As we continue the coverage of Jonathan Hickman’s Marvel Comics event, Infinity, here at Biff Bam Pop!, this week finds the release of an Avengers triple threat. Join me after the jump for my thoughts on Avengers #21, New Avengers #11 both by Hickman, and Avengers Assemble #20 by Brit Al Ewing, one of my new favorite comics writers.
Space The Final Straw
I have talked about this before, but I don’t think I have been as angry about it as I am now. Jonathan Hickman and his various artists have used negative space, or blank pages, to great use many times throughout Infinity, though mostly in the way of title cards for chapter starts. In Avengers #21, the wasted space goes nuclear, and I think I might want a refund of some of my money.
Here’s the breakdown. Of the first six pages of Avengers #21, there is a recap page of story and art material we have already seen, a cast of characters page, a credits page, a blank title page, one page of actual story, and another blank title page. Seriously??? And that’s not even counting the remaining blank page and two ad pages later in the issue. This is becoming outrageous.
Now that I have gotten that out of my system, I’ll move on to the other part of Avengers #21 that I’m not so happy about. At least the execution of this part is done well. No, scratch that, Hickman’s words are strong, and artist Leinil Yu‘s visuals are stunning. It’s what actually happens that irks me a bit. After a phenomenal blow struck against the Builders by Thor in Infinity #4, our heroes are once again laid low.
There’s a pattern here. Win in Infinity, lose in Avengers. It happened before. Captain America defeated the enemy in Infinity #3, then he surrendered in Avengers #20. Seems like Hickman has done the same thing here with the thunder god. At least Thor didn’t surrender. But things are once again grim for the good guys. Good news, then bad news, and again, I’m not happy. I want my heroes to win.
My third problem with Avengers #21 is Captain America. Somehow, once again, he’s been replaced by his Ultimate or maybe Bendisverse counterpart. The real Cap would not have acted as he did on page five. Cap is all about miracles, and he also knows what Captain Universe is capable of. Come on, if anyone has read all the Avengers files, it’s Cap. He knows exactly who Captain Universe is.
Speak of the devil, for those who don’t know, Captain Universe is an entity that possesses an individual and imbues them with the Enigma Force. This Uni-Power, as it’s sometimes called, allows the individual to do whatever they need to do. Anything. Strength, flight, energy blasts, teleportation, open and close dimensional gates, even stop galactic wars. Cap should believe.
The Good Stuff
It’s not all bad, on the contrary, the issue is really quite good. Yu’s art gets better every time I see it. The cover is very striking, and inside Yu captures Captain Universe, Thor, Ronan, and Annihilus and his horde wonderfully. For an artist I hated a decade ago, he is now a favorite.
The Supreme Intelligence, despite my protests, is completely in character, and his narration of events is both gloomy and accurate. I was glad to see the Spaceknights were not forgotten, Gladiator’s speech was beautiful, and dark as it was, I loved the cliffhanger. Not a perfect issue, but a damn good one.
While Wakanda Burns
I’m really not sure what to make of New Avengers #11 where Hickman’s words are matched Mike Deodato’s pictures. He is another artist I have not liked in the past yet his work in this title has impressed me greatly. This issue features Wakanda’s last stand against Thanos and his Black Order, as well as the Illuminati’s meeting with Builders from another dimension. What strikes me most about it is… who is lying to whom?
That’s my take. Someone here, maybe all the parties involved, is just not telling the truth. Did Namor send Thanos’ troops to Wakanda out of vengeance or because it’s a trap? The Builders say our universe’s heroes have defeated them – is that true? And will the Illuminati really destroy the Earth? And if they did, would it surprise any of us? And who else thought that was the Metal Men on page thirteen? I guess we’ll have to keep reading.
Al Ewing on the Avengers
Be careful what you wish for. In a previous Infinity review, I suggested that writer Al Ewing, whose Mighty Avengers I have been enjoying despite my initial doubts, should be doing an Avengers book. Imagine my surprise at the comics shop this week, picking up the Infinity tie-in, Avengers Assemble #20, featuring three classic Avengers (the Wasp, the Scarlet Witch, and Wonder Man), and seeing that Ewing wrote it. I was ecstatic.
Al created a wonderful one-and-done story of a family affected by the terrigen bomb, used classic characters, returned to the much-missed Microverse (ironically where Captain Universe first emerged), and, most of all, made me smile. The art by Pepe Larraz was very old school superheroic and I dug the old/new blend Wasp costume. I do prefer my Quinjets 1980s style over this Avengers Alliance design, but that’s just me. Al Ewing however, rocks.
This was a good week for Infinity, and for comics from Marvel. I might not have been completely happy with events, but I am loving the rollercoaster storytelling and adventure of Infinity. I know, imagine me, enjoying a crossover event. For my previous reviews of the Marvel Comics Infinity crossover event here on Biff Bam Pop!, click here.