I just flew in from New York Comic Con and boy, is my copy late! The fourth issue of Marvel's Infinity shipped a week ago, but I've been so busy covering Marvel's gently-teased future plans that I've fallen horribly behind again. (Gallimaufry! Rick Remender, Skottie Young, Marvel NOW-er, 2015! Hamantaschen! Dan Slott, Ryan Stegman, Marvel NOW-est, 2016!)
Thankfully it's theoretically impossible to be late for Infinity. That's basic math.
Reader, this installment of Comics Alliance X Infinity, our recap of Marvel's latest big crossover event, is running shamefully late, but I swear I have a good excuse. I've been playing Avengers Alliance on Facebook all weekend. Now, I know that doesn't sound like a good excuse, but look, they're running an Infinity tie-in mission, so it's basically research, all right? And I don't think you fully understand how badly I need to unlock Black Bolt as a playable character.
But the comic version of Infinity won't wait forever. Or will it? My editors certainly won't, so let's jump back into the Infinity whirlpool with issue #3, by writer Jonathan Hickman and the returning art team of Jerome Opeña, Dustin Weaver and Justin Ponsor. Spoilers ahead!
Welcome back to the Comics Alliance guide to Marvel Comics'Infinity, where we disentangle the Möbius strip of writer Jonathan Hickman's database-powered brain. When last we left the action in Infinity #1, the Avengers were heading into space to fight the Builder fleet, which left the planet undefended against Thanos. For a certain value of undefended. Only most of the superheroes were still on Earth. Like those 50 State Initiative guys. They can't all be on Arcade's Murder Islands, can they? Is there a 50 State Murderpeligo that Dennis Hopeless hasn't told us about?
Issue #2, with art by Jerome Opeña, Dustin Weaver and Justin Ponsor, opens with the arrival of Thanos's horror circus, the greyest show on Earth. The Avengers, meanwhile, have joined up with a host of alien races, had a big space battle, and lost it. That seems like a bit of a jump in the narrative, but Hickman has created an unorthodox storytelling challenge for himself, and the results are a little variable.
First issues of event comics have to accomplish a lot. They have to introduce a conflict, introduce a villain, give heroes memorable moments that bring the reader back to see more, set up side stories that can be fleshed out in other titles, have a big battle scene, and the list goes on.
Infinity #1 by writer Jonathan Hickman and artist Jim Cheung with a team of inkers, colorist Justin Ponsor and letterer Chris Eliopoulos, does some of those things, but in a sort of sidestep rather than a straight-ahead dash. And some of the items on the checklist, it willfully denies the reader. In the end, I wound up liking the approach, but getting there took a lot of trust not every reader may have.
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