By: Jonathan Hickman, Warren Ellis, Scott Edelman (Writers), Jim Cheung, Mike Zeck, Mike Mckone (Artists), Justin Ponsor, Chris Eliopoulos (Colorists)
The Story (The interesting one): Thanos sends assassins and envoys to other planets, demanding tributes for his crushing conquests of their ancient home.
(The less interesting ones): Thanos wants to crush a flower, because he’s a bad man! Meanwhile, we get a preview we have already seen of a book by an author many actually like.
The Review: It is pretty easy to completely disregard free comic book day. It is, after all, something that many actual fans of comics might not be so enthusiastic about, since most offerings are either tease at bigger things to come yet, or reprints of stuff we have already seen before. From a bigger perspective, this seems more like a move made to gather people who are not thoroughly interested in the media to begin with, to give them a taste of how versatile the market can be. Sure, there are some terrific books in these free selections, like Atomic Robo, Mouse Guard or any that actually create new and compelling content for people to enjoy.
Of course, what most people will look for is what kind of offering the big two is giving away this year. While DC side has already been explored, Marvel hasn’t, as they have decided to give us a proper tease of their next big event involving one of the most beloved villains of the Marvel universe: Thanos. While it is merely to set up the stage and to excite their fan base, how does it actually fare as a proper comic?
It actually does kind of well, much to my surprise. While it is a rather short tale, it is an effective one nonetheless as we get to see a whole new way in which Thanos operate now. It is not much of a Thanos tale, as we get to see two big concepts being attached to the character being introduced, as the Outriders and Corvus Glaive, emissary to Thanos. Here, we get a tale showing Corvus going to a planet that has been crushed by Thanos, only to have survived to continue on being despite their fate. With Corvus going on the planet, we get to see just what kind of a person he is, as threats and offers are made.
Already, we can see in this small tale that Hickman has a big plan, showing us in the span of pages and few lines the fate and some history of a people that has seen much chaos and destruction. We see the threat Corvus pose as the dialogue goes on, while the very presence of Thanos is always present, even though the character is shown in one page only. It is pretty effective stuff that actually does the very job it was supposed to do: bring up Infinity and makes us interested in what will eventually be going on.
As strong as the small script is, it is the art that makes it even more enjoyable. Jim Cheung is a beast here, as he depicts aliens, the depth of space, barbaric civilization from far in the universe in ways that seems compelling. His Corvus looks proud, yet majestic and confident in his position as he poses and expresses himself with both his words and his face. His close-up on Thanos face is great, as it does make me eager to see him handle the character in the actual event now.
However, there are some other stories in this free offering, yet they don’t amount to much. One of them shows a classic tale that depicts a confrontation between Drax the Destroyer (the older, dumber one) and Thanos as they battle for the fate of the final flower in the universe. It is a small, kind of inconsequential tale, yet it is shown in full, to its credit. In this tale, we are treated to art that is very much a product of its time, as it pales in comparison to the gorgeous Jim Cheung art we have seen in the earlier tale.
The other portion is dedicated to a preview of Warren Ellis original graphic novel featuring the Avengers. While it does show his usual handle on characterization with the quips and jokes thrown in a sarcastic manner like he usually does, the preview pretty much fails in gathering interest. It is basically Steve Rogers going downstairs, talking to Jarvis, then Hawkeye, only to meet Carol Danvers. The end. If this is supposed to make me want to read this story, it does not succeed, as showing us a story and the cutting it before it even gets remotely interesting is not exactly the best of way to go.
The Conclusion: While the main feature is pretty strong, the whole package is brought down by a pretty okay story and a preview that does not do its job very well.
Grade: (Infinity prelude) B+ (Whole thing) B-
Hugo Robberts Larivière