The Other Side of Infinity


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?

Negative Space

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.

One of the variant covers for Infinity #1 is even completely blank…

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…

24 Replies to “The Other Side of Infinity”

  1. I almost completely disagree with your review 🙂 I thought it was great storytelling building off of Hickman’s work this year. This story feels big. I do agree about the blank pages and the final cliffhanger, but one thing about Hickman is, he always has a plan. I can’t wait to see what he does next.

    1. It is Hickman, and not Bendis. It’s the same anger, but the difference is with Hickman, I am willing to wait and see. Let’s see what happens, but as of now, I’m not impressed.

  2. I’m really glad to see that someone else gets it! Everyone is bowing to the Hickman hype and kissing his boots. This is not an Avengers event, it is a Marvel Universe event. The Avengers now seem to be a very small part of the current Marvel Universe.

  3. I’ll play the anti-Burns here and completely agree with your review. 🙂 I didn’t appreciate the reliance on his 15+ issues of Avengers to “get” the story. An event like this should be as accessible as possible, especially to new readers. Great observation about Hickman wanting to write about the Marvel Universe and not the characters. I loved Hickman’s SHIELD as it was self-contained and restrained. This series, like his Avengers, seem to be trying to be too grand. There’s a desperate need for an editor to reign him and ground him in the characters.

    P.S. I wish Disney would buy Parker Brothers so that they could free up Rom from the limbo that he’s in.

    1. I agree that event comics should be as accessible as possible. Good point. The thing is, the big companies disagree. So it’s either complain about it, skip it, or get on board with their business/storytelling plan.

      1. And I’m happy to complain about it. I bought a copy and I have a Jack Kirby given right to have my say! 🙂

    2. Did you notice that the space knight “Terminator” bore a striking resemblance to Rom?

      1. Of course, I also think the two kids were supposed to be Rom’s children. Why can’t Marvel get the rights to Rom back from Parker Bros? It’s not like they’re using the character, right?

  4. You guys…(shakes head). First you complain about continuity, then you complain when the storyteller builds a giant story and creates a continuity. As someone who dropped Hickman’s Avengers but then went back, I appreciate the ground work he’s laid. I think he’s aiming for grand and could deliver. And if he fails, at least he’s reaching for something new.

  5. Kirk, Shayer and Walker: I don’t know what’s in the water you’ve been drinking, but it’s made you mad I tell you! Mad!

    This was the first chapter of what could be a story for the ages! The last time I felt this way about a comic, it was called “The Sinestro Corps War”. I’m with Andy on this (imagine that!)…Hickman didn’t just live up to the hype with Infinity #1. He exceeded it!

  6. Well, consider that about 60% of it had already been previewed. The remaining 40% of the comic and eight blank pages really didn’t seem like he had exceeded himself. Don’t get me wring: I’m not saying that I didn’t like it – it was okay, but it was like going into an upscale restaurant and paying $30 for a burger and fries. I think Glenn’s point about Hickman is well-taken. Who is Ex Nihilo? I still really don’t know if he’s on the side of the angels or the demons.

    And fix his horns.

    1. Ex Nihilo was the antagonist in the first arc of Hickman’s Avengers, believe it or not, now given member status and on our side. I don’t trust him as far as I could throw his crooked horned butt.

  7. Glenn, like most things Avengers, we are once again of opposing viewpoints. While some of your criticisms are noted, they can mostly be attributed to personal aesthetic preferences. Others will seemingly be dealt with during the greater unfolding story. Feel like sometimes we’re looking at 2 different versions of the same issue. Mine’s the one where I’ve already buckled-up for the space opera…

    1. Wait and see, Matt, wait and see. As always, I want to read an Avengers (or Avengers-related) comic and enjoy it, but sometimes it just doesn’t happen. But always I go in hoping for the best.

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