SPOILER WARNING: This article contains major spoilers for Marvel Legacy #1, by Jason Aaron, Esad Ribic and others, on sale now from Marvel Comics.
Because of the way the story of Marvel Legacy #1 is structured, moving from 1 million years in Earth's past to present-day South Africa, Jotunheim and beyond, it's difficult to discern relationships between far-flung developments, let alone cause and effect. But amid all the questions about Celestials, the Stone Age dreams shared by Danny Rand and Robbie Reyes, and the return of Wolverine, at least one thing is clear: Something significant has changed at Avengers Mansion.
The moment is fleeting, arriving about midway through the oversize issue, as longtime and loyal butler Edwin Jarvis is distracted from sorting mail by the inescapable feeling that something is "wrong." Questioned by Nadia Pym, he explains, "I know every brick and stone of this old place, from good memories to bad ... and yet ... Have you ever felt as if some part of your surroundings, some significant detail, is just ... wrong ...?"
But just as quickly as it arrives, the feeling passes, dismissed by Jarvis as "Just a trick of the mind, I suppose." "After all," he concludes, "everything's just as it should be." Except, of course, that it's not, as readers see when it's revealed what object had drawn Jarvis' uneasy gaze: the near-iconic statue depicting the founding members of the Avengers, plus Captain America, who was later granted founder status.
Longtime Avengers readers can probably close their eyes and envision the statue, as drawn by George Perez, with the Incredible Hulk, Iron Man, Cap and Thor standing in the foreground, and Giant-Man looming behind, with the Wasp buzzing just above his outstretched hand.
But on that single page -- that single panel -- of Marvel Legacy #1, by writer Jason Aaron and artist Stuart Immonen, there's another figure to Thor's left: Voyager, the mysterious new character teased earlier this month by Marvel.
Although the Wasp, Janet van Dyne, seems to be missing from the statue depicted in the Legacy one-shot, readers shouldn't jump to the conclusion that she's been retroactively removed as a founder, because she reappears in the promotional image for the Avengers: No Surrender weekly event. Therefore, we can probably conclude the Wasp's omission was merely a production oversight. With that out of the way, we're left to wonder what's going on with Voyager.
The retroactive introduction of superheroes into Marvel Universe history is nothing new, of course; Sentry and Jessica Jones (in particular, her costumed Jewel identity) come immediately to mind. However, Voyager is something different, because in her case the fabric of reality has clearly been altered, although not smoothly. If the change can be vaguely sensed by Jarvis, a man who knows every inch of Avengers Mansion by heart but possesses no superhuman abilities, then how is it processed by someone like Doctor Strange?
More pressing, though, is how reality has been changed, and to what extent. Is it a far-ranging phenomenon, or something specific orchestrated to insert Voyager into Avengers history? If it's the latter, then by whom and why?
One possibility is this change arose due to the restructuring of the Marvel Universe at the end of Secret Empire. While Kobik, the sentient Cosmic Cube at the heart of that event, adjusted reality in order to make things right, she left untouched several major changes wrought by Hydra Cap's reign; most notably, the deaths of Black Widow, Rick Jones and all of Las Vegas. It's possible that Kobik, either intentionally or unwittingly, somehow changed Avengers history, introducing a new hero into the team's original ranks.
Within the context of Marvel Legacy's story, however, we may assume the anomaly is connected to the unearthing of the "deranged" Celestial defeated a million years earlier by Odin and his Stone Age Avengers. After all, that seems to be what triggered the dreams of Danny Rand and Robbie Reyes, and drew the latter, along with the Starbrand, to South Africa. However, there's so much in the one-shot that clearly has little or nothing to do with the Celestial -- check-ins with Steve Rogers, Deadpool and Thor Odinson, the disappearance of Tony Stark, the reappearance of Wolverine -- that we can't be sure. Correlation and causation are slippery concepts in Marvel Legacy.
What's more, we know absolutely nothing about Voyager, beyond that she bears more than a passing resemblance to Kismet (aka Paragon, aka Her), the superpowered being created in a cocoon by the scientists of the Enclave. That will change Friday, when Marvel Comics promises to reveal more information about the character. Perhaps then we can begin trying to piece together the puzzle of the Avengers' newly altered history.
Marvel Legacy #1, by Jason Aaron and Esad Ribic, with Chris Samnee, Russell Dauterman, Alex Maleev, Ed McGuinness, Stewart Immonen and Wade Von Grawbadger, Pepe Larraz, Jim Cheung, Daniel Acuna, Greg Land and Jay Leisten, Mike Deodato Jr., and David Marquez, is on sale now from Marvel Comics.