Writer: Jonathan Hickman
Art: Jim Cheung
Events can be draining, and it seems this has even occurred to Jonathan Hickman, as on pg. 48 Tony Stark makes a comment along the lines of, "I'm getting tired of End of the World scenarios." Stark's not the only one who feels that way, as in every comic store I'm in a constant topic of discussion is event fatigue and the endless cycle of Event - Aftermath - setup for next event - rinse, lather, repeat. Of course these titles sell by the truckloads, so it's not hard to see why Marvel and DC continue to base their yearly plans around them (several of them in fact), but they are becoming difficult to tell apart, and it takes a talented team to make one event stand out from all the others.
Enter Infinity #1 from the team of Hickman and Jim Cheung. For the Abnett - Lanning faithful, you can still see some of those building blocks they laid during their Marvel Cosmic run, (it's small, but at least it's something) and for those who have been following Avengers, Hickman has made that book a seamless transition to the events of Infinity #1. Hickman builds multiple layers into his stories, at least from my experience with his writing, so it wasn't until my second read-through of Infinity that I really appreciated some of the little intricacies.
Let's start with the crew finally giving Thanos a threatening aura again. When he was brought back in the Thanos Imperative, the team had to break him down a bit in the process, and while he's appeared in the universe since then it wasn't until Infinity that he finally seems like the Thanos everyone loves to hate. Its nice to see Hickman flesh out some of the behind the scenes-type work that keeps Thanos and his armies in power, and ultimately his empire works a lot like the