The Marvel Legacy one-shot has arrived and with it, the identity of the resurrectee that issue was supposed to reveal. To my surprise, it wasn’t some kind of prologue for “The Return of Jean Grey” miniseries that was solicited last month. Instead, it’s the return of a completely different character. One who we really haven’t had a chance to miss.
I’d give a proper *spoiler warning* here, but the return in this issue manages to be both unsurprising and underwhelming at the same time. It’s Wolverine. Now you may be going, “Wait a sec. We’ve already got ‘All-New Wolverine’ and ‘Old Man Logan’ and now you’re telling us the original is back now?” Yes, that’s exactly what Marvel is telling you. I’d also expect that he’ll be getting his own solo series again in short order so you can have three ongoing “Wolverine”-type titles to buy. Even though I like the idea of Jason Aaron writing the character again, I really haven’t had the chance to miss the Ol’ Canucklehead since his death. If the whole point of killing him off was to get people to appreciate him in absentia, then Marvel flubbed that here big time. Which is par for their course this year.
All this being said, I still have yet to read the “Legacy” one-shot. Even though I’m sure I’ll be able to get around to it eventually, it sure as hell won’t be in the format Marvel is soliciting here. For $40 you can get the one-shot in hardcover along with all of the “preview pages” for other Marvel series that have been added to other comics over the past few rounds of solicitations and a copy of the latest “Friends Of Old Marvel” magazine. To their credit, Marvel has at least made an effort to make that cover price worthwhile with a 224-page count. It still sounds like a horrifically overpriced way to read the one thing of actual substance in this collection.
Avengers #675-678: So it turns out that issue #675 isn’t going to be the start of the rumored Aaron/Ribic run. Instead, it marks a consolidation of the current “Avengers” titles -- vanilla, “Uncanny,” and “U.S.A.” -- into one weekly 15-part series titled “No Surrender.” What’s it about? The stealing of the Earth! Yup, our planet is facing a cosmic threat the likes of which it has never seen and it’s up to ALL of the Avengers to see it through. Honestly, this sounds like it could turn out to be pretty great. The setup is the kind of Silver Age story that Mark Waid knows how to tell with modern sensibilities, Al Ewing has been killing it on his “Avengers” titles, and I’ve liked what I’ve read of Jim Zub’s Image titles. This storyline should be collected in one volume at some point, with the only question being whether or not Marvel will try to wring all the money they can from early adopters with three five-issue collections. As interesting as this sounds, I’m going to try to hold out for the one-volume edition.
Rise of the Black Panther #1 (of 6): T’Challa’s movie is almost upon us. That means it’s time for a miniseries updating his origin. I’m sure certain this miniseries, co-written by current “Black Panther” writer Ta-Nehisi Coates and journalist Evan Narcisse, will bring the character’s origin more in line with his cinematic counterpart. It’s just how things have been going over the years. As for how much closer the two will be, we’ll just have to wait until February when the movie (which looks great) comes out. Art is from Paul Renaud and after years of seeing him turn in quality work on random single issues of ongoing titles, it’s great to finally see him get a solo showcase for his work.
Old Man Hawkeye #1 (of 12): While it’s understandable that Marvel would see value in the character of Old Man Logan, I’m not sure how many people were clamoring for a further exploration of his world. After all, Mark Millar and Jeff Lemire have made it explicitly clear that it’s an awful place where the villains won and turned it into a nightmare dystopia. It’s also clear that these days Marvel will publish anything that has the hint of commercial promise to it. Which is why we’re getting this maxiseries about Old Man Hawkeye before he met his demise in the original “Old Man Logan” series. This is set five years prior to that, when Hawkeye realizes that he’s going blind and wants to get revenge for his fallen Avengers before that happens. Marco Checchetto is providing the art, which means it’s going to look phenomenal even if this winds up turning into a bi-monthly maxiseries. The writer, however, is someone completely unknown to me: Ethan Sacks. Maybe he’ll completely whiff it here, but he gets points for simply not being Millar.
Guardians of the Galaxy #’s 150-151: So it turns out that the big “CLASSIFIED” solicitation from last month was to get some attention for the return of another dead superhero. In this case, it’s Adam Warlock who has been dead since the days of Abnett and Lanning and whose return feels completely expected here. I’d also put money on his return now being due to the fact that one of the teasers in the credits of “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. II” indicated that Adam would be showing up in the next film. This isn’t really striking while the iron is hot, but while it’s just getting warmed up. Also, issue #151 features art from the always great Mike Allred. Don’t expect any stylistic consistency with the artists of the previous issue, Aaron Kuder and Marcus To, but Allred’s presence is always welcome whatever the project.
Legion #1 (of 5): It was inevitable that we’d get some kind of new series featuring the character after the success of his TV series. The problem with that is that the last time we saw Legion in the pages of “X-Men: Legacy” he had wiped himself out of existence and continuity. So how do you follow up that kind of ending? Enter Peter Milligan. The writer has given us lots of great comics over the years from his runs on “Shade: The Changing Man,” “X-Force/X-Statix,” “Hellblazer,” miniseries like “Enigma,” “Skreemer,” “B.A.D. Company” and more. He’s also delivered about as many misfires along the way. Most relevant to this project would be the six issues of “Animal Man” he did in the wake of Grant Morrison’s classic run where he made Buddy Baker aware of his existence as a character in a comic book. I don’t know if Milligan volunteered for the job or just drew the short straw, but he had to deliver an arc that effectively put the genie Morrison unleashed back into the bottle. It wasn’t Milligan’s finest hour and I’m worried we’re going to get something similar here. Or the writer could just ignore the events of “Legacy” and deliver his own take on the character, whose mentally unstable nature is right up his alley. Probably worth checking out for Milligan fans, but even they might want to flip a coin first.
U.S.Avengers vol. 2: Cannonball Run: Looks to be the end of the series with the advent of “No Surrender.” This collects the rest of the “Secret Invasion” tie-in issues along with the two-part “Search for Cannonball.” Yes, Marvel does publish more “Avengers” comics than they should. Ewing’s work on “New Avengers” and this title has been uniformly excellent and a perfect example of what I like to see in my superhero comics. I imagine he’ll get the chance to write more of Roberto DaCosta and his team in the upcoming weekly series, which is just one more reason to look forward to it.
Wolverine: Old Man Logan vol. 6 -- Days of Anger: Ed Brisson takes over for Jeff Lemire, and Mike Deodato Jr. provides the art. I’ve only read a little from the writer, in the form of the enjoyably trippy/twisted “The Field,” but I have no doubt that Deodato will give him a solid leg up on succeeding here. As for the story: Old Man Logan is confronted by an enemy from his past who turns out to be… the Hulk’s evil future self the Maestro? How… how does that work? Especially since Wolverine killed the Hulk in his timeline before coming here. I’ll give Brisson the benefit of the doubt here and pick this up to see how he works it out.
Star Wars: Doctor Aphra vol. 2 -- Doctor Aphra and the Enormous Profit: Aphra gets her hands on a priceless Jedi artifact and decides to auction it off to the highest bidder on the black market. The problem is that not only does the good Doctor have plenty of enemies on said market, but they’re also the type to try and shoot first rather than actually pay for the artifact. This is even before word of the artifact’s existence reaches the ears of a certain Sith Lord. In more pleasant news, this collection also features the origin story of Black Krssantan. Much pit-fighting will be involved… so maybe it won’t be as pleasant as I thought.