Marvel Legacy begins with a two-pronged approach to introducing (or reintroducing) comics readers to the Marvel Universe.
Jason Aaron and Esad Ribic’s core narrative revolves around a history of Marvel heroes that spans the dawn of man, and I’ve discussed the “Big Picture” developments at length in part 1 of this Marvel Legacy #1 guide.
The remainder of the mega first issue offers a mix of updates for the current state of Marvel heroes , as well as one-page teasers for developments in books like The Totally Awesome Hulk or Black Panther.
I will forgo the teaser trailers here with the expectation of analyzing and explaining these character’s situations once their first Legacy issues are released. In the meantime, let’s hone in on the core character’s discussed, how we got here, and the comic book reading recommendations that will help you enjoy the story the most.
*SPOILER WARNING — Please note that spoilers for Marvel Legacy #1 follow, as I discuss the contents of the issue and how to better understand the narrative within. *
THE MODERN AVENGERS
The present day saga of Marvel Legacy #1 centers around Loki sending a crew of Frost Giants to Earth, breaking into a SHIELD facility for a mysterious package.
After making short work of the expendable SHIELD agents, the Frost Giants are intercepted by three Avengers that embody the “inherited mantle” approach Marvel has aggressively pursued over the past few years. In no particular order:
Thor: Aka Jane Foster, Thor’s former girlfriend, who picked up the hammer and proved herself worthy as the Goddess of Thunder after the Odinson (male Thor) was found unworthy.
Where to read about this Thor? Thor: Goddess of Thunder.
Captain America: Aka Sam Wilson, the longtime Falcon and partner of Steve Rogers, who wielded the shield after Steve became elderly (it… got better). Sam actually gives up being Captain America at the end of Nick Spencer’s run on Captain America: Sam Wilson, but puts on the red, white, and blue again during Secret Empire.
Where to read about this Cap? Captain America: Sam Wilson
Ironheart: Aka Riri Williams, aka built her own Iron Man armor and was (briefly) mentored by Tony Stark. Occasional member of the
Young Avengers Champions.
Where to read about this Iron-person? Ironheart Vol. 1
As you can see, these are not the original Avengers, nor are they particularly familiar representations of the heroes in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. This is not inherently a bad thing – In the case of Thor in particular, the transition represents a long and compelling run on the title by Jason Aaron – but it can lead to confusion as an entry point.
Much of the conversation around Marvel Legacy has suggested it’s a return to the Marvel experience of old, bringing back core characters and responding to fan complaints that they don’t recognize the Marvel Universe they used to love. By starting the story with the progression of these heroic lines, Aaron and company set the stage for the inevitable renewal of the status quo.
IT’S THE RETURN OF THE, AH, WAIT, NO WAIT, HE DIDN’T JUST SAY WHAT I THINK HE DID, DID HE?
Speaking of returns, the biggest “Back from the Dead!” reveal of Legacy is for none other than Wolverine. The lone Frost Giant escaping from the Avengers has the misfortune of running into a very familiar snikt, one that has been (kinda sorta) absent from the X-Men since 2014’s Death of Wolverine.
Death in superhero comics is largely a formal rite of passage at this point, and if you’re on the X-Men and you haven’t died and come back by now, it’s probably a little insulting. So no, it’s not surprising to see Wolverine has found a way out of his adamantium coffin, but I’d be lying if I was going to pretend it wasn’t a bit thrilling to see Logan back in action.
Since the Death of Wolverine miniseries, Laura Kinney (aka X-23), has more than aptly filled the role of Marvel’s Wolverine. Marvel also used Secret Wars to port in Mark Millar and Steve McNiven’s alt-reality creation Old Man Logan.
It’s unclear at this stage exactly what Wolverine’s return to the Marvel Universe will mean for these fill-ins, but my hope is it means the removal of Old Man Logan, and a continued starring role for Laura, who deserves far more promotion from Marvel than her series has gotten.
COSMIC INFINITY GEMS
The contents of the package Wolverine conveniently intercepts are substantially more surprising than Marvel’s resurrection of Wolverine.
As it turns out, Loki was yet again on the hunt for the reassembled Infinity Gems, only to find one fall into the hands of the ol’ Canucklehead. What Wolverine will make of an infinity gem is anyone’s guess.
Legacy presents us with a brief glimpse of Gamora following the proceedings, on her own hunt for the gems. For the unfamiliar, the six Infinity Gems are the powerful cosmic artifacts that power the Infinity Gauntlet for Thanos in the 1991 event by Jim Starlin and Ron Lim. Possession of one stone is power enough to conquer a world, but possession of all six is enough to ascend to godhood and beyond.
SECRET EMPIRE FALLOUT
Following Secret Empire, Marvel Comics is faced with the decidedly challenging Captain America reclamation project. It’s undeniably a problem of their own making after the year and a half long developments of Captain America: Steve Rogers and Secret Empire set up Cap as the Marvel U’s greatest villain.
Cap’s heel turn didn’t happen in a vacuum either. Hydra Cap’s fascist government took over America and most of the globe, slaughtering innocent lives by the thousands.
We see clearly in Marvel Legacy #1 that the world at large knows Captain America’s fascist “doppleganger” is apprehended, but is still not quite ready to trust the “real” Steve Rogers.
I don’t doubt that creators Mark Waid and Chris Samnee are up for the challenge, but it will be immensely difficult to move Captain America out of the darkness in a way that doesn’t feel overly expedient. The crimes of Hydra Cap should resonate throughout the Marvel U for a long time, with condemnation from all those impacted.
CIVIL WAR 2 FALLOUT
The final major revelation of the issue is the disappearance of Tony Stark, who has been in a coma since the conclusion of Civil War 2.
Stark Industries employee Mary Jane Watson finds his body missing, and of course, nobody knows how that’s even possible.
The Marvel U hasn’t been bereft of Tony Stark for any substantial period of time – even in a coma, Tony’s AI construct was a core character in Secret Empire – but this is perhaps the clearest indication that Marvel is bringing back the old guard for the remainder of Legacy.
ESSENTIAL COMICS READING
In order to better understand the backstories outlined above, I recommend the following Marvel reads!