When Marvel announced that this year's big summer event comic was called Infinity, I considered faking my own death. I mean, it sounds a bit much, doesn't it? "Infinity?" As in, "having no end?" Didn't we already do that with Secret Invasion? Still, an event with no ending is good news for whichever minority character was meant to die in the last chapter.

But it turns out Infinity is actually a pretty tight sprawl, as sprawls go. The main series is six issues. The story spills over into six issues of Avengers and four issues of New Avengers. And everything else will tie-in somehow, because, hey kid, nice wallet you got there, be a shame if something happened to it.

So I didn't fake my own death! I'm here, present and correct, to provide ComicsAlliance's exclusive and totally spoiler-riddled guide to Infinity: ComicsAlliance x Infinity! It'll be over before you know it.



The name "Infinity" ties back to Infinity Gauntlet, an earlier Marvel event that is now more than twenty years old. That story, by Jim Starlin, George Pérez and Ron Lim, saw the mad titan Thanos wipe out half of all life in the universe with the help of the Infinity Gems, six macguffins that granted him complete mastery over everything. Well, almost everything. The Infinity Gems have one weakness. Hubris.

Now Thanos is back, and this time... he's only after one Infinity Gem, because the others have been destroyed. And he's not wiping out half of all creation with a snap of his fingers. So, it's a smaller story than that one, you know? Probably just a back-to-basics piece about Thanos reconnecting with his sense of self, you know? He'll just sit up all night at a cafe talking to a French girl.

And in that modest vein, Infinity #1, by Jonathan Hickman and Jim Cheung, opens with the lluminati destroying a parallel Earth with a boombox, for reasons neither explained here nor touched on again. This is a recap of stuff that happened in New Avengers. Just as All-New X-Men is the X-Men book about establishment X-Men, so New Avengers is the Avengers book about establishment Avengers, because Marvel is working from the DC "New 52" definition of "new."

Next, we meet an Outrider, "a genetically engineered parasite assassin" who is either an HR Giger alien in a latex fetish suit or a mole rat cosplaying as Snake Eyes. While he scoots off to Earth to find out where the last Infinity Gem is hidden, his boss, Scorpius Palpatine, (actual name sillier than that) goes to an alien world to harvest bug heads for... I don't know, Thanos's sweet sixteen party, probably.




In the middle of this sequence there's a scene where Iron Man lies in the snow and drives an Audi. I'm not sure how this ties in, but I've seen it in other books, and Jonathan Hickman is clever like this. He reuses the same scenes across multiple comics in ways that don't immediately pay off, but turn out to be important later on. Sure, it looks like it's an awkwardly placed ad for an Audi, but rest assured, Iron Man's Audi is going to be very important later on in the story. It'll be used to run down Silhouette from the New Warriors in the final chapter.




Meanwhile, on Galador...

Galador is the home of the Spaceknights, a group of characters created as supporting cast for Rom. Rom was a Parker Brothers toy that got worked into the Marvel Universe in the late 1970s. Marvel still holds copyright on the Spaceknights, but long ago lost the license to Rom. Hopefully Marvel has learned its lesson when it comes to weaving characters it doesn't own into the continuity of its universe.

Say, is Angela in this book?

Anyway, the Spaceknights are a supporting cast without a lead character, and they don't get much love, so this comic wipes them out. This is a sure fire way of making a lot of people suddenly think they can't live with a Marvel Universe that doesn't have any Spaceknights.

Man, I miss the Spaceknights. I bet this was Dan Slott's fault.

The Spaceknights are destroyed by the Builders, the inspiringly named other big villains of this event/series/folderol. The Builders were the first beings in the cosmos and the overseers of life, which makes them natural enemies of Thanos, who worships death. Probably a coincidence.  Among the Builders' creations: these fabulous sashaying robots.




The Builders are cutting a swath of destruction through the universe on their way to Earth, because humans have... I'm not sure. We'll probably find out. Unless I missed  it. I get distracted.

