Marvel Comics formula for overarching storytelling over the last few years has been this cycle : Fall – New Books, New Characters, New Creators and new parts of continuing stories.(Allowing certain writers/artists to stay with the characters for a while)
Winter – Continuing Stories, something big should happen to set up the summer event.
Spring – Prelude to Summer event, big set-ups for hopeful payoffs.
Summer – Huge blockbuster style scenes, touching character moments, Nothing will ever be the same, some characters die, others come back, we all get ready to restart in a month.
Now, as a fan I have applauded this system before because when it works, it really works.(Secret Wars) but when it doesn’t work, it really doesn’t work.(Civil War II) Now we can discuss why certain summer events work and some don’t at another time but today we’re looking at what follows : The Relaunch.
Arguably, the most important of the steps is the relaunch. Wanna fix last season’s problems? Relaunch. Wanna get new readers? Relaunch/Perfect Jumping On Point. Marvel had honestly perfected the system there for a while there cause making it seasonal instead of a gimmick was a brilliant move on their part but now we get to the main topic here : we want to restart, so what are we going to do? Well Marvel has been teasing Marvel Legacy since April and their first announcement was Marvel Generations which is a series of 10 One-Shots that feature two characters who have carried the same name. (Tony Stark and Riri Williams, Clint Barton and Kate Bishop, Peter Parker and Mile Morales…etc.) Following that will be Marvel Legacy #1, The big comic that will start it all off. Not much is known about this comic or really any of the ones that will follow it. The entire line-up of books has been released but only the covers of them with very few of them talking about the creative teams behind them. We’ll, most likely, hear more about these books at Comic Con here in a few weeks but I don’t know why they didn’t wait to reveal it all at once.
There’s a few interesting things to take from Legacy such as no Captain America title, very few new titles and the fact that most of these are just continuations from the previous books. Some of these make sense like Thor, Invincible Iron Man and others but when you think of a relaunch you typically expect somewhere between a 70/30 or 60/40 split between old and new titles. So this raises the question : Why have a relaunch at all? Most people are already comparing it and saying that it’s only to keep up with DC Rebirth’s steady sales over the lasy year. I honestly can’t blame anyone for saying that cause that’s basically what it looks like and if you wanna check out what we mean then you can see all of the covers they released and the classic covers they’re based on then you can check them out here or if you wanna see just the new covers and dissect what you think is going on in them then you can check it out right here.
So we have a return to Classic Numbering, a giant one-shot to launch it off that says that every marvel story ever is important to it and of course “52” released books and a few more on the way. It’s hard not to draw some comparisons to what DC has done over the last few years. I understand why their goal is to play it safe here, I mean if I made everyone’s favorite hero into a nazi then I’d probably go ahead and play it safe with a soft reboot too. Which leads me to my major issue, this isn’t a reboot. It’s a continuation of the stories we’ve had already and there’s really no major point to draw this much attention to it if it isn’t going to really change anything. It’s honestly reminiscent of how they handled Secret Wars a few years ago where it was basically : “Nothing will ever be the same…except for this, this and this.” You had a genuinely phenomenal event comic and it was rendered all but useless due to most of the comics that followed it.
Jesse Schdeen over at IGN wrote about this and said a few of the things I’ve already said but he also mentioned the hope that they’ll bring back talent like Jonathan Hickman, Matt Fraction or Ed Brubaker and I would fully support everything about this if that is what they did.
I’m not trying to say that I don’t believe in Marvel because I absolutely do, I just believe that there are other ways to go about doing this. I want nothing more than to be wrong in the next few months and I very well may be, we’ll just have to wait and find out.