A spectacularly breath-taking issue that only disappoints if you have you haven’t done your homework.
We are now halfway through Jonathan Hickman’s event, Infinity, and I am still in awe over the scope of this series.
Epic doesn’t even begin to describe the scale and feel of this story. When the first event series started at Marvel and DC decades ago, the idea behind them was that there were threats so big that no one hero or team could deal with them alone. The events went way beyond a team-up, pushing all heroes and all teams together for one valiant stand against evil.
This is the first event I’ve read from Marvel that truly feels to me like a threat so big and so real that the entirety of the Marvel Universe needs to come together for survival. If I wasn’t so hyper-aware of the ongoing survival of Marvel’s books because of solicitations, I would swear that this was Marvel’s final book.
What contributes so heavily to that is the way Hickman narrates the series.
And men perish.
And when those words are combined with Jerome Opena, Dustin Weaver, and Justin Ponsor’s grandiose landscapes, awe-inspiring characters, and dynamic colors; you know that every word of what Hickman writes is true. The danger is even more real and immediate.
The Infinity series itself has worked as the larger scale view of war, while its tie-ins have been the place where most of the character work takes place. It can be frustrating for readers with a limited budget, as I truly believe you NEED to be reading Avengers and New Avengers in order to get a complete story, but I’m reading it all and welcome the additional chapters. There are parts of this issue that simply won’t work if you are only reading the Infinity chapters of the event.
The story jumps from scene to scene and works to create such a breathless pace that little time is given to individual characters and moments and just hints at events that are better understood only after reading the tie-ins. That pace works beautifully having read everything Infinity, but could be overwhelming and chaotic when you don’t know the whole story.
The big two battles of this issue, first Captain America’s rallying strategy against the Builder fleets then Black Bolt’s throw-down with Thanos in Attilan, are expertly handled in their art and writing, and are more than enough to satisfy even the confused reader.
Only three issues remain in the main series. It’s both worrisome and exciting to have no idea where the story will go next. But if they all read and look like this, then we are in for a spectacular second half.
Jonathan Hickman (W), Jerome Opena and Dustin Weaver (A) • Marvel Comics, $3.99, September 18, 2013.