by Jonathan Hickman (Writer), Jim Cheung, Dustin Weaver, Mark Morales, Guillermo Ortego, Dave Meikis, John Livesay (Artists), Justin Ponsor, Ive Svorcina (Colorists)
The Story: The fight against Thanos and the Black Order reach its crux as close to every players gets to weigh in on the ongoing action.
The Review: Well, this is it. Many events in Marvel’s history had a rather great premise, yet always failed to deliver on their ending, rushing things along to prepare for the next big status quo or to simply lead to the next big thing. However, with Infinity being rather different in many aspects when compared to the likes of Siege, Secret Invasion and Avengers vs. X-Men, does it actually delivers on the good with every players being in the grand finale against Thanos and his Black Order?
Surprisingly, Infinity goes for the unexpected as it manages to both create new possibilities for stories along with a new status quo, but it also conclude very well on some of its themes. Bringing a sense of evolution and change to some of its key players, the event does fulfill some of the promises that every events bring forth to readers. It doesn’t accomplish this without any sacrifice to some elements of the story, but it is still rather impressive nonetheless.
One of the biggest draw of this issue would be the action, with a good chunk of this book dedicated to the fight against Thanos and his lieutenants in the Cull Obsidian. These scenes, despite them not featuring most of the Avengers, are quite striking as members like Thor, Hyperion, Captain Marvel and other heavy hitters are along for the rather brutal, yet diverse enough slugfest. Other parts of the action are also divided amongst the Illuminati and the group fighting in space, but the main feature is the battle against the Mad Titan.
What makes them work as well as the issue as a whole is the pacing, with some scene-jumping that is calculated so as to create tension and to make everything large and rather urgent, with the escalation of the conflicts and problems reaching their crux before revealing the climax and resolution in a fashion that are impressive. There are some scenes featuring Hyperion, Maximus the Mad among others that are simply striking, with a touch of cleverness and brutality that is both unexpected and delightful to see.
The epilogue, those scenes dealing after the massive fights and problem-solving of the Illuminati and Avengers, are also quite interesting for those that had been immersed in the experience of Infinity. Those who were in love with the cosmic side of Marvel comics shall without a doubt be pleased, with most of the members of the Galactic Council having a specific panel or two to show what happens with them. Characters like Annihilus, Kl’rt, Gladiator, Ronan and even some like Ex Nihilo with the remaining Ex Nihili are given enough of a change that would allow for a good number of stories in a renewed cosmic side. There are also plenty of scenes that allow for further seeds in whatever plans Hickman has for his titles in the near future. As far as implanting new things go, this issue really does succeed despite the fact that it perhaps does so in a minimal fashion with most of its characters.
Despite all this praise, there are of course some flaws within this issue. One of them would be the fact that despite the huge number of players to be found in the characters page in the beginning, not all of them actually does get enough panel time or even a line of dialogue. It has always been a weakness of Hickman and it is one now, as some characters are simply window-dressing to impress readers without doing much to portray them. It is a bit understandable considering the large cast Hickman has to play with, but it is always a bit disappointing nonetheless.
Another smaller flaw would be the fact that there isn’t much epilogue with the Avengers, with the rest of the issue mostly following the Illuminati and the rest of the cosmos. They are shown to be rebuilding, sure, yet the fact that they have just survived a war of universal proportion and fought with aliens doesn’t seem to faze them. It is a storytelling opportunity that seems a bit wasted, considering how the Avengers are now seen across several galaxies. Still, not everything could have been covered in such a large issue.
A major strength of the issue, despite those two small weaknesses prior, is the art of Jim Cheung along with his army of inkers. While he does have the weakness of drawing the same kind of faces when dealing with human beings, a flaw that shows up occasionally in this issue, it is dealt with in a rather smart way as Cheung draws a lot of aliens and alternative beings instead. By illustrating the fight and putting characters like Thanos, Corvus Glaive, Hulk along with characters with masks, this weakness is covered up pretty well in order to let the action speak for itself. The language of violence in terms of super heroes and huge powers is actually really well laid out in the page, making the fights look dynamic as well as large in scope. Never repeating itself in ways that feel monotonous, the action is simply exciting with every characters as the majesty and the characters. In terms of super hero art, Cheung is excellent and he actually shows it very well in this issue.
There is also the matter of Dustin Weaver, who does a few pages near the end of the book. While he doesn’t have the same presence as Cheung in this issue, he collaborates rather neatly with the artist, providing to the cohesion of the issue without hurting his own style. His pages are ominous, full of details and rather impressive to look at and serve as a nice conclusion to the whole thing. His work here is brief, but striking nonetheless.
Still, despite the work of Dustin Weaver, much of the cohesion is better attributed to Justin Ponsor and Ive Svorcina, who gets to go all the way in terms of cosmic energy, explosions and hyperbole, thanks to the action and vast diversity of the cast. Both colorists, working with the super hero aesthetics of Jim Cheung, really gets into the exaggeration as the contrasts are high and numerous here. The characters both contrasts usually with the backgrounds and several of the elements to the forefront, with their bright uniforms and accessories being apparent despite some of the more chaotic parts of the violence. Every scene, though, looks distinct as the scenes with the Avengers are brighter, while those with the Illuminati are darker, fitting with the themes and tones of the series they are referring to. Both colorists, when looking at the issue as a whole, do a fine job into accentuating the bigger aspects, which is highly commendable.
The Conclusion: It isn’t a perfect story and conclusion, but the amazing action, lovely art and the whole way it manages to open up new stories while concluding on its own makes the finale of Infinity a blast to read. Jonathan Hickman and the whole slew of collaborators that worked on this deserve all the respect they can get for actually pulling this off.
-Hugo Robberts Larivière