The series (seems to) pick off from the Skinwalker which introduced Sky Alchesay to the group. However, the focus of the plot was one that I have always thought of as a plot hole in the New 52 continuity of Aquaman – the origins of the Atlantean artifacts and their powers. We are introduced to the artifacts that Aquaman and the Others wield. While the latter mentioned arc dealt with the team dynamic and history, Legacy of Gold focuses on detailing the origins of the Atlantean artifacts that they possess.
From the Death of a King arc (Aquaman Book 18-25), we gained insight into the history of Atlantis and the civil war that resulted in its downfall. The series tapped on the information that the aforementioned arc established about Atlan being a ruthless king. After being banished by his brother, Atlan went to seek out the Gold of Legacy to craft them into weapons to forcefully take back his throne. Though we are to assume that these Gold have mystic properties, it’s an assumption that is acceptable – reminiscent of Vibranium in its potential.
With Ya’wara’s departure from The Others in A Choice of Evil (Aquaman Annual 1), the group is more apart than they ever was. With them all separated from one another, the Artifacts begin to power their powers which acts as the premise for their reunion. It was particularly smart to head in this direction as it allowed for a strong and sufficient reason for the Others to join up once again without it being too farfetched. However, this is where problems with the story begun to surface. While at face value, being united by danger is a strong motive to join forces to solve the issue and combat the villain that is targeting the users of the Relics, it revealed a sense of over dependence of the members on the artifacts. The artifacts are what united The Others in the beginning but their motivations were written to be more selfish than needed to. It felt that Sky was the only one that wanted to join forces to help her friends.
Following Sky’s visit by Kahina in the Ghostly Realm, the Others set forth to save Sayeh, Kahina’s Sister, to honor their once close companion. The led them to an eventual confrontation with the big bad of this arc – the descendants of the Alchemist. There were many issues that I have with the villains and most of them centers around their powers. Throughout the confrontation, Darya (one of two the senior villains) continuously stated that ‘we are alchemist, we make’ (or something along those lines) but it did not give a clear vision for their powers – they are shown to possess powers of flight, telekinesis as well as transmutation. While it is not doubt formidable, it made no sense. These powers are too distinct to share a common source. The only one that made some sense was Legend himself, the main villain. In the history of alchemy, practitioners of this art form focused on transformation common minerals to Gold and researched on the notion of eternal life. One of the most popular artifacts thought to be able to achieve this was the Philosopher’s stone, which was not even mentioned. That said, it is acceptable the Gold of Legacy was the DCU’s version of the Philosopher’s stone. The fact that the Solokov family’s powers did not extend to Legend was a major flaw as well. Was he too weak to wield this sorcery?
The main highlight of this arc was in fact not the Atlantean artifacts but was the events that happened towards the end of the arc. Ya’wara’s encounter with Kahina was full of emotion that allowed for strong development of the former character. It led to a revelation about Vostok that was one that no one could have saw coming. Throughout the story, one can clearly see how vital Sky’s power as without her, none of the big revelations could have been successfully achieved without a major stretch. The arc cements each of the member’s place in the team and allowed for sufficient development of the new member Sayeh as well as adding more depth to the story with the return of Vostok that possible sets up for an interesting team dynamic in subsequent arcs.
To sum up, Legacy of Gold delivers a strong addition to the DCU and though it had its shortcomings, the many twists and surprising reveals very much made up for the flaws.