In the last issue of Jonathan Hickman’s Infinity, one of Marvel Comics’ current ongoing crossover events, we were promised that the mighty Thor, founding Avenger and Norse god of thunder, would have a reckoning against The Builders. Let’s just say, promises have been fulfilled. The details, and my thoughts on Infinity #4 and more, after the jump.
First, let’s deal with the bad stuff. New York City destroyed. Again. Again? When Thanos attacked Black Bolt, he dropped the Inhuman city of Attilian onto New York. The destruction is really only evident in a handful of panels, but we are living in a post-911 world, where such disasters are real and experienced by many of us. I don’t want to see it, and I’m tired of it.
Maybe after Man of Steel, about which writer Mark Waid coined the term disaster porn, this is just too much. I found some of the cityscapes in that flick traumatic myself. And I’m not chastising a few panels here either. If you look back through the last decade of Marvel Comics events, there is always mass destruction on an unbelievable scale. Think of Siege, Secret Invasion, Age of Ultron, Fear Itself, it goes on and on. How long does it take to rebuild New York City, and how many times can Avengers Tower fall?
The Mighty Thor
When I saw that it was Thor who was going to do the actual surrendering to The Builders, I was afraid. I still had the bad taste in my mouth of Captain America even suggesting the idea of surrender in Avengers #20. After the brief victory in Infinity #3, such a move was depressing.
However, from the moment Thor hurled his hammer skyward, I knew what he was doing. I was giddy with excitement. Even if the thunder god bent knee to the treacherous Builders, that hammer was coming back and it was coming back hard. As much as I hate this kind of violence in comics, when Mjolnir came back, yeah, that was me cheering.
After an intense one on one battle with Thanos, Black Bolt had a contingency plan. The fight between the two is staggering, props once again to artist Jerome Opena, and man, I do hope that the Inhuman king isn’t truly dead as Thanos says he is. That would just be a waste of a wonderful classic Lee-Kirby character.
His plan was to detonate a terrigen bomb releasing a mutation gas across the globe. New metahumans, or specifically Inhumans, will be born, new superheroes and super-villains for the creators to play with. I imagine that’s what the next big crossover event, Inhumanity, will be about. Heck, maybe it’s what ‘Avengers world’ means and/or how we finally fight off The Builders.
This trick never works however. Remember when the alien forces dropped the gene bomb in DC Comics’ Invasion? What about the Godwave in Genesis? Or more on point, remember Grant Morrison giving every human on Earth superpowers to fight Mageddon toward the end of his JLA run? I doubt Hickman can do it better than Morrison.
In one of the lost cities of the Inhumans, which I still find it unbelievable we had never heard of these lost tribes before now, we finally meet Thane, the son of Thanos. He is a healer, beloved of his people, what a nice contrast to his heritage. Sadly, along comes terrigenesis, and he becomes a monster, a cliche from 1990s Image Comics. Wouldn’t it have been more challenging, more surprising, for Thanos to contend with a son so unlike him – than to just have another knockdown slugfest between two monsters? Just my opinion, but I think Hickman dropped the ball with Thane. Maybe he’ll surprise me.
While some Avengers titles like Uncanny, Young, A.I., Secret, and Arena seem to be blissfully unaware of the Infinity event, Mighty Avengers #2 did have crossover content. Luke Cage’s ersatz Avengers team is in pitched combat with the Black Order’s Proxima Midnight in Manhattan.
Al Ewing has written one of the more inspiring Avengers stories in quite some time. I loved the battle, I loved the quips, I even grew to like characters I don’t necessarily think of as Avengers. Best of all, this entertaining issue is filled with surprises and twists worthy of 1970s Defenders by Steve Gerber or David Anthony Kraft. I loved this. A lot.
Jonathan Hickman is the master of the slow build, and he’s done it again here. Against my first impressions, my minor reservations, and my admitted resistance to such events, I am enjoying Infinity. Keep it coming, man. For my previous reviews of the Marvel Comics Infinity crossover event here on Biff Bam Pop!, click here.