Years back, DC Comics began building up to one of their biggest events ever: Infinite Crisis. With the DC Universe in disarray thanks to the revelations of Identity Crisis, the time was right for the villains to strike. While good eventually triumphed over evil, Infinite Crisis gave the DCU a tonal reboot across all of its comics with the One Year Later storyline.
A year wherein DC’s finest and brightest heroes rediscovered who they were and what they fought for. DC would pull that trick again with last year’s Rebirth, as flicking that switch on and off again is something that the Distinguished Competition has mastered over the years. It’s also a trick that Marvel needs to desperately become experts at, as the last couple of years haven’t been kind.
Marvel Legacy is meant to be that switch, as heroes new and old return to the fold. “Readers long for the return of their favourite, classic characters. I think there’s a lot of anxiety in the world right now and readers find inspiration in iconic characters like Cap, Thor, Iron Man, and Wolverine – characters that speak to generations of readers,” Marvel’s Editor-In-Chief Axel Alonso said to Newsarama.
Over the past couple of years, we took a lot of our classic characters off the playing field – Thor, Captain America, Iron Man, Wolverine – and replaced them with either classic characters from their stories (Jane Foster, Sam Wilson) or completely new characters (Amadeus Cho, Riri Williams). It was an aggressive move that made for some cool stories, brought new characters onto the board, and elevated others. The return of the classic characters was inevitable, of course, and we strove to find an orchestrated plan for that. Legacy is the opening salvo of that plan.
Was it cool seeing an Asian Hulk, the best Hawkeye in the form of Kate Bishop and Miles Morales as Spider-Man? Yes, yes it was. The problem being, that many of these new heroes were adopting legacies that had been tainted by years of infighting and Civil Wars that did them no favour. Why would you want to lift the mantle of Captain America when he had just managed to single-handidly conquer the US of A and install a fascist regime change?
That’s where Legacy aims to create a more hopeful tone of optimism for its readers. “You can only tell so many stories in which the threats are purely physical in nature before things get stale. Some of the greatest and most memorable Marvel stories are the ones that tested the morals and core values of the hero, that threatened to rip apart the team, that tested what the hero – or heroes – actually stand for,” Alonso said.
And many of these served as metaphors for their times. Sometimes telling a great story means taking a character into a place that makes the reader feel scared, worried or uncomfortable. What makes “Legacy” unprecedented is the fact that we are bringing back so many perennial characters that have been off the playing field in such a concentrated pocket of time. Add to that the fact that they are returning to special circumstances, some of which are hinted at in Marvel Legacy #1.
With “Legacy,” we asked our creators to go back into the vaults and excavate that jewel of a story that just blew them away as a fan – that hook, character or artifact that made their brains explode – and then do something new with it. Each and every one of them rose to the challenge.
So you’ve got Frank Castle doing damage in a War Machine armor… Asgard and Thor braced for armageddon… the Hulk investigating a distress call from the alien planet of Sakaar… Luke Cage back in jail… Captain America having to earn back not just the trust of an entire nation but the self-confidence to wear the red, white and blue uniform… Kingpin as the Mayor of New York City… Loki as Sorcerer Supreme…
Logan resurrected and apparently in possession of an Infinity Stone… the Marvel Universe’s hottest bromance – Cable and Deadpool – shattered as the two go to war… the Human Torch and the Thing back in action… Gwenpool versus Doctor Doom… and Moon Girl teaming up with half of the Fantastic Four.
There’s nothing wrong with the status quo being shaken up from time to time, with heroes finding themselves in icnreasingly outlandish situations, That’s what comic books do. All I want, and I assume many other fans do as well, is a reminder as to why Marvel’s heroes are inspirational. DC Rebirth’s tagline last year was that the world needed heroes more than ever. If Marvel can add more heroes to the mix who can overcome their own personal hang-ups in an increasingly-fractured society, then that’s even better.
Last Updated: September 27, 2017