‘Avengers World,’ or ‘Avengers Universe,’ are terms that have been bandied about since Jonathan Hickman started working on the franchise. Now it looks like we might be finding out what that really means. Meet me after the jump for my thoughts on Infinity #5, Avengers #22, and Guardians of the Galaxy #8.
Thanos and Son
Before the story even begins in Infinity #5, I am terribly bothered by one thing. On the cast of characters page, Thanos is listed underneath The Builders. Is this because he is such a singular threat… or is it because he’s one of The Builders?? Either one is reason for awe but the latter… could be intriguing…
On Earth, in the hidden (now found) Inhuman city of Orollan, Thanos’ son Thane is learning some tragic truths about his newly terrigenized self. He has a death touch, or perhaps a death aura, and has killed everyone in the city. What an appropriate power for the son of Thanos, yet so horrifying for the former healer. And Ebony Maw of the Black Order has delivered him to Thanos. And for those behind Marvel’s AR, pretty classless joke there, but as we’ll see below, it doesn’t end there.
The mad Titan is busy prepping the destruction of Earth once and for all, having unlocked the secrets of Wakanda’s anti-matter weapons. Please explain to me again why Wakanda, of all the nations on the planet, has weapons of seriously mass destruction? I must have missed something because it makes zero sense, unless of course they are holding them to keep them out of reach of the rest of the world… but in that case, why not just destroy them?
After the liberation of Hala, the Kree homeworld, other worlds, with the help of the Avengers, and the Imperial Guard, among others, began to resist and win their freedom. Under the banner of the Avengers, Khymer (Beta Ray Bill’s home planet), Centauri Prime (with Hawkeye leading archers against the enemy), and Dockrum VII (a nice homage to the late Dave Cockrum who co-created the Imperial Guard, based on DC Comics’ Legion) were all now Avengers worlds.
I loved these scenes, these are terrific high points of the story. This is what I have been asking for all along in Infinity, moments of triumphant heroes. Of course, always be careful of what you wish for, because my mind also asks, “What now?” Marvel solicits may have already answered that question with a new title called Avengers World. Maybe it’s just me being American in the worst way, but I dislike the idea of a global Avengers. It didn’t work for the Justice League, maybe it won’t here either.
Props go once again to artists Jerome Opena and Dustin Weaver for the inspirational visual of aliens raising a scrap metal Avengers “A” a la Iwo Jima’s American flag. There are many great images in this issue. Among them, those that stand out include the Hulk smashing the last Aleph, the various shots of Thane and Thanos, and the Black Order. The bottom of page twenty is rather awkward however, with a panel covering Reed Richards’ face.
The Little Moments
This event has been told in broad strokes. This is about war for the most part, huge armies and giant space fleets at odds against each other. This is not a people event, and yet, it is the human interactions that shine. Oracle informing Captain America of the Avengers’ new status, and Thor and Cap drinking together – these moments are priceless. And I wish there had been more of them.
The aforementioned Hulk scene is only two panels, but it had the same effect as the “Puny god” bit in the Avengers movie. There should have been more of that. I would have loved to see and hear Hawkeye trading quips on a planet full of archers. Who wouldn’t want to see the Beast and Maximus the Mad have a conversation? And Thor, Cap, and Gladiator bonding over drinks? More please.
Writer Jonathan Hickman is doing a wonderful job with this event, but he’s slighting us the small stuff that makes the Avengers the Avengers. Think about it, we all remember the cosmic scale of Kree/Skrull War, but what did we love about it? Ant-Man’s journey inside the Vision. Pun intended, we loved the small stuff, the interaction.
The Kiss Off
Moving on to Avengers #22, I had serious problems. Speaking of the Augmented Reality app, it seems that Marvel isn’t taking this new technology seriously at all. It’s a big joke to them. For example, the monologue by X-Men editor Nick Lowe we get when AR-ing the Cannonball-Smasher kiss. Yeah, it’s an X-Men editor trashing the Avengers and giving bad writing advice for five minutes. You know what? I’ll be checking credits on the next X-book I look at and not buy it if it’s edited by this guy. That’s how much I dislike this AR tactic, Marvel.
You know what might have been better? How about a brief history of Cannonball and Smasher and Sunspot, and why they are important to the Avengers? How about who they are, and what their relationships are to each other. Nick Lowe doesn’t know (or pretends not to know) who these characters are even, and guess what? Neither do I. Help a brother out.
I don’t mean to be harsh, but when I pick up an issue of a comic called Avengers, I don’t expect the romantic adventures of two New Mutants and a rookie Imperial Guardian. Show me why they deserve to be Avengers at least, and the AR app is a perfect opportunity to do that – and you blew it, for a joke. If you don’t take your comics seriously, why should I? I can save my money. Comics aren’t a quarter any more, folks, this is an investment of my time and money – and it looks like Marvel doesn’t want it.
I’m back at the keyboard. I had to put Avengers #22 down for a while and walk away. The second AR symbol in the issue made me even madder. I needed time and a clear head to read the rest. It’s just that the utter waste of such technology, with the ability to save or at least enhance the dying paper comic industry, makes me Hulk level angry.
The kiss mentioned above is actually done well. And I would really like to know more about the characters. This, and the speeches made to Manifold by Captains America and Marvel, and Thor, are examples of those little moments I was talking about. Hickman does them well, and he should do them more. In this issue they were very good. However, I was surprised that Cap never asked Iron Man where he was when Thanos was taking over the Earth.
Words and Pictures and Red Skies
In another of the Infinity tie-ins this week, we switch gears and writers in Guardians of the Galaxy #8. Written by Brian Michael Bendis and illustrated by Francesco Francavilla, this comic was both expected and unexpected. Bendis’ words, pacing, and humor are intact and unchanging. The art however was eye opening. I thought at first Joe Kubert was doing the art, it was that lovingly similar. I dug it a lot.
The story had the Guardians taking point in attacking the alien blockade Thanos has around the Earth. It was an enjoyable read, though not much more than the typical BMB dialogue and some tremendous visuals. This was peripheral to the Infinity event, much like the red skies of Crisis on Infinite Earths.
So this week, that’s a pretty good haul for Infinity, although much of it was ruined by Marvel’s Augmented Reality application. I’ll have to stop using it, I think. For my previous reviews of the Marvel Comics Infinity crossover event here on Biff Bam Pop!, click here.