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 MFR’s resident Marvel fan. 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: Blue #15
“Mojo Worldwide” Part Six
The first Legacy X-Men crossover comes to an end. It may have dragged on an issue longer than it needed, but it wraps up nicely. Cullen Bunn slaps a classic open-ended conclusion onto the finale.
Mojo finds himself trapped in the 616, but with his own broadcasting network. I hope he becomes a constant feature of future comics, rambling nonsense on tv screens in the background.
Seeing a massive collection of X-Men rip through waves of enemies never stopped entertaining. Jorge Molina’s art was consistently big and explosive throughout this whole crossover.
Aside from the handful of panels with Jean and Kitty’s bulging anime eyes, this is another solid effort. Matt Milla’s color is stunning as always, he makes every page ooze into your brain.
Now that the dust is settling, Kitty dismantles the Blue team’s standing with Magneto. “Mojo Worldwide” might not have been a masterpiece, but both Blue and Gold are going to be stronger books coming out of it. It’s exciting to be an X-Men fan again.
The Punisher #218
“Punisher: War Machine” Part One
The least expected consequence of S.H.I.E.L.D. dissolving comes in the form of Nick Fury Jr. enlisting and supplying Frank Castle. Without a major organization and agents to utilize, The Punisher is the only man for the job, he just needs to exploit the little bit of heart left in the man.
Matthew Rosenberg’s script and dialogue is very blunt, Frank’s recruitment conversation is stern and convincing. Getting Frank to begrudgingly play “spy” for a while, in his own bloody way, is a delightful change of pace. It certainly helps get the bad taste of our mouths of his Hydra employment from Secret Empire. I really like Frank being painted as a “crazy homeless vet” who lives in a van full of guns.
This is a surprisingly colorful book through explosions, light, and blood splatter. The use of shades during Frank and Nick’s poorly lit conversation makes what could have been a stiff couple of pages into a pleasing visual.
My biggest issue with the art is Frank looking exactly like Jon Bernthal. We should be past the point where artists try to emulate the film versions of these characters, and not the other way around. When the War Machine suit gets its big reveal page, it looks god awful. Iron Manatee hopefully gets a makeover when Frank slaps a skull on the front of it.
Secret Warriors #8
“Vs. Mister Sinister” Part One
Secret Warriors is the quieter hit among the resurgent crop of Inhuman comics. The extremely likable cast of younger heroes uncovers a twisted plot by classic X-Men villains Mr. Sinister and Dark Beast.
Matthew Rosenberg utilizes the strength of each character’s personality and plays the team member off of each other in a fun and natural way. Despite Moon Girl being the only actual kid, there’s a touch of Paper Girls and Stranger Things as the team tries to solve a Scooby-Doo superhero mystery.
Javier Garrón and Will Robson use a cartoony style to tell this story, which even further illustrates the youthful sentiment. This particular approach works well for characters and their reactions, as well as the action scenes. For other characters, like Karnak, it doesn’t translate as well.
Peter Parker: The Spectacular Spider-Man #297
“Most Wanted” Part One
Zdarsky’s Spidey took a couple issues to grow on me. The first handful were like the first season of The Office or Parks & Rec, trying to find the right voice and seeing what works. The last two issues have been stellar and Spectacular Spidey #297 continues the trend.
Pete’s relationship with J. Jonah Jameson evolves and becomes the center of this story. Chip Zdarsky has a particularly great voice for JJJ. He’s also figured out his voice for Peter as well, he no longer sounds like he’s being written by Deadpool.
The sticky situation Pete finds himself in gives us a pulse-pounding action sequence where he has to escape a Spec-Ops team as Peter Parker. He navigates his way through danger in inventive ways without his spider-sense, and without being able to use his strength until he finds a way to his costume.
Adam Kubert’s art has fluctuated from issue to issue. It’s more good than bad in it’s first Legacy issue. A lot of the effective drama during the escape sequence is due to his pencils. The biggest problem with the art is on the cover. Why is Spidey still sporting the “web leggings” on the cover? The costume changed months ago.
This is turning out to be a solid Spidey book after all. Zdarsky has a handle on both Peter Parker and his wall-crawler alter-ego. Spectacular Spider-Man enters Marvel Legacy with an exciting story putting Pete in a really rough spot, but he has his new BFF, JJJ. Their relationship is the core right now, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Not Brand Echh #14
“Forbush Man Returns” Part One Of One
A handful of Marvel creators take the time to poke fun at themselves and their employer. Addressing fan overreactions to Secret Empire, variant covers, shipping delays, and over saturation of Gwens, they’re not all winners.
