…..really?? – Marvel Legacy Edition

I enjoy writing impassioned pieces here.  There is a special sort of joy that comes from something born of your heart and soul taking shape in your writing.  I also like to pride myself on writing informed and researched pieces.  I’m not one to rant emotionally with nothing to base it on.  However, one of the early posts on this blog was titled “…..really?” and it dealt with my shock and frustration over the (now infamous) Hydra Cap reveal.  I’ve come to deeply respect what’s come of the story and I’ll openly admit I was wrong.  Buuuut sometimes you just need to rant so I’m taking the title of that piece – “…..really??” – and turning it into an occasional series where I react to an idea before I really have any idea what’s up :).  Today’s focus is Marvel Legacy!

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Photo Credit – Marvel Comics

“Marvel Legacy” is the name for Marvel’s Fall relaunch, coming on the heels of the conclusion of Secret Empire.  Announced on 22 April at the Chicago Comic & Entertainment Expo, Marvel Legacy promises a returned focus to Marvel’s “core heroes” and a reminder to fans of their “rich history.”  In April, IGN reported that Marvel’s Chief Creative Officer Joe Quesada said, “The Marvel Legacy initiative is a celebration of everything that makes Marvel the best in fiction and it’s a signifier of a new era for Marvel Comics.  It’s a loving look at the heart of Marvel as we embrace our roots and move enthusiastically forward with all the Marvel characters you know and love starring in the biggest, boldest, best Marvel stories. All of which kicks off with the giant Marvel Legacy special.”  Part of this “embrac[ing] our roots” will include a return to Legacy Numbering for many series.  It’s also believed that Marvel Legacy will see the return of Tony Stark as Iron Man, Bruce Banner as the Hulk, and Odinson reclaim Mjölnir.

Marvel Legacy 7

Where will Riri Williams fit in? / Photo Credit – Marvel Comics

Uh…okay, let’s go to the good first.  Legacy Numbering!  Yay!  I’ve never understood the move to constant renumbering during my absence from comic collecting.  I remember how exciting it was to read The Amazing Spider-Man #300 as a kid!  But I came back to a world of reboots every few years.  So I’m happy to see the return to their unbroken numbering.  So that’s fantastic.  As to the rest…I’m more than a little worried.

Despite Marvel saying they plan to continue to embrace the new characters they’ve created and honor their very intentional move to diversify, this seems to reek of a move to push their Legacy Characters onto the sidelines if not remove them all together.  What will happen to Jane Foster, Amadeus Cho, and Riri Williams if their namesakes return to take up the mantel?  Now, granted, we’ve had Peter Parker and Miles Morales coexisting just fine since the end of Secret Wars Redux and if that’s the plan, great!  If not, I’m not going to be pleased.

Just look at some of the names of the titles to come.  It looks like they are doing a hard push back to the 80’s and 90’s here.

Marvel Legacy 1.jpg

Photo Credit – Marvel Comics

Let’s start with The Amazing Spider-Man #789.  The story is called “Fall of Parker.”  To be fair, that could mean anything.  And it might be all manner of exciting and unexpected things!  As I’ve been learning, Dan Slott is nothing if not a creative storyteller.  But anyone want to bet that this will see the end of Parker Industries and a return to Peter peddling pictures to the Daily Bugle while he constantly struggles to make ends meet?  Sadly that’s what I’m betting on…

Then we see Champions #13 beginning a cross over with Avengers #672.  It could very well just be a team-up.  But I’m honestly very worried this could see the Champions disband and be reassumed into the Avengers.  I hope and pray that I’m wrong.  But my spidey-senses are tingling.

Marvel Legacy 18.jpg

Note the intentional mirroring of classic covers too.  This can be cool…depending on where it goes.  Hmmm. / Photo Credit – Marvel Comics

Moving to Falcon #1, the story’s called “Take Flight.”  The title alone is enough to show us that Sam Wilson won’t be returning to the role of Captain America after Secret Empire concludes.  I’m also concerned with the shift in authors from Nick Spencer to Rodney Barnes.  I know authors shift all the time in comics.  It’s part of working in a medium where the story never really ends.  But Nick Spencer has given us such an important book in Sam Wilson: Captain America.  This is a Captain America comic book for 2017.  Even if it’s not always comfortable to read, it’s a book we need as a country.  I worry the shift in authorship will also herald a shift away from the uncompromising social justice messages of the comic.

