Comics Alliance X ‘Infinity’ + 4 = Hammer Time [Spoilers]
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.
I can keep this recap brief, because not a lot happened in Infinity #4, by Jonathan Hickman, Jerome Opeña, Dustin Weaver and Justin Ponsor. Or rather, a couple of very big things happened, but those couple of things took up the whole book.
On the one hand the Terrigenesis bomb spread its active ingredient (I think it's probiotic yogurt) across the world and triggered a number of amazing transformations, including a makeover for Thane. On the other hand, Thor threw a hammer. That and some punching, and you've got yourself a comic.
There also wasn't a lot going on between Infinity #3 and #4; no New Avengers, only an issue of Avengers that was largely concurrent with Infinity #3. Avengers #20 offered more detail of the captured Avengers' rescue in Infinity #3, and set up a secret rendezvous with the Yellow Antler Corps.
This is basically the unionisation of the Candelabraii, who are mad about being turned against their purpose by their vaguely defined masters. This otherworldly posturing is all a bit inside baseball to me given how little I know about the Builders and their lackeys - except it's not even baseball, it's alienball, and we don't know the players, the rules, or which bit is the ball. Maybe it's like Quidditch, and the Ex Nihila who betrayed her masters is the golden snitch?
The rest of Avengers #20 was all about devising tactics for Infinity #4. The Builders now hold the Kree throneworld of Hala, where they have dangerously overfed the seamonkey.
The Avengers ask to parley with the Builders, and the Builder named... oh, right, none of them have names. Let's call this one Clive. Clive the Builder is very excited about humiliating the Avengers' envoy in front of the assembled Kree. He's going to fix it so that Thor is voted Prom Queen, and when he gets up on stage...
But more of that later. Meanwhile, we visit the hidden Inhuman city of Orollan, which has cleverly gone undiscovered throughout the history of the Marvel Universe by dint of no-one coming up with it previously. It's just around the corner from the village at the heart of next year's epic summer crossover event, Micronaut Bake Sale.
The little jumble-tumble stacked-adobe enclave or Orollan is home to a long-lost splinter of the Inhuman race, without a lot of superpowers to go around. One of its inhabitants is Thane, son of Thanos, who most definitely does not have his father's chin.
Thane lives a happy, peaceful life, moussing his hair and polishing his shoulders. Unfortunately the release of the Terrigen mists in soundwave form triggers the powers of Inhuman descendants around the world, a bit like when the Phoenix Force triggered all those latent mutants at the end of AvX, but nothing like that at all because Inhumans are nothing like mutants, Inhumans starts with an I, not an M, all right?
Most of the Inh-new-mans are transformed inside gelatinous cocoons, but Thane has a flare for theatre, so he explodes and kills everyone around him. (Not good theatre, you understand, but better than Rock of Ages.)
Thane gets a new, less handsome look, and one smooth gold hand and one jagged black hand. I'd almost like to believe that Thane is this universe's version of the New Universe character Justice, given Hickman's love for the New Universe, but I don't think that's where this is going. I think one hand is for stainless steel and the other is for non-stick.
Meanwhile, in outer space, Thor arrives on Hala to chat with the Builders, and they insist that he disarm - which he does by tossing his hammer away. Clive apparently haven't paid a great deal of attention to his opponents, because he thinks that's just fine. What's the worst that could happen? Thor's hammer, which always comes back to him, probably isn't going to come back to him this time.
Oh, ba-bam! How you feeling, Builder Clive? Got a THOR tummy? What whaaat! (Thor/sore jokes never get old, you guys. NEVER. SHUT UP!)
Now, sure, this is an awesome moment... but it's also surely a grotesque violation of every diplomatic convention on every world everywhere in the cosmos. This is basically Walder Frey with a boomerang. But everyone seems very happy about it, so let's not get all moralistic and ethical about it, right, Captain America?
Admittedly, poor dying Clive is not happy about it. He has a point of order to put on the agenda.
Have the Avengers considered at any point that the Builders' belief that Earth must be destroyed in order to save the rest of everything might be based on a legitimate concern? Sure, they didn't go about it the right way -- a hand-printed note on scented paper might have been better than a murderous rampage across the galaxies -- but there is a chance that the Avengers are heroically... destroying the entire fabric of reality. That would explain why the Avengers seem to be winning a lot these past couple of issues. Narratively speaking, heroes don't win this much at this point in the story unless winning is exactly the wrong thing to do.
Sadly for the Avengers, they don't know they're in a story. Next time, guys, bring Deadpool or She-Hulk with you. They'll tell you what's going on.
Next time on Comics Allance X Infinity: Aunt May emerges from a cocoon with the proportionate strength and speed of a Swiffer WetJet.