On first read, I really didn’t care for this comic. This has been many, many years coming. In some ways, Rick Remender planted the seeds for this story back in his Uncanny X-Force run years ago. After finishing the book for the first time, I was very disappointed that there was too much happening in one issue.
First, the introduction of Immortus’ Infinity Watch is so rushed that we barely get time to do more than see them. The characters are not well defined, and their impact on the overall story is quite limited due to their page count. I think I can recognize that they just add to the “feel” of the book through their appearance; this must be important if a whole other team shows up to help, right?
My second disappointment was the ease with which Sunfire and Havok took out the Apocalypse Twins. After reigning over the book as the top villains for over a year, they are dispatched in half a page because the story was coming to a close. It wasn’t very dramatic and even if Sunfire’s powers were amped up, it shouldn’t have been so easy to take out two supposed A-level villains.
I also feel that while Remender made every effort to get the reader to buy into the classic love affair between Havok and Wasp, I just never felt it. Their time together was in an alternate future that has since been erased. A future that some team members remember while others forget. It is too confusing to buy in to the emotions too strongly. I will say that Havok’s dialogue about his lost daughter Katie does ring true and does make the final battle with Kang seem a bit more personal. I’m still not sure how Havok punching Kang took out the A-level villain, but it did look cool and Kang had some fantastic smack talk.
I think Remender does a better job with the fallout of the long campaign than the execution. Multiple characters are left in an interesting place going forward.
The Sentry is resurrected and now thinks of himself as the guardian of humanity. You know he will pop up again, but will it be to help or cause trouble?
Rogue still has her energy absorption powers, I think, but more importantly, she seems to have bonded with Wonder Man. Only she can hear his voice, not a good thing for someone with her history with Ms. Marvel. I wonder if this is a way to re-set Rogue back to her best power set of strength, flight, and invulnerability.
Havok is sporting a melted face; at the least he’s going to need a new mask!
Sunfire died and returned in the same issue! Only now he’s a faceless mass of cosmic fire in human form, a true atomic knight. I hope that he gets back in his costume; I still say it is one of the best in all of comics.
The other Horsemen of Death, Daken and Grim Reaper, are returned to life too. Did Banshee make it? I can only hope. Remender put just about all the toys back where he found them at the close of this arc.
I haven’t mentioned the art yet, because while I may have had reservations about some of the story choices, the art is simply gorgeous. Daniel Acuna is one of my top favorites, and he lives up to that ranking in this issue. The battles are tremendous. The costumes and redesigns are top notch; classic and modern at the same time. Acuna actually makes the new Cap suit look good! And the emotion! The series of panels as Havok steels himself to take on Kang is a classic of comic-book acting. In this issue, Acuna proves he is a top talent.
So overall, this wasn’t quite worth the multiple year build up, but it still ranks as a GOOD comic.