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 costs. 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. Captain America’s surrender ruse resulted in Thor’s defeat of the Builder on Hala and bringing the Kree Accusers 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. The Gardeners revived their Great Mother (Captain Universe) and she deemed her creations unruly, and destroyed them utterly. 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 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 Terrigen Mists caused worldwide transformations of anyone with Inhuman genetic code, including Thane. The once healer became his father’s son, destroying his hidden Inhuman community and everyone in it. The New Avengers in response to another incursion meet a Builder group from the encroaching Universe. They explain that because the Builders in their universe have been defeated, that it is up to the New Avengers to save all life by destroy their own world. Wait, what? Yeah, they have to destroy their own Earth! While things in space seem to be turning in the Avengers’ favor, they may have a quite different Earth to come home to, if there is any planet left by then. Infinity rages on!
Infinity: The Heist #2 of 4 by Frank Tieri and Al Barrionuevo starts off a huge week in Infinity. While there are no direct crossover episodes this week there are five tie-ins! Infinity: The Heist follows the story of seven super criminals (Spymaster, Whirlwind, Whiplash, Unicorn, Titanium Man, Firebrand, and Blizzard) who get the bright idea to rob their hated foe Tony Stark. This issue reveals that Blizzard is actually an Inhuman. The Terrigen Mists have transformed him into something more. He’s now icy skinned, blue haired, and has a power set all too similar to Iceman. His new-found heritage has also awakened a desire for redemption in him. He decides to bow out of the big plan despite Whirlwind’s urging to the contrary. Unfortunately for our new hero-to-be Spymaster saw this coming and, in a brutal show of force and chain-of-command, he nearly beats Whirlwind to death to bring his Inhuman buddy back in line. Barrionuevo’s art is interesting. It has a fluidity to it that is rare in comics. Tieri has written these characters for years and seems determined to give them some long needed personality. I’m not sure where this is all going but I’m fairly certain some of the cast will not see how it all ends.
Infinity: The Hunt #3 of 4 by Matt Kindt and Steven Sanders continues the adventures on Earth. The leaders of various schools for superhuman development decided to have a ‘Contest of Champions’ between their schools. What they hadn’t counted on was a full-scale invasion. The Atlantean school was decimated in the war with Wakanda then subjugated by Thanos’ forces. The Latverian school was attacked and also never made it to the big event at the Avengers Academy in California. I wondered, after last issue, if this was just another attempt to capture the genie in a bottle that Marvel Comics found in Avengers Arena or possibly an attempt to shock us with death in volume. Few of the characters are known, leaving us with little emotional investment in what happens to them. The Avengers Academy kids head to Atlantis to meet the Latverians, while the Chinese contingent override their orbiting ‘panic room’ and crash it in Wakanda, two of the biggest invasion hot-spots on the planet. All four groups make their way to a decimated Atlantis and quickly realize that they should have listened to their mentors and stayed put. Half-trained, panicked, and out of their depth they do themselves and each other more harm than good. This issue ends with them about to be swallowed up by a sea-monster of some kind. Kindt’s writing is always good and Sanders art certainly does the characters justice. I just don’t find myself really caring about any of them. Next issue is the final exam titled “Putting the F in effort”. At this point I’d have to agree. I’m just not sure that this book is adding anything real or lasting to Infinity or the Marvel Universe in general, which considering the creative team, is a huge disappointment.
