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Infinity #1: Review

Aug 2013
Jonathan Hickman, Jim Cheung

Story Name:

(no title given)

Review & Comments

Rating:
4.5 stars

Infinity #1 Review by (August 18, 2013)
There are several Preludes to this series, official and not so. Avengers #14-17 are official Preludes wherein the spawn of Ex Nihilo's origin bombs send a message from Earth to the Builders, Captain Universe warns the Avengers about them, and alien refugees arrive in the Solar System ahead of the Builder fleet. The other official prelude is New Avengers #8, but the Infinity bit is actually set *after* this issue, where the Avengers have already left for space and Thanos' forces arrive on Earth. That comic shows us members of the Black Order without naming them. The Black Order are Thanos' generals. However the earlier issues of Avengers are also preludes to this series, because we learnt a lot about the Builders in them. This is a very ancient alien race who seeded the universe with various 'systems'. One of these systems was groups of roving Gardeners, like Abyss and Ex Nihilo, who roam the universe nurturing other races (but sometimes destroying them). Ex Nihilo can't understand why the Builders are now on a course of devastation (although it seems possible they only destroy planets that resist them). Another unheralded prelude could be the latest Guardians of the Galaxy series. There is a Galactic Council there which is presumably the same as the one mentioned here. That Council has declared Earth a no-go zone. But in GoG#5 Thanos claims that the Council is angry about the space/time rips caused by Age of Ultron, and will now destroy humanity for the safety of the rest of the universe. However here we find the Avengers going to help the Council against the Builders. So I wait to see how this all pans out. The current story arc in Iron Man could usefully be incorporated into Infinity. It concerns a giant robot armour called the Godkiller which the villain wants to use to defend Earth against aliens, but Iron Man opposes him. (Don't ask why.) However I think this link won't be made.

The Builders include the beings seen (erroneously) on the cover of Av#17, who are now confirmed to be 2 actual Builders and a female equivalent of Ex Nihilo (a Gardener). This also confirms that it was a Builder who received the signal from Earth in Av#15. SWORD (introduced in Astonishing X-Men) is a counterpart of SHIELD that deals with alien threats, commanded by Abigail Brand. The SWORD Peak satellite is whole and in use here, so I don't know how this connects with current Uncanny Avengers where the Peak has been destroyed. Possibly, like the SHIELD Helicarrier, they always have a spare handy. I don't believe we know who the '4 kings and a queen' are. But 1 of the kings appears to be a Deviant, and another might be Atlantean. Spider-Man and Wolverine aren't present in the Avengers gathering. They will both remain on Earth during Infinity. Logan will be involved in Infinity: The Hunt. The Otto Octavius version of Spider-Man will have a tie-in in Superior Spider-Man Team-Up, and will be in Mighty Avengers. And Captain Universe is in a coma.

This issue is a whopping 64 pages for $4.99. Even with 2 pages of 'reprint' that's a good deal. The several sections have individual titles, but the whole thing has no title other than 'Infinity'. Some sections featuring Corvus Glaive and the Outrider (inked by Mark Morales and lettered by Joe Caramagna) are reprinted from the Free Comic Book day Infinity issue. For Black Swan, the Illuminati and the threat of alternate Earths see my synopses of the Marvel NOW New Avengers issues so far. I don't know when Thanos occupied ruined Titan. He *has* devastated his homeworld before, but the Titanians rebuilt, and last I knew [Guardians of the Galaxy (2008) #12] they were still there. Galador has long been described as in the Golden Galaxy. But a mere 60,000 light years away would put it well within *our* galaxy. The Spaceknights that we saw in Avengers #16 are confirmed as Firefall, Ikon, Pulsar and Starshine, and the guy I didn't recognise is Terminator. (Some of these were supposedly dead, but the Spaceknight corps reuses the names.) Captain Universe supposedly left for Galador in Av#15 a week ago.

New Avengers #9 suggests I've got something wrong here. Outrider *is* actually looking for information on the Infinity Gems. When he moves on in Black Bolt's memories to the 5 ancient rulers, I now think he's finding where the surviving Time Gem has gone.

In answer to Julio:- Your old pal Rom didn't necessarily die here on Galador. Some of the Spaceknights are shown to have survived in Avengers #21. But the retired Rom himself was presumed killed offstage in the Spaceknights 2000 mini-series.



 

Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Infinity #1 Synopsis by Rob Johnson
We start with a flashback (2 of Rick Magyar's pages of New Avengers #6 very faithfully redrawn by Jim Cheung) where the Illuminati and Black Swan destroy an alternate Earth over Latveria. That's all we see of them this issue except for Black Bolt and Iron Man.

Now Thanos holds court on ruined Titan where he and Corvus Glaive receive news from an Outrider assassin. He claims to have had success on some mission to the planet Ahl-Agullo. But he is sent to complete his mission (which involves 'making known what remains hidden' and 'finding another world to raze').

