The onset of Fall promises the return of many things: pumpkin spice lattes, football, the return to school. Among the annual traditions we can now expect every Autumn, Marvel relaunch season has come again. With “Legacy”, outside of the number printed on the cover, very little seems to have changed with the actual book. This book is still very much a part of Mark Waid’s run that began two relaunches ago with All-New All-Different Avengers. The Avengers #672 thematically explore the Avengers legacy to a degree by pairing the Avengers with the younger Champions. “Legacy”, however, was meant to connect the current Marvel to its past, symbolized by its return to its classic numbering. In fact, the recently-concluded volume of Avengers tapped into that Lee-Kirby run in both tone as well as bringing the original team into play during the climax of its epic time travel arc. Despite the new-look cast, it is difficult to imagine the book being more rooted in a sense of legacy than it already was. Avengers #672 begins “Legacy” by looking forward to instead of back.
While the first issue of “Legacy” doesn’t really feel any different than the last issue of whatever the last status quo was, issue #672 does mark the beginning of the first crossover of “Legacy”. The promised lack “events” in Marvel following legacy has led to confusion, with not only this crossover happening right out of the gate, but a Spider-Man crossover with Venom happening just down the road. Becoming pedantic about the differences between “event comics” and “crossover comics” changes the fact that the Avengers going directly from “Secret Empire” to this crossover with Champions means that I will once again not get a self-contained story within the pages of The Avengers, and this is part of the problem.
As far as starting crossovers goes, Avengers #672 kicks things off the best way possible. Writer Mark Waid finds inventive ways to get as many characters involved, leaving no one on the sidelines. This particular story is tightly scripted around the event of a meteor headed towards Earth, a classic superhero device for gathering a team around impending danger. It is the same classic plot that brought together the original Avengers, as recalled in the issue’s summary in the back. Some unstoppable danger barrels down on the world and the world’s heroes gather around to stop it. The real drama comes from the clashing personalities of those assembled to save the world.
The primary source of tension between the Avengers and the Champions is one of respect. The Champions are tired of the Avengers viewing them as “the junior varsity team”. They want their elders to see them as equals. Like Falcon’s discussion with Thor in the last issue, the Champions’ desire to be seen as the same level as the Avengers as commentary itself on how fans have received them. In many ways, this crossover is the culmination of all of Waid’s work so far, which began with the integration of younger characters in the Avengers fold only to see them separate into the Champions. If the rumors of “Legacy” leading to another creative shakeup at Marvel proves true, then thematically this makes sense. Instead of connecting the team to its past, Waid looks forward to a future Marvel that looks younger and more diverse than its present, tipped off at the beginning when Peter’s Spider-Man fades in favor of Miles’ mask.
Jesus Saiz’s art gives the book a clean, classic look. His pencils are complex and detailed, epic in a different way than Mike del Mundo’s. His art is not overly dramatic or expressive, but he gives the characters a certain weight that makes them seem as people who exist in the real world. He makes quite a use of shading, especially on faces, emphasizing the lines. The dark, bold color choices give the art the same kind of filtered cinematic look we’ve seen from super hero movies of late.
As far as plots go, this issue is about as generic of a super hero story as it gets. There really is not big idea to draw the audience in. The draw is the interactions of the characters as they attempt to work together as a unit: a daughter convincing her father that she doesn’t need his constant supervision and a father having to relearn how to parent his child. Marvel is at its best when its characters are most recognizably human and their struggles most relatable. The first issue of “Legacy” doesn’t seem like a big break from what came before it, but if that means that book’s strong character work continues, then I’m down for it.
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