As we find ourselves in a new era of Marvel Comics, I’ll be providing a weekly report on all Legacy titles. Your one-stop guide to what’s going on in the 616 universe from MFR’s resident Marvel fanatic. Below, we’ll dive into each book from this week and then a Marvel Legacy report card. Let’s dig in!
Also, check out our coverage from the previous weeks!
***SPOILERS LIE AHEAD***
“No Surrender” Part One
Living Lightning is front and center for this gigantic weekly series. He reenters relevancy as he gets the call to assemble along with the rest of the Avengers. This is an opportunity to take a character in a different direction without altering a major player and angering the online comic community (like that’ll stop them).
It’s hard not to compare a big, weekly comic series in any way to the triumph that was 52. To that end, Avengers #675 does a fantastic job giving us just enough to come back next week without showing any cards or being over-the-top.
Mark Waid, Al Ewing, and Jim Zub are a mighty fine writing trio. It’s going to be fun trying to guess who came up with what as we get deeper into this story.
It’s a great, big joy to have all the Avengers under one umbrella. Especially for the heroes of Occupy Avengers, the underrated, cancelled-too-soon comic by David Walker, which was cancelled before Legacy.
Hercules is a character that never landed with me until recently. His stock in likability continues to rise with this issue, including a nice comedy beat about Atlas.
Young Wasp’s conflict with Jarvis’ condition feels underdeveloped and mostly puzzling. A person so dedicated to science so strongly opposed to the age-old “one life versus billions” numbers? Highly unlikely.
Pepe Larraz and David Curiel do a fantastic job “meeting in the middle” for all of these books that were dissolved into one. There are shades of each series making up this new experience. That panel of Carol staring off into the vacancy of space where Earth used to be is stellar.
We still know nothing about this Voyager, founding Avenger business, but it’s certainly enough to pique a reader’s interest. Perhaps the missteps taken, in some people’s eyes, about The Sentry’s history provided a lesson learned by the trio of writers when plotting out Voyager’s introduction.
Personally, I’m a fan of The Sentry, but I understand those who are not. Either way, Voyager presents an opportunity to at least improve upon the idea behind altering 616 continuity.
This is a big, bold project for Marvel and these creators. Avengers starts its now weekly story in a classic comic book structure and pace. This issue is much more than merely copying and pasting a handful of comics into one.
X-Men: Blue #19
“Cross Time Capers” Part Three
Cullen Bunn wasn’t just stringing us along through a time-jumping history lesson. We get hit with the real twist in this issue, and it’s a clever one. Everything the time displaced teens assumed about the past was wrong, it’s all a ruse by The Brotherhood.
We get these great interactions between the Blue team and an old school Magneto, which Bunn doesn’t waste the opportunity to have fun with. It’s great that both Gold and Blue read more like classic X-Men comics without feeling similar to each other.
No matter how many times we’ve seen them in X-Books recently, the gigantic splash pages showcasing X-Men history highlights is still effective. Just like the rest of the issue, what could be overcrowded and messy is instead a beautifully balanced display of color and pencils.
R.B. Silva and Adriano Di Benedetto have a strong handle on all these different eras, ages, and attitudes we’re exploring with this story. Rain Beredo is making a major case for more steady coloring work. Altogether this arc has been beautiful, this team is dynamite.
Part three of this story was going to be the make-or-break issue, tilting the scale heavily onto the positive side. Cullen Bunn is doing his finest X-Men work with an art team hellbent on keeping the explosive and bright spirit of X-Men drama alive and well.
The Punisher #220
“Punisher: War Machine” Part Three
Frank’s time in the armor continues to be a bloody, fun, face-exploding extravaganza. We don’t need an intricate or complicated story, just Punisher in the War Machine armor. Frank saving innocent people and shooting holes through the bad guys.
Matt Rosenberg’s dialogue between Castle and the suit’s computer is hysterical. His old man, military mentality clashing with statistics and probability for every one of his actions doesn’t cease to entertain.
Guiu Vilanova and Lee Loughridge deliver on every bit of violence. Every explosion of flesh and drop of blood is brutal. The look of the armor is still odd and unpolished and looking like Bernthal is annoying. Otherwise this is a solid artistic effort.
Matthew Rosenberg keeps this wacky time in Punisher comics straight forward and tasteful. This could’ve easily been a disaster, but instead it’s exactly what it needed to be.
“Oldies” Part One
This new arc takes us in a completely different and unexpectedly touching direction. Peter and Wade are living out their last few years in the same retirement community.
Robbie Thompson successfully catches readers off-guard with this charming and delightful issue. Spidey and Deadpool’s BFF status as old men is adorable. Pete taking pictures from his wheelchair while Wade seduces every wrinkly lady he can, it’s perfect.
