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 #19
“The Negative Zone War” Part Four
Chapter Four of the “Negative Zone Mutant Adventures” is silly and clunky. Our Gold team of mutant heroes find it’s up to them to save a planet from a god that’s been freed and wreaking havoc.
It may not be the strongest issue of the arc so far, but it leaves the team marooned in the Negative Zone, which is fantastic. If a throwaway distraction issue is what it takes to extend our time in the Negative Zone, it’s worth it.
Kitty is still very much up front as the leader and MVP of this team, Guggenheim utilizes her well. Guggenheim is really great at using mutant powers, never forgetting to use everybody in some capacity.
This isn’t the strongest showing for the art, there are a couple of shaky panels. Some of the pages look thin, some panels seem emptier than they could be. There’s an overall lack of emotion of character, most of the X-Men just look like faceless body models. Some of the coloring decisions are a bit puzzling, grating even.
For a book that’s being published every other week, it’s been impressive overall. This is by no means a piss poor looking book, it’s just the uglier of the bunch we’ve gotten recently. Don’t hold this against any of these great artist, chalk this up to deadline demands taking priority over time for details.
Even though this is easily the weakest installment of this arc, I’m more than willing to stay in the Negative Zone for as long as possible. This isn’t an awful issue, just not up to par with the preceding bunch.
“Sinister Six Reborn” Part Three
Why is Bendis getting so wrapped up in family affairs that aren’t Miles and his uncle Aaron? That’s the whole reason we’re here. Lana’s conflict with her mom isn’t compelling, it’s a distraction.
Ganke’s girlfriend calling him “Ned” is infuriating. I have no time for a half-ass attempt at justifying how Ned in Spider-Man Homecoming is a carbon copy of Ganke. We don’t need that connection.
Electro and Sandman’s conversation, about her carrying on the “goofball” Max Dillon’s legacy, is fantastic. It’s something that happens constantly in comic books but rarely do we get an actual conversation between two characters about it.
Oscar Bazaldua’s artwork hits when it needs to. The Spider-Men showdown moves fast and furiously, I appreciate that he doesn’t ignore Iron Spider’s extra legs. Sandman’s tiny recon self-drone is a new and creative use of his powers. Brian Reber keeps things subtly bright, with background sunsets and the Sinister Six costumes.
We finally get to the uncle/nephew Spider-Men showdown, if only for a brief moment. The more we explore that gigantic revelation, and these little Sinister Six moments, the better.
Rogue & Gambit #1
“Ring Of Fire” Part One
Kelly Thompson has the charm turned up to the maximum level once again. The set-up here is good ol’ fashioned comic booking. It’s like the premise for a 80’s comedy completely entrenched in mutant chaos. It’s also nice to see Rogue as a lead character in an X-Men comic rather than an Avengers one (even though Uncanny Avengers is phenomenal).
Even the final page transition is executed exactly like an 80’s comedy, but there’s so much more. If Remy and Anna Marie don’t find their way back together for good, merely exploring and examining their past makes for a great book on it’s own.
Either way, we’re clearly in for a treat. Kelly Thompson is a top talent for Marvel, this series is a perfect fit for her once again. Every single character that Thompson touches has the perfect voice and is deployed flawlessly in little bits. She’s an extremely precise and effective writer, never rambling on with her characters.
Right out of the gate, this book opens up with a stunning offensive strike right at the heart of every Rogue/Gambit fan. Everything from Gambit’s eyes to Pixie’s flapping wings, every bit of this book is detailed and effective. This might be the longest look we’ve gotten at the inside of the Danger Room in years.
Pere Pérez and Frank D’Armata deliver some of the best pages we’ve seen since the start of ResurreXion. Our two lead characters are very flawed and conflicted. They have a long and muddy history together. Every bit of doubt, despair, hope, anger, disgust, and admiration is illustrated fully. There’s a wide range of emotions on display and the reader never needs a second to sort them out.
Rogue & Gambit #1 begins in spectacular fashion. Thompson, Pérez, and D’Armata are bringing their A-game to a comic that will undoubtedly mean a lot to some very passionate fans. An already healthy time for X-Men comics gets even healthier. Kelly Thompson deserves more Marvel titles.
Iron Fist #76
“Sabretooth: Round Two” Part Four
Ed Brisson writes a damn good Kung-Fu showdown. The dialogue walks the line between cheesy and bad-ass perfectly. The Rat of Twelve Plagues is a disgusting creature, when he meets his demise at the hands of Sabretooth it will be supremely satisfying.
Sparrow, the guardian of K’un-Lun, is the MVP of this issue. Her fight against Choshin is the biggest highlight of this exciting installment. Danny gets put in his place more than once, he’s got a lot to prove in the final issue of this arc.
The heavy ink and sketchy pencil tapestry makes this feel like an epic tale of Kung-Fu history. Fight choreography is on another level, every fancy move displayed and labeled like a learning guide to fighting styles. The occasional disproportionate hand or head still pops up, but is easily overshadowed by the overall appeal of the art.
