A SENSE OF HISTORY
THE MARVEL UNIVERSE RETURNS TO ITS ROOTS IN MARVEL LEGACY, AS STEPHEN JEWELL DISCOVERS
Given it’s built on the foundations that seminal creators like stan lee, Jack Kirby and steve Ditko established more than half a century ago, there must be a feeling of standing on the shoulders of giants at Marvel Comics. After emphasising the contemporary with recent initiatives like
Marvel Now! and All New All Different Marvel, the house of ideas’ latest relaunch this autumn will acknowledge its rich and plentiful heritage. With stalwarts like spider-Man and Captain America returning to their most popular iterations and their titles reverting to their original numbering, Marvel Legacy will tap into over five decades of continuity. however, according to Marvel executive editor tom brevoort, it’s not just a nostalgia fest designed to appeal to long time fans.
“As the name implies, Marvel Legacy is us reaching back into our past for inspiration in creating new stories that will propel our heroes into the future,” he tells SFX. “so there’s definitely a feeling of history there throughout the various books. it’s mostly about identifying those aspects of the Marvel universe that have wandered out of the spotlight a bit in recent years and shining a light upon them. Marvel
Legacy and the stories that will unfold underneath its banner will reinforce that for all that it has continued to grow, change and evolve as it has for over 50 years, the Marvel universe is still the same place that you recognise and love.”
but while we’ve recently seen the advent of more diverse characters like Jane Foster’s female thor and Kamala Khan’s MuslimAmerican Ms Marvel, brevoort insists that
Marvel Legacy isn’t intended to alienate newer readers. “it’s designed to harken back to the essence of classic Marvel and to remind readers of any age or duration why they fell in love with those characters and this world in the first place,” he explains. “so there are a bunch of callbacks, some of which are cosmetic, such as the issue numbers, the trade dress and
things like [’70s fan club] FooM and [cut-out and collect] Marvel value stamps, while others are more narrative in nature.”
For brian Michael bendis, who will continue to chronicle the adventures of Riri Williams in
Invincible Iron Man and Miles Morales in Spider-Man, Marvel
Legacy represents the best of both worlds. “All these characters are loved and have been around for decades and now they’re gigantic movie stars on levels none of us thought was even possible ten years ago,” he says. “but what’s important is that as phenomenal as those characters are, the newer characters like Riri, Miles and Kamala Khan also speak to a very prominent audience, who are only coming in to see those characters. but there’s no reason why they can’t all co-exist, intermingle and prop each other up.”
Claiming that, “i’m so down with it, you have no idea,” bendis can’t wait for the arrival of
Marvel Legacy, which follows directly on from this summer’s controversial Secret Empire crossover and the Generations mini-series, which teams up original versions of characters like hawkeye and Phoenix with their more recent incarnations. “Legacy is like a list of things i’ve been really excited about Marvel doing for a few years,” he says. “i’m excited about the numbering, and i’m excited about some surprises people don’t know about. it was also a great opportunity to focus our stories on what the books are about. When Marvel or DC do something like this, it really does bring some outstanding books out of that thinking. You can really focus on ‘what is the point of an iron Man book or a thor book? Are we doing that and what’s the most surprising thing we can do with that book right now?’ And then doing them all at once.”
but while Marvel Legacy arrives 16 months after DC successfully restored their own universe to its full glory in 2016 reboot DC
Rebirth, brevoort believes that the two programmes have little in common. “We’re just concentrating on what we think will work best for us, and what the Marvel universe might be in need of at any given minute,” he says.
“Legacy is similar to Rebirth in that they’re both promotions and it also begins with a one-shot, but that’s where the similarity ends.”
Written by Jason Aaron and mostly illustrated by esad Ribic, the Marvel Legacy one-shot will span the entire history of the Marvel universe as it introduces a prehistoric chapter of the earth’s Mightiest heroes whose line-up includes Ghost Rider, black Panther, star brand, Phoenix, iron Fist, odin and Doctor strange predecessor Agamotto the All-seeing. “the idea for the Avengers of 1,000,000 bC came entirely from Jason, as did its membership, so it’s all prime Jason,” says brevoort. “And while esad is producing the bulk of the art for the special, there are also contributions from a wide variety of other artists from across the Marvel spectrum, so it’s turned into a real showpiece for some beautiful artwork.”
infamously aligning himself with Hydra during Secret Empire, steve Rogers will once again be his true self when former Daredevil and
Black Widow collaborators Mark Waid and Chris samnee take over the reins of Captain America with november’s #695. “We’ve just had a great conference call about the overall direction of the storyline, and something happens at the end of Mark and Chris’s third issue, #697, which ought to get people talking and will catapult events into an unexpected direction,” says brevoort. “it’s definitely the sort of Cap series that all of those people who are now up in arms about Secret Empire have been saying they want, so hopefully it will appeal to them.”
With Peter Parker having recently lost his multi-million dollar tech empire, Amazing
Spider-Man #789 will see him going back to basics as he once again becomes the Friendly neighborhood spider-Man. “Legacy worked out well with what we’ve got planned on
Amazing because we’d got to the point where we were breaking down Peter’s corporation and bringing him back full time to the streets of new York,” says Amazing Spider-Man scribe Dan slott. “it’s going to be a Peter Parker who is in the way you think of spider-Man when you say to someone, ‘tell me about Spiderman.’ We were already heading that way before Legacy, so i was like, ‘it’s business as usual.’ Legacy is everything you know and love about the Marvel universe, only more so.”
From Dazzler to Darkhawk, Not Brand Echh and Master Of Kung Fu, a series of selfcontained specials will be released in november showcasing some cult characters, who perhaps don’t warrant their own monthly title at present. “the point of the one-shots was to have some fun,” says brevoort. “We know that the odds of a Darkhawk or a Power Pack supporting a full-on ongoing series right now is pretty slim, but at the same time, there are people who love those characters. Marvel Legacy gives us an umbrella under which we can take a few fliers on some old characters and different creative teams, to give a little gift back to the fans of those different series, and see if we can get something more to spark. if people react well enough to the silver sable one-shot or the Master of Kung-Fu story gets some good notices, then we’ll certainly be ready to do more.”
The Marvel Legacy one-shot is published by Marvel Comics on 27 September. The Marvel Legacy range begins in October.
there’s a feeling of history throughout the books
Meet the Avengers of 1,000,000 BC!