This penultimate chapter of Infinity certainly brings the epic, sci-fi feel like few other comics, but I have one big problem with it. That, once again in a Hickman Avengers book, the actual Avengers take a back-seat.
Not just to the huge, cosmic machinations, but to the cosmic characters in fact. I like Guardian, Super-Skrull, Annihilus and Ronan The Accuser as much as the next fan, but I really didn’t like that it was they who took down Black Dwarf, and not any of the Avengers. Yes, Shang-Chi got a bad-ass moment, but he needed to be saved by these Space Kings. I get that the scale of this story is bigger than your normal Avengers tale, and that the involvement of these characters demonstrates that, but we’re back on Earth now, so would it hurt to have the Avengers do it? It’s not like Thor or Hyperion aren’t strong enough. I guess I’m nitpicking, but once again, I feel like Hickman doesn’t really care about the actual Avengers as much as he should. Other than that, this issue was great, I have issues with who killed Black Dwarf, but the fight was still awesomely written and drawn, and Hickman has set the stage really well for a grand finale next week.
The issue begins with Hickman showing us the conversation between Iron Man and Captain America that was mentioned in the last issue, with Tony about to go into action in Wakanda with the Illuminati, as well as Tony sneakily trying to keep Cap away from where he is and from finding out the truth of what’s been going on in New Avengers. When that bombshell drops and Cap discovers he’s been mindwiped… it’s gonna be epic. We then move back to space, as the Avengers and the rest of the Galactic Alliance prepare to puch past Thanos’ blockade and the Peak Station. Hickman tips his hat to the tie-in issues of Guardians Of The Galaxy with a cameo from Star-Lord and Rocket Raccoon, and we’re off.
The big battle is mostly different coloured lasers and random members of the Imperial Guard getting killed, and whilst it’s a shame we don’t get more detail, I don’t think this kind of fight can be told as well in comics as it can in TV or movies. The real good stuff comes when Manifold teleports himself, Black Widow and Shang-Chi behind enemy lines to disable the force-field and kick some ass. They run into trouble with Black Dwarf, and Manifold is sent to get back-up, which is where my issues with the Aliens coming to save the day come in. As I said though, we did get a fantastic moment where Shang-Chi, who, even though he’s the master of kung-fu, is still only human, faces off against Black Dwarf one on one, which was brilliant. I’ve never been a huge fan of Shang-Chi before, probably because due to rights issues Marvel can’t reprint his classic series, but Hickman has made him into a total bad-ass. It’s little moments like this that make me wish Hickman would be more character-focused more often.
The Space-Cavalry save the day, and Ronan smashes Black Dwarf’s head in with his hammer (he used a hammer! It really should have been Thor) leaving the Avengers free to head on home to Earth and stop Thanos. Oh man, I cannot wait for Infinity #6 next week, if this event ends well, it has to go down as one of the best crossovers ever.
Leinil Yu’s artwork looked a little different this issue, perhaps because it was not being inked by Gerry Alanguilan and instead coloured straight from pencils, but it still looked very good, he nails the impact and scale of these action scenes brilliantly. I don’t think I’d enjoy different coloured lasers as much with a lesser artist.