Marvel Voices: Legacy #1 is an anthology of new stories, largely featuring Marvel’s greatest Black heroes and anti-heroes, written, drawn, and coloured by a host of Black creatives.
Marvel Voices: Legacy #1
“Words Do Matter”
Olivier Coipel (Artist), John Ridley (Writer), Laura Martin (Colours)
Chris Allen (Artist), Mohale Mashigo (Writer), Rachelle Rosenberg (Colours)
“Panic at the Supermarket”
Natacha Bustos (Artist), Rachelle Rosenberg (Colours), Stephanie Renee Williams (Writer)
“Good Luck Girl”
Juan Fernandez (Colours), Ken Lashley (Artist), Tochi Onyebuchi (Writer)
“A Luta Continua: A Tale from the Venomverse”
Chris Cross (Artist), Nnedi Okorafor (Writer), Rachelle Rosenberg (Colours)
“Nighttime Bodega Run”
Dan Brown (Colours), Valentina De Landro (Artist), Danny Lore (Writer)
Saint Bodhi (Story), Danny Lore (Writer), Alitha E Martinez (Artist), Rachelle Rosenberg (Colours)
Sarah Brunstad and Will Moss (Editors), Joe Sabino (Letters)
February 24, 2021
Okay, so, I cried reading Nic Stone’s introduction of Marvel Voices: Legacy #1 where she details how, in her youth, she and her sister really only had one Black superhero to look up to—Storm. But Stone’s children now have many more to choose from, as this book will attest to. It’s slow progress but it is still progress. These heroes bring us one step closer to equity in superhero comics.
And then I cried harder reading the first story, “Words Do Matter”. I love Miles Morales/Spider-Man and am trying to read everything with him in it. Opening the book with a story about Miles was guaranteed to evoke a reaction from me. While I’m used to laughing with Miles, this one had me in tears. Because the message reflected Stone’s introduction. Miles may be different—he’s a Black hero, a Latinx hero, and a superpowered individual—but he’s not alone. He’s one of many amazing BIPOC heroes, who he gets to team up with to save the world. Tears everywhere.
That heavy emotional opening in Marvel Voices: Legacy #1 is followed up by “Decompression”, which is sweet and heart-warming. Riri Williams/Ironheart fighting bad guys and then finding time to decompress with her friends, Princess Shuri of Wakanda and Kamala Khan/Ms. Marvel, was just a joy to read. We need more ladies spending chillout time together in comics, please!And we get yet another adorable story in “Panic at the Supermarket”, which sees Maria and Monica Rambeau/Spectrum grocery shopping for Monica’s dad’s 60th birthday. They’ve got ample help in the shape of Thor and She-Hulk. But even they can’t hold up the checkout line while Maria gets that one last item she forgot. Such a simple premise, but one that becomes whimsical and hilarious due to the inclusion of superheroes. Since I’m a sucker for a cute mom-daughter story, this made me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.
“Good Luck Girl” brings some darkness into Marvel Voices: Legacy #1. Featuring Domino, this story starts off as a good old-fashioned one-woman army fight sequence but then gets sad really fast. I like the idea of it, but the message felt off to me. I understand that not all mutants have powers that help others. Domino’s ability to create luck only works because she can siphon others’ luck away. The good fortune she generates for herself can actively put others in harm’s way.
Civilians getting hurt because of the actions of ‘heroes’ is a theme I can stand by. It resonates with the terrible events of 2020—police brutality and murder of unarmed Black civilians was the impetus for the Black Lives Matter movement. Whether “Good Luck Girl” was meant as an allegory for those real-life events, I’m not sure, but the treatment in this book doesn’t quite work for me. Because Domino is part of the very community that has been marginalised and suffered at the hands of law enforcement—portraying her as the reason why other people get hurt rubbed me the wrong way.“A Luta Continua” captures a non-USA event in Marvel Voices: Legacy #1. The EndSARS movement in Nigeria captured the world’s interest and its depiction in this book gives the anthology a global perspective. The story fits well into the book because protagonist Ngozi is Nigerian. She’s in the thick of the EndSARS movement, fighting alongside her friends.
The story was strong and while I’m glad to see that Venom hasn’t completely magically cured Ngozi’s disability, once Venomised, Ngozi doesn’t require her wheelchair. I haven’t read many stories with Ngozi, but I can’t help but wonder why a superpowered character can’t have powers and her disability at the same time.I absolutely loved “Nighttime Bodega Run”, which stars Blade. I have never read an anthology comic with Blade before, so this was an exciting experience for me. It’s an action-heavy story that had me goggle-eyed and at the edge of my seat. But honestly, vampires, Blade being a badass, and a boy and his aunt saving the day with garlic rice and chicken? This story was perfect.
“Letting Go” is a fantastic end to Marvel Voices: Legacy #1, celebrating the power and compassion of one of the greatest Black superheroes—Storm. A young mutant’s revenge against the people who killed her family resonates with Storm and she does everything in her power to save the child in ways that she herself wasn’t. Not much in terms of action, but this story does Storm’s heart justice. The story was conceptualised by Saint Bodhi, a rising Def Jam recording artist—Marvel is featuring three stories by musicians and “Letting Go” was the first. You can see Bodhi’s love for Storm in her characterisation—Storm is an inspirational person first in this story, not just an unattainable superhero.
Despite numerous artists working on the stories in Marvel Voices: Legacy #1, there’s a seamless flow to the art that keeps the reader firmly within the world. That’s quite an achievement. I’ve read comic anthologies before where the art changes so drastically from story to story that my brain needs time to re-orient itself before I can continue. I didn’t feel that way about this book, at all.
The art styles are certainly different. For instance, “Panic at the Supermarket” is a lighter, funnier story and Natacha Bustos uses a cartoonish style to portray the events. “Decompression” and “Good Luck Girl” are more the typical superhero comic style—defined lines, intricately-drawn faces, and tons of detail. But it’s the order of the stories that makes the art look so seamless. The story sequence is so well-planned in Marvel Voices: Legacy that the art styles and stories create a cohesive experience for the reader.
I wanted to love Marvel Voices: Legacy #1 and I certainly did. I cried and I laughed, and I was grateful that we have so many amazing BIPOC characters to read. We still need so many more, but these characters are an inspiration and a stepping stone to much greater things.