Then there’s The Incredible Hulk #709.  Obviously, the “Totally Awesome” has dropped from the title and the name for the upcoming story arc – “Return to Planet Hulk” – looks like we’re returning to one of the biggest fan favorite storylines to play out in a Hulk comic over the last few decades.  Is there a place for Amadeus Cho here?  My bigger concern is that it seems like this may just  be rehashing the past.

Marvel Legacy 15

The faux-hawk seems to imply Amadeus Cho is still central…but I’m still worried. / Photo Credit – Marvel Comics

Invincible Iron Man #593 will begin “The Search for Tony Stark.”  But what will become of Riri Williams once we’ve found Tony Stark?

Marvel Legacy 3

Oh how I hope Thor doesn’t die… / Photo Credit – Marvel Comics

What worries me the most is The Mighty Thor #700.  A story titled “The Death of Mighty Thor” doesn’t bode well for Jane Foster.  First, the title returned to being called The Mighty Thor while she was wielding Mjölnir.  Second, we know she’s been battling cancer and each time she uses Mjölnir to change, the healing abilities of the hammer purge the chemo radiation from her body.  The very act of being Thor is slowly killing her.  If Odinson is picking up Mjölnir again, after we’ve seen how Mjölnir connects with Jane in a way it never has for Odinson, what can this possibly mean for the fate of Thor?  Thor’s always been my second favorite superhero.  I’ve loved him for decadesSo it’s from a place of deep love when I say Jane Foster is the best Thor I’ve ever read.  No Thor comic I’ve ever read is anywhere near close to being as good as they are now that Jane’s Thor.

I will say I am beyond relieved that The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl and Ms. Marvel seem to be remaining untouched.  And I have no reason to believe Miles Morales won’t continue to star in Spider-Man as Peter Parker’s swinging through The Amazing Spider-Man and Peter Parker: The Spectacular Spider-Man.  (Which, incidentally, the story arc that begins in Peter Parker: The Spectacular Spider-Man #297 is called “Most Wanted.”  Anyone else remember how often Spidey was pursued by the cops in the old days?)  So thankfully Marvel isn’t dropping everything innovative and exciting they’ve created over the last few years.  Still, I’m very, very worried.

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Looks like Gwen’s getting some symbiote trouble of her own. / Photo Credit – Marvel Comics

This whole thing feels very personal for me.  I’ve written before how the two biggest things that pulled me back to comics after my seventeen year absence was Kamala Khan becoming Ms. Marvel and Jane Foster taking over as Thor.  Even before Jeff talked me into reading Marvel’s new Star Wars comics I was reading every article I could find online about Kamala and Jane.  For the first time in nearly twenty years Marvel felt relevant to me.  It felt like they were doing something I couldn’t miss out on.  I haven’t been disappointed since my return.  In fact, I’ve found characters – chief among them Squirrel Girl and Ms. Marvel – who I consider to be some of the greatest things Marvel’s ever created.  The daring stories, the intentional move to diversify, the courageous social justice focus – this was what made me look at my monthly budget and find room for comic books alongside things like my mortgage and utilities.  Looking at all the Marvel Legacy promo material I’ve seen I’m really worried about what’s coming.

 

I wrote a little while ago about X-Men Gold.  I think the book is fun and exciting and a great X-Men comic…but I dropped it because it felt just like what I read in the 1990’s.  The criteria I use for buying a comic every month is 1) It has to be fun (I want something bright, fun, funny, and enjoyable), 2) It has to be socially aware and justice-oriented (I want comic books that address the world we live in and challenge us to make it better), and 3) It has to be relevant (I’m not interested in reading recycled versions of what I have from my time reading comics in the 80’s and 90’s).  If Marvel’s just interested in selling nostalgia, I’m not buying.

