By Jonathan Hickman (Writer), Steve Epting (Artist), Frank D’Armata (Colorist)

The Story: The Illuminati gains a new member and tries to use the Infinity gems to deal with the incoming problem that plague their universe.

The Review: Jonathan Hickman was not kidding at all when he said this book would be the dark counterpart to his lighter and more optimistic Avengers title. Even though he promised big threats and big things in both his runs, I never thought he’d actually go this far with three mere issues in. This is something I absolutely commend and I have only one thing to say about these developments and twists: congratulations.

Of course, this would not be much of a review if I stopped here. Something that works very well in the issue, just like the latest one, is the tension. Here, though, it is tension created with the relations between each character, not only by the situation. Hickman does not let us forget what is at stake, yet he is capable of adding the past relationships between characters in several key moments, be it with a snippet of dialogue or a simple action. People who have followed some of these characters for years will easily recognize that Hickman truly manage to capture the essence of each of the Illuminati quite easily, even in such situations and in such a tone.

It is not only the characters that Hickman manages to capture, as he also manages to make the problem seems even bigger in this issue with a single moment that tells a lot of the scope he wants to write in this series. This moment, which I will not spoil, is impossibly big and important. Unlike the latest issue which was mostly talking, there are some very big moments, notably two of them, another one at the very end of the issue, that push the title in a very interesting direction. Those moments seems even surreal in their scope, breaking the taboo of what we could potentially think would happen in this series. Like I always say about Hickman, he has a plan and so far, it is a fascinating one considering the problem and the trouble that goes along with it. Let’s just say that those interested in the Marvel universe as a whole must read this issue. No kidding.

As nice as the story is, a good plot can be brought down if the art does not match its quality. Fortunately, we have a professional on this book with Steve Epting, who still manages to convey the harsh thoughts and calculations on each characters faces. The somber tone of this book is greatly helped by his shadow effects and the pacing of his panels. It is by no mean perfect, though, as there were some small missteps here and there. I did not particularly like the way he drew Beast face, making it look a little bit too chubby for my taste. I get that he is a tricky character and that there are many versions of his design, but I did not find Steve Epting’s version to be on par with the rest of them. Another small error, right in the middle of the book, would be with the Infinity gems. On a page, we see the six gems, each one of them with a particular color and name, then we see them once more some pages later and the names and colors have been swapped. On one page the Mind gem is red, the next it is green. It is a small detail, but it could have probably been avoided quite easily. Still, the rest of the colors in this issue look superb, with Frank D’Armata using a somber palette once more to great effects.

The Conclusion: This is a big, important book that warrants to be called such. Full of big and bombastic moments, this has set some major pieces in the play that Jonathan Hickman wants to show in his tenure on the Avengers title. With a script like this, good character work and some very good art, it is quite easy to recommend this title.

Grade: A-

-Hugo Robberts Larivière




  • There is the matter of the little device they left in his hand.

    Steve is gonna be pissed.

  • Living Tribunal

    Brilliantly plotted and scripted, and with stunning, detailed and realistic art. It does not get any better than this. I approached reading this issue with minimal enthusiasm only be blown away by its greatness.

  • Anonymous

    In one issue, Cap goes from savior to exile. Every time I read a Hickman comic, I cannot believe that Marvel will not give him the “big event”. If any writer could take the 6 to 8 issues format and make it feel significant, it’s Hickman.

    • Well, it seems that they have catched, considering they are giving him a event called ”Infinity” that will be shown in this year’s free comic book day.

  • paladinking

    holy shit, that ending. Ice cold.

    • That was pretty much my reaction as well. I can’t wait to see how Hickman will play with that.

      • Paladin King

        also, if Cap isn’t safe, is there anything protecting Beast, Namor, Reed, or Tony should they ever disagree?

        • I don’t know, which is something wonderful to admit in such a case. I wonder just how this will affect the relations between all those characters.

  • I loved the writing of Beast in this, and feel like he’s going to have a bigger role as the series progresses. I bought issue one just to test the waters and now I can’t wait for each issue to come out.