Anghus Houvouras reviews Marvel’s Infinity #3…
“Prison break. Stealing a worldkiller. The fall of Attilan.”
It’s the thing Jonathan Hickman’s comics have been sorely lacking and the main problem plaguing Marvel’s latest event, Infinity.
I’ve struggled with Infinity, mainly because it lacks a strong central narrative. The entire series meanders, wandering from plot point to plot point. There’s a certain dream-like quality to Infinity that in a smaller, less epic type of story might almost be commendable. Three issues in, and what I’m reading feels a lot like Terrence Malick’s Infinity.
There are those that would consider that complimentary. Trust me when I say it was not intended that way. There’s a maddening incoherency to Infinity. Different artists tackling different story lines. Rapidly shifting tones. Major plot points omitted from the central narrative requiring additional reading. The truth is, Infinity has added up to very little three issues in. And given the story unfolding within it’s issues, that’s something of an accomplishment.
In the third issue we continue Thanos of Titan’s latest bid to enslave the Universe. After confronting Inhuman King Black Bolt, the ‘big bad’ of the Marvel Universe demands a sacrifice. A clever ruse to try and flush out what he’s really after: his son. It was a great cliffhanger last issue. Unfortunately, there’s ridiculously little progress made on the most interesting part of this vapid epic.
Most of the issue focuses on the intergalactic war between the ancient Builders and the rapidly diminsihing armies of the Kree, Skrull, and Shi’ar Empires. All hope seems lost, until Captain America hatches a plan to stop the incursion. For the first time the scrappy resistance seems to be on the verge of holding their own against the mysterious entities who threaten all of existence.
While there are a handful of fun moments in Infinity #3, it’s still a lot of smoke and mirrors with very little story progression. We still know an insanely small amount about the Builders. And this is coming from someone who has been reading Avengers and New Avengers. The major villains of this piece are basically a watered down organic version of the borg. World destroyers demanding surrender of all who appose them, executing their battle plan on a simple philosophy of breaking the will of inferior species.
Meanwhile, Thanos, the most fun character in this entire piece, is given so little to do that it almost feels like a waste of his time. He’s never felt so removed from the atrocities being committed at his behest. I realize Thanos has a tactical side, but I want the Thanos who revels in the chaos he creates. The Thanos of Infinity feels like a cookie cutter version of what a villain is supposed to be.
I mentioned a couple of memorable moments. The best for me was the summit between Captain America and the other alien species trying to fight off the Builder fleet. There was something fun about watching Annihilus, Ronan the Accuser, The Skrulls, The Brood, and so many other familiar faces from the Galactic corner of the Marvel Universe. I just wish the series had more moments with these characters, instead of jump cutting from one plot to another. It feels like there’s a good story somewhere in the clutter. Hickman just hasn’t found it yet.
So once again, I’m left feeling pretty ambivalent about Infinity. And once again, I have to declare it painfully average.
Anghus Houvouras is a North Carolina based writer and filmmaker. His latest work, the novel My Career Suicide Note, is available from Amazon.