Wednesday, 13 May 2015

Infinity (Marvel) Review

Infinity
The subject of only HALF the book.

Writer: Jonathon Hickman and Nick Spencer

Artists: (Breathe in) Mike Deodato, Stefano Caselli, Marco Rudy, Marco Checchetto, Jim Cheung, Jerome Opena, Dustin Weaver, Dustin Weaver and Lenil Francis Yu.

Background Information:

Infinity takes in the Marvel NOW! Avengers and New Avengers. In New Avengers, are crashing together. In Avengers, the team has expanded to a roster of twenty-something in response to an attack on earth by the builders of the universe. They've discovered "new" heroes Starbrand and Nightmask, who represent parts of a universal "system". That system is broken and... okay, your eyes are glazing over.

Review:

If a book can't be good, it helps that there's at least a lot of it. That seems to be the thinking behind Infinity, because while a mammoth twenty-four issues sounds tempting to someone who wants a good long yarn; there's absolutely no reason for this book to be a single volume.

There's no reason for it to be a crossover, for that matter. There are two stories going on here; the adjectiveless Avengers have taken to space to fight the builders, while the New Avengers are staying on earth to fight Thanos who is looking for his illegitimate son.

How to overdo the "Avengers Assemble" thing.
On their own, these stories are quite good. In fact, two separate volumes for both stories would have been far better than what we got. Instead of two stand-alone stories, Jonathon Hickman tries to trick us into thinking that they have anything more than a rudimentary connection; Thanos is attacking earth now because the Avengers are all in space, the Avengers come back from space to beat Thanos, Hickman uses the "meanwhile" trick like it's the word "and". I call them tricks, but they're really fooling nobody. These stories don't belong together and it feels like Marvel is only publishing this as one event to charge you $50 for the paperback version.

And that's a shame, because the stories contained here a pretty decent. Thanos' Cull Obsidian get their due here in ways that I'm suspicious the MCU will never do, and I found these villains to be the best ones in the book. Seeing Captain America lead an intergalactic war team is fantastic; it's nice to see the Captain actually... captain-ing. And the new additions to the adjectiveless Avengers get more entertaining each time.

What I especially like about the Avengers issues is that Hickman, however unintentionally, gives us a decent jumping-off point. Even though Hickman has announced that his runs on books are generally one big arc that really won't end until Secret Wars, if that, this book gave me a point where I could move on to other things without wondering what happens next.

Cap's new Avengers team is a little off the beaten path...
I can't say the same for the New Avengers, though. This volume seems to accomplish only two things; it gives us a whole six issues in which the story doesn't progress (world incursions are still happening) and that, but for the "death" of Black Bolt, doesn't change the characters (they're all still pretty dodgy). In fact, the only thing that the New Avengers seems to accomplish is setting up for the next Inhumanity event. And, for the record, the only thing wrong with setting up a series solely to replace the X-Men because they can't be in the MCU is... everything.

The art here.. sigh... it's looks very nice and suits the cinematic storylines, but Marvel is known for their diverse artwork. Every artist on this long list of talent draws exactly the same way. Plus; it look consistent. Minus; it looks consistently same-old-same-old.

I actually liked Infinity, but can't recommend it to anyone. The length is perfect for a long plane trip, but the book has so many flaws. It gets a two and a half out of five captains captain-ing.

** 1/2

+ Avengers storyline feels like a great jumping-off point.

+ Stories are actually pretty decent.

- New Avengers storyline feels like it goes nowhere.

- Book shouldn't have been one volume.

- Good art looks the same as all good art

Alternate Option: Hickman's individual Avengers books.

Sometimes, Hickman, less is more.