Marvel Legacy Report: Week 17 – X-MEN: BLUE Times Two

THANOS #15
AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #794
AVENGERS #677
BLACK PANTHER #169
LEGION #1
LUKE CAGE #169
MARVEL TWO-IN-ONE #2
PHOENIX RESURRECTION #4
X-MEN: BLUE #20
X-MEN: BLUE ANNUAL #1
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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!

Week 1 – Week 2Week 3 Week 4Week 5Week 6 – Week 7 – Week 8 Week 9 Week 10 – Week 11 (Break) – Week 12 – Week 13 – Week 14 – Week 15 – Week 16

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***SPOILERS LIE AHEAD***

 

THANOS #15
“Thanos Wins” Part Three

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Thanos was already one of Marvel’s strongest titles before Marvel Legacy, yet Donny Cates, Geoff Shaw, and Antonio Fabela still manage to elevate it to a must-read comic for not just Marvel fans, but everyone.

Cates does an exceptional job at keeping these two different age Thanos from sounding like the same character. His voice for the cosmic Ghost Rider is very much its own, especially when you learn his identity.

This comic is big and loud, with massive layouts and environments all beautifully crafted. Geoff Shaw does magical things with scale and power. He even manages to extract sympathy for the Hulk “dog” in a brief moment.

Colorist Antonio Fabela gets your eyes color-drunk with how he plays with the purple skin of our Mad Titans. Every time a flame or light reflects on Thanos’ face, it’s gorgeous. He fills this dark, cosmic fortress with strong and stimulating color contrast, starting with his bright blue eyes.

This story keeps getting bigger and better. They’re clearly not taking their foot off the gas pedal and delivering the most metal story in comics.

AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #794
“Threat Level: RED” Part One

Marvel needs to time their Previews better. If the cliffhanger at the end of this issue was completely unspoiled, it would’ve dominated the internet comic book community. Instead, we knew it was coming from the first sight of a pumpkin bomb.

Regardless, Norman Osborn/Carnage might be the only symbiote story left to tell that could get me excited. Slott is planning to go out with a batshit crazy bang.

This issue of ASM read like a classic Marvel comic book. Scorpio trying to takeover the world with the remaining hour of his year’s worth of future knowledge is pure mustache twirling goodness. Even Spidey’s ultimate solution was simple and effective like a 70’s comic.

Stuart Immonen and Marte Gracia have been so consistently stellar on this series. Dan Slott’s Spider-Man work may divide fans but we can all agree that these issues are beautiful at least.

For those of you keeping score, this is the third “Where In The World Is Wolverine?” page. I’m sure it’s not hard to find people complaining about these “after-credit scenes,” but I’ve enjoyed them thus far.

Slott looks to be going balls-to-the-wall with his final stretch writing Spidey. ASM #794 is a classic feeling Spider-Man comic that effectively cranks the ridiculous up.

AVENGERS #677
“No Surrender” Part Three

This week’s issue of Avengers is all about Quicksilver being a pain in the ass as the massive collection of Earth’s mightiest heroes try to respond to the threat they face. It appears The Black Order is engaged in a chess match with the Lethal Legion where the pieces are Avengers.

“No Surrender” suddenly feels a lot more like “Contest Of Champions” with this installment. With thirteen issues still to go, we put the Voyager mystery on the back burner and try solving this immediate danger ripping through their planet.

The trio of writers are utilizing the length of this story without stretching the narrative out too thin. Spending time with Quicksilver’s issues with Rogue and himself kept this from dragging its feet or being a dull setup. The strength of this gigantic collection of Avengers lies in the time we spend with each of them intimately.

The biggest takeaway from these first three issues is that with Pepe Larraz and David Curiel, there’s no shortage of explosive action. A big story like this feels like a summer blockbuster event that we can enjoy without it bleeding into everything else from Marvel.

BLACK PANTHER #169
“Klaw Stands Supreme” Part Four

Ta-Nehisi Coates takes a backseat for this almost entirely silent comic book. Leonard Kirk and Laura Martin take the wheel in a masterful effort of “showing, not telling.”

Klaw’s plan to bring his departed sister back to life includes a period where all sound is stripped from the facility. The entire issue is a silent, pulse-pounding action sequence.

The issue is a real quick read obviously, but gives you plenty of reasons to linger on the art a bit longer than usual as it’s the driving force of the narrative. Readers will hear the white noise that our cast does as we experience fights that are both well executed and perfectly choreographed. It’s almost like that ringing you hear in movies when a grenade goes off.

Kirk and Martin prove they can handle the driver’s seat any time they need to. This issue is an impressive display of the storytelling power of art by way of exhilarating action sequences.

LEGION #1
“Trauma” Part One

David Haller stories are historically a source for abstract art and bizarre adventures told in peculiar ways. There’s not much of that going on here in Peter Milligan’s Legion #1.

Given the success of the FX show, one would assume this comic would be able to dive deep into the strangeness. The show doesn’t shy away from the subject material’s densely abstract nature, so why does the comic feel so watered down?

The script doesn’t do much for David as a character. Max Bemis wields multiple personalities in much more interesting way in Moon Knight. This issue doesn’t betray David’s history or anything, it’s just the safest and most vanilla use of him maybe ever.

Wilfredo Torres and Dan Brown are in the same boat as Milligan. The biggest disappointment is in how bland the art is. The simplistic and limited approach to lines and color has its charm, but doesn’t provide us with the insanity we’re accustomed to exploring.

