Infinity continues to exemplify everything a massive, company-wide event should be: a solid core of amazing titles with great, but optional, tie-ins that expand what’s going on plot-wise. The core Infinity titles stand well on their own, but so far if I had to choose just one of the two side-titles to read, it would be Avengers. This title ties most directly into the cosmic battles happening in the pages of Infinity, and this issue picks up right after the Galactic Council’s major routing at the hands of the tactically, and technologically, superior Builders. Carol Danvers and her massive squad of superheroes, both cosmic and mundane, have been captured and are being interrogated by the Builders, who seem to want information on why certain cosmic beings are working with Earth. Meanwhile, J-Son, King of the Spartax Empire makes a grievous error in judgement that may have just handed the Builders their biggest advantage yet.
Jonathan Hickman has, with incredible efficiency, established an entire universe of new possibilities and threats while using the solid, if not always crystal-clear, foundation of Marvel’s pre-existing cosmic properties as a base. The politics at work in this book between the various empires and races is fascinating as war might make strange bedfellows, but it doesn’t erase all past grudges and pre-judgements. This is especially true when King J-Son’s anti-Earth agenda gets slapped down by Supremor’s statistical analysis. If you never thought you’d see a Kree Supreme Intelligence stand up for humanity, you never took into account the Hickman Principle of Amazing Ideas.
Leinil Yu provides pencils, inks and colors in what I can only describe as a beautifully unified vision. Everything from his character designs to the little details in panels is amazingly realized and beautifully rendered with the cold, dead emptiness of space contrasting sharply with the Galactic Council's artificial, ship-grown gardens in the ringworld and the bright, garish colors of the superhero uniforms (even adapted for space travel). The action is positively frantic with dramatic cuts creating a beautiful illusion of motion while never losing track of the focus of the issue or panel. There’s a tremendous pace that makes the book, despite being text-heavy, flow beautifully.
There’s a very bizarrely hypersexualized panel in here, that’s already been circulating, between the female Builder Ex Nihila and Capt. Marvel. It’s not just the shape and build of the characters either, it’s the posing and positioning within the panel. I can’t tell if it’s intentional or coincidental, but either way, it’s extremely discomforting and completely out of nowhere, resulting in nothing.
This issue is a great continuation of the events from Infinity #2, and even continuing from #1, as well as the previous Avengers titles. I know it’s easy to dismiss this as “just another event book,” especially so soon after Age of Ultron, but by having a singular writer across three titles, the tone, tenor, pace and goals of the books remain consistent across the three titles, making them all very much worth picking up. This book helps flesh out the events that are happening in the main book, showing you corners you may not have noticed or forgotten about, and that’s the best thing a close tie-in like this can do. It isn’t 100% necessary, but it’s definitely worth checking out if you’re already invested in Infinity, or in Hickman’s Avengers roster.