Nova #9 by Zeb Wells and Paco Medina is next on tap. Last issue we met Kaldera, the daughter of Proxima Midnight of Thanos’ Cull Obsidian. She seems to be setting up as this new Nova’s main rival, which makes sense. Former New Warriors, Justice and Speedball, show up trying to get the band back together in the midst of this invasion. I was a fan of the New Warriors books in the past, but I have to admit some confusion on this one. I get wanting to bring them back, but why would Justice, a former Avenger, want any part of it? Also, how did Speedball revert back to the wise-cracking miscreant that he was prior to the whole Stamford/Registration Act/Civil War debacle? Kaldera challenges Sam to hand-to-hand combat and like a kid he accepts, even though he has no fighting skills without the Nova helmet. He quickly reneges on the deal, dons the helmet and dispatches his foe. Kaldera’s failure earns her a lifetime of torture in a Midnight Sphere, while Sam’s success seems to have insured the formation of another New Warriors team. Medina’s art, especially the action sequences, is truly beautiful. He seems well suited to draw Nova and his powers in ways I haven’t seen them expressed. Wells continues to write solid stories showing a good understanding of younger characters and how they would behave in stressful situations. I still miss Richard Rider though.
Thunderbolts #17 by Charles Soule and Jefte Palo continues to be one of my favorite books regardless of the Infinity tie-in. The characters are awesome, the writing is awesome, the art is inspired. This book is one I genuinely look forward to every month. Soule has a way of leading you down a path and ambushing you with betrayals, self-serving decisions, and surprises even though you should already see it coming with this bunch of characters. He’s playing the invasion aspect perfectly. The Red Leader is using it to get back at his captor, General Thaddeus “Thunderbolt” Ross (Red Hulk). Punisher’s group mows down any invaders who get between them and their goal of killing the Paguro mob family, otherwise they couldn’t care less. Venom seems to want to help but defers to the group effort. Meanwhile, Deadpool has the most contact with the invaders all because he got bored on a stakeout and went for food. Ross and Sterns wander the streets trying to figure out how to use the freed Mercy to stop the invaders, but then they’ll have to come up with a way to stop Mercy. And Sterns is still feeling the effects of the attack of last issue. They witness the explosion of Attilan and the release of the Terrigen Mists. While Deadpool gets that much-needed pizza, the others are infiltrating the Paguro stronghold and decimating the New York underworld. Remember that Charles Soule ambush writing tactic I mentioned earlier? Yeah? Well it turns out that the cowardly joke called the Nobili Family are actually Inhumans and the Terrigen Mists have transformed them in the middle of the firefight with Punisher, Venom, and Elektra. Brilliant Mr. Soule, you got me again! What happens next is anyone’s guess but Soule and Palo are making me ever more anxious to find out with each new issue.
Secret Avengers #10 by Ed Brisson and Luke Ross takes us to Brooklyn to meet Sarah Garza the next victim of the Terrigen Mists released by Black Bolt. Sarah is different though in that she is an Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. who can now combust and explode. Certainly an asset for the organization, if she can control her power. James Rhodes, Iron Patriot, is brought in to assist with some Stark tech to help Sarah control and direct her explosions. After a crash course, she joins Coulson and Fury on the ground against the invading forces. She adapts fairly quickly and helps dispatch the aliens but the fight is far from over. Iron Patriot, his drones and Sarah’s armor all lose power at exactly the wrong time. It seems another victim of the Terrigen Mists has awakened and he’s not happy about what has been done to his home. Ed Brisson (The Orchard, Murder Book, and Come Back) makes his Infinity and Secret Avengers debut in style. He understands the characters and handles the frantic, terrified Sarah pretty well as he takes her through uncertainty, to fear, to confidence and all the way back to dread. It’s a fun ride and extremely well drawn by Luke Ross. He handles the action sequences nicely, keeping them clean and easy to follow. His view of the devastation of New York, even as background to the fighting, is incredibly detailed and equally impressive.
This Week in INFINITY was one that delved more into the peripheral effects of the invasion of Earth, and the devastating effects of the Terrigen Mist release. These tie-ins are obviously as much linked to Infinity as they are a prelude to Inhumanity. It will be interesting to see how all of these formerly latent Inhumans will affect the Earth after Infinity is resolved. That is unless the Builders are right and all Earths do have to be destroyed to save universes of lives. Tune in next week for more as Infinity rages on!