Scott Hepburn does a fantastic job aging these two heroes. Deadpool looks legitimately disgusting in a perfect way. Even his posture and mannerisms are perfect exaggerations.
Ian Herring gives these panels a proper tint when necessary and does a lot with background color. Pete’s subtle outfit colors were a nice touch. Herring and Hepburn knock this out of the park.
Wheelchair wall-crawling, Deadpool deception, old treasures from past adventures, this issue is fully loaded. This is my way-too-early front-runner for favorite single issue of 2018.
“Jen Walters Must Die” Part Three
Writer Mariko Tamaki wraps up this story about The Leader and a She-Hulk super fan. Knowing this series is cancelled puts a different lens over the reader’s eye. Tamaki had to close this story out and get to her final arc, she does so gracefully.
This doesn’t have the grand finale one would like with the return of a classic villain. Jen overcomes her adversary without destroying her admirer. The emotional triumph we experienced with her earlier in this run isn’t there, it feels rather thin.
The color contrast effectively serves the greens used in these panels, making The Leader and Hulks stand out. However, it doesn’t make for terribly exciting art as a whole.
Some pages are just plain dull and seem to barely be inked. The watercolor pages appear to be where the most attention was paid, they are beautiful pages.
This issue is most likely the victim of bad news. Having to wrap-up an arc and quickly transition to your series finale all of a sudden doesn’t usually make for a compelling comic book.
Secret Warriors #12
“Versus Mister Sinister” Part Five
Secret Wars: The Game doesn’t look as fun as you would initially expect. Regardless, Lunella uses it to try and mend fences among her damaged teammates. A clever way to settle differences and give readers some closure as this series comes to an end.
Matthew Rosenberg has a ton of quick comedy bits here that land every time. They’re littered throughout the whole issue and never derail the story, it’s a skillful display. He handles all the business, addressing everyone’s issues, but never drenches us in sappy apologies.
Ramón Bachs sends us out on a light issue. Despite taking place entirely inside an apartment, it never gets dull or boring. Bachs keeps our eyes busy and allows Rosenberg to do his thing. In a perfect world, I would’ve appreciated some sort of detail to the board game.
This is a really solid finale for a series that has a passionate cult following. Matt Rosenberg keeps us entertained and laughing while providing some closure that we need.
Phoenix Resurrection #3
“The Return Of Jean Grey” Part Three
If this weren’t weekly, pacing would be a real problem. We’re moving so slow, only getting little bits every issue of what’s going on, that any longer of a wait between issues would make this feel much less urgent.
This is still big and haunting, absolutely loaded with foggy mystery. However, it’s dangerously close to losing our interest. In this issue it became apparent that we’ve basically read the same thing three times now. Matthew Rosenberg may have stretched this out a little much.
The horror sequences and hallucinations by Jean are effective and intriguing, it’s elsewhere that the pace may soon start feeling like a drag. Three straight issues we’ve seen the X-Men gather together and walk different places like an episode of LOST.
Thankfully Emma Frost shows up and injects some life into the repetitiveness. Even still, the end of this issue isn’t as fulfilling as it is frustrating.
Joe Bennett, Lorenzo Ruggiero, and Rachelle Rosenberg keep the needle moving unaffected by Rosenberg’s crawling narrative. Jean finds herself trapped in a Truman Show nightmare that really makes he reader feel a bit claustrophobic thanks to the pencils, ink, and color.
A major push forward needs to happen in the next issue or this runs the risk of losing impatient readers.
Old Man Logan #33
“Scarlet Samurai” Part Three
This story goes from being a really well done Old Man Logan Kung-Fu action comic to essential Wolverine-in-Japan adventure. Ed Brisson plays with continuity a bit and teams Logan up with Silver Samurai.
Brisson also plays around with Logan’s healing factor as an old man. This is an element that’s rarely explored, but always welcome. The process of his hand being severed, growing back, not having adamantium coating on the claw, and the time it all takes is fascinating.
I love the action lines we get throughout the issue, like when Logan is escaping, effectively creating the illusion of motion and speed. The layouts and atmosphere in this book are what make it one of the best looking comics at Marvel.
Deodato delivers a brutal and gruesome comic once again. Logan’s slowly regenerating hand is a highlight, even if it showcases how Deodato always draws gigantic hands on characters.
Cory Petit also does fantastic work with lettering, adding a exclamation point you can’t ignore as Logan rips through Hand ninjas.
Ed Brisson, Mike Deodato Jr., and Frank Martin are making Old Man Logan matter so much more than just a side note in the Wolverine continuity. Stunning layouts, a thoughtful script, and brutal violence solidify this series among the best at Marvel.
The Unbelievable Gwenpool #24
“Lost In The Plot” Part One
Gwenpoole’s taken a turn towards villainy with time in the 616 limited. Her and Batroc are on a mission to rob Chance’s Sky Casino.