The Deadpool BTS look at Marvel, Squirrel Girl’s dating service for villains, and the final page by Zdarsky are the best of the bunch. I appreciate Marvel publishing a self-deprecating comic book, but they know it’ll fall on deaf ears for the most part. It even says at the end that comedy anthologies never sell.
There’s fun to be had in Not Brand Echh, especially if you’re one of the internet critics who always have it out for Marvel. Some of the bits you’ll spend time trying to decipher whether or not they’re being sincere or merely attempting to control the narrative. “Outdating the outrage” for those of you keeping up with EA’s Battlefront II controversy.
I don’t think anyone was expecting this to be a bombshell. Even so, it feels like more of a wasted opportunity for Marvel to earn some trust back with those who have abandoned the publisher. Either way, there are some good chuckles in here.
The Mighty Thor #701
“The Death Of The Mighty Thor” Part Two
Jason Aaron’s monumental Thor run continues, we approach the apparent end of Jane Foster’s tenure. After the gigantic 700th issue, this is more of a calm before the storm. A calm that is covered in blood and debris.
Malekith has been a constant thorn in the side of Asgardia throughout this entire run by Aaron. Whether he’s been front and center, or on the outskirts playing his hand from the shadows, Malekith is arguably Thor’s most lethal enemy.
James Harren comes in on pencils and does a fine job, War Thor’s battle with Mangog is brutal and massive. Outside of his bright red hands looking like baboon butts, the god killer is an effectively menacing threat.
It’s tough to follow the gigantic masterpiece that was The Mighty Thor #700, but this certainly keeps the ball rolling. This issue is all about setting the stage for Jane’s big finale. Jason Aaron keeps adding to his solidified status as one of the all-time great Thor scribes.
The Incredible Hulk #710
“Return To Planet Hulk” Part Two
On a planet full of monsters, Amadeus Cho is having a hard time keeping the Hulk in check as he fights to survive. Taking Cho out of his comfort zone, and stripping scientific solutions to his current problems, is forcing him to grow and face new challenges.
He’s more like Banner than ever before, facing a similar Sakaarian gauntlet and struggling with his rage monster. Greg Pak also isn’t just telling the same story with a new face plastered over top. This is uncharted territory for Amadeus, he’s going to come out the other end of this story altered.
The peripheral characters and plot is hard to follow. It’s tough to differentiate factions and motivations despite a valiant effort by Greg Land and Frank D’ Armata. The Mad Max landscape with a heavy shade of gamma is tastefully portrayed. So far, this return to Sakaar has been mostly a blast.
Guardians Of The Galaxy #147
“Infinity Quest” Part Two
Gerry Duggan, Marcus To, and Ian Herring keep the cosmic train rolling. With the Guardians undercover as Nova Corps to sniff out spies, we get a healthy dose of space cop action from all sides. Rocket is utilizing his investigator role to squeeze connections out of shady Corpsmen while Ant-Man and Gamora get more acquainted.
The cosmic bromance reunion of the century steals the show. Star-Lord and Rich Rider reunited for the first time since the Thanos imperative and it feels so good. Nova’s return to prominence should play a huge factor in restoring cosmic Marvel to its former glory. Rider and Quill teaming up is something we’ve dearly missed.
Duggan and company continue to repopulate and prioritize the outer space of the 616 universe. The quest for infinity stones has barely begun, but already this feels like we’re scratching the surface of a classic Marvel space epic. Duggan also introduced a twist on the infinity stone discovered this issue, which is the first of its kind.
Doctor Strange #381
“Loki: Sorcerer Supreme” Part One
Donny Cates is one of the most exciting writers right now, he’s been absolutely on fire. He comes to Marvel after delivering hits like God Country, Rednecks, and Baby Teeth all within the last year. With the Bendis departure leaving a major vacancy and shift in Marvel, Cates should be one of the future superstars we see a lot more of.
He’s teamed up with Vision artist, Gabriel Hernandez Walter, for Doctor Strange and it couldn’t be a more perfect pairing. The two of them can take us on a deep dive into the weird while maintaining leveled sense of seriousness, and boy does it look good.
The dark and delicate art style illustrates a serious tone immersed in a world of utter silliness, which is perfect for a Doctor Strange book. The final page, with Stephen standing there brooding next to a talking dog after being called “Dr. Doolittle” hammers home the tone to expect going forward.