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Best. Comic. EVER. / Photo Credit – Marvel Comics

I’ll read The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl as long as Ryan North and Erica Henderson are on the title.  I’ve said before I think Squirrel Girl is the most important and most enjoyable comic on the market right now – by far.  And I can never imagine dropping Ms. Marvel as long as G. Willow Wilson is writing nor Black Panther as long as Ta-Nehisi Coates is at the helm.  But if Champions folds back into Avengers, I’m not interested.  If The Falcon loses its uncompromising social justice core, it’s cut.  If Spider-Man becomes another Peter Parker title (which, again, I doubt), I’m out.  If Riri heads back to college and we only have Tony Stark, I’ll seriously consider dropping that title too.  I’m also not interested in watching Bruce Banner be miserable and hunted each month either.  I loved, loved, loved how much Amadeus loved being the Hulk and I was beyond happy that he finally gave Bruce some peace.  And if Jane Foster is no longer Thor, I can’t imagine paying to see Odinson do what I’ve seen him do for decades.

Now, to be clear, this isn’t my saying I have no faith in Marvel.  I have a great amount of faith in many of the authors they have working right now.  But I will admit I’m scared that Marvel will abandon much of the progress they’ve made and give up the important role they can play in the future.  Nor is this an “I pay a lot of money so Marvel needs to do exactly what I want!” sort of rant.  I don’t pay that much for comics each month and whenever I see someone send a letter to a Marvel comic demanding they change the stories to suit their preferences or they’ll stop reading the comic I think that person is an exceedingly narcissistic tool.  If they revert, that’s their choice just as stopping reading will be mine.  I don’t expect Marvel to bend to my whims.  But I hope we can expect them to continue to be innovators, making comics of the present and for the future, not the past.  That’s what brought me back to my local comic shop saying, “Make mine Marvel!” again after so long.

And hey, if I’m lucky, maybe I’ll be as off base with Marvel Legacy as I was with Captain America’s Hydra allegiance!  Here’s hoping…

Marvel Legacy 23

What would Squirrel Girl do?  THAT’s the way forward Marvel!  More unique, important, brilliant characters like this.  You’ve got.  They’re there.  Just don’t abandon ship! / Photo Credit – Marvel Comics

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13 thoughts on “…..really?? – Marvel Legacy Edition

  1. Another great article! All points are well considered & your concerns
    are rightly justified, I must agree. Marvel has been in the habit of taking
    one step forward and three steps back for years now. Having read this
    optimistic Public Relations language over & over now it has worn thin.

    Where are the Young Avengers? In 2005, after Avengers Disassembled
    a new group of young optimistic heroes rose to the challenge, honoring
    the legacy of their predecessors, but without re-hashing the convoluted
    baggage. Allan Heinberg & Jim Cheung created a modern masterpiece
    for a new generation. Even when the book went on hiatus, it returned
    in 2013 Kieron Gillen & Jamie McKelvie took the book to the next level.

    Kate Bishop & America Chavez are accounted for, but they are part of
    a team. When The Champions burst on to the scene they were a real
    breath of fresh air, completely doing their own thing & it was amazing!

    Like you said, Legacy looks to be rolling back to the ’80s & honestly
    it isn’t interesting in the slightest. The world has moved on & so should
    Marvel. Reading the statements of Joe “One More Day” Quesada ring
    hollow in a decade of re-boot, re-boot, re-boot. Where solid successful
    characters & teams have been left by the wayside. 2 heroes for the
    price of 1 are of little interest. If you set the stage for the next generation
    of heroes to rise up, then you must as they say “let them walk” on their
    own terms. What I hear from HQ are the empty promises of a politician.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I hadn’t even made the “One More Day” connection in my mind! You’re right; Joe Quesada really does have a thing for rolling back the clock on Marvel’s artistic and narrative progress. If we’re taking one step forward and two steps back, at least we have that one step forward. BUT we shouldn’t be backsliding so much in 2017 anyway! In addition to the important progress their social justice messages carry, the new generation of kids coming up need heroes that look and feel like they do. They DESERVE heroes like that as well.

      If nothing else, we can take solace in some of the talent Marvel has working for them. Granted, Marvel didn’t support Chelsea Cain or Kate Leth the way they should have. Both ‘Mockingbird’ and ‘Patsy Walker: A.K.A. Hellcat’ were brilliant books that were gone way before their time. However, Marvel still has authors like Ryan North, G. Willow Wilson, Nick Spencer, Ta-Nehisi Coates, Gabby Rivera, and Mark Waid so there’s a lot of potential. Now Marvel just has to get out of the way and let these voices carry us to the future.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi Michael,

    I think it might all be about money with the back-and-forth of characters. They are trying to keep aligning the hype for the movies by keeping the characters current. Man! They should have their own lives comics and movies on their own. Story-telling should be for the sake of the art, not to just make money.