Did you know that they're bringing back Nightcrawler? It's hard for me to concentrate on anything in a Marvel comic that isn't them bringing back Nightcrawler until they've actually brought back Nightcrawler, you now? Because why would you even want to read other superheroes when you know that Nightcrawler is out there somewhere, being dead and doing nothing?

And I don't mean angsty crappy "boo-hoo I'm a priest" Nightcrawler, who represents everything tedious in superhero comics. I mean handsome dashing "ha ha I'm a superhero" Nightcrawler, who represents everything wonderful! The guy who calls Kitty "Kätzchen"! The guy that Wolverine calls "Elf!" The guy who makes all other characters seem more relaxed and fun just by standing next to them, possibly with a sword in his tail!

So, I'm not clear on why Marvel isn't just skipping its summer event to jump ahead to the point where Nightcrawler is already back. Sure, the Builders are cutting a swath of destruction through the cosmos, but in a very real sense we're just treading water until Nightcrawler comes back. And I'm quietly confident that the cosmos is going to pull through.

Except the Spaceknights.

Damn you, Dan Slott.

By the way, I looked it up. A swath is the strip of cut grass left behind by a mower. Did you know that? I didn't know that. Not to be confused with swathe, which is a strip of material used to wrap something. You could conceivably wrap a swath with a swathe. Isn't that fun? Anyway, it's not a swathe of destruction, it's a swath.



This swath has sent other alien races skittering to Earth for safety, which is not terribly bright when you consider that Earth is where the Builders are going, but it does drag the Avengers into the story when they find some Skrulls eating pizza. That is the smoking gun in this story. Skrulls eating pizza. Avengers Assemble!

Meanwhile, in the other plot, Thanos's gimp-ninja is doing his best Edward Cullen to Black Bolt's Bella Swan. And it turns out that ol' Black Bolt is the world's most generically handsome guy under his silly tuning-fork-and-foil-suspenders costume. It also turns out the King of the Inhumans sleeps in square cut black boxer briefs, which is... well, I don't know what I expected the King of the Inhumans to sleep in, but... maybe gelatinous eggs? Maybe crystals? Maybe a swathe?

We all know that Black Bolt's real name is Blackagar Boltagon, right? They don't mention it much, but we do all know that, yes? Like how Spider-Man's real name is Spidergar Managon.

Sorry, that's not actually right. Spidergar Hyphenmanagon.

Irongar Fistagon. Thoragar Odinsonagon. Shegar Hulkagon. Emmagar Frostagon. Romagar: Spaceknightagon.

I could do this all day.

What were we doing? Oh, comic.




The latex-and-gristle monster learns that the Illuminati were the last holders of the Infinity Gems and skedaddles back to Thanos, giving Thanos a reason to come to Earth, but Thanos's other minions are all, "Ooh, not Earth, that's where crossovers happen. Very few of us are Caucasian. It's not safe!"

But it is safe, for over in plot B... plot A... plot left, the Avengers are flying off to face the Builders, leaving Earth completely undefended!

Apart from all the other people who defend the Earth.




But the X-Men are bickering, apparently, so they can't possibly rally together to save the world. Sure, Thanos is bad, but it's not like he drank the last of the coffee in the staff room and didn't bother to make a new pot, Ororo. OK, so he once wiped out half of all creation, but he doesn't squeeze the toothpaste from the middle, Logan. Yes, he's literally in love with death, but at least he remembers to update his relationship status on Facebook, Scott.

So, Earth is doomed.




Next time, ComicsAlliance x Infinity: The Builders continue their war on properties Marvel doesn't own any more by wiping out the Micronauts, the Shogun Warriors, NFL Superpro and Crystar: Crystal Warrior, only for Marvel to later realize they do in fact still own Crystar: Crystal Warrior. Meanwhile, Black Bolt goes shopping for new socks. Nothing fancy. Just lots of matching pairs so he doesn't have to worry if one goes missing.

Guest-starring Uatugar the Watchergon.


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