss Mac Gargan.
“Thanos Wins” Part Two
Thanos versus King Thanos, with a history lesson and revelations along the way. Donny Cates is sculpting the Thanos mythos in an epic and worthy way.
Taking a peek at baby Thanos and his mother could’ve easily been in unnecessary cringe territory, like trying to expand the Joker’s origin. Cates makes sure it’s tastefully evil and we get a big payoff as it’s what unites the two Mad Titans later.
Geoff Shaw is making sure Cates’ grand, heavy metal ideas land as they’re intended to. There are distinct differences between the young and old Thanos, and not just in attitude, complete with a bit of a belly to go along with that sweet old man beard.
The scale of everything illustrates how powerful Thanos is. He’s a big guy next to the average person, but not next to Celestials and some of these structures. No matter how much bigger anything in his way may be, they all burn the same in his wake.
Antonio Fabela colors the cosmos and destruction beautifully. Cosmic Ghost Rider’s flame stands out in contrast to all the purple and blue. That historical splash page is magnificent and poster-worthy.
Thanos keeps taking us new and exciting places we didn’t know we needed to explore. This ongoing series, through two creative teams, is one of the best surprises of 2017. COSMIC MARVEL IS ALIVE.
X-Men: Blue #18
“Cross Time Capers” Part Three
There’s been a recent boom in X-Men nostalgia. This is a great time for someone looking to finally dive into the X-Men to hop onto new continuity while revisiting and celebrating the history. For those of us who’ve been onboard for the long haul, who loves a comic book history lesson more than X-Men fans?
The X-Men corner of Marvel has been taking the sentiment of Legacy very seriously with “Mojo Worldwide,” this Blue story, and Grand Design.
Cullen Bunn let’s this history do a lot of the legwork, his fantastic character interactions make up a lot of the script. These time jumps keep the story and setting moving forward. While the time stream has been fun, there hasn’t actually been a ton of substance to the actual tale being told.
There are some rough spots to Silva’s pencils, like Jimmy’s nose during the pool table stare down, but the art hits otherwise. R. B. Silva, and Adriano Di Benedetto’s ink, convey a lot of their character’s emotions and thoughts through their eyes effectively.
I can’t gush enough, seemingly every week about, about how colorful these issues are. Not even just the explosive splash pages and action sequences, even the decor of Massachusetts Academy is lively. Every opportunity for Rain Beredo to inject life by way of color is taken full advantage of.
X-Men: Blue #18 is a beautiful comic, bursting at every seam with a tsunami of color. What Cullen Bunn’s script lacks in actual story progression, it makes up for in character interaction and development.
“Arms Race” Part Three
Robbie Thompson writes Deadpool well, but surrounding him with a cast as zany and over-the-top as he is makes it easy to avoid overdoing any of the Deadpool bits.
This book is loaded with comedy from every angle, not solely relying on Wade. The editor’s note about seed planting paying off, if they’re not cancelled, rings clear and true given the rash of recent Marvel cancellations.
Branch is somebody I wouldn’t mind seeing more of. Especially with Bachalo, he’s a character that’s seemingly created just for Bachalo to draw.
For two characters that are basically just two big eyes, when wearing their masks, Bachalo gets a lot of humor out of them. The way their eyes enlarge and shrink together combined with how shots are framed, makes this reluctant pair a nice coupling, visually.
With all the different artists and inkers on this book (Chris Bachalo, Scott Hepburn, Victor Olazaba, Wayne Faucher, Al Vey, Livesay, and Chris O’Halloran) the smooth transition from one style to the other (page 11-12) is impressive.
Spider-Man/Deadpool reaches the twenty-five issue milestone in a much better place than it began. The supporting cast is delightful and lessens the load our web-slinger and mouthy merc’ would have to carry otherwise.
Secret Warriors #11
“Vs. Mister Sinister!” Part Four
This Cartoon Network incarnation of Mister Sinister serves the story well and fits the tone of this book. He’s not as severe or imposing as any X-Men fan has grown to expect, but effective nonetheless.
With the series meeting an untimely end, this arc (and the upcoming animated movie) made me realize how well this comic would work as an animated series. In the same vein as Teen Titans, this would make for a great Cartoon Network show. Maybe not so much as a Disney XD property similar to the Ultimate Spider-Man or GOTG shows.
A lot of the cartoon appeal stems from Javier Garrón and Will Robson’s art, portraying the lighthearted heroism that Matthew Rosenberg is scripting. Israel Silva also makes sure these pages are bright and memorable.
After the Sinister plot wraps up, rather quickly, the issue gets a little heavy and starts setting these characters off on the paths they’ll take after the final issue next month. For a book so light and full of heart, there were some major consequences doled out here.
With only one issue left, one of the best under-the-radar comics for Marvel approaches it’s finale. I sincerely hope this team gets another shot if the animated movie is successful.
Moon Knight #190
“Crazy Runs In The Family” Part Three
Max Bemis’ approach to Marc Spector’s crowded headspace provides yet another interesting look. As Marc mediates peacefully in a public park on the surface, there’s a fight breaking out inside between his multiple personalities.