Cates playing around with Asgardian dialect is fantastic. He wields it differently than Jason Aaron, but doesn’t disrespect or misuse it. “Does thou ever tire of thine own bullshit?” might be one of the best lines from Thor in recent memory.
Loki being the Sorcerer Supreme is a bold decision, one that pays off immediately. This is a perfect jumping on point for new readers, without losing those of us who have been following along since Aaron’s run. This could easily become a new dream team for Marvel with Cates, Walter, and Bellaire doing top-notch work.
The Defenders #7
“Kingpins Of New York” Part Two
Finding out this series will end at #10 with Bendis departing Marvel is a travesty. Defenders is easily one of the best superhero books on the shelves these days from top to bottom. Losing it will be the harshest blow dealt to Marvel fans as far as Bendis goes.
David Marquez and his color duo have been untouchable. Every panel, page, and layout is extraordinary. The fight between Iron Fist and Elektra is absolutely stunning. Even Daredevil’s interrogation of Elektra is spread out over a gorgeous and massive layout.
Every bit of this team’s dynamic is refreshing, Bendis plays the right angles and holds the right cards. He even utilizes Deadpool perfectly, which isn’t always the case with him showing up in almost every other Marvel comic. This is easily the best superhero team in comic books right now.
It will be a sad day when this book is done way too early. It’s a masterpiece in every way. It doesn’t reinvent the wheel, but it certainly reminds everyone the potential there is in what these books are capable of being. If Bendis leaving marks the end of this title, at least keep this art team together for another book.
Ben Reilly: The Scarlet Spider #10
“The Slingers Return” Part One
Scarlet Spidey’s Legacy debut seemingly drops you in the middle of a story, unless you’ve been reading the series. It’s not the best jumping on point. Much of it’s significance is also likely to be lost on people that aren’t so well versed on 90s Spider-Man continuity.
That being said, Peter David, Will Sliney, and Rachelle Rosenberg reunite and you’ve got yourself another solid Spidey book. The trio worked together on the criminally underrated Spider-Man 2099 series.
The Marvel Legacy bump was a drastic improvement on what this series started as. Spinning out of Clone Conspiracy, the adventures of Ben Reilly were an awful mess for the first few issues. Now that David is having more fun playing with Spider-Man’s history, this title feels more like both Spider-Man 2099 and the Scarlet Spider book starring Kaine from years ago.
In a world littered with too many Spider-People comics, this one stakes a claim on relevance. Peter David and company take advantage of the Legacy bump, even if it’s not the easiest story to jump into.
Amazing Spider-Man #791
“Fall Of Parker” Part Three
Amazing Spider-Man‘s start to Legacy has been strong, the trend continues here. There’s been overarching stories throughout, but the focus up front has been introduced and resolved in each issue. It’s a refreshing change of pace for both Slott and the series not being a five or six issue arc.
Peter and Bobbi’s relationship, both in and out of costume, is really starting to take shape. They provide a great balance to one another, especially given Parker’s current financial situation. Mockingbird is quite possibly the best romantic interest Spidey has had throughout all of Dan Slott’s run.
Stuart Immonen is one of the best modern Spidey artists, Rain Beredo’s color and Wade Von Grawbadger’s ink sync perfectly and turn in another beautiful looking issue. There’s a wide range of facial expressions that Immonen seems to never run out of.
The fallout from Parker Industries has been everything it needed to be so far to turn the book around for people on both sides of the fence. Like Pete says at the end of the issue, this feels like home. Slott is delivering on both sides of the mask for our favorite wall crawler.
“Worlds Collide” Part Four
This crossover is easily the strongest story the Champions have been apart of. There’s major implications and consequences for the characters as they try to stop an “extinction level experiment.”
Viv Vision and her father’s relationship was already one of the most compelling elements. High Evolutionary transforming her into flesh and blood is fantastic. Their family dynamic takes on a whole different look. I’m excited to see what Mark Waid does with her exploration of emotions and how Vision attempts to assist in the growing pains.
Humberto Ramos is delivering his best superhero pages since his Spider-Man work. He absolutely nailed the transition to human form with Vivian. The whole cast looks spectacular but most importantly the teens look like teens.
It remains to be seen how strong both of these titles are away from each other, but so far this crossover has more than delivered for both teams. Four issues in and it’s avoided dragging its feet, instead it’s getting better the more it unfolds.
What were your favorites from this week of Marvel Legacy? Be sure to check back next week for another healthy installment of Marvel Legacy Report!