    Thanks,

    Gary

    On Sat, Jul 22, 2017 at 8:55 PM, My Comic Relief wrote:

    > Michael J. Miller posted: “I enjoy writing impassioned pieces here. There > is a special sort of joy that comes from something born of your heart and > soul taking shape in your writing. I also like to pride myself on writing > informed and researched pieces. I’m not one to rant emoti” >

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That is the ideal! Their push to seemingly align with the comics with the movies always comes off as being forced too. Like last summer’s “Civil War II” because ‘Captain America: Civil War’ was coming out – the story felt like a convoluted and needless marketing tie in. But that’s what happens when we let Mammon dictate our story-telling. The quality and power of the story’s message suffers.

      Like

  3. I don’t think we’ll have to say goodbye to the Champions yet. I feel like Marvel have been doing a great job bringing younger heroes forward into the spotlight and I don’t think they’d just throw that aside. They’ve been at the core of Secret Empire which gives me hope that Legacy won’t just bury the great work of the past few years. I’ve been scanning through letter pages and it seems like the team is only going to get bigger (Though #12 solicits suggest some members may not make it through to Legacy, a shame really). I agree with your point about Banner. Cho brings such excitement to the role of Hulk. I feel like Banner would make for a really awesome mentor, helping Cho master his new powers and aiding him on missions.

    I’m beginning to look forward to Marvel Legacy in all honesty. Noted, I too will be very disappointed if the return of old characters snuffs out those already with us but I’m going to remain optimistic. From the sounds of things it looks like fans old and new are going to be catered for which I hope means that current characters stay on with old ones reappearing. The biggest problem I face is choosing the series I intend to collect moving forward. Great post!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m starting to think/hope more and more that you’re right about ‘Champions’ sticking around. The tone in the comics doesn’t seem to be leading to a finale. The expansion of the team in Secret Empire has been exciting too!

      If Marvel really wants to honor the idea of a “Legacy” with these characters, it makes sense that we will have the originals and their newer incarnations bouncing around. That gives us the sense of a torch passing while letting everyone read the version they want to read. But I’m still scared Marvel won’t stay that bold, as the post above suggests. However, like I said above, I hope I’m as wrong about this as I was about Hydra Cap!

      Oh, and I’m glad you share my appreciation for Amadeus Cho’s turn as the Hulk! It’s just so, so refreshing to have a Hulk who isn’t tortured by pain and haunted by exclusion all the time. I like having someone who loves being the Hulk! I’d love to see Bruce Banner alive again and helping Amadeus carry this burden. He’s earned a little rest and time in the mentor chair! I think that’s a great idea!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. What gripping stuff! Had me hooked all th way thro – this is an excellent guide for what to expect.
    mycomicrelief is tops when it comes to comics news!
    Nice to see th High Evolutionary here – he is rapidly becoming 1 of my fave BA characters to follow!Cheers!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I thought he was an interesting choice too! When I think of the High Evolutionary I tend to think of the classic storylines. I can’t readily think of any more modern tales in which he’s appeared.

      And, as always, thanks for the love and support my friend!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Th High Evolutionary was present in Adam Warlock’s origin story; strangely enough his cameo in Th Uncanny X-Men in 1989 was th first place I saw him!
        Need to find those ishs u mentioned – thanks for th info!
        Cheers!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. My pleasure sir! I’m always help to help the Bradscribe on a comic quest. I’ve actually been feeling like reading some comics that focus on Adam Warlock myself lately. I might have to peruse some of the ol’ comic boxes for choices…

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Adam’s original 15-ish run in th 70s is 1 of th more difficult classics to find
        Caught 1 ish of Th Infinity Watch from 1993 and it not good – lame writing; lousy art!
        Anyway, my forthcoming Warlock Post shld fill in all th details!
        At least, I think I will have at least something finished this month – ha!
        Cheers!

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Wish my thots were fresh in MY mind!
        My writing has been constant this past fortnight, but not coherent – no worries now: that Drax Post is approaching completion tonight!
        Woo to u too!

        Liked by 1 person

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