Infinity #1 Review
By: Rob Neil Gruszecki
An assembly of the most brilliant minds on the planet stand at the end of everything. Staring at death they remember a time when their Avengers world was something that didn’t mean the end of another. Holding the fate of an empire in their hands, the Illuminati watch as the sky clears after a line is crossed.
A genetically engineered creature returns to its master with news. Upon a mount on Titan sits a tyrant awaiting this manufactured assassin’s success or failure. Chasing a tribute, this council brings kings and their kingdoms to a point of collapse. To rebuild is futile as the conquerors will return seeking an offering with the concept of hope smashed and dismembered.
Builders and creators exterminate life and wipe clean a slate to pure white abyss. The universe witnesses its children extinguish a planet, constructing apocalypse. Heroes are a mere obstacle in the way of world razing, easily subverted and rewritten. A cycle is perpetuated, we witness the end begin and a war machine threatens the existence of all. All that is doomed to perish. Everything will end.
The culmination of half a year of Jonathan Hickman (East of West, Manhattan Projects) era Avengers and New Avengers has erupted in a 6-issue event that details Thanos’ invasion of Earth after the departure of the Avengers who have taken to the stars to place themselves in the Builders’ war path headed directly towards their home. Hickman’s tenure on the Avengers titles have done something incredibly bold and unique in mainstream comics. He has created a dense, multi-layered science fiction story digging far deeper than a simple threat that Captain America can punch to submission. The cast of characters recruited to the team has exploded and enveloped a plethora of new faces including the Mars Garden Builders’ children, Ex Nihilo and Abyss, the Starbrand of Earth (a planetary defence system inhabiting the body of a young boy), an entity of the White-Event, Nightmask and ultimately the Universe herself. All concepts of mind-bending fiction and meta-textual experimentation. His run on the book has been a showcase of ingenuity and intelligence that is thrilling, impressive and brave. His Avengers stories have really pushed the potential of what you can do with a superhero story and how elements of heavy sci-fi can be integrated and embraced in a company’s flagship title.
Infinity produces over 40 story pages and only a third of its contents feature the Avengers as the story is so much bigger and expansive than a simple ensemble of heroes can maintain. I believe this is a strength of Hickman’s writing as although the Avengers are the lynch-pin of the titles, his stories organically grow outwards, encapsulating ideas much larger in scope than most books. The power of his writing is that the story takes centre stage and doesn’t simply coast off the strength of the cast in it.
This first issue weaves together the actions of the Illuminati, Avengers, Builders, Inhumans, X-Men, Spaceknights and Thanos’ forces as all their trajectories inevitably collide in the far reaches of space. Separated into concise chapters that develop plot and direction where other books would simply decompress the action and stretch out a tale much longer than necessary. This book is truly an exciting comic that feels very creator driven, well realized and massive.
Jim Cheung’s pencils on the main mini-series’ thread is astounding. It is such a perfect project for a talent of his kind as his effort is directed to new inventions, original environments and character designs and cosmic brilliance. Each panel, a meticulously calculated necessity for story, not simply a talking head blurb or full page poster of character poses we’ve seen countless times before. In such a large first issue his style fits into this dark world of endings and furious alien races, driven to crush planets. There really isn’t much else to say other than his work is exemplary within Infinity and his structure and layouts glue the book’s big ideas together seamlessly.
Infinity is a blockbuster that isn’t simply an ‘Avengers’ tale but instead a magnificently illustrated and impressively crafted science fiction epic that will be a must read event comic. Proving that superhero comics can be so much more than just spandex slugfests, Infinity ignites an interstellar cataclysm embracing existential and metaphysical ideas both powerful and exciting.
Rob Neil Gruszecki is a writer, musician, podcaster and Wednesday Warrior
Dear Ghost Factory. What Should I Read? Comic Reviews & Weekly Comics Round-Up Podcast at www.Geekstampede.com