While it’s not technically a poorly put together issue, Legion #1 is disappointing in how bland it is. Whether you’re a longtime fan, coming from the TV show, or a new X-Men reader, this introductory issue likely isn’t what you wanted from a David Haller story.

LUKE CAGE #169
“CAGED!” Parts Four

David Walker injects some life back into Luke Cage as he wraps up this Ringmaster prison mine tale. It’s hard to tell if this issue is more satisfying or that it just feels good to be done with the setting and move on.

Luke having his powers and personality restored made this much less of a chore to read than the previous issues. Where did that spark go from Power Man & Iron Fist? Even the pre-Marvel Legacy Luke Cage arc was more interesting than this brainwashed prison of mindless drones.

David Walker has proven he writes a mighty fine Luke Cage, but maybe he can’t concoct compelling stories to put him in alone? We know he can write a hell of a script from Occupy Avengers and PM & IF. Perhaps his Cage works best in an ensemble?

Walker’s other Marvel titles also had fantastic art on them. Nothing against Sanna and Menyz, I just don’t think this was a good fit from the start of this doomed story.

“CAGED!” felt like it could’ve been told in 2-3 issues max. This final chapter is the most fun this arc has been. David F. Walker deserves another shot at a team book that features Luke Cage as this series has been cancelled.

MARVEL TWO-IN-ONE #2
“Fate Of The Four” Part Two

Zdarsky is one of the voices at the forefront of Marvel Legacy‘s mission to make classic comics again. Even with just half the team, this series is completely capturing what made Fantastic Four comics great.

Ben and Johnny on a treasure hunt, in search of the Richards family, that takes them to Monster Island and on a trip down memory lane with Dr. Doom. Little moments like Johnny’s cleanliness by fire make the story go straight for the heart of every FF fan.

Exploring the angle that Doom’s college pursuit of bettering Reed Richards may not have been strictly based on academic achievement is an interesting route to take. It’s a subtle seed being planted hinting at the path back to villainy for Victor.

Jim Cheung, John Dell, Walden Wong, and Frank Martin treat us to giant monsters, underground tunnels, gorgeous flashback battles, and a full range of emotions on display. Cheung puts Ben Grimm front and center, extracting so much heart from the man made of rocks.

Marvel Two-In-One is everything that Marvel Legacy‘s mission statement promised. Zdarsky is flexing so many writing muscles effectively and the art team is spectacular.

Never forget Victor Von Doof.

PHOENIX RESURRECTION #4
“The Return Of Jean Grey” Part Four

This wasn’t the big turn I was expecting it to be after two issues of nothing but this was highly entertaining. Matthew Rosenberg’s script has been satisfying despite the crawling pace and amount of standing around.

As much as I enjoy seeing Strong Guy and Hellion rubbing elbows among a sea of X-Men, I don’t see why everyone is along for the ride. I appreciate that the Phoenix calls for an all-hands response but it seems unnecessary.

Ramon Rosanas does masterful work with these layouts, giving this its uneasy cinematic feel. The opening scene with the burnt scenery all just out of Jean’s view is an absolute spectacle.

Ultimately, the cinematic scope and eerie atmosphere make up for a frustratingly slow pace. Despite its flaws, we’ll still be on the edge of our seat next issue as Logan approaches that diner.

X-MEN: BLUE #20
“Cross-Time Capers” Part Four

The time displaced X-Teens wrap up their time travel mystery tour with a battle against the future Brotherhood. Cullen Bunn tied a nice bow on the end of this arc. He’s got himself a pretty great story success rate since the ResurreXion reset.

Despite the heavy layers of paradox explanation and timeline alteration in this issue, it’s never actually hard to follow. Bunn breaks it down and serves it up on an easily digestible dish.

Magneto comes out as the MVP by the end. That closing line on the last page is chilling.

X-Men: Blue is probably the most consistent X-Book in the lineup right now. It’s not the best of the bunch every week, but it’s been on a focused and steady path that has rarely disappointed.

R. B. Silva, Adriano Di Benedetto, and Rain Beredo are an artistic force to be reckoned with. The colorful and lively art is a major factor in the book’s consistent appeal. These are some of the best action sequences in Marvel comics, every page is bursting with color. It’s like biting into a Gusher filled with color.

X-MEN: BLUE ANNUAL #1
“Poison-X” Part One

Just when you thought you couldn’t stand another Venom crossover, they serve up another one! Only this time it’s fantastic!

Symbiotes are the most stale subject matter in comics. We need to give them a break.

Having said that, Cullen Bunn serves up a double Blue week and does not disappoint. This oversized “Poison X” setup is the best use of an Annual issue I’ve read in a few years.

This story looks and feels like the X-Men and Venom thrown into a 90’s Star Wars comic book. Edgar Salazar and Matt Milla knock this one out of the park.

Goddamn do the Starjammers look fantastic in action. There’s a lot of updated 90’s characters and they look spectacular. Even Venom is a unique take, making him look more alien than usual.

This is easily the best Annual issue of Marvel Legacy and ResurreXion combined. Cullen Bunn is on fire, “Poison X” couldn’t have a more promising or fun setup. To make things even better, they slapped “CLASSIFIED” labels on the preview covers of issues five and six. Hooray surprises!

Brandon J. Griffin - Comic Book Critichttps://twitter.com/griffunk
New Jersey scum who worships comic books like religious literature. Yell at me on Twitter @griffunk

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