Jonathan Hickman drops 2 Infinity issues on us this week, and for the first time, I think I’m more interested in the Avengers, outer-space half of the story than the New Avengers elements. This issue picked up from the awesomeness that was Infinity #4 and showed the Galactic Alliance fighting back against the builders, and somehow managed to make this even more of an epic space opera than it was before. And it was pretty bloody epic already.
The issue opens with the Ex Nihilos all gathered around Captain Universe, but I’ll get to that later, the best stuff in this issue was the resumption of hostilities. We discover that even after Thor killed The Builder and got Ronan The Accuser onside, the Supreme Intelligence did not want to get back in the fight. So Ronan smashes him and the leads the Accusers and the Kree Army on his own, without the Intelligence’s permission, which is pretty bad-ass. Hickman then quickly shows us the scale of the war, with the Kymellians, the Space-Knights (who aren’t all dead, yay) and the Skrulls all coming back and taking it to The Builders. We also see that the Avengers are fighting alongside the Shi’Ar Imperial Guard, and that they still aren’t winning. So Gladiator and Captain America go for their last resort option… unleashing The Annihilation Wave.
I loved this scene, Annihilation is one of the best Marvel stories of the last decade, and Hickman did a fantastic job of reflecting that, and making this seem like a huge deal. I hope anyone reading Infinity who hasn’t read Annihilation goes out and does so now, you won’t be disappointed. It’s brilliant to see how far the cosmic side of the Marvel Universe has come, back then, it was a separate event, read by a few, now, those same characters and concepts are central parts of an Avengers story, it’s so cool, and the best kind of continuity.
Surprisingly, even the Annihilation Wave is not able to stop The Builders, as they are easily able to manipulate the Bugs and have them turn on eachother, and Annihilus. So what now? Just as everything seemed to be going so well for the Avengers, it’s all gone to shit again? Nope, because Ex Nihilo is able to wake Captain Universe up from her coma, and she confronts her creations. There’s some Hickmanian techno-babble about the Universal Super-Structure and all that jazz, but the end result is, she blasts most of ‘em to death, and the only survivor flees to an alternate universe. So, have our heroes won? Has the tide of this war swung 3 times in the space of one issue? Well, not really, as the last act of The Builders is to command all of the Alephs to ‘Destroy everything’, which certainly is exciting set up for the last part of this event.
I say this every week, but I am just loving this event, and how big it all feels, and this issue felt like the biggest one yet. Hickman finally has a story big enough for all of his ideas, and Leinil Yu is the perfect artist for this stuff, giving everything the right, epic feel. I want more! Oh look, an issue of New Avengers…