This particular approach also allows Jacen Burrows to get creative with visualizing what being inside Spector’s head is like. This is a full “embracing the crazy” for both the creative team and reader.
Marc’s personalities are more diverse than ever before. Where Lemire made them different characters almost entirely, Bemis makes them different shades of the same troubled man, all given the wheel when appropriate.
The mantle legacy throughout history trope can be a bore in superhero comics, but not here. With Moon Knight being Khonshu’s warrior servant of sorts, these other versions are justified. It helps they’re also nice on the eyes.
Every riled up member of Bushman’s army is unique. There’s no shortage of detail from Jacen Burrows. The wide-shot page of them all being addressed warrants more than a quick glance to absorb all the different men hungry for the destruction of Marc Spector.
Mat Lopes throws a striking, bold orange behind our deceitful antagonist as he unleashes Ra on an unsuspecting Marlene. That orange gets even bolder when it appears behind Bushman shooting his craziest eyes at her, and again at the dinner table.
Lopes does a ton with solid background color throughout, including a stunning display during Marc’s fight with the disabled men. The shot of Moon Knight fleeing in his Moon-Wing, in front of a city/bridge backdrop, is gorgeous.
Without giving anything away, the end of this issue is masterful tension building that leaves you high and dry with a bombshell revelation you didn’t see coming.
Moon Knight is a comic that delivers on every front. Whether you’re a longtime fan or new to the character, this kind of craftsmanship is impossible to deny.
Moon Girl & Devil Dinosaur #26
“Fantastic Three” Part Two
Lunella is an infectious character, charming and adorable to no end. Her stare down with Galactus, and how unintimidated she is, is a top Moon Girl moment for me. She’s the smartest there is and doesn’t have time to waste on inconveniences like a universe-eating cosmic entity.
Brandon Montclaire keeps things as light as possible while still telling a story centered around a being more powerful than Galactus who eats universes.
Martinez and Bonvillain’s beautifully fluffy and colorful art would have you assume this is a book for kids. However, the subject matter, and continuity thread, would suggest otherwise.
The Thing subplot, with adoring fan and temporary partner Eduardo, is heartwarming. Ben Grimm is the reluctant bleeding heart of Marvel fans while the FF is no more.
Moon Girl (And No Devil Dinosaur) is one of the FF torch bearers. Lunella is one of the most important and likable characters for Marvel. Montclaire and the art team keep things light but never fully drift into children’s book territory.
Jessica Jones #15
“Return Of The Purple Man” Part Three
Killgrave’s twisted outlook on how he effects people’s lives is top-notch creepy villain perspective. Bendis does a fantastic job seeing through his Purple eyes and trying to act like a “normal human person.”
Jessica Jones is usually the Bendis book where his word balloon pollution happens most. There’s a ton of dialogue in this issue, but it works. Purple Man’s rambling on calls for a ton of a dialogue, the extra bits of fat actually add to the scene and tone.
After Jessica’s assassination attempt, at the hands of Kraven The Hunter, the horror side of Killgrave comes out in full force. Chris Gaydos and Matt Hollingsworth really hammer home the point of how quickly Purple Man can overwhelm when commandeering a situation. The collage of regular faces suddenly becoming his avatars is spectacular.
The fading black eye Jessica has is a nice touch. No other hero in the 616 universe wears their battle scars and bruises better or more often than JJ.
With a heavy dose of Purple, this was the best issue of this arc. Jessica dropped the ball, big time. We should expect Bendis to go big in his final farewell to one of his most beloved characters.
Invincible Iron Man #595
“The Search For Tony Stark” Part Three
With the combination of artists, this feels like a celebration of not only Bendis’ Iron Man work, but his Marvel collaborations in general. That combination of artists also contributes a gloriously detailed issue once again.
The Stefano Caselli and Marte Gracia pages have a smooth, shiny seal to them (like Tony’s head right now). Alex Maleev’s pages have a rough edge and pastel look to them, which is perfect for illustrating the Victor Von Doom subplot.
Doom is clearly losing his grip on why he’s playing hero. No matter what he accomplishes in the Iron Man armor, he’ll never shake his past. We should see Victor in his better fitting armor soon enough.
This issue marks two back-to-back appearances of The Hood in Bendis books. He shows up here after appearing in Defenders last week. Bendis is apparently going on tour through his old characters and bringing them back as parting gifts (check out the end of Spider-Men II for a big one).
This story hasn’t been much of a search, more so closing up Bendis’ threads while Tony lays in an armor somewhere. It’s entertaining regardless.
As divided as fans seem to be on Riri Williams, the landscape of Iron Man comics is better now than it was before Bendis first handled an arc reactor. It’ll be interesting to see where these characters go with a new writer behind the wheel.
Despicable Deadpool #291
“Deadpool Kills Cable” Part Five
Cable versus Stryfe with a drunk Deadpool caught in the middle. Duggan wraps up this arc with double-crosses and contingency plans galore.
Despicable Deadpool is still vulnerable in his “soft under belly,” but maintains his edge of insanity. We get to see Deadpool’s Hydra pal Bob, which is always a joy. Next up w’ell see Wade go after the “bizarro Steve Rogers,” which should be fun.
