We’re so close. We’re so close to a massive, expansive glorious Marvel event that consists of only great-to-excellent quality issues at its core. Jonathan Hickman definitely teases more than he delivers in this particular issue, but that’s fine: save the big guns for the final issue. We get to see the preparations for landfall of Earth as well as how the returning Avengers break through that pesky ol’ blockade that Thanos has set up. It involves some of the most magnificently powerful of the Galactic Council and a hammer that isn’t the one you’d immediately think of. I’m always a fan of peering behind the curtain to see exactly how these plans are formulated and Hickman has always done a great job of that. It makes it feel less like all the characters are just slamming against all the other ones and really showcases the thinkers on both sides. Shang-Chi actually shines in this issue, having a page devoted to his awesomeness and setting the stage for his further adventures down the road.
Leinil Yu hits artistic all of the line work with Sunny Gho and Paul Mounts on colors and, as always, the art looks great. Well, it looks great for the most part. The colors are still rich and vibrant, exploding (in some cases more literally than others) across the page with glorious detail. There’s a lot of action, but it’s all contained and easy to follow, so the reader never feels lost. It’s also brief and absolutely brutal, one part in particular that I obviously won’t give away, but it’s incredibly vicious.
Hawkeyed (GET IT?!) readers will note that I had a caveat in the art and that is this: I think Leinil Yu may be getting wrist cramps from all the absolutely amazing work he’s been outputting at a truly shocking pace over the last few months. We’ve seen a quality that has been consistently on time and had very little dips in quality, but that seems to have come at a cost and that cost is, here at the end, the linework is sloppy. The sharp, crisp lines have been replaced with jagged, indistinct bits that don't bring out either the finer details nor the color as well as in the past. It’s not deal-breaking, but it’s very obvious.
The art is still great on this issue, which itself is an amazing showcase of so many different talents. This is still a great standalone Avengers issue as well as being an amazing tie-in to Infinity, so fans of the book (who should already been caught up), feel free to continue sinking your teeth, and buying dollars, into this title.
Note: Leinil Francis Yu has released a 'disclaimer' he had to do the art in two weeks.