A Marvel Comics Event
Today Marvel released part one of six of its next big crossover event, bearing the title of Infinity written by Jonathan Hickman and drawn and inked by Jim Cheung and Mark Morales. This keynote series comes at us from the page of The Avengers and New Avengers and addresses similar subjects, the most prevalent being evolution of beings, evolution of a world, domination of a people and the destruction of Earth. Heavy stuff.
All of these subjects within the Marvel universe are fairly new to me; I did not start reading Avengers or New Avengers until a few weeks ago when Infinity was just starting to get hyped up. I caught wind of some of the themes and read a bit more about what Hickman was planning for the rest of the year in his two flagship Marvel books and the upcoming limited series and decided to jump aboard and catch up, just in time for the launch of Infinity. Needless to say both Avengers and New Avengers captivated me with ease, and they left me with drool on the table, eagerly awaiting the next step in the story.
I waited in line at my LCS this morning with hopes of getting a super-rare variant of Infinity #1 in my hands; the store had randomly packaged five of their limited-print variant covers into 50 brown bags and gave them away to the first 50 customers in the store. Not only was it a relief for my LCS to give me a comic with a $4.99 price tag for free, but they also gave everyone equal chance to walk away with a killer prize. All in all it was a great event orchestrated by FanBoy Comics in Wilmington, NC. But alas, my bag was not one of the lucky ones. What I ultimately left the store with was a fresh copy of Infinity #1, a Skottie Young variant lithograph, an Infinity button and a copy of the FCBD Infinity Prelude.
Having never read the FCBD special release, I immediately got into it, and saw a glimpse of what was to come from Thanos and the other residents of Titan: their plans to seek a Tribute from a previously conquered world and to gather intel on a world in their sights. I read every page of the Prelude and was intrigued by the classic backstory featuring Thanos and The Destroyer. I immediately set into the 60 page story that is Infinity #1, only to discover that the FCBD story was the introduction to Infinity, page-for-page. I skimmed it, checking for inconsistencies, but it was clean. I thought it was cool that Marvel gave this special treat to those fans who picked up the Infinity Prelude back in May on FCBD, but I was mildly disappointed that there wasn’t any extra content towards the story. But who am I, Johnny-Come-Lately, to complain about anything?
One of the things that I particularly love about Infinity is the title. The word infinity carries so much weight, so much connotation, that through just the title you can get so many different impressions about this book. One meaning in particular about Infinity that stands out to me is that it is on a loop, never-ending, doomed to repeat. We’ve seen these themes in both Avengers and New Avengers so far in Hickman’s run, and they have carried on into the new series. The destruction of a planet to pave the way for a more highly evolved and more sentient one. That traces back to the very first few pages of Avengers #1, where Ex Nihilo sent his life bombs to earth to bring about a new evolutionary step for humanity. In New Avengers, these themes are also present, when the Illuminati must use their power against parallel earths multiple times, and destroy them before they destroy us. In that, infinity leads us to believe that these incursions of parallel earths will happen again and again until the final outcome is met: the destruction of our Earth. But early on in Hickman’s New Avengers, Mr. Fantastic explains that, of course, this is the only possible outcome because the only known fact is that everything has a beginning and everything has an end. But the implication of infinity is that, yes, everything may come to an end, but what comes after the end? Examples of this are laid out multiple times throughout each of the three main Infinity story lines, with dialogue describing “the beginning of the end.” These sorts of thoughts are peppered through the story to give us an idea of what infinity means and what it represents to these characters. Their world is in danger of being destroyed by powers higher than their own and they know it is ultimately inevitable. The fun part of this story is seeing how and why these characters try to fight it.
Another thing I thought was really valuable to this story was the roster page. After the opening credits were printed, a character roster showed who will appear in this issue and their team affiliations. Having read Avengers vs. X-Men, I have seen similar layouts from Marvel before. Because they have so many characters, these sorts of aids are extremely helpful to readers like myself who have a very spotty recognition of a lot of characters within the Marvel Universe. I hope we can continue to count on the roster page in the coming issues of Infinity, and like we saw with AVX, the evolution of it as the story carries on, updating for changed allegiances, new characters, deaths and disappearances.
Hickman has taken his time with these stories, having invested the last several months of storylines from multiple titles since the launch of Marvel Now. I’m glad that Infinity is getting its own title rather than having to fall under the imprint of the major Avengers titles and other related books. This way we are getting three individual stories with similar themes tying them all together, each with its own specialized voice. I won’t get into too many details of story for the sake of spoilers, however I will say that it was overall, a brilliant introduction to this new story. I am officially hyped for the next few months of Avengers, New Avengers and Infinity, and I am glad that the release schedule will have books coming out nearly every week to satisfy my curiosity, as well as that of millions of other fans.