Jonathan Hickman (Writer), Leinil Francis Yu, Gerry Alanguilan (Artists), Sunny Gho (Colorist)
The Story: The resistance against the builders gains a lot of momentum as the Ex Nihilii tries to create a miracle.
The Review: Infinity is cosmic done right. As Jonathan Hickman advances with his larger story in the main title, the books tied to it also deals with the main themes without letting it own go away, creating a symbiosis of sort in terms of storytelling. The threats are huge, the players numerous and the events occurring in the pages are simply gigantic in scope.
Readers who were fans of Dan Abnett, Andy Lanning and Keith Giffen cosmic corner shall find much to love here, as many a great things are referenced directly from their contribution to the larger Marvel cosmology. The Annihilation wave, Annihilus, Gladiator, Kl’rt the Super Skrull, Ronan, the Imperial Guard and Ikon the space knight all appears in some manner in this tale, adding to the large tapestry weaved by Hickman. Not all of them receive meaningful moments like Ronan or Gladiator, though, with most of them being set in the background or participating in the action silently. Still, fans of the older cosmic stories will probably feel like Christmas came early this year with how those elements are handled.
Another element that is handled in a very competent manner is the tone, which makes the actions and the setting even bigger than it seems. Most of the tone is set in the narration and the dialogue itself, which may comes a bit cold in some places, yet for the most part it really set the mood of war and the tides turning for the heroes. It’s a space opera, a war comic, a super hero comics and a cosmic one, which makes this issue works really well when it deals with its stakes and with grandeur.
Where it fails a bit, though, is in some of its execution. People who are reading this to get more insight into the continuing conflict with the Builders and the cosmic landscape should be pleased, yet those who came to read about the Avengers might be a tad disappointed. Most of the regular cast of the Avengers are delegated to the background and in the action panels, with characters like Captain America, Captain Marvel, Captain Universe and Ex Nihilo being the lucky characters being preeminent on the Avengers front. It is, after all, a story featuring the Marvel universe at large, yet a book where the title is Avengers could very well focus a bit more on their role in the larger conflict. Still, it doesn’t hurt the story or the tone, yet it does seem a bit disappointing that the old habits of Hickman when he began on the title gets back in full force here, with most characters serving as window-dressing and nothing much else.
Another point of disappointment comes from a particular even that occur near the end of the comic, which somehow cheapens some of the previous things happening in the issue and the event in itself. It was a wise decision to put on hold Captain Universe, a character that had kind of become a walking deus ex machina for the series, as she was the cryptic yet impossibly powerful character that could solve everything in two seconds. It makes sense in the context of this issue that she finally gets back, yet the way she deals with the builders and how easily she does it makes for an anti-climax when the tension of the whole conflict had grown to unimaginable heights. Still, the story isn’t over yet and I do believe Hickman has a trick or two up his sleeve left, yet the inclusion and action of Captain Universe feels a bit like a missed opportunity for several alternatives that would have been much more rewarding in terms of payoffs.
What is much more rewarding is Leinil Francis Yu and Gerry Alanguilan collaborating on the art, as the both of them truly capture the grandeur of the conflict in the various panels and on the pages. There are many instances where the story flow gets reduced to explanations of how certain parts of the conflicts are narrated, yet the panels drawn by Yu really do justice to those concepts, with the action and the characters in motion to show the full scope of what is going on. Some of these panels are a bit chaotic, to be sure, yet it does show how war actually is on a conceptual level. Where it falters a bit is with some of the details in the background and on some characters, where it ends up being rather messy sometimes. Yu certainly isn’t the most clean artist around, yet some of the characters like the Alephs, the Builders and the bugs from the Negative Zone ends up being a tad rough in their lines and their depictions, rendering the panels and pages where they are featured a bit hard to distinguish properly. For the rest, though, everything looks clean and big, with most characters being well-rendered, the cosmic vibe being represented flawlessly and the action being solid.
Sunny Gho’s color is also pretty great at time, even if he also collaborate on the general feeling of chaos brought by Yu and Alanguilan. There is a huge diversity of colors, making this issue very rich in its colorization, yet there are pages where the colors don’t mesh well together. The Annihilation’s wave battle against the builders is a good example of this, as the colors of the green bug clash with the purple, yellow and red degradations superb, like the scene with the Ex Nihilii and those featuring Captain Universe which shows a concentration on less colors in order to focus on the important elements on the pages. It’s a strong effort, yet it’s a bit muddled here and there.
The Conclusion: Despite some areas in the art that are confusing and some minor problems with the Avengers’s presence, this issue still offer a very exciting view on the conflict with the Builders as it showcase some of the stronger concepts of the last few years on the page. It could be great, yet good will have to do.
Hugo Robberts Larivière
Some thoughts: -Who would totally buy a Galactic Council series written by Hickman after Infinity is done with? I know I would.
-Not to point finger at anyone , but the more I read the tie-ins like Avengers and New Avengers, the more I see that those particular two titles are incredibly important to the general plot. They might have said differently in an interview, yet I really don’t believe that anyone could just read the main event book here and end up with a satisfying experience without reading the other Hickman books.