Previously in Infinity: In deep space 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–a planet they want destroyed at all cost. The Galactic Council formed a fleet to stop them, including the Avengers as Earth’s representative. They fought a war and were thwarted at every turn. The casualties and the betrayal of J-Son of Spartax left the Galactic Council broken. Captain America stepped up. His strategies caused harm to the Builders fleet, destroying their World Destroyer ships. The next step for the fractured Galactic Council, largely made up of the Avengers, Shi’ar, Brood, and Annihilation Wave? Captain America did something so unlike him that it had to be a ruse…he surrendered and asked for terms. His chief negotiator, Thor was sent to Hala to negotiate. Thor defeated the Builder left in charge of pacifying the Kree, bringing them back into the war on the side of the Council. Behind the scenes, new Avengers Ex Nihilo and Abyss met with the Gardener faction of the Builders. Could the Gardeners’ dissatisfaction over the eradication of their Abyssi 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 his son Thane. 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 fought his invasion force. With the Thanos 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 did their best to save the city and it’s people. The Terrigen mists caused worldwide transformations of everyone with any Inhuman genetic code, including Thane. The once healer became his father’s son, destroying his hidden Inhuman community and everyone in it. While things in space seem to be turning in the Avengers’ favor, they may have a quite different Earth to come home to. Infinity rages on!
Avengers Assemble #20 by Al Ewing and Pepe Larraz is a tie-in to the Earth-based side of Infinity. Ewing, who is also the writer for the new Mighty Avengers book, takes a shot at the Uncanny Avengers, three of them anyway. Wonder Man, Wasp and Scarlet Witch are fending off the Invasion in various ways. Wasp is blasting the invaders, Scarlet Witch is hexing them and Wonder Man is boring them to death with his new non-violent methodology. I am seriously losing my patience with this oh-so-aggravating “buddha superhero” thing that’s being done to one of my childhood favorites. Wonder Man used to be a larger than life power-house, lately I just “wonder” why he’s still a superhero. No offense to Mr. Ewing though, this path is not his doing; he’s just writing the character for this book. This story revolves around a family who has suffered the loss of a child, turning them into shadows of their former selves. Denny and Alice Kedzierski suffer in grief, and have for years. Alice just wants some semblance of her husband and her life back. Then came the Terrigen mists. They awakened Alice’s ‘inhumanity’, granting her the power to transfer mass between objects, in this case she grew her husband to enormous proportions and shrank her herself and her neighbors into the microverse. The Wasp goes there to help and teaches the new Inhuman woman how to harness her new-found power saving the day. It’s a nice simple story of redemption, and even finds a way for Simon the Pacifist to save the day by talking down the gargantuan Denny. I still hate the ‘pacifist’ Wonder Man story, but Ewing’s story is still good. The art of Pepe Larraz (Marvel Adventures Super Heroes, The Mighty Thor) has a really cool, clean style to his work. His faces show real emotion, the pure fear, surprise, then anguish on Denny’s face when he is talking to Wonder Man is brilliant. I need to see more from Larraz!
Avengers #21 by Jonathan Hickman, and Leinil Yu carries the next part of the story in space. The Avengers’ attention turns to the comatosed Captain Universe, also known as the Great Mother of the Builders. She is apparently the one who created the Builder race, although they later denied her and went against the roles she had intended them to fill in the universe. Ex Nihilo and Abyss believe that she can finish this war, but they need to fix her first. On Hala, Thor’s victory did not impress The Supreme Intelligence. He saw it as an ‘anomaly’, a lucky shot. This caused a rift between the Accusers and the Supremor. Hala’s armies are back with the Galactic Council, but at what cost to their homeworld? World by world the Council’s forces win back planets and their warriors. The Kymellians, Centauri, Spaceknights and others rejoin the fight. The casualties are heavy and even the combined forces of the Avengers and Shi’ar are not enough on Formuhaut and Chize. They have no choice but to do the unthinkable. They release the Annihilation Wave. The Builders were once creators of life, it was simplicity for them to turn a hive mind against itself. The last hope of the Council destroys itself before their eyes. They need a miracle, and Ex Nihilo and Abyss aim to provide one. They use the combined life-giving force of the Gardeners to revive the Great Mother (Captain Universe). Her children have become ‘unruly’ and she punishes them with death. The last Builder sees the loss of their cause and issues one final order to his armies, “Destroy Everything!” Hickman’s writing continues to dazzle. Every page is a twist, every story line is tightly written and easy to follow, even though there are many of them. You can see the lines starting to come back together. The finale is near! What can I say about Leinil Yu’s art? It’s gorgeous! I have no idea how he can keep up the schedule of these issues with art so incredibly diverse and detailed. It’s simply a pleasure to look at!
New Avengers #11 by Jonathan Hickman and Mike Deodato takes us back to the problems on Earth. Attilan has exploded over Manhattan, global Terrigenesis is underway. But this day just got worse for the New Avengers (Illuminati). Another incursion has happened in Australia. As the Avengers discuss destroying it with their anti-matter device, an Aleph (Builder) falls from that planet to ours beckoning them to its master to watch it destroy a world. In Wakanda the invasion continues as Corvus Glaive’s strategies breach the walls of the Golden City, Proxima Midnight leads the army through the breach. Glaive finds a secret place within Black Panther’s Necropolis. It houses the anti-matter bombs they use to stop incursions and a prison holding Terrax and the Black Swan. The weapons and the prisoners are now in the possession of Thanos. In the other universe, the Aleph leads the Avengers to its master, a Builder along with an Ex Nihilo and an Abyss. The Abyss immediately senses the remnants of Dr. Strange’s recent possession and dispatches it. The Builder explains that the Earth is the focal point of the destruction of the entire universe, all universes. They have a plan to stop the incursions and the death of all universes by destroying all Earths in every universe. Since the Avengers (see Avengers #21) have defeated the Builders of our universe the New Avengers will have to destroy their own Earth. Hickman and Deodato weave an impressive story here especially in light of the miraculous victory in space. A victory that may mean the end of all life. Can it be that the Avengers in the wrong here? Is it possible that by saving Earth, they have threatened all life everywhere?
I am baffled by some of the negative comments I have read in the blogs and social networking sites about Jonathan Hickman. I have to chalk it up to the ‘vocal minority’. I have to believe that the haters are gonna hate and do it loudly and that the majority, often silent, read and enjoy without the need to share their thoughts. Let me be your advocate against the hate. If you have let a hater keep you away from Infinity, you are missing out on possibly the BEST CROSSOVER EVENT EVER. Don’t let the vocal minority sway your decision. Take it from me: Hickman’s story is huge, diverse and well thought out. It sprawls across the universe with multiple aspects in play in space and on Earth. The aspects are all intertwined and seem to be coming together into what can only be an epic conclusion. Hickman has been supported in the tie-ins by some of the best writers, artists, and creators in the comics industry and together they are changing the face of the Marvel Universe forever. Get on board, you won’t recognize the place when they’re done with it!