Scott Koblish and Nick Filardi do a fine job illustrating a wacky cartoon story with some major rough edges. It never gets confusing deciphering who is Cable and who is Stryfe, which is major. The issue is mostly the big fight, but afterwards there’s a really quiet and beautiful page with Deadpool laying in some gross water looking up at the stars.
Cable and Stryfe both have their time travel back-up plans that get them out of everything as this story wraps up. Duggan and the art team keep delivering a more despicable Deadpool again without overdoing it.
Captain Marvel #127
“Dark Origins” Part Three
With how healthy and populated Marvel’s cosmic landscape has been recently, to have Carol adventuring through a “dark universe” feels unnecessary. Captain Marvel and Alpha Flight were one of the only cosmic torch bearers not so long ago. This book now feels so far behind the others like Thanos, GOTG, Black Bolt, Royals, etc.
The Civil War II character assassination of Carol is apparently unshakable. It’s either that or Margaret Stohl can’t figure out how to extract anything from Carol’s support and settings. Even a “dark” Peter Quill couldn’t inject much life into this story.
There are bright spots, the unveiling of Root and the rest of the Ravagers is stupendous. Carol learning who her nemesis is warrants a slight chuckle.
Michele Bandini and Erick Arciniega carry a heavy load, the art is the biggest source of life in this comic. Bandini draws a heck of a spaceship and galactic setting. Arciniega keeps the tone lively with his color.
It’s not a horrible comic book, it’s just very bland. I don’t understand why nobody can fix Carol after CWII, but the pieces are clearly here. With a movie on the horizon and cosmic Marvel healthier and healthier each week, a Captain Marvel book worthy of the character should become a priority.
Black Panther #168
“Klaw Stands Supreme” Part Three
Ta-Nehisi Coates flirted with a standard comic book story briefly. The Black Panther/Klaw showdown isn’t going to just come and go with one issue of punching. Wakanda, and its enemies, is a complicated nation.
Klaw isn’t just coming back to twirl his mustache and attempt to kill T’Challa, there’s more at play. Klaw’s plans are much more grand. This issue drags a bit in the middle but not for long. There are a lot of gears spinning, all leading towards a bloody mess with Black Panther in the middle of it all
It’s probably frustrating to jump into this series at the start of Legacy. The slow burning build and dense political landscape isn’t easy to dive into halfway through a run.
Artist Chris Sprouse never really bothers playing with depth or filling these panels up. Only exactly what you need is shown, nothing extra. It pairs well with a comic that’s narrative is usually pretty dense. This way the reader will find it harder to get overwhelmed or lost.
The second half of this issue is a fast paced sequence gearing up for major battle. Any reason to actively root for a member of The Wrecking Crew is worth celebrating. Thunderball will probably end up being a scene-stealer when all is said and done. It’s also wonderful to see Manifold getting regular use again.
Coates is leading us towards a massive showdown while keeping the intricate web of subplots moving along. This must be a chore for anyone jumping on late, but those following from chapter one are getting payoffs, ever so slightly, each issue.
Ben Reilly: The Scarlet Spider #12
“The Slingers Return” Part Three
Ben Reilly and Kaine try to out-anti-hero each other in a race to save a young girl to gain an advantage over her mother. Having the two Scarlet clone brothers together in any sort of hero role is enjoyable.
This story is crafted almost entirely for 90s fans, anyone else is going to have visit Marvel Wiki each issue. This isn’t as strong as Peter David’s Spider-Man 2099 series, but Scarlet Spider is way more fun that it was at the start.
There’s a couple weird body proportion issues and bland faces, but this is another solid effort by Will Sliney overall. The fight sequences and choreography is done well, with a handful of different assault styles. Rachelle Rosenberg colors the hell out of everything she touches.
Of all the non-Peter Parker Spider-Man comics that have come out since Spider-Verse, this is one of the most entertaining stories. Scarlet Spidey may have gotten off to a real rough start but hopefully this arc straightens out its trajectory.
ASM: Renew Your Vows #14
“8 Years Later…” Part Two
The all-superhero family dynamic is quickly losing it’s appeal. Perhaps it’s just how Spidey and his powers work, giving the same abilities to three family members makes it boring. We haven’t gotten any of the father-daughter moments that make Superman and Jon Kent’s relationship so important.
I get that we’re all still angry about “One More Day,” but this isn’t the comic we wanted back then. This isn’t the drama of marrying a superhero, or having a kid with one. It’s just tree superheroes fighting bad guys and then sharing a bowl of popcorn afterwards.
MJ isn’t nearly as compelling as a superhero mom as Spider Woman or even Jubilee at this point. It’s not about a mom dealing with supernatural obstacles, it’s about a superhero that has to do her kids laundry sometimes.
There are way better comics than this being cancelled. With Slott leaving ASM and Zdarsky hitting his stride on Spectacular, why do we even need this series?
Renew Your Vows has worn out its welcome. I’m pretty sure the people still swearing by this series think Parker Industries still stands and Secret Empire is still going on.