Gwen and Batroc make a hilarious pair. There’s no shying away from how ridiculous he is as a character. Chris Hastings utilizes the fourth-wall breaking in new ways yet again, this time getting Batroc involved.
Hastings is using this series in an interesting way to work through the thought process of a writer whose book has been cancelled. As we approach the final issue, fans will be right there with Hastings as we work through the cancellation together.
Gurihiru provides another fun exploration of the limitations of comic book composition and the laws of their characters. Without their efforts, the bold usage of Gwen’s “past the panels” ability wouldn’t be such an easy pill to swallow. Batroc The Leaper’s redesign is splendid as well.
Another series we shouldn’t have to say goodbye to already. Hastings and Gurihiru are working through the cancellation like the rest of us and it’s translating into a truly unique comic book experience.
Despicable Deadpool #292
“Bucket List” Part One
Deadpool won’t let that whole Secret Empire thing go and turns his attention towards the incarcerated Stevil Rogers. This story could potentially be the best remnant of Secret Empire, it’s nice to see somebody had a plan to address the controversial event.
Gerry Duggan is absolutely on fire right now. His efforts to put the Despicable back in Deadpool has been a triumphant return to form. This issue is an enthusiastically scatterbrained affair that has a laugh on almost every page.
Wade’s visit to Stevil’s cell is a much appreciated check-in that’ll no doubt lead to a ridiculous new rivalry. Duggan has the power to reshape what people think of Hydra Cap.
Matteo Lolli keeps the insanity and violence cranked up. There’s a large array of different textures on display. The reader can feel the difference with their eyes in Deadpool’s leather costume, the snake’s scales, Stevil’s slick hair, Wade’s Stryfe cosplay armor, etc. Ruth Redmond uses a lot of strong yellows and oranges that complement all of Deadpool’s red well.
This is the perfect comic for anybody who was feeling Deadpool fatigue but still have a soft spot in their heart for the mouthy merc’.
“Mayor Fisk” Part Three
“He brought the devil into his house, and the devil is listening.” Wilson Fisk is NYC mayor and Matt Murdock is officially his Deputy Mayor. The game begins as both Matt and Wilson waste no time plotting against each other.
It’s a joy to see Matt and Wilson begin to start poking each other in close quarters. Steve having to read all the city briefing books to Matt is a brilliant distraction.
Horn Head has his hands full between Fisk, being public enemy #1, Muse on the loose, and The Punisher lurking in the shadows. Charles Soule has been flexing his ex-lawyer muscle a lot more recently and it’s made this spectacular series even stronger.
Stefano Landini’s art doesn’t really come to life until DD hits the rooftops, Matt Mills’s beautiful color makes it feel more like home. Not to say that Landini’s got nothing to offer, it’s just not Ron Garney. He even channels Lord Garney’s minimalistic and heavy shadow style a bit. It’s a pretty great looking book overall.
Charles Soule’s run on Daredevil is a staple of Marvel’s lineup over the last two years. It’s consistently one of the best comics and keeps finding ways to evolve and get even better. The more Soule flexes his lawyer muscles, the better.
“The Newer Mutants” Part Four
Now that the team is fully formed and neck deep in shit, it’s much easier to ignore the art blemishes and just dig in. It’s funny that the more ridiculous and confusing time-jumping that happens, the more this feels like home.
Ed Brisson’s giving us some mighty fine mutant soap opera adventures. Not everybody gets a ton of screen time, but they all sure get a ton of action. Jon Malin has a knack for action sequences. Doop is unquestionably the MVP of Cable’s “Newer Mutants.”
The lettering by Travis Lanhamis a fully loaded assault, especially the page where each member of the team is introduced and has their own corresponding sound effect.
At certain points Bastion makes this sound like a kid playing with his action figures, but at the same time has its own over-the-top 90s charm. This time-jumping mutant soap opera is a blast.
Ms. Marvel #26
“Teenage Wasteland” Part Two
Ms. Marvel is still nowhere to be found, Kamala’s friends have stepped in to bear the bolt and solve mysteries. They uncover a sinister plot involving The Inventor and an old folks home.
G. Willow Wilson is successfully telling a Ms. Marvel-less Ms. Marvel story, further strengthening her supporting cast. It’s a bold move for a cult book to make to start their Legacy era, but it’s paid off so far.
The framing of these panels is masterful, knowing when to zoom in on a face is crucial. Even if you’re annoyed that Kamala is nowhere to be found, the art by Nico Leon and Ian Herring is enough to keep reading. Those dark basement pages, that are mostly silhouettes on a gray background, are stupendous.
A strong youthful spirit and stylish art keep Ms. Marvel readers satisfied without its leading lady.