Meanwhile Glaive goes to Ahl-Agullo, which Thanos's forces decimated 2 cycles ago. Since then the huddled remnants have rebuilt a bit of civilisation. Glaive reminds them how he killed their champion, the king's son. He says Thanos now demands a tribute, or they will be smote again. Glaive returns to Titan with the tribute - a box full of heads, to add to the skulls that pave Thanos' court.

The Outrider comes to Earth to search for what is hidden. In stealth mode he eavesdrops on Avengers (Captain America, Iron Man and Thor), X-Men (Kitty Pryde, Storm and Wolverine) and SHIELD, but doesn't yet find it.

We now skip to Galador where we left Captain Universe in Avengers #16. The Spaceknights' home planet was under attack. It turns out the attackers are the Builders who have been mentioned in most of the Marvel NOW Avengers issues. The Spaceknights defence is in vain, and CU sees Galador destroyed.

Abigail Brand of SWORD is overseeing the capture of some Skrulls on Earth. Captain America and Hawkeye are accompanying the troops, with Hyperion and Thor standing by in case they're needed. But the Skrulls turn out not to be warrior caste, like the other refugees SWORD has intercepted. (This bunch slipped past SWORD in Av#15.)

Captain Universe materialises in the Peak, in her mortal form in a coma. SWORD gets a transmission from a Kree outpost being wiped out. Ex Nihilo, who joined the Avengers in Av#17, recognises the attackers as Builders, and a fellow Gardener (different from one we saw on Galador). Adding this attack to the stories of the space refugees who arrived in Av#15, Brand calculates that the Builders are heading for Earth.

The Outrider has come to Attilan where he invades the sleeping mind of the Inhumans' king Black Bolt. He discovers lots of stuff:- The Kree created the Inhumans. They get their powers from the Terrigen Mists. Black Bolt, married to Inhuman Medusa, took other wives as a political manouver from 4 alien races - the Universal Inhumans, more results of Kree tampering (as seen in Hickman's run in Fantastic Four). His brother Maximus the Mad has secretly been building devices for him (as seen in NAv#7&8). Black Bolt is a member of the secret Illuminati. (These last 2 facts have caused dissension between BB and his wives.) The Illuminati had the Infinity Gems (as seen in Illuminati #2), but lost them (NAv#3). But even this isn't what Thanos is seeking.

The Outrider finally finds what he seeks. We see an image of 4 kings and a queen. One of the men wears the crown of Attilan.

At this point Black Bolt wakes up and tears one of the Outrider's 4 arms off. The Outrider makes his escape, but is blasted by a whisper from Black Bolt. However he falls onto his invisible spaceship, and completes his escape.

Captain Marvel addresses the assembled Avengers, including Abyss, Ex Nihilo, Nightmask and Starbrand recruited for this emergency in Av#17. Word from their Shi'ar representative Smasher is that the Galactic Council is mobilising a defence against the Builders. Abyss confirms that her creators the Builders are fully capable of destroying the Earth if they get here. So Captain America says that most of the Avengers will leave Earth to help the Council. Iron Man will stay behind on Earth to coordinate local defences.

The Outrider reaches Titan to find that Corvus Glaive has been joined by the rest of the Black Order:- Black Dwarf, Ebony Maw, Proxima Midnight and Supergiant. He reports that Black Bolt hides what Thanos seeks, and then gratefully accepts the reward for a job well done, as Glaive chops his head off. Glaive announces to Thanos' minions that they will invade Earth. He quells their mutterings of discontent when a mole from SWORD tells them that the Avengers have left the planet.


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> Infinity: Book info and issue index

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Jim Cheung
David Meikis
Justin Ponsor
Adam Kubert (Cover Penciler)
Adam Kubert (Cover Inker)
Laura Martin (Cover Colorist)
Letterer: Chris Eliopoulos.
Editor: Lauren Sankovitch.

Characters

Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Black Widow
Black Widow

(Natasha Romanoff)
Captain America
Captain America

(Steve Rogers)
Captain Marvel
Captain Marvel

(Carol Danvers)
Falcon
Falcon

(Sam Wilson)
Hawkeye
Hawkeye

(Clint Barton)
Hulk
Hulk

(Bruce Banner)
Iron Man
Iron Man

(Tony Stark)
Spider-Woman
Spider-Woman

(Jessica Drew)
Thor
Thor

(Odinson)
Wolverine
Wolverine

(James Howlett)

Plus: Abigail Brand, Abyss 3, Adam (Nightmask), Builders, Cannonball, Captain Universe (Tamara Devoux), Ex Nihila, Ex Nihilo, Hyperion, Manifold (Eden Fesi), Shang-Chi, Skrulls, Smasher (Izzy Kane), Spaceknights, Starbrand (Kevin Conner), Supergiant.