Infinity thus far: This week was a welcome sight after last week had only tie-ins and no new issues of the main titles involved in Infinity, so here is a recap of previous events. The Builders, a single-minded race of conquerors, are cleansing planets of their pesky lifeforms. Their path of destruction is in a straight line toward Earth. The Galactic Council, including the Avengers as Earth’s representative, have been fighting a seemingly hopeless war in deep space. The casualties are adding up as planet after planet falls to the aggressors. The Avengers’ captives have been rescued and damage has been done to the seemingly invincible Builders. Unfortunately the Galactic Council is on the brink of destruction, thanks to J-Son of Spartax, whose betrayal caused the departure of over 100 worlds from the alliance. Captain America’s strategies have caused harm to the Builders fleet destroying their World Destroyer ships. The question now is what is next for the fractured Galactic Council, largely made up of the Avengers, Shi’ar, Brood, and Annihilation Wave? Captain America believes that this is a good time to surrender and ask for terms…or is this another ruse to play on the massive ego of the Builders. Behind the scenes, new Avengers Ex Nihilo and Abyss meet with the Gardener faction of the Builders. Could this result in a critical shift in the war in the stars? Meanwhile, on Earth, Thanos and his Cull Obsidian (Black Order) continue the search for Thane, the son of Thanos. The Mad Titan wants his progeny dead and he will destroy all of Earth to accomplish this quest. Black Bolt sent the Inhumans out of Thanos’ reach and confronted him while the remaining heroes of Earth fight his invasion force. With the Mad Titan close enough to touch, The King of the Inhumans did the unthinkable. He detonated Attilan above Manhattan releasing the powerful Terrigen mists on an already besieged New York. The Thunderbolts, a new team of Mighty Avengers, and others do their best to save the city and it’s people. Things are looking bleak on both fronts. Is it possible that small victories in space or on Earth can turn the tide? Buckle up, Infinity rages on!
Superior Spider-Man Team-Up #4 by Robert Rodi and Michael Del Mundo is a very peripheral tie-in. A student of medieval times is granted electrical powers. Superior Spider-Man tries to mentor her partly due to ego and partly due to his new-found desire to actually help people. His plan goes awry when, in the middle of Thanos’ invasion, this new power called Fulmina decides that technology is to blame and begins to black out New York. Spider-Man and the Mighty Avengers do their best to stem the tide of the invasion in the dark while Spidey spends the rest of the issue trying to convince Fulmina of her folly. Another interesting tid-bit in the issue is Ock’s seeming mental transformations. His sense of humor seems to be shifting to a more “Parker-like” banter, but still holds the same over-the-top scientific terminology of the Doc himself. Is this a sign of some reversion, a resurgence of Peter Parker’s personality that Ock tried to eradicate, or just Rodi’s take on the complicated character?
The Fearless Defenders #10 by Colin Bunn and Will Sliney is more of a direct tie-in to the actions of Black Bolt in the main Infinity crossover. New York is a mess due to the invasion sure, but also due in large part to the explosion of Attilan and the release of the Terrigen mists over Manhattan. People all over the city have been infected by the mists, and we all know what happens when the Inhumans are exposed to the same mists. The infected are encased in cocoons all over the city. Heroes like the Defenders are out there trying to rescue the infected and everyone else for that matter. Villains like LeFay and her band of evil females are recruiting. This story centers around Ren Kimura, a lesbian (not that there’s anything wrong with that) dancer who was infected and has emerged from her cocoon with strange powers. She narrates most of the issue struggling with her past, marveling at her current situation, and reveling in her new-found powers. Bunn’s writing is really good. I haven’t been reading this book, but I did enjoy the characters and the interactions. I recently wrote an article reviewing the premier issue of X-Men #1 called X-Men #1: Women of Influence, which ended up being more of a referendum on women in comics than a review at all. I read it back and realized I missed a great example of strong female characters, and it’s this book The Fearless Defenders. I would love to read more comics every month, but we all live on a shoe-string budget these days and hard choices must be made. I had no idea that the current incarnation of the Defenders was an all female one, or even who was involved. After reading only one issue of this book I see some awesome female characters. Some of them have been well-developed over the years like Valkyrie, Misty Knight, and Dani Moonstar, some less known like Clea (Dr. Strange’s former protege), Elsa Bloodstone, and even Hippolyta, but all of them are strong female characters with diverse strengths. It also helps that Will Sliney’s art is simple and his depiction of females is solid without being excessive (if you know what I mean). I don’t need much convincing to appreciate the female form, it’s just in my DNA. Sliney is not one of those artists who feels the need to make his women ridiculous caricatures of real women. These women look real and have strength that comes from within. This was a good read, and proved to me that Wonder Woman is not the only strong female character that is under-utilized in comics. Give this book a shot, you may be surprised.
Infinity #4 by Jonathan Hickman, Jerome Opena and Dustin Weaver has finally come and it promises to be epic! When we last saw our heroes, Captain America had a plan to surrender to the Builders and Gladiator, Majestor of the Shi’ar, carries out his plan suing for peace and terms. The Builders see an opportunity to shame the rebels in front of the entire Galaxy, and their egos are too large for them to miss this chance. The artwork of Opena and Weaver continues to excel. These artists really understand how to drive the story through the art. The emotion on the faces tells it all. The action is brilliant and even the quiet moments are moving.
In the hidden city of Orollan we finally meet the son of Thanos who lives among a lost tribe of Inhumans. Thane is a healer, he is a good man, and the antithesis of his father, who has come to Earth to find him and kill him.
In New York the aftermath of the explosion of Attilan has added to the chaos of the invasion. It has caused global Terrigenesis among the humans, causing people with any inhuman DNA all over the world to transform as only the pure had been allowed to do in the past. This is obviously the overture to the next big Marvel Comics event which is Inhumanity, but that article is for another day. This includes Thane, son of Thanos, who is part Inhuman. His transformation is devastating. The healer becomes the destroyer leaving Orollan in ruin and it’s people dead. Like father, like son! Thanos makes a last attempt to find his son through Black Bolt, but quickly realizes that nothing will make him reveal his secret. Thanos leaves the King defeated and possibly dying.
This issue wraps up in grand fashion back in space, on Hala to be specific. The Builders will make a show of the surrender of the remaining alliance by insuring that all of the Kree Accusers and the rest of the Galaxy bear witness to this victory. Captain America sends his best negotiator… Thor. When the Builder makes clear that even in surrender there is no hope for Earth, Thor does what he does best. He fights and wins. As the Builder falls the tide begins to turn. The once proud Kree, witnessing this display, are back in the fight. The last installment ended with Captain America calling surrender, this issue ends with the leader of the Avengers stating, “Now we win”.
If you have been following my This Week in Infinity articles you know that I have really been enjoying this crossover. Hickman and others have managed to bring out emotion in their telling of this war on two fronts that have captured my interest. I felt the desperation that the single-minded brutality of the Builders brought. I felt brief glimmers of hope during battles won, and devastation at the retaliations. Hickman has been toying with my emotions and I have truly enjoyed it. I knew that Cap’s “surrender” option was a ploy and it was well-played. I read the pages in anticipation of what I knew must be coming, and I wasn’t disappointed. Thor has always been a well-respected character in Marvel Comics and he was the perfect choice for this role as a “negotiator”. Infinity continues to be one of the most emotional, comprehensive, and well thought out crossovers of our time. There are so many moving pieces on the board that you have to read it twice to make sure you didn’t miss anything. The writing and art are so good that you don’t mind doing just that!