After more than six months of teases, press releases and spoilers, Marvel Legacy - the relaunch destined to reshape the Marvel Universe as we know it - is finally here. What a time to be alive.
Kicking things off is Jason Aaron and Esad Ribic's big 70 page one-shot which, much like the Rebirth special that relaunched the DCU last year, addresses the reader directly with a suitably evocative and captivating narration, underpinning the key theme of the issue.
And, Legacy - in all its forms - is very much the theme of the day. Aaron does a splendid job of communicating the ethos that will, ostensibly, permeate the relaunch in every ongoing, spin-off and tie-in that bears the Legacy banner. And while the issue's meta-iness is somewhat offset by its assuredly ambitious nature, the writer succeeds and then some, providing a gilded invitation for a journey into mystery true believers old and new can get behind.
And the book does, of course, have plenty of mystery. Kicking things off with a look at the much-publicised Avengers 1,000,000 BC, Aaron shifts to the present day where Robbie Reyes - Marvel's latest Ghost Rider - Doctor Strange and Iron Fist are all caught up in a shared vision of their past. The book doesn't give much away in regards to how, or why, the group are experiencing dreams of their prehistoric counterparts, but it does end on a cliffhanger that's bound to excite the more cosmic-inclined among the Marvel faithful.
By now it's probably become apparent that Marvel aren't all that fussed about spoilers, and are pretty chill with firing them out to outlets left right and centre before a big comic book release. It hurts fans the most and, contrary to their view, it definitely does not bring in new readers. Why would anyone want to pick up a comic if its big reveal has been spoiled days in advance?
Legacy was the latest victim of this gungho attitude to spoiling things, with Marvel having announced on Monday that Wolverine (who hasn't really been dead for three years, be honest) would be returning in the issue. While his return was well handled, the surprise factor was completely lost, an element that does, to some degree, hurt the issue.
Legacy isn't short on other surprises however, and undoubtedly the most exciting of all was that Ben Grimm and Johnny Storm - the ever-lovin' blue-eyed Thing and the Human Torch - were looking to reignite the Fantastic Four. Then there was the issue's ending, which featured Franklin and Valeria Richards racing through the cosmos with a big ol' 4 emblazoned on the page's corner. It very much feels like it's only a matter of time until Marvel's first family return to the fold, and it was a wonderful surprise to see in the issue, even if Marvel themselves again looked to spoil it last evening.
In spite of all the controversy that has accompanied Legacy's release, Jason Aaron and Esad Ribic have risen to the occasion and provided fans with a brilliant look into the latest chapter of the Marvel Universe.
Only time will tell if this truly is Marvel's reply to DC Rebirth but, if it is, then fans of the big two have plenty to be excited for. The industry needs a strong Marvel and, if Legacy can be the super soldier serum that rekindles our love for the universe, then more power to them.
Just, y'know, announce that Fantastic Four series already. That'd be swell.