Anghus Houvouras reviews Marvel’s Infinity #2…
“The Inhumans pay the tribute. Victory in deep space. The secrets of Thanos.”
I took a lot of heat for the evisceration of the first issue of Infinity, the new Marvel crossover event. For no other reason than spite, I will stick to my convictions. The entire issue was a well drawn but derivative mess that felt like every major event comic crammed into one. A buffet of story pieces picked from classic series like Crisis on Infinite Earths and The Infinity Gauntlet. Like a buffet it felt overstuffed and unsatisfying.
And yet, I picked up the second issue to see if something tasty could be assembled from this mess. The second issue is a slight improvement over the first, but there are some inherent flaws with Infinity that are hampering my enjoyment of it. Allow me to elaborate.
Infinity is held back by its largess. Like a proverbial albatross around its neck. While I appreciate a brisk pace in a day and age where comics seem intentionally stretched out to meet trade paperback page count quotas, Infinity suffers a kind of manic back and forth between narratives. The blame I suppose rests solely on its architect, Jonathan Hickman. I’ve been a fan of his Avengers run, but will readily admit his take on Earth’s Mightiest Heroes requires patience.
Infinity rewards that patience with a story that zips from place to place giving you no time to take in the events. After 18 issues of build up in Avengers, and across titles like New Avengers, there’s now six issues of central story that feel woefully sparse. I’ve been told the tie-in issues help greatly, but I can tell you the main series feels painfully random.
I’m liking the Inhumans elements, but everything else feels unfocused. I keep hoping Hickman is going to turn the ring and everything will become clear, but it hasn’t happened yet. There’s a nice cliffhanger moment. But how much forgiveness does a good cliffhanger allow? These are comic books. A good cliffhanger should be a foregone conclusion.
The art is a saving grace for Infinity. It moves back and forth between different artists which impacts cohesion but helps sell the epic span of the story. Jerome Opena and Dustin Weaver deliver some striking visual cues. Too bad it’s wasted on a very scatter shot story. Infinity #2 isn’t bad, but its orbiting average and rapidly losing velocity.
Anghus Houvouras is a North Carolina based writer and filmmaker. His latest work, the novel My Career Suicide Note, is available from Amazon.