Previously in Infinity: On Earth, Thanos and his Cull Obsidian (Black Order) search for his son Thane. The Mad Titan wants his progeny dead and he will destroy all Earth to accomplish this quest. Black Bolt tried to destroy Thanos by detonating Attilan above Manhattan. With the powerful but unpredictable Terrigen Mists released everyone on Earth with Inhuman blood are transforming, 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 met a Builder group from the encroaching Universe. They explain that because the Builders in our universe have been defeated, that it is up to the New Avengers to save all life by destroying their own world. Wait, what? Yeah, they have to destroy their own Earth! Captain America’s strategies combined with the investigations of Ex Nihilo and Abyss and the awakening of the Great Mother, Captain Universe have utterly destroyed the Builders of our universe. But, while things in space have turned in the Avengers’ favor, they may have a quite different Earth to come home to, if there is any planet left by then at all. Infinity rages on!
Guardians of the Galaxy #8 by Brian Michael Bendis and Francesco Francavilla, with Neil Gaiman listed as a consultant (obviously due to the Angela content) starts off the action this week. Peter Quill, who was born on Earth, has just found out that Thanos has invaded his home planet. Gamora and Peter lose control, blaming each other and themselves for Thanos even still being alive to do this. Their “freak-out” session is interrupted by Abigail Brand. The head of S.W.O.R.D., Earth’s defense initiative, has failed miserably at her job. The Peak Space Station is in the hands of the invaders and that can’t be good news for Earth. Gamora, angry as always, has her own plan and leaves. Star-Lord and Rocket Raccoon sneak aboard The Peak and rescue Brand. As they reach the command center they are discovered. Surrounded, outnumbered, and cut off from reinforcements it looks like things are about to get tragic for the Guardians. Suddenly, the hull ruptures ejecting the invaders (and almost our heroes as well). Their rescuer? None other than the displaced angel herself…Angela! This was a good issue. Bendis finally got in the fight with his Guardians, and made it meaningful. Francavilla’s artwork seemed a bit rushed in this issue. I’m not sure if it was just due to the content of the story or if he was truly not as detailed as I’m used to but I do have to say the final page depicting Angela floating in the hull breach, jettisoned invaders dying behind her and a rescued Star-Lord in the foreground was truly inspired.
Infinity #5 of 6 by Jonathan Hickman, Jerome Opena, and Dustin Weaver finally gets us back into space after two weeks of the war (and Terrigenesis) on Earth. It’s mop up time in our Galaxy. The Avengers and their allies are ridding each planet of the remaining Builder forces one by one. On Dockrum VII the last Aleph falls to the Hulk, and the people of the ravaged planet declare themselves an Avengers World. As do the people of Kymer, Centauri Prime, and all the other freed worlds were now Avengers Worlds. As the victory celebrations continue Gladiator, Majestor of the Shi’Ar, brings the bad news to the Avengers, that the Earth has fallen. Things on Earth are worse than the news would indicate. Not only has Thanos invaded, but that invasion caused the worldwide Terrigenesis. He also plans to destroy Earth with the Illuminati’s incursion stopping anti-matter bombs. It actually gets worse when Ebony Maw completes his mission of delivering Thane to his father for execution. The Illuminati learn of Thanos’ possession of the bombs and attack to get them back, while at the same time the rest of the Avengers are making their way back from deep space to save their home planet. They are not alone either as the Kree, Skrulls and Shi’Ar all pledge themselves to saving Earth. Hickman has done a masterful job, throughout this series, of tweaking emotions and even eliciting feelings from his pages. In this issue the hopeless feeling continues on Earth, while hope and victory spread in space. I am not exaggerating when I say that this may be the biggest, best and most difficult cross-over event ever at Marvel Comics. Opena and Weaver continue to be brilliant. The images they create are beautiful and meaningful in the story. The image of the Hulk smashing the last Aleph on Dockrum VII was only outdone by the Iwo Jima like raising of the Avengers “A” by the planet’s survivors declaring it an Avengers World.
Avengers #22 by Jonathan Hickman and Leinil Francis Yu keeps the momentum rolling both from a story and artistic point of view. This issue starts with a bit of a diversion depicting Sam (Cannonball) and Izzy (Smasher) taking time for a make-out session before the fleet arrives at Titan to take out the forward listening base of Thanos’ invasion fleet. As impressed as I have been with Hickman’s writing throughout this event, I have thought that the Avengers group that he sent into space was too large. Many of the characters have been lost in the shuffle. Although some of them have been featured in tie-ins like Avengers Assemble which did help, I think that a smaller group would have been more manageable. That said, I do understand that the huge team was meant to relate to the scope of the danger. The leaders of the fleet strategize and the plan seems simple. A two-pronged attack with a surgical strike to take back The Peak and a forceful overt attack on the blockade by the rest of the fleet. This issue contains a lot of planning and plotting and not a lot of actual action. As I read through I wasn’t disappointed by that fact, especially when it came to the ending scenes. Eden (Manifold), a newcomer to the Avengers, expresses his fear and exhaustion at what has transpired so far and what will surely transpire in the coming days. He gets the “just do your best” speech from Captain America which has motivated many soldiers in many wars. But the best moment of the book is when Thor chimes in, “Your entire life has led to this day. You were born for this. As was I.” I don’t know about you, but I’m ready to fight for the freedom of my home.
Infinity is rapidly coming to a close. The Builders are defeated but the threat of their claims still resonates. Their assertion that our Earth’s survival will mean the end of all life everywhere weighs heavily on the hearts and minds of the Avengers who know. Are the Avengers saving their planet only to have to destroy it themselves? Why would a planet considered a “backwater” by most of the galaxy be so important and dangerous to all life? We will undoubtedly be finding out very soon, but first the Avengers have a few other priorities to deal with. They have to get through a blockade to get to Earth, then they have to deal with Thanos and the Cull Obsidian, and if they can survive all of that they will have to deal with Inhumanity. We’re in the home stretch as Infinity rages on! For a sneak peek into the future of Infinity check out First Look at Infinity #6 by The Nerd himself.