Christian Holub
September 20, 2017 AT 03:30 PM EDT

It’s been an eventful few years in the Marvel Universe. Many of the superhero publisher’s premier characters (including Captain America, Thor, and the Hulk) have been replaced by younger characters of different genders and ethnicities. Marvel also just wrapped up Secret Empire, an event series that saw Captain America revealed as a Hydra agent, with no small amount of controversy. But now the company is ready for its next stage, and that kicks off this month with the one-shot issue Marvel Legacy #1.

Marvel Legacy is Act 3 of a larger plan for the Marvel Universe,” Marvel Editor in Chief Axel Alonso tells EW. “In Act 2, we took a lot of our iconic heroes off the playing field, replaced them with either new, young characters – like Riri Williams or Amadeus Cho – or familiar characters – Jane Foster or Sam Wilson – and saw what types of stories emerged: Jane Foster as Thor, Sam Wilson as Captain America, Amadeus Cho as the Hulk. The return of the classic characters was inevitable, of course. We knew that, we wanted that, and we planned for that. That’s what Legacy is about: It sets the stage not only for the return of many of the classic characters but for the next stage in the lives of the newer characters. Now we find out if the Marvel Universe is big enough for all of them.”

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Written by Jason Aaron and illustrated by Esad Ribic, Marvel Legacy checks in around the Marvel Universe. We see Captain America on the road, keeping a low profile in the wake of Secret Empire; we see the Thing and Human Torch trying to carry on the Fantastic Four’s legacy while Mr. Fantastic and Invisible Woman remain missing; and we see a conflict between the modern incarnations of Ghost Rider and Starbrand getting into a fight. That tussle actually has roots stretching back to 1,000,000 B.C., and the very first team of Avengers. Back then, Ghost Rider rode a mammoth instead of a motorcycle, Odin wielded Mjolnir before Thor, and cavemen held the mantles of Black Panther, Phoenix, and Starbrand. According to Alonso, this won’t be the last you see of this fascinating team (Ghost Rider mammoth!).

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“When Jason pitched the concept of the 1,000,000 B.C. Avengers at an editorial retreat, everyone in the room’s jaw dropped,” Alonso says. “Not just the roster and details, but the concept driving it. That’s saying something. I think he’s caught lightning in a bottle with this team, I truly do. We have big plans for them.”

Check out a preview of Marvel Legacy #1 below. The issue is available Sept. 27 and will catalyze events across the Marvel Universe, from Black Panther to Venom.

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