A common thing in comics is the crossover event. It gives a chance to pull lots of characters together, sell lots of comics, get lots of people involved in creative processes, introduce people to different characters… it’s a mixed bag.
Sometimes, like with the X-Termination crossover I read earlier this year, the existence of the event seems to preclude it being epic – it’s epic because it’s the crossover. There were some epic bits, but also it was a problem larger than something they could even fight; it was more cerebral. But it was also the culmination of multiple storylines.
You get other crossover events, like last year’s Avengers vs. X-Men, or this year’s Age of Ultron, where they try to make drastic changes to the world, or where the changes are so drastic that the universe resets, and not much actually changes.
But this week, the Avengers Marvel crossover event Infinity starts. So the cynical side of me might say, it’s a way of getting us interested in Thanos before he shows up more in the movies. The side of me that has recently discovered Jonathan Hickman – author of Avengers and New Avengers – is also super excited for this event.
Infinity is not the crazy end of plots. Only, if anything, the middle, I think. Plots that I have enjoyed immensely. Plots that I can only guess at what’s happening – and guess away I shall! My thoughts on Infinity ahead – spoilers for Avengers and New Avengers, and maybe for Infinity?
The Prelude to Infinity
They put some information out there to prep us for Infinity, because it’s still kind of mysterious. For instance, for Free Comic Book Day this year, the comic was about Infinity. I guess. There was some Thanos, and multiple pages that just have an Infinity logo.
So really, I don’t think that got us much of anywhere. What else did they give us?
Using the Marvel AR app, they included some Easter Eggs in some of the most recent issues of Avengers and New Avengers. I looked online and could not actually find answers as to where these were hiding. I’ll tell you! Because someone should list it out there. Unless, like me, you want to hunt for them on your own. I’ll give you a sec.
They hid the Easter Eggs (at least the ones I found?) on the last page (with the Avengers logo in the bottom corner) of a few comics. They showcase, then, a few items from Infinity. Like, that the Avengers are headed out into space and leaving Earth undefended. That then, the Earth comes under attack from Thanos and his followers, and the major heroes are all gone.
The big revelation, as far as I was concerned, was that the group left to fight Thanos… is the Inhumans. Not a group I know a lot about, but someone’s got to be left to fight, right? The crossover is going to hit some other series, and I would point out the X-Men are still around… also, they’re going to start a new Avengers series, Mighty Avengers, which will be a few other heroes who are still around fighting for Earth.
So the other inspiration for Infinity is the two comics feeding into it: Avengers, and New Avengers. They did a few issues listed as the “Prelude to Infinity,” but really, realistically, the entire run of each of these comics, by Jonathan Hickman, is the prelude.
And these two plots are, I think, talking about two sides of the same problem. The universe is coming apart at the seams – the system is broken – and the focal point seems to be the Earth. But the two plots have hardly touched each other, and the only crossover character is Iron Man.
However, there have been a few fantastic crossovers. For instance, in Avengers, Hyperion, a Superman-like addition to the team, was pulled from the space between two universes which died. Two universes, wherein, two earths, glowing red, collided.
From the other side, in the New Avengers, it’s been more subtle. I think all the problems happening in the Avengers are based in the problem they are seeing. The problems that cause them to create an Avengers World.
This is the first world the Illuminati destroy, to stop an incursion. But they save the world. But it was another Avengers World they destroyed – it was a possible future for them. The death of the world. The first of many.
The point I think we are coming to is the merging of these two plots, in some manner. So let’s look at each comic and where their plot feeds into the war on two fronts which will be Infinity.
Infinity – Avengers
In Avengers, Jonathan Hickman is writing with recurring mantras, building almost a mythology behind it, something larger than life. A story of creation. A story of destruction.
A time of life, a time of death. War, a fall, life, everything, nothing, all of these ideas are bouncing around in Avengers. And people who can make all of these things happen. I think this also feeds in the idea of the life that the Avengers are fighting for, and the death the Illuminati are bringing and contemplating.
The Builders are coming. Whoever they really turn out to be. They are perhaps coming to destroy the Earth – to stop the incursions. Maybe to do something about the Origin Bombs, that are slowly – and unsuccessfully – terraforming the Earth. And the Avengers are leaving Earth – to go fight them. Before they get to Earth.
We’ve been introduced to this a bit. The locales, the coming battle. They’ve also referred to a War, and to the fall of the Guard. So this is all going to happen in Infinity. But it’s mentioned generally as a middle item in the plot – so this is not the end of the plot in Avengers, but just an epic middle to the plot.
Rather than repost the pictures that show what I was just referencing, check them out at the end of my post about Avengers!
Infinity – New Avengers
Here’s where I think some crazy stuff is going to happen. Because for one, the Illuminati have not left Earth, with the rest of the Avengers. They can’t – they have to be on Earth if an incursion happens. Meaning that while they’ve mentioned the Inhumans fighting Thanos and his folks, there’s also the Illuminati on Earth, it’s first and last and greatest defenders.
We know Thanos knows something about the Illuminati – we know he knows they used the Infinity Gauntlet.
However, Thanos is going to be incredibly disappointed:
This is where I feel like someone else is going to find out about incursions. Will it be Thanos – will he have to join the Illuminati, or be held captive by them? Will Thanos have to save the Earth because he’s captured the Illuminati? What’s going to happen on Earth? I find this fascinating, and by no means because it’s Thanos. That’s just a bonus, not the purpose to what’s happening.
And really, this is still mostly going to be a distraction from incursions, not the end of them. So this is not going to be the end of the plot for New Avengers, just maybe another epic middle.
Not long to wait: Infinity Starts This Week
If you’ve made it this far and have read the comics, what do you think is going to happen in Infinity? Is it really worthy of being called an event, or a crossover? Or is it really just the continuation of the existing plots? What do you think?
If you’ve made it this far and haven’t read the comics, well done? I’m sorry for really just completely geeking out, but I have to say, Jonathan Hickman’s writings in these stories is some of the best storytelling I have encountered in a while. It’s made me exploring comics worth it. And I really think, if you kind of like comics, and are looking for something to read, I really do recommend reading the Avengers and New Avengers.
It’s the spark that started the fire… A legend that grew in the telling.
Now, there are a couple of questions I could close with. I found a lot of pictures I wanted to use in this post, and have tried to pare this down. Maybe to avoid spoilers, maybe to make sure I don’t make reading the comic pointless? But here’s a couple of thoughts. First:
Okay, not going to lie, I had to look up who that was. Turns out, if I had read a couple pages further in the Infinity Gauntlet than I had gotten to, I would also have found out. This is the Living Tribunal, cosmic judge of the universe. Just kind of dead. I wonder if this is something discovered in Guardians of the Galaxy? What happened? I imagine we’ll find out!
It’s frightening when the thought “if Earth is destroyed, things might be better” makes sense. When the outcome of Infinity being the destruction of Earth is not the worst thing that could happen… we could be in for a lot of fun.
Also, I am super intrigued by the thought of the list of ways to fight incursions. I want to know more. Will we find out more during Infinity? Or will there be no time, and I have to wait until later? Maybe later.
Alright, this is way too long. Comment below if you’re excited for Infinity!