ADVANCED REVIEW: ‘Marvel’s Voices: Heritage,’ #1

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Marvel's Voices Heritage - But Why Tho

Beginning Marvel Comics’ second year of the Marvel’s Voices anthology series, Marvel’s Voices: Heritage is the second one-shot to feature Native American talents and stories. Jim Terry, Brittany Peer, Nyla Innuksuk, Natasha Donovan, Rachelle Rosenberg, Steven Paul Judd, David Cutler, José Marzan Jr., Paris Alleyne, Rebecca Roanhorse, Shaun Beyale, Belardino Brabo, Morry Hallowell, Kyle Charles, and VC’s Ariana Maher each contribute their artistic talents to the issue.

Now that they are in their second year of publication, I have a few expectations for Marvel’s Voices comics. Are they telling a diverse set of stories within each issue? Are they featuring new and different talents than the first time around? Have the featured characters featured prominantly recently or plan to feature in the near future? And of course, are the stories good?

Marvel’s Voices: Heritage gladly fulfills most of these expectations. Nearly the whole creative team is new save for Roanhorse, Cutler, and Charles. Having the opporutnity to be introduced to new Native writers and artists while offering them the chance to develop charactes old and new is one of the best parts of any anthology. Mixing the new with Roanhorse’s well-known talent is a pleasure and I hope to see more of these creators in future comics.

The stories told within Marvel’s Voices: Heritage also decently cover a span of Indiginous American cultures and stypes of stories. We have stories that range from a non-distcript reservation to Indiginous people in Nunavut and from a boy who can see ghosts and is possessed by a demonic spired to a retired Native American superhero just being a retired hero. Both kinds of diversity are essential to showcasing the real and important diversity that exists among the real Native American communities the comics depict and the creators come from.

It also is really nice to feel like these characters aren’t being tokeinized or plucked out of obscurity to be featured once and moved on from. Warewolf By Night, Championsand Phoenix Song: Echo and others are among the series that prominantly featured the Indiginous characters seen in the pages of Marvel’s Voices: Heritage, none of which are one-off stories and neither are they the only Marvel stories to currentntly or recently feature Indiginous characters.

Where the big unfortunately comes in this one-shot is not in the field of representation. It is simply in its lopsided story quality. “Snowguard: The Tuurngait’s Song” and “American Eagle: Not Dead Yet” are the two best in the pack. The former is a great short story about its titual teenage hero embracing the Indigenous roots of her powers and her community. The latter is a great tale set many decades in the future showcasing what it might be like to be a superhero in decline. Both stories are well-illustrated in addition to their being heartfelt and unique. “The Unexpectred,” however, is a two-second long story that comes and goes without muc himpact. It’s not bad per se, but with its absolute brevity and no characterization, I didn’t even realized it ended after it’s quick five pages. And for as much as I enjoy Roanhorse’s work, her story “River: A Friend in Need” is purely a tie-in to Phoenix Song: Echo. While I would have loved for this short story to have gripped me into her ongoing limited series, it doesn’t include Echo in the story at all and doens’t really set up a particularly interesting villain either in its short format.

Most dissapointingly though, the only additional componants to this one-shot besides the four shorts are an interview with Roanhorse (still worth a read) and a reprinting of part of the United States of Captain America series. I was really hoping the issue would include pages discussing the history of Native American representation in Marvel Comics, akin to Marvel’s Voices: Prideor an essay like Marvel’s Voices: Indigenous Voices did.

Overall the comic just felt too brief and what was contained was not full enough. Which is a shame given all of the other ways it met or exceeded my expectations. There are a few good stories in here, but the full one-shot is unfortunately a bit lacking.

Marvel’s Voices: Heritage is available wherever comics are sold January 12.


Marvel's Voices: Heritage
3.5

TL;DR

Overall the comic just felt too brief and what was contained was not full enough. Which is a shame given all of the other ways it met or exceeded my expectations. There are a few good stories in here, but the full one-shot is unfortunately a bit lacking.