Marvel Comics had a tough start to the year, with sales dropping and a Retailer Summit that led to a heated controversy over diversity. Now, though, the publisher is gradually beginning to reveal just how they aim to get back on a stable footing. The answer, they believe, is Marvel Legacy.
Setting The Scene For Marvel Legacy
In the aftermath of this year's Summer Event, Secret Empire, #Marvel is planning to take us to something they're calling the "Vanishing Point." This appears to be some sort of reality-warp, probably caused by use of a Cosmic Cube, and it's going to kick-start the Marvel Universe's regeneration in a fascinating way. First up, we'll get the Generations comics: a range of one-shots that will face so-called Legacy Heroes with the icons who inspired them. So the All-New X-Men's Jean Grey will meet the Phoenix; Jane Foster will ally with the Mighty Thor in Ancient Egypt; and Sam Wilson will team up with the Steve Rogers he knows and loves once again.
Generations, though, serves another purpose. It's there to prepare the way for a 50-page one-shot by Jason Aaron and Esad Ribic, which bears the title Marvel Legacy. This, it seems, will effectively relaunch the entire Marvel Universe. Editor-in-Chief Axel Alonso explained:
"Marvel Legacy #1 will present all fans – new readers and current readers – the very best jumping on point in the history of comics."
The comic is set in 1,000,000 BC — and yes, Marvel know that doesn't make any sense.
According to the Marvel Legacy one-shot, this is when the Avengers were first founded...
The Avengers Of 1,000,000 BC
This is Agamotto the All-Seeing, Earth's first Sorcerer Supreme. Perhaps the most powerful sorcerer ever, Agamotto is the son of the benevolent Elder Goddess, Oshtur. You'll know him best as the sorcerer who forged the Eye of Agamotto, starting the line of Sorcerers Supreme who defend reality all the way on to Doctor Stephen Strange.
The mystic effect around the hands is a beautiful homage to his traditional shimmering visage in the Doctor Strange comics, where Strange has occasionally communed with the spirit of Agamotto.
We don't yet know whether or not this is indeed the first Iron Fist, but she's certainly going to be an early one. This suggests that the famous Seven Capital Cities of Heaven may just have been founded, and roots the traditions of the Iron Fist far further back into the history of the Marvel Universe than we'd previously suspected.
The Phoenix Force, a cosmic force of death and rebirth, seems to have something of a thing for redheads. This is certain to tie into the current ongoing Jean Grey series, where the young Jean Grey is attempting to avert her destiny as another Phoenix Host.
Again, it's possible that this is the first Black Panther to bear the title. It's going to be interesting to see how this fits with the ancient heritage of Wakanda, as the Black Panther has traditionally been viewed as a more local hero.
This is probably the most surprising of all the announcements. We were expecting a Starbrand; we just weren't expecting the Starbrand to apparently be... the Hulk. It's anybody's guess how this character fits in!
This Ghost Rider is absolutely surreal. We know that most Ghost Riders ride a common form of transportation in their time, so I guess we can assume the people of 1,000,000 BC tended to ride woolly mammoths in the Marvel Universe. Go figure!
Again, this is a surprising one, not least because this early Odin the All-Father is apparently wielding Mjolnir. This directly contradicts continuity that Aaron himself has set up in his ongoing run on The Mighty Thor, so we can safely assume something has gone very wrong with time in the aftermath of Secret Empire. Again, taking to Twitter, Aaron has confirmed this is indeed Mjolnir.
It's worth noting that, with but one exception, these are all the classic Legacy Heroes — characters who bear a title, one passed down through the generations, apparently all the way back to 1,000,000 BC. We'd heard rumors that Marvel would be stepping away from the idea of Legacy Heroes, but it seems instead the publisher is planning to double-down on them, and establish them as a core concept in their entire range. Marvel Legacy is billed as telling the "startling origin of the Marvel Universe," and will reveal how "it's all connected."
Marvel Executive Tom Brevoort added:
"Marvel Legacy #1 isn’t simply a history lesson. Rather, it’s the starting gun to a bevy of mysteries and secrets and revelations that will reverberate across the Marvel Universe in the weeks and months to come! No character, no franchise will be untouched by the game-changing events that play out across its pages. Jason and Esad pulled out all the stops to fat-pack this colossal issue with as much intrigue, action, surprise, mystery, shock and adventure as possible!"
Jason Aaron is one of Marvel's top talents, responsible for the some of the strongest issues of The Mighty Thor in years, and the mind behind Jane Foster's newest incarnation of the God of Thunder. Esad Ribic, meanwhile, is a phenomenal artist whose work was a highlight in 2015's Summer Event, Secret Wars, and it's a delight to see him returning to a central role in the Marvel fold.
The last year has seen Marvel's competition heat up, with DC Comics launching their success Rebirth event. Now, at last, we finally know how the House of Ideas plan to respond to the challenge.
It's time to explore Marvel's Legacy.
Are you excited to pick up 'Marvel Legacy'?
(Source: CBR; Poll Image Credit: Marvel Comics)