Oof. Talk about a miscast set of characters for a story. I’m not sure if it was the ridiculous space armor Hawkeye was wearing, the fact that Shang Chi took on a huge alien, or Falcon had a bird-headed helmet, but I could not take this thing seriously from start to finish.
From the start, Jonathan Hickman’s Avengers hasn’t interested me. It is cold, clinical, and reads more like a project plan I’d have at work than a comic book. The Builders’ goals were never clear to me, other than they were bad for badness’ sake. I don’t understand the glut of Ex Nihili characters. Those weirdoes from Mars shouldn’t be on the Avengers, and frankly, I’m not sure that Cannonball, Sunspot, Smasher and the rest of the new blood belong there either. Other than a few important teleports for Manifold, none of the rookies have much to do.
This type of story worked in Annihilation because the leading characters weren’t so moored to their home. Many of these characters should not leave Earth-bound stories, not only do their cosmic adventures not seem appropriate for the character, but it makes their Earthbound stories seem small and insignificant.
The villains? Blah. The Builders are boring. Their expressionless faces make them into too-similar baddies that look like flunkies for a better villain. I couldn’t make myself care about them for the entire length of the series. And Thanos? My gosh, for a villain that seems so easy to “get,” he’s boring too. The main reason he’s attacking the Earth is to kill his son. He goes through a big Inhuman-destroying amount of trouble to get it done. Except that we’ve seen he has secret, invisible hunters, he’s got space supervillains. Heck, I’d think that Thanos could have just handled the problem himself. Let’s not even get into the silliness of Thane, Thanos’ son. The character design does nothing for me.
I will say that Hickman at least lets his leads be the stars of the book; Captain America, Hulk, and Captain Marvel do feel like the big players even in a cosmic space alliance involving the whole Marvel U. Thor in particular gets to deliver the big PLOT CHANGE moment of the series when he kills one of the Builders’ evil robots. Now, how he did it then when he couldn’t before? Not sure about that. How did Hawkeye start being able to hurt those aliens on crazy faraway planets during montage sequences? Because of the power of PLOT, of course! After literally MILLIONS of aliens dying in the early part of the series, suddenly the tide changed because there were only two issues left.
And the story where millions of aliens die? That’s just the beginning of the series. It wraps up early to make room for two issues with the Avengers trying to re-take Earth from Thanos’ clutches. But in the end, only the new character can get the job done. Annoying.
For a series that feels this clinical and is trying so hard to check off plot points, Jim Cheung does a decent job with the art. The main characters all look on-model, and he does do a nice job with Smasher, Gladiator, and some of the other cosmic characters. He can’t save Cap’s current costume, but few can.
I cannot stand the space suits on the more Earth bound heroes. As I said, most of them look absolutely ridiculous in their segmented space armor that should rupture during the first fight. Hulk in armor is not the Hulk. The bad guys all have pretty good designs, and Thanos has a nice heft to him, but the good guys do not fare as well.
This is another in a series of weak crossovers from Marvel. I’m trying to think of the last one I really enjoyed, but I’d have to go back pretty far to find one. For Infinity, I can say without a doubt that the crossovers in Mighty Avengers and Wolverine & the X-Men were the high point of the story.
This comic is EVIL and POOR.