The good and the bad in Legacy – Marvel’s upcoming comic book event
Marvel comic fans are a vocal bunch, and while the MCU may be killing it in terms of box office moolah, the comics division isn’t seeing the trickle down effect they’d like to see in sales. Whether or not you blame the lack of cohesion in continuity, Marvel’s approach to bringing in newer artists and writers in to replace established veterans, or the often heated debate over the diversification of comic characters for the dip in sales, Marvel is definitely listening to concerns.
Enter Legacy – a fall event that promises to right the perceived wrongdoings for many longtime Marvel fans while simultaneously attracting new ones all the same. Now, this may seem conspicuously similar to DC’s wildly popular Rebirth which retconned much of the unpopular New 52 relaunch and brought back fan favorite legacy characters successfully, but it seems to be taking a vastly different approach to regain that good will.
With the announcements that many of Marvel’s most popular titles would revert back to their volume 1 renumbering and that there would be over fifty books launching or continuing under the Legacy banner – sadly none of which are Fantastic Four – time will tell whether or not the event has a lasting impact on the comics scene, or if it is merely a stopgap towards another relaunch. One thing you can’t argue though is that it is certainly an interesting time to be a Marvel comics fan. Without further ado, here what’s good (and not so good) in Marvel Legacy.
The Good: Returning to original numbering
Marvel is well known for ending volumes early to get a brand new exciting issue #1 on the shelf. They often do this when they believe the volume runs too long to attract new readers, as was the case for volume 1 of The Amazing Spider-Man, which ran for seven hundred issues, or if a movie or TV show is approaching, as was the case for Brian Michael Bendis’ recent The Defenders book which mirrored the new Netflix romp.
With Legacy, however, they’ve gone the route of renumbering the titles to mimic the actual issue count, as you can see above with The Amazing Spider-Man. Combining miniseries’ and the different volume numbers may be confusing for some newer readers, but it also signifies a shifting approach of moving away from the constant stop-starting of volumes to get a sales bump for the #1 issue, and that’s something everyone should get behind.
The Bad: Getting the renumbering wrong
As much good will as Marvel could bring to their Legacy line with renumbering their titles, they might just squander it, because on some very prominent characters like Hulk they’re making confusing decisions to reach the numbers.
Hulk will begin Legacy by reverting to volume 1 of The Incredible Hulk at #709. The number change is odd because Marvel currently counts Tales to Astonish #1-101 – a book that only featured Hulk starting at #60 and which came after Hulk’s original six issue miniseries – which Marvel doesn’t count. If you’re confused, I can’t blame you.
The Good: Avengers 1,000,000 BC
Comic books, if nothing else, should be cool. Ghost Rider riding a flaming mammoth into battle with other prehistoric Avengers is definitely cool. Marvel Legacy #1 is a one-shot from writer Jason Aaron (The Mighty Thor) and artist Essad Ribic (2015’s Secret Wars) that will focus on an ancient Avengers that includes an Iron Fist, Phoenix, Ghost Rider, Agamotto The All Seeing, a Black Panther, Star Brand, and Odin.
A supersized one shot that can pull together the formation of the entire universe seems daunting, but the team lineup and the creative team behind it give me hope that this could be the start of something very special.
The Bad: Fifty Three Legacy titles – and variants for them all
This seems to be a case of one step forward and two steps back. While DC committed themselves to a slow steady rollout of their beloved characters in Rebirth, Marvel seems to be again taking the opposite path as Legacy will debut with fifty three banner titles. Which is a far cry from a slow and steady rollout.
Marvel also committed themselves to multiple variants for their Legacy brand, including more expensive lenticular covers, bringing ire from both the specialty comic shops and fans in the process who simply can’t afford to buy over a hundred books to get the full lineup experience.
Moreover, they’ve had to adjust the way stores are able to receive variant covers, after a much publicized boycott from shops over the “meet or exceed” program that requires stores to buy more copies of a book than the issue before.
While fans love lenticular variant covers, as evidenced by the best selling Batman and Flash lenticular covers in The Button crossover event, DC kept these to four separate covers, one for each issue of the crossover event. To say that fifty-three is excessive would be an understatement.
The Good: One shots for forgotten characters
One of the more surprising and nostalgic reveals for Legacy was the announcement that certain cancelled comics would be coming back in one-shots later this year. These include off-the-wall books like Not Brand Ecch and Power Pack but also 90s mainstays like Silver Sable and the Wild Pack.
Just like their ongoing Legacy counterparts these one shots will continue the numbering of the previous volumes – so Silver Sable will debut at #36, as volume one was cancelled at #35. And who knows, if these sell decently, we may even see these turn into ongoing titles themselves.
Do you agree with our assessment of Marvel Legacy? What are you looking forward to seeing? Let us know in the comments section below.
Image credits: Marvel