Writer: Jason Aaron
Artist: Esad Ribic with Steve McNiven
Additional Artists: Trevor McCarthy, Chris Samnee, Russell Dauterman, Alex Maleev, Ed Mcguinness, Stuart Immonen & Wade VonGrawbadge, Pepe Larraz, Jim Cheung, Daniel Acuna, Greg Land and Jay Leisten, Mike Deodato Jr., David Marquez
Colours: Matthew Wilson
Letterer: VC’s Cory Petit
Covers: Joe Quesada, Alex Ross, Mike Deodato Jr., Greg Land
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Let’s be frank. The anticipation for this story has been HIGH. A lot of people have felt that Marvel has faltered lately with endless deaths, reboots, events and relaunches. This was seen as an opportunity to right the ship. The question is- does it succeed?
The answer, largely, is yes.
The issue opens with the much heralded team-up of the Avengers of 1,000,000 BC. The seven early heroes- Odin, Phoenix, Agamotto, Iron Fist, Ghost Rider, the Black Panther and Star Brand- face a threat that only heroes on that level could face- a wild and violent Celestial. They defeat it, and bury it. We jump to the present day. Much of the book from this point features single page teases in the midst of 2 other main stories. The first main story features Robbie Reyes waking up in South Africa, with no knowledge of how he got there, and is soon attacked by a crazed Star Brand. The other involves a Frost Giant attack on a soon-to-be-decommissioned SHIELD facility, with the Avengers intervening.
Jason Aaron is in his element, writing an exciting story while also having a great grasp on character throughout. Robbie’s befuddlement is palpable, while the trio of Avengers who fight the Frost Giants (Captain America/Sam Wilson, Thor and Ironheart) quickly establish a pattern and (in Riri’s case) a new camaraderie. The weak spot character-wise is Star Brand, who is angry and haughty, rather than his previous characterization as an optimistic youth. That could potentially be explained away by his mission and purpose though, as the Star Brand may have taken over a bit. The other weak spot of the story is how all-over-the-place it feels. I understand there’s a lot of ground to cover, but several of the single page moments feel more like distractions than anything else.
The art throughout is fantastic. Esad Ribic and Steve McNiven do the bulk of the artistic work, and it looks GREAT. Ribic has become Marvel’s go-to for massive epics since the beginning of Aaron’s Thor run, and the duo are in great lockstep. McNiven’s pages are equally spectacular, with his depiction of the Avengers/Frost Giant fight just knocking it out of the park. Each of the individual pages, by a murderer’s row of Marvel superstars are great. As I said, the only issue with those pages is that they sometimes felt more like distractions than additions, but perhaps they’ll age better after we start seeing some of Legacy’s meta-story.
Color artist Matt Wilson as always deserves a shout-out. He’s reliably awesome on everything he works on, and his cooler palate here actually helps with the epic feel of the overall story. They couldn’t have found anyone who could have done the issue better.
In all, if you’re a Marvel fan, this book should excite you, despite its flaws.
Tony Thornley is a Mormon geek dad, blogger, Spider-Man and Superman aficionado, amateur novelist and all around awesome guy. He was born and raised in Utah and has been reading comics since age five. His first comic series was GI Joe and he was doomed from there. You can follow him on Twitter @brawl2099.