Jonathan Hickman’s Infinity from Marvel Comics seems to be getting rave reviews. I’m sorry, I just don’t get it. The story promises so much. Thanos vs. the Avengers, a battle for all of time and space and dimension, an invasion of Earth – so much – but does it deliver? Join me after the jump, for my review of Infinity #1.
The Emperor’s New Clothes
Infinity #1 by writer Hickman and artist Jim Cheung is getting so many good reviews. I’ve read it, and I didn’t like it. I felt disappointed, and misled. I have to wonder what it is I’m missing that everyone else is loving. Quite honestly, I smell the Emperor’s New Clothes. It’s all smoke and mirrors.
There’s a lot of hype, and this is Marvel’s current big event of the moment, but what do we really have here? A Thanos moment or two, Black Bolt blasts a baddie, Captain America and Hawkeye roust some Skrulls, and some sad nostalgia with every Spaceknight except the one we want – Rom, but that’s pretty much it. Everything else is something new, Hickman-ian, and decidedly non-Avengery.
Avengers or Infinity?
I am reminded painfully of Age of Ultron. This comic doesn’t have Avengers in the title despite it spinning out of both Hickman’s Avengers and New Avengers series. But really what do the Avengers have to do with it? What actually happens in this issue? And what happens regarding characters and situations we actually know?
A thought occurred to me reading Infinity. Jonathan Hickman really wants to write stories in the Marvel Universe, he just doesn’t necessarily want to write about Marvel characters. The saga of The Builders is fascinating, yes, but what does it have to do with the Avengers really?
This comic is pretty. I have always been a fan of Jim Cheung, loved him since his wonderful Young Avengers. He is a fabulous artist, and Infinity is no exception as far as that goes. And unlike many Bendis guided books that Avengers fans have suffered through for the last decade, Cheung actually knows how to properly work a full page splash.
My problem with this fifty-plus page comic is the number of almost blank pages. Out of fifty-six pages we are ‘treated’ to eight nearly blank pages, and that’s not counting actual in-story ads. That’s one seventh of the issue that is blank. Seriously.
Hickman does this regularly in the standard Avengers series, but usually only one page. Here we have eight. Wow. I understand negative space, and I understand being creative and artistic, but really – eight pages? I have to ask. Does the artist get paid when he turns in a blank page? How about the writer? Just wondering.
The Digital Difference
Hickman does very little to explain what’s going on, or give background. He expects you to be up to speed on what’s come before in his Avengers and New Avengers. If you haven’t, luckily there’s the Marvel AR app. It does the job for you nicely, adding a depth greatly needed here. You get background on what has happened up until now, including an amusing character profile of Black Bolt of the Inhumans.
The Illogical End
Hickman composes a clever cliffhanger for the first issue. Hickman’s Avengers are headed to space to ‘take the fight to the enemy.’ Thanos surmises that Earth is ripe for the taking because Earth now has no Avengers. Thanos smiles, cue ominous music, and cut.
Nice, except for the faulty logic. Mention is made of problems with the mutants and Inhumans, but there is no way Earth is defenseless, nor is it Avenger-less. Even if you take the Inhumans and the half-dozen or so X-Men teams out of the equation, the statement that Earth has no Avengers is just simply not true.
Hickman’s Avengers are a virtual army of nearly twenty members, half of which it should be noted are new members the writer himself added to the team. Outside of that number, there are well over a hundred heroes who have earned the title Avenger. Right off the top of my head, five of the most powerful Avengers are still on Earth – the Vision, the Scarlet Witch, Hank Pym, Photon, and Hercules. Maybe it’s not Thor, Iron Man, and the Hulk, but it’s a line-up that should give even Thanos pause. And that would only be the beginning.
So, Infinity #1, so far, it’s okay, but I’m not impressed. Lets see what the second issue brings. Hopefully it will be the Avengers…