For the last five months or so, Jonathan Hickman’s Avengers-focused mega-event Infinity has been the talk of the Marvel Comics Universe. This week it comes to an end as the Avengers fight Thanos and his Black Order, and the winner takes the Earth. Get ready, and meet me after the jump for my thoughts on Infinity #6 and New Avengers #12.
For the most part, Infinity has been a terrific series with ups and some downs, but I’d like to talk a little bit about how it’s been marketed. Most of the issues have had covers with the huge title banner of ‘Infinity’ across the top, whether it was an issue of Infinity or Avengers or whatever. This can be confusing if you’re buying issues off the shelf as opposed to having reserve or subscription. But the way I see it, if customers are confused as to what issue is actually what, it’s possible that the folks who work in the comics shops might be as well.
I think some better labeling might be needed for the next big crossover event. Back in the 1990s, the triangle numbering system worked rather well for the Superman comics, maybe take a page from that example. I think it might be better than the flow chart in the back of every issue of Infinity.
One of my favorite moments in Infinity #6 is when, after the Black Order has taken down the Hulk, Captain America’s shield sails into the fray, and Thanos the Mad Titan smiles and says, “Ah …now this is more like it.” He recognizes, just as Kang, Ultron, and Nefaria before him, even without any superpowers, Captain America is truly a threat to his plans.
Infinity, with a couple notable exceptions, has been very kind to Captain America. He turns the tide in the war against The Builders, he and the Avengers are the main warriors in several combats, and his battle decisions are those that win the day. Captain America is the man. There were some nitpicks this issue however, just small but annoying things. But the biggest nit is the ending, the final victory, but I’ll get to that later.
The Justice League of Avengers
This was a fairly good issue, and it had some great action. We got to see a pretty good teaming of Avengers characters take on the Black Order while the Illuminati tried to disarm the anti-matter bombs in Wakanda. There are wonderful moments, most characters have their moments here, but that, and I know it sounds crazy, that is my complaint. I think with the new cinematic focus on Thor, Iron Man, Captain America, and the Hulk as the Avengers. I think Hickman might be mistakenly writing the Avengers as an All-Star team, as opposed to extraordinary individuals working as a team.
When the fanboys and girls get together to argue the merits, faults, and who’d-wins of the Justice League and the Avengers, one topic that comes up is how the team dynamics are different. The Justice League is predominantly a group of solo superstars with the same goal. The Avengers are a team of individuals who live together, train together, and work as a team toward a common goal. It is a subtle but important difference.
In Infinity #6, there is little teamwork, on Earth at least. With little exception, Hulk, Thor, Captain America, Captain Marvel, and Hyperion all act solo against the Black Order, taking turns, rather than acting as a solid fighting unit. That was just a bit too Justice League for my Avengers. Study the comics, not the movie media hype. Otherwise, it was good to see our heroes triumph – to a point.
Continuity and ‘Reality’
I find it curious that the two titles that spun directly out of the last two big events – Uncanny Avengers from AvsX and Avengers A.I. from Age of Ultron – had no involvement at all in Infinity. Odd. I wonder if the upcoming Inhumans title will similarly ignore the next big event after Inhumanity. It may seem that Marvel has birthed so many Avengers titles in their franchise that now they might be closing them off to each other.
Apparently, and yes, I know I’ve talked about this before, but to Marvel, the AR (“Augmented Reality”) app is a joke. Technology that could be used to such potential is wasted on dumb jokes and amateurish skits by immature editors, a complete waste of my time, and theirs.
There is definitely a decisive win here on Earth, what should be the original and ultimate ‘Avengers World,’ but… it is not the Avengers who claim that victory. It is Maximus the Mad who saves the earth from the doomsday bombs, and it is Thane, son of Thanos who seals the mad Titan away. The Avengers barely witness it.
I can’t help but think of that recent episode of “The Big Bang Theory” where it is pointed out that Indiana Jones had nothing to do with anything that happened in Raiders of the Lost Ark. The Nazis would have found the Ark, and would have been killed, no matter what Indy did. He was as inconsequential as the Avengers here. It’s really saddening.
The epilogue to Infnity appears in New Avengers #12, also written by Hickman. Despite its title this is not actually an Avengers title per se, but it is more about the Illuminati, who we last saw disarming, or attempting to disarm the anti-matter bombs in Wakanda. They needed a super-villain to do that job for them. This is just the first reminder of what screw-ups they really are. It’s no wonder they can’t save the universe.
As the story begins, we follow Shuri, the new Black Panther and queen of Wakanda, to Necropolis where the real Black Panther has been hiding. T’Challa is accused of consorting with enemy of state, Namor, and exiled. Atlantis has been destroyed, and has been at war with Wakanda. Hickman has enjoyed destroying these heroes, and it’s sad. What makes us want to cheer for our heroes are their existences above us, their uniqueness. A king of Atlantis or Wakanda, a Sorcerer Supreme, etc. are all much cooler than someone who’s not.
Beginnings and Endings
And so, our heroes are beaten, and rudderless for the most part. Reading this issue, I am reminded of the first issue of New Avengers. First Captain America was introduced to the team, then quickly shoved aside, which is a shame. He could have provided them with the moral direction this group of folks needs. And also in that first issue, Jonathan Hickman wrote the best Black Panther I’ve read in quite some time – which he has now dismantled.
Furthermore, Hickman has dismantled any feeling of victory we the readers may have felt in the last issue of Infinity. There are worse things coming, things that sound like they were created by a drunken Douglas Adams and designed by Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko on crack. I don’t like change, and I especially don’t like changes to the Marvel Universe I have known for some forty-odd years. Since when does there really need to be something bigger than Eternity, Galactus, the Elders of the Universe, and the Celestials?
The Future, the Past, and the Future
As I mentioned, sprinning out of Infinity will be the next big crossover event, Inhumanity, trying once again to make stars of the Inhumans. It’s a valiant cause, don’t get me wrong, but I tire of the Marvel event machine. The powers that be do realize that during the Marvel Age of comics, when they changed the entire way comics were done, somehow, events weren’t needed. They did just fine without that kind of constant nonsense. Think about it.
I liked Infinity quite a bit, and I definitely liked it more than Age of Ultron, but there was a lot that tried to get me not to like it. For my previous reviews of the Marvel Comics Infinity crossover event here on Biff Bam Pop!, click here.
And I would be remiss if I didn’t mention what was going on in the current issue of Uncanny Avengers. Be warned, it’s not over yet, and may be the hidden treasure of Avengers epics in a year filled with Avengers epics. If you’re not reading Uncanny Avengers, you should be – look for my thoughts in the near future.