If you’re a comic book fan then you’re probably aware of the frequent events that take over every so often. I thought we had already had this year’s big Marvel event in the form of Age of Ultron, a pathetic 10-part series that felt way too dragged out, then along came Infinity.
So far the event seems fairly epic in scope, working from storylines that began in the most recent Avengers and New Avengers comics, focusing on the end of the world at the hand of the Builders, a race who wipe out worlds so that they can create new and improved versions. Meanwhile the powerful alien Thanos is trying to find a way to conquer Earth for himself, seeing the Avengers conflict with the Builders as a great distraction to exploit.
The cast featured so far is truly immense, boasting over 20 Avengers as well as their secret group the Illuminati (who perform actions behind the scenes), with future issues apparently introducing the Guardians of the Galaxy (essentially the alien Avengers). The cast are quite well balanced, with Jonathan Hickman choosing to focus mainly on Captain America, Iron Man and Captain Marvel in this issue. Hickman has experience of handling a large cast of Avengers from his work on the main series, so it isn’t surprising that he is able to perform the same trick here.
There is also a small appearance from the green haired Abigail Brand: Agent of SWORD, who X-men fans will recognise as essentially the Nick Fury who handles outer-space conflicts. I was slightly disappointed that the X-men performance promised in the characters page boiled down to one panel where they don’t even receive any dialogue and a note from Thanos’ right hand man that the mutants are currently divided, hopefully they will receive some focus down the line.
By the end of the comic both the Builders and Thanos feel like credible threats, giving the Avengers a real challenge to face. The outriders, Thanos’s spies, are a creepy, terrifying concept, able to infiltrate even the most top-secret locations, making them the perfect secret agents or assassins. Jim Cheung is able to make them look incredibly sinister and totally inhuman. From just looking at them you get the impression that they could tear you limb from limb without even trying. He also makes Thanos seem menacing with just a simple smile.
The Builders are shown early on wiping out an alien world, one which has its own Avengers-like defenders. The ease with which they blow through their warriors really raises the question ‘what chance do the Avengers have?’. The Avengers go to battle with the Builders head on before they reach Earth, leaving the Earth in a delicate state, one which Thanos is sure to abuse.
In addition to the main story, you receive a free Infinite comic ‘Against The Tide’, either through buying the comic through the app or using a download code if you buy the print edition. Infinite comics are a scheme that was brought in by Marvel last year, an attempt to make digital comics more of a cinematic experience. Essentially static images flow through, giving the impression that they are moving. While I don’t feel that they are particularly a massive improvement over the normal comic, when they are free with the main comic I can’t exactly protest.
The story sees a planet of Skrulls (shapeshifting aliens) being attacked by the Builders, showing normally terrifying creatures as very scared and vulnerable. The Silver Surfer jumps in to defend them, allowing the issue to showcase some great action. While it doesn’t really add much to the story, it is still an interesting read and introduces Silver Surfer to the action. What I find unusual is the ‘to be continued’ at the issue’s end as it is unclear of how the story will be continued. Will this infinite comic remain ongoing or will it be continued in the main series?
Also featuring content originally from the Free Comic Book Day issue, which acted as a prologue, this comic is a great package, providing a great deal of content for its £3 price tag. It definitely has me interested in the series and questioning which direction the story will go in, in particular how Earth’s remaining heroes will deal with the incoming threat.