Once upon a time, that was all we had. Luckily, there was a philosophy that “Every issue #703 is somebody’s first”, so we were able to follow what was happening.
The problem now I think is that even when they renumber a series to launch a new issue #1, they still don’t write it as if it’s someone’s first. So the actual number on the cover is the least of their problems.
In a way, #703 is more honest. At least the casual punter knows they’re going to get something with a lot of history. A new #1 is just a con job.