Marvel Legacy, we hardly knew ye. 2017’s fall publishing initiative, which kicked off with a best-selling one-shot, was nonetheless ticketed for an overhaul come Thanksgiving of last year, after the controversial firing of then Editor-in-Chief Axel Alonso, and the promotion of C.B. Cebulski. Marvel’s new EIC wasted little time promising “new beginnings,” and the cynics among us grumbled. Here we go again…
There were still some storylines seeded during the Legacy build-up that were now being hitched to C.B.’s wagon. Jason Aaron’s ancient Avengers saga would be kicking off the fanfare-minimized “Fresh Start,” and the galactic empire of Wakanda, along with the long-awaited return of the Fantastic Four, were not far behind. But it was still a new batch of #1 issues for a near line-wide refresh. Marvel had been pulling this stunt annually; some of these books were up to their fourth series premiere in as many years.
Ostensibly the re-numbering shtick is to gain new readers, a concept to which none of us object. What did draw some concern was whether or not this mid-stream Fresh Start, in the process of trying to build a new audience, would end up sacrificing the creativity and diversity that had been a hallmark of the publisher in recent years. Mindful of everything that we loved about All-New, All-Different, Marvel NOW!, and the recent Legacy, along with what bothered us, the Idle Time focus group reassembled to see what to make of this latest initiative.
Since this wasn’t an official publishing initiative with a formal trade dress, we extrapolated our own list of #1 issues released over the first six months of Marvel’s Fresh Start, beginning the week of May 2.
We included all ongoing series that re-started with a new #1, but excluded series that advertised a new beginning while maintaining their numbering (like Champions and Astonishing X-Men). We included mini-series that featured standalone stories, but excluded those that were either event series or tie-ins to said events (like Infinity Wars or Spider-Girls or The Return of Wolverine). We included a few one-shots, specifically if they portended a future ongoing series (Superior Octopus), revitalization of a certain character (Marvel Zombie) or increased exposure for a certain creative team (Thanos Legacy); but excluded those that were only ever meant to exist as one-and-dones (like the X-Men: Black books, various Annuals, or What If? specials).
Perhaps this seems a tad arbitrary, but it’s our game and we wanted to read and rank a nice tidy batch of thirty comics. So that’s what we did. And, once again, we engaged an interesting mix of comic book superfans, casual fans, and long-lost readers returning to the four-color fold. Here’s what we thought…