Infinity marches on in its more character-focused book, and this issue lets Jonathan Hickman explore the Earthbound characters (no, not Paula or Ness) defying Thanos’ assault. And while the battle against the Builders in space may be turning, Thanos and his Cull Obsidian (I can't emphasize enough how much I love that name) remain a force to be reckoned with and, with little regard for their own troops’ lives, have finally breached the Golden City’s walls. While Wakanda suffers a similar fate, from a different source, as their rivals in Atlantis, the Illuminati travel to an incurring Earth and meet another group of, seemingly more calm-minded, Builders. Hickman, again, has an amazing command over the cast of this massive event, but nowhere is this more evident than in New Avengers, where the characters are front and center and in this issue that is most evident as they’re faced with a dilemma that has no right answer.
Mike Deodato continues to deliver the goods, handling all of the artistic duties masterfully and not cutting one single corner. Either a lot of this was drawn well ahead of time, or Deodato is a MASTER of efficiency because every issue, every PANEL, has looked as good as the last. His ability to frame every panel and get the facial tics of every character in them down to such minute detail is truly a sight to behold. From the broad, sweeping expressions to the mundane, tiny expressions, Deodato nails it in every panel.
We’re still not sure if Thanos has any greater reason for wanting his son dead beyond his usual “I want everything to die so Death will kiss me!” logic. He’s also, obviously, looking for one of the Infinity Gems, and the logic behind that makes sense without explanation, but his obsession with his son is still strange and unexplained. If he just wanted to find him, that would be one thing, but he wants Thane dead without even having to meet him.
This issue introduces an amazing idea near its end that I won’t spoil here, but it’s one of the most thought-provoking ideas to be put forth in a massive event book since the legitimacy and morality of superhero registration. I can’t say enough how good this book has been and how well it’s fit into the Infinity narrative without overpowering it, or being too critical to the overall story. It adds to the event without shackling the reader to it. I actually think it’s going to read amazingly well in trade whether or not you’ve read the other titles in the event.