TheGeek reviews S.H.I.E.L.D. Infinity!
Credits & Solicit Info:
Writer: Jonathan Hickman
Penciller: Dustin Weaver
Penciller (cover): Gerald Parel Orig.
Published: April 13, 2011
The Story: Decode the miraculous designs of Leonardo Da Vinci. Devour the truths and reel with the lies of Isaac Newton. Puzzle at the perilous predictions of Nostradamus. Discover the Forever Machines of Nikola Tesla. Stemming from the pages of the most critically-acclaimed series of 2010, Jonathan Hickman (FANTASTIC FOUR, ULTIMATE THOR) and company bring you the apocrypha of the Marvel Universe. The foundations will shake, crumble and fal
S.H.I.E.L.D. Infinity exists in the limbo between the first volume of Jonathan Hickman's ambitious project S.H.I.E.L.D. and its second volume, planting the seeds that will germinate into something that would probably be more interesting if Hickman wasn't so terribly cryptic about it.
But that's the thing, being cryptic is S.H.I.E.L.D. Infinity's entire deal. The book is divided into four parts, highlighting major players like Newton and Michelangelo. It's pretty much just short stories strung together with no discernable connection, serving only to lay the foundations for the second volume. They all stand out in their unique way, for good or ill. The first book, "Colossus", gives us a fight between a gigantic Kree Sentry and Archimedes riding the Colossus of Rhodes like a mobile suit. No matter who you ask, that's freakin' awesome. Now if only the rest of the book lived up to that image.
Things get out of hand in the Night Machine-centered story titled "Life, the End of the World, and the Key", where Night Machine is so mysterious and vague that it's hilarious. Almost everything he says is an enigma wrapped in a mystery smothered with a conundrum and hidden inside a secret chamber within a secret chamber. We get it: it's mysterious. You don't need to give it that much of a hard sell.
While I may not cut the story much slack, I'd give this book merits for the art alone. Every story in this book was drawn by a different artist, and they all work well enough in their chosen stories. I especially loved Gabriel Hernandez Walta's art in the murder mystery "The Apple", which reminds me of old Heavy Metal stories. It is a shining example in a book this important.
At $4.99, you're paying for what amounts to fluff. Am I being harsh? Maybe. I used to have more patience than this, but the past few years of Marvel's ambitious plans turning up jack squat isn't inspiring much confidence. No one can deny that Hickman has ambition, but the mystery he's building here is beginning to feel hollow. I've had enough mysteries in the past few issues of S.H.I.E.L.D. I'd appreciate a little more payoff that actually brings the plot in a direction. Any direction, as long as it moves.
Review by: TheGeek