About a year ago, Marvel began its latest relaunch entitled Legacy. Following history-altering events such as Secret Empire and Generations, Legacy attempted to relaunch Marvel Comics with a new direction and philosophy as opposed to previous launches such as Marvel Now!. On June 27th, Marvel is releasing a hardcover collection dedicated to the Legacy relaunch.
While Marvel has taken a commanding hold of the box office, their comics haven’t been as successful. Over the last few years Marvel has produced a number of lackluster events that have failed to meet expectations and series that have been reset to issue #1. That’s where Legacy comes in. Legacy attempts to honor the journeys of our favorite Marvel characters while also ushering in the phase of superheroes. This book is designed to be a tool that can be utilized by both new and old readers alike to appreciate the current line of heroes and catch up on anything they need to know going into the new line of independent series.
Legacy can almost be treated as a character encyclopedia of sorts. The book begins with the 50-page one shot entitled Marvel Legacy #1, written by Jason Aaron and illustrated by Esad Ribic, which serves as a giant hook for the publisher’s new direction. The issue includes a glimpse into the past to show Earth’s first line of defense: The Avengers of 1,000,000 BC. The concept is a bit generic, especially when DC was currently doing the same ploy with their Metal event, but it’s a guilty pleasure story line that some readers will enjoy.
Between flaming Ghost Rider mammoths and a Mjolnir-wielding Odin, this cast of prehistoric Avengers is certainly outlandish, but serves its purpose in capturing your attention. The other half of the issue is dedicated to advancing the storyline to the present day and providing a brief recap of the other major plots currently in the works. While this issue received criticism, largely due to the inclusion of the prehistoric Avengers, I was actually disappointed there was only one Legacy special issue contained within the book. Ribic does a great job with the artwork and while despite the recycled story concepts, it’s still worth the read.
So while Legacy starts off with the special issue, the majority of the issue is actually dedicated to the 53 (yes, fifty-three) “Primer Pages” dedicated to each of the main title series. Each three-page primer is written by Robbie Thompson and illustrated by a myriad of different artists. These primers are intended to provide a quick synopsis of the ongoing series including an origin story and hook for future story arcs. Thompson’s work on creating 53 concise series summaries is the most impressive aspect of this collection, but unfortunately not one that can be fully appreciated by most readers. If you’ve been keeping up with a handful of these series then these primers won’t bring anything new to the table and this section will turn into more of a chore to read. Personally, I haven’t kept up with the vast majority of the titles so I found these short stories incredibly helpful. To new readers, this section can be used to spark interest to begin new series and be used to reference the characters’ histories, but unfortunately it doesn’t leave much for those familiar with the current Marvel titles.
The collection ends with an issue of comic magazine FOOM which includes articles and behind the scenes looks at Legacy‘s creation, interviews with creative teams, and a collection of variant covers. The smaller font and transition to magazine article medium is intimidating, but there’s some good content in the interviews with Bendis, Zdarsky, and Waid.
Is it good?
The hardcover Legacy collection is well constructed and beautiful to look at, but should be considered more of a resource tool for the relaunch rather than a storyline. The 53 primer pages are well written, but will be interpreted as unnecessary or recycled material by most Marvel fans that are up to date. I would recommend this collection as a necessity for any new readers looking to jump on to any of the Legacy titles, but older and familiar Marvel fans will not gain much from reading this.