Mike Perkins and Andy Troy do wonders for the story with the direction they’ve chosen for the art. Ed Brisson has many tools in his writer’s toolbox. This is a highly entertaining story that doesn’t use Iron Fist as a crutch. We could spend any amount of time with any of these characters and Brisson would keep us turning the pages.
Phoenix Resurrection #2
“The Return Of Jean Grey” Part Two
This story is big in every way. Bigger than even Marvel was marketing it to be. Matthew Rosenberg is being bold and ambitious, so far it’s really paying off. There’s a foggy bit of mystery that puts the reader in a similar mindset to Jean.
We legitimately don’t know what’s waiting around every corner, or what to expect when we see a familiar face. It’s been a while since X-Men comics had something this big and exciting happening that’ll effect the whole line of X-Books once the dust settles.
The little nod to X-Men All-Father, Chris Claremont, as Jean’s old teacher was a nice touch. Matt Rosenberg plays with the gigantic cast of mutants in these precious, quieter moments. His voice for Iceman is fantastic. Bobby gets some of the best lines in this issue, poking fun at the team he finds himself on.
Carlos Pacheco, Rafael Fonteriz, and Rachelle Rosenberg elevate this story to another level. The thick fog of mystery comes through clear, so does the sense of urgency and anxiety among the X-Men investigating the strange occurrences. The big group shots are glorious. They should bring a smile to every proud X-Men lover.
Phoenix Resurrection is happening fast, hop on now before you get left behind. This is way bigger and better than any of the previews made it out to be. Matthew Rosenberg is doing big things without needing to halt an entire line of comic books.
“The Apocalypse Seed” Part One
This comic feels like someone working through issues that don’t belong to Bobby. Perhaps the reason it’s been such a struggle to buy this version of Iceman is because there’s little to no effort put into him sounding like Iceman.
Sina Grace has no shortage of witty dialogue and amusingly snarky comments for characters to make to each other. If only they were additional layers and not the meat of each page.
The art isn’t bad by any means, but there’s one major mistake. How do you completely miss the mark on Daken’s arm tattoo when it’s peaking out of his shirt? The half-ass attempt at his very simple tattoo design is an extension of how disconnected this book feels from the rest of the X-Men titles. It looks a lot better once Daken’s shirt comes off, but that makes the hallway panels even more puzzling.
There’s nothing of weight to take away from this as an X-Men fan. There are silly dialogue moments and interactions that are enjoyable, but nothing that emphasizes or utilizes the fact that this is a book about an X-Man.
Nobody’s motivations are clear or interesting, Bobby’s boyfriend dies for seemingly no reason and he’s barely affected by it. Daken and Bobby’s fight sequence makes for an enjoyable page, thanks to the artwork.
It’s a chore to read this series every month, which is a shame because in theory it could’ve worked. Nothing against Sina Grace, I just don’t think his brand of storytelling translates here and this comic ends up feeling uninspired.
“Family Reunion” Part Two
Kelly Thompson isn’t a perfect fit for just one Hawkeye, she’s got a voice for both of them. Clint trying to work with all of Kate’s “sidekicks” is delightfully dysfunctional. His awful rescue plan blowing up in their faces is hysterical.
The consistent wit and charm, mixed with the visual appeal of an old spy/private eye comic, hasn’t become any less admirable through fourteen issues. Little character moments like Madame Masque’s concern regarding Kate’s hip holes keep readers smiling throughout each issue of the series.
Clint’s assault on Madame Masque’s hideout is intricately laid out and cleverly executed. Leonardo Romero makes sure the comedy bits land in their visual execution. He also makes sure the action is flashy but gets straight to the point. Jordie Bellaire does some of her finest coloring work on this run. Every panel has a striking, deep color that amplifies the pulp appeal.
Hawkeye is a book ending way too soon, clearly this creative team has a lot more to say with these characters. This arc is every bit as beautiful and quirky as it should be. This certainly isn’t a book that every superhero fan is going to love across the board, but it will likely build upon the cult status it’s already garnering.
Guardians Of The Galaxy #150
“Infinity Quest” Part Five
Gerry Duggan’s final chapter before Infinity Countdown is a satisfying bridge from one series to the next. The Guardians’ time with the Nova Corps has been a blast, but now they join the rest of the intergalactic landscape in their search for infinity stones.
The last couple pages of this issue set up a ton of future narrative, including the return of Adam Warlock. There are some major players, and unexpected ones, all marching towards the same goal. There’s some real buzz that comes along with completing this issue, an unshakable excitement for any cosmic Marvel fan.
The modernization of Adam Warlock looks stupendous, he’s a character that always reflects the style of the times. His return to Marvel’s cosmic side of the universe is a major move to restore the cosmos to a place we need to see more stories out of.
Aaron Kuder and Marcus To have once again outdone themselves in both design and layout execution. I really appreciated that little magnifying glass balloon zooming in on Ant-Man’s kick to the face of a Raptor. Scott Lang is absolutely the MVP of this issue. Whether he’s shrinking or growing, every action shot is mesmerizing. Gamora discovering the Raptor spy, and swiftly removing, was another highlight page.
Along with Kuder and To, Ian Herring also plays a big part in this silky, smooth, and colorful cosmic adventure. There’s a lot happening in the stars behind these characters in each page. It’s impressive how beautiful these layouts of space are without the use of “Kirby dots” as well.
This brilliant Guardians Of The Galaxy ongoing series comes to end, but mostly just in name. We’ll probably see another book on the other end of Infinity Countdown, depending on how well it does. Gerry Duggan is a supernova cosmic Marvel talent, to let his intergalactic vision go to waste would be a travesty. Kuder, To, and Herring have also used this series to firmly stake their claim on a chunk of cosmic real estate.
Captain America #697
“Home Of The Brave” Part Three
Steve gets put to the test by Kraven The Hunter in a fast-paced, non-stop celebration of classic comic book crafting. It’s nice that these have had a common thread from issue-to-issue but largely self contained stories. This issue is fully loaded with everything that could make a Cap book great.
The little creative details, like Cap using his belt to clear some snakes, illustrate that he really has been through this before. Moments like these give Steve Rogers the older and wiser aura that your grandparents are supposed to have. Every precaution Steve takes to navigate this treacherous jungle reinforces this notion.
Chris Samnee and Matt Wilson make every stride and strike matter and practically jump off the page. Cap uses some wresting moves to wrangle that jungle cat away from it’s prey, the choreography is interesting.
Kraven The Hunter, in his classic costume, is the perfect villain choice for this art team as it continues to extract and refurbish the elements that made Captain America comics a Marvel staple. While this is still a gorgeous book, it’s not as polished as the previous few issues.
This also marks the first we’ve seen of the “Where Is Wolverine?” segments. A single page that puts Logan just out of reach of Steve, it’s short and sweet. These are going to be a solid way to keep up with Logan as he claws his way back into our lives.
What a good ol’ fashioned comic book full of twists and turns! Mark Waid and Chris Samnee are effortlessly reminding us why we love Captain America, but comic books in general.
Black Bolt #9
“The Midnight King Returns To Earth” Part Two
Breaking the news about Absorbing Man to his wife, Titania, was still heartbreaking despite the fact that we knew exactly what we were getting into. That’s a combination of how well written the scene is by Saladin Ahmed, and how heartfelt and memorable the time we spent with Carl before was.
Seeing the other side of hero/villain experiences is always worth exploring. A devastated and grieving wife explaining how she can’t afford a funeral because “it’s not like super villains have life insurance.” Ahmed does a brilliant job making this ridiculous scenario relatable. Carl’s funeral, and the inclusion of Captain America and Odinson, was touching by all accounts.
Titania and Black Bolt’s fight is an eye-candy extravaganza, all the way down to the Spidey and Hulk graffiti in the background. The artistic vision on display here is one that even the most visual film director can’t accomplish. Christian Ward is still catching us off-guard and disarming us every issue despite one of the most celebrated artists of 2017.
I feel like this is what Frank Miller thought we was doing with the visual style of The Dark Knight Strikes Again. I don’t know if he just couldn’t translate the vision as well as Ward, or the technology wasn’t there, or a combination of both. I would be interested to hear what he thinks of this series.
Even when taking the action to Earth, Ahmed and Ward continue to blow our minds with their vision and execution. Black Bolt is an abstract and unique spectacle that carries a lot of heart at it’s core.
Astonishing X-Men #7
“A Man Called X” Part One
Charles Soule enlists Phil Noto for his Astonishing debut under the Marvel Legacy banner. This book was already one of the top X-Men comics, Soule doesn’t take his foot off the gas pedal in the least.
The bringing back of one Charles Xavier is a heavy burden. Soule is aware of the weight he is carrying and seems to be handling the material gently. That’s if you believe this is truly Professor X that has been resurrected. I’m not willing to commit to that until Xavier’s word balloons are reversed.
Whether you think this is our long lost Chuck or not, there’s a lot of tension in this issue. The series as a whole has had readers on their toes. Now the reader, along with the characters, has to decide who to trust and what they believe. There’s something that’s off in the atmosphere, adding a layer of intrigue to an already stellar X-Men story.
This issue doesn’t feature a lot of action, it’s also not a jumping on point for new readers. Soule keeps continuing his story, as he should. This is a limited series, seven issues into a story, there’s no time to pick up new readers.
Phil Noto wastes no time making his presence felt, his Archangel pages feature dull backgrounds that make deep blues and oranges in the forefront explode off of the page. His sketch style pencils add lines of character and flaw to these damaged mutants.
I can’t tell if Bishop’s head is drawn too big or if his lack of shoulder pads, and other such 90’s equipment, make it seem big. The design of his costume is a nod to his 90’s look so perhaps it’s a trick my eyes are playing on me.
Astonishing X-Men has been the best X-Book since ResurreXion, that doesn’t change here. Charles Soule is master of mutant meddling and plotting. He’s a big contributor in getting the X-Men back on track as a whole. Phil Noto makes for another delightful collaboration on this title with his outstanding artwork.