Today, Marvel Comics released Legacy #1, the banner book for its latest roster shakeup that lays the groundwork for what’s to come for the Marvel comics universe, on Earth, in the stars, and beyond. Here are all the teasers we saw in the book, and what they might mean for Marvel’s mightiest heroes.
One of the most intriguing aspects of Legacy teased before release was the existence of an ancient team of Avengers—one that formed hundreds of thousands of years before the original team did in the ‘60s. We actually still don’t know what much of their deal is in the new book, although writer Jason Aaron has said this isn’t the last we’ll see of them.
But we do now know why ancient incarnations of Thor—Odin himself—Iron Fist, Phoenix, Ghost Rider, Starbrand, and the Sorcerer Supreme (the actual Agamotto, whose ancient mystical eye sits around Steven Strange’s neck nowadays) teamed up in the first place: to do battle with a Celestial, Marvel’s mysterious race of cosmic super-beings, who hold immense power.
The pre-historic Avengers eventually overcome the Celestial’s threat by entombing it under the earth of what would become South Africa, but in the modern era, it seems like the threat is awakening once more. Despite the contemporary Starbrand’s best, most violent attempts to keep the descendants of the ancient Avengers away from the Celestial’s body, they find themselves suddenly, strangely drawn to it.
Doctor Strange and Danny Rand both mention to each other weird dreams of their past selves fighting an immense threat. But it’s Robbie Reyes, the current Ghost Rider, who winds up the closest to the Celestial, after waking up in South Africa with no memory of how he got there. Robbie never actually makes contact with the Celestial, though. The modern Starbrand stops him, although Robbie accidentally kills Starbrand during their brawl with the Penance Stare, a power Robbie has never had before, but was once in the repertoire of previous Ghost Riders like Johnny Blaze.
While none of the descendants of the ancient Avengers reach the Celestial’s tomb, someone does. Early on in the issue, Loki tasks some of his fellow Frost Giants with retrieving an item from Midgard, one hidden in SHIELD’s archives but not on their records. The Frost Giants fail in their mission, leading to Loki to go to his “plan B”—seeking out the Celestial in South Africa. Just what Loki wants to do and where the item he was originally hoping to find ends up will come up later, but we seemingly at least know a little about what Loki’s going to be up in the near future: he’s taking over as the Sorceror Supreme in Doctor Strange.
Speaking of SHIELD, the agency has gone through a rough time, what with Maria Hill being put on trial for trying to use a Cosmic Cube to rehabilitate criminals, and that whole thing where they were handed vast powers through Captain America only to have him rise up as the fascist sleeper agent of Hydra and use them to take over the US.
It seems like the events of Secret Empire were the last straw for the powers that be. At several points in Legacy characters mention that SHIELD is being shut down, its archives being turned over to the military, and its agents forced to quit. Nothing’s said about a similar agency rising up to take its place, but either a rebirth of SHIELD or a new organization like it seems inevitable.
Remember how Civil War II ended with Tony Stark “dying,” and by “dying” we mean “going into a coma because no one ever dies in a superhero comic”? Well, considering that Tony repeatedly showed up in Secret Empire as a hologram, it doesn’t really feel like he’s been gone, but now we know he’s really back, as Mary Jane Watson—who is running Stark Industries in Tony’s absence—finds Tony’s coma-chamber suddenly empty.
No one knows where Tony is, and we don’t actually see him awaken. But the next arc of Invincible Iron Man is called “The Search for Tony Stark,” so we know Riri is probably going to go hunting for her mentor soon enough.
Since Reed, Sue, and their kids went off to rebuild the Marvel multiverse at the end of Secret Wars, Johnny Storm and Ben Grimm have been floating between superteams, and apart from each other—the wounds of the Fantastic Four’s absence too great for them to bear. But time has changed, and the duo seem to have realized the world needs the Fantastic Four again... even if it’s really just the Fantastic Two.
We know Johnny and Ben are re-teaming for the new Marvel Two-in-One series, but it seems the real reason why is that they want to remind the world of who the Fantastic Four was, with the hope that one day it might rise again—especially given that they announce their reunion by firing a “4"-shaped flare into the sky over New York.
Marvel let this slip a little earlier this week, but yes, Logan is back. And it turns out the reason Loki doesn’t get the item he wanted from SHIELD—revealed to be an Infinity Stone (it’s blue, but considering the colors of which stone is which, it’s hard to say definitively which one it is)—is because Logan has been tracking it too, and swipes it away from the Frost Giants for reasons unknown.
At least one person knows of Logan’s return, though. The teenaged version of Jean Grey (not to be confused with adult Jean Grey, who’s back in December) makes a pilgrimage to Canada to visit Logan’s adamantium-encased grave, only to find—and be alarmingly unsurprised by the fact—that it’s been torn open from the inside.
Steve Rogers is also having a tough time lately, thanks to Secret Empire. Now that he’s back and good and not a fascist again (thank God), he’s taking some time to reflect on what the world thinks of him—but he’s doing it out of the spotlight. We briefly meet Steve in a diner somewhere, shield hidden in his bag, avoiding the news that ponders just where the hell Steve Rogers is right now.
We already know that the new Captain America book is going to take Steve on a tour across the US—how very Superman of him!—to see what the average citizen thinks of Captain America in the wake of Secret Empire. But now we know he’s doing it while laying low.
Secret Empire was hard on a lot of people, but Deadpool may have been one of its most tragic victims—so wholly trusting of Captain America that he was willing to do anything, even killing Phil Coulson and becoming a Hydra agent, just because Steve Rogers told him it was the right thing to do.
The rise of Hydra and Steve’s duplicity has taken a real big toll on Deadpool. Even as he’s hunted for the murder of Coulson, he’s not the jokester you’d typically expect him to be, seemingly accepting of the mistakes he’s made over the years. How long this remorseful mood lasts, however, remains to be seen; the next arc of Deadpool promises to push Wade back from the anti-hero his been for the past few years into something much more villainous again.
As you can see above, Legacy #1 is jam-packed with asides that tease new paths for some of Marvel’s most iconic heroes. But the weirdest and most out there of all in the book is a single splash page with zero context, one that takes us to a far away star system and to the Planet Bast... or specifically Birnin T’Challa, described as the throneworld of the Intergalactic Empire of Wakanda.
That’s it. That’s literally all we get to know, but yes. Somehow, out of nowhere, Black Panther has gone and gotten himself a space empire. Complete with Black Panther soldiers and alien citizens and rad-looking spaceships. It’s pretty dang great.
Legacy #1 saves its biggest tease for its final pages, which reveal that the ever-present narrator in the issue—an omniscient voice that has been pondering the meaning of legacy and what it means to think about the future—is none other than Valeria Richards, the daughter of Reed and Sue, thinking not just of her future, but also the futures of all the heroes in the Marvel Universe.
But Valeria isn’t just thinking about that as she goes off with her parents and brother to rebuild the cosmos. She reveals her desire to get back to her home reality and explore that, alongside her family and their old friends. She simply tells the audience that they’re on their way back, with a vague implication that it’ll be in the near future. It’s not a full on confirmation, but aside from Johnny and Ben’s efforts back on Earth, the return of the Fantastic Four is no longer an “if” at Marvel—with Legacy, it’s a matter of “when.”