This week Marvel Legacy steps in to kick off the next era of Marvel Comics, and Tim Drake returns in Detective Comics!
Marvel Legacy #1 (Marvel Comics)
Well, it’s finally here. After the usual Marvel hype, Marvel Legacy has released, and with it, the promise that the Marvel Universe will “never be the same again”. With waning interest in their books and major events like Secret Empire, Marvel’s “non-Rebirth” launch is being met with a lot of anticipation and skepticism, and as someone who’s been getting more and more tired of Marvel’s hype and promotions every week, I have to admit that the Jason Aaron and Esad Ribic Marvel Legacy #1 actually has piqued my interest in a way that Marvel hasn’t done in a very long time.
Opening on the Avengers of 1,000 B.C (don’t worry, they’re never called that officially) and spanning centuries into modern day, Marvel Legacy is like all the other Marvel launch specials: an appetizer for a majority of their upcoming series. Unlike the previous specials though, Jason Aaron’s script is able to present these separate ideas and themes in a way that ties them all together in a believable way. The mystery involving the prehistoric Avengers comes into play by having their modern day counterparts feel drawn to a mysterious common item, and I’ll admit, the idea of having Thor, Doctor Strange, Starbrand, Black Panther, Iron Fist, and Ghost Rider all team up is pretty cool.
Of course, with Marvel Legacy it was promised that a “major Marvel character” would return. Well, I’ll tell you up front that it’s not the Fantastic Four, although there are direct references to them and their possible return sometime down the line. No instead, the big character reveal is…and I’ll wait for you skip ahead if you don’t want to know (or haven’t had it spoiled yet)………
Yes, the real Wolverine who died in Death of Wolverine is back. How? It’s not exactly explained, but if I’m being honest, he’s the last character I expected to come back. It’s also really cool to see Logan again, especially with Jason Aaron writing him. How this will shake out when we’ve already got Old Man Logan, X-23 as Wolverine, AND the James Hudson from the Ultimate Universe is anyone’s guess, but hey, at least the original Wolverine’s back, and he’s got an Infinity Gem for some reason. It’s not the Earth-shaking reveal that Marvel is hyping it up to be, but it’s kinda cool.
On the art side of things, a good chunk of the issue is handled by Esad Ribic, and good lord is he great. The Prehistoric Avengers is a pretty goofy idea, but when they’re drawn by Ribic they’re actually kind of cool, and the highlight of the book is easily the Wolverine reveal, which, aside from an awkward splash page, nails the classic look of the character. Various artists ranging from Chris Samnee to Alex Maleev all take a crack at pages and panels that relate to their upcoming stories, and while there’s definitely some noticeable differences between the artist’s styles, it’s not completely jarring going from one to the other.
While I’m not completely on board with Marvel’s new “Legacy” branding just yet, I’ll admit that this special was way better and more interesting than I was expecting. Believe me; no one is more surprised about this than I am. Marvel seemingly has the right idea with Legacy. Now if they just need to live up to the potential of this special……
Detective Comics #965 (DC Comics)
Much has been made about the mysterious Mr. Oz, who’s been collecting various aspects of the DC universe since the “DC Rebirth” era began. He took Doomsday, and most recently he kidnapped Tim Drake, now known as Red Robin. While Batman and the other heroes in Detective Comics assumed Drake was dead, in actuality he’s been a prisoner of Mr. Oz, and in James Tynion IV’s and Eddy Barrows’ Detective Comics #965, Tim Drake starts planning his daring escape from Oz’s prison.
If you’re going into this issue hoping for a knock down drag out fight, you’ll be disappointed. A large chunk of this issue is a conversation between Mr. Oz and Tim Drake. But that doesn’t mean that this issue is a major drag. In fact, this approach is pretty awesome, as it serves as both a recap for people picking this book up for the first time and as a refresher for how Tim Drake fits into the DC universe again. James Tynion IV’s script is at its best in these moments, as Tynion nails the characterization of Tim Drake. The key difference between Tim and the other Robins is that he CHOSE to become Robin; he wasn’t picked by Bruce Wayne after suffering a tragedy. In a lot of ways, Tim Drake could become a better crime fighter than Batman, and it’s this aspect that Detective Comics focuses on with this issue, which is what makes it so effective.
Also making it effective is Eddy Barrows’ art, which is perfectly suited for this kind of issue. Barrows does best with the expressive emotions on Tim Drake’s face, and while his Batman looks a little chunkier than usual, there are some pretty great sequences here, especially with the last page of the book. As the “main artist” of this series, it’s a welcome sight to see his art for this storyline.
With both Action Comics and Detective Comics making major reveals about Mr. Oz, it’s easy to see why these two series would be of interest to anyone curious about the upcoming Doomsday Clock event. In a lot of ways, this issue of Detective Comics is what DC is currently getting right with the Rebirth event: it’s a story that honors the past of the DC universe while also putting a cool new spin on the universe, creating an exciting new story with a ton of possibilities.