Jonathan Hickman gets his first solo stab at a big crossover event, and on the basis of this first issue, he’s going to do very well. One of my biggest complaints about Hickman is that he’s constantly setting up for a some big, epic cosmic endgame and it takes forever to come, and that’s certainly true for his Avengers comics so far, but now, that endgame looks to have arrived. There’s a lot going on in this comic, and it’s a lot to take in, but really, what Hickman has done here is taken everything that he’s been building up to in the last 18 issues of Avengers and 8 of New Avengers, mixed it together, kicked things off, and then thrown in a massive curve-ball in the shape of Thanos.
After a reprint of Marvel’s FCBD preview story, which I still don’t really like, the story kicks off in earnest as we see ‘The Builders’ attack and destroy Galador. The Builders were introduced in Hickman’s Avengers run, and it’s great to see them finally do something, and for there to be an explanation for the female Ex Nihilo from the cover of last week’s Avengers, she’s the ‘Gardener’ for the villainous group of Builders. It’s pretty crazy that Hickman not only opens this big blockbuster with a rather obscure bunch of characters in the Space Knights, but also that he kills them all and their planet. I guess Marvel figure that if they can’t use ROM, they may as well not bother. It does do a good job of setting up the threat of The Builders, they can destroy entire planets, and not just meaningless ones, planets with Marvel Universe history and importance.
Back on Earth, we see Captain America and Hawkeye deal with some Skrull refugees, and this, along with a distress signal from the Krees and the surprise reappearance of Captain Universe (who was on Galador) that tips the Avengers off about The Builders, so they decide to head off into space to stop them before they reach Earth. Which is… a mistake.
We all know that the Inhumans are set to become much bigger deals thanks to this event, and Black Bolt plays a large role here, as Thanos’ spy-thing goes into his mind and finds out the secret behind the Illuminati and how, in their attempts to stop the ‘Incursions’, they lost the Infinity Gems. Of course, this piques Thanos’ attention, and he readies to attack an Earth that the Avengers have left behind. This is a great set-up for an event, and I think it’s going to be exciting. Hickman has set up so many threads in both his book, so it’s very interesting to see how they all culminate. Plus, after complaining about his Avengers being way too reactive, it’s cool to see them take some initiative and go off into space, even if it does open the door for Thanos.
I’m very excited by Thanos’ role here, Jason Aaron has given me a new appreciation for him, and given the amount of foreshadowing Hickman uses generally, it’s awesome that the big villain here has basically come out of nowhere. I’m also excited by what’s going on with Black Bolt, and as I’ve said before, I love any comic where he speaks, and he does that here, and it is ace.
Jim Cheung provides the art, and he does his usual excellent job, his smooth, clean style is perfect for superhero comics, and he provides a really great level of detail. Justin Ponsor’s colours are also amazing, the Space Knights have never looked better, until they died. This issue had me pumped for the rest of the event, and has me retroactively looking upon Hickman’s Avengers much more favourably. Bring it on!
Last edited by Punchy
on Thu Aug 15, 2013 4:54 pm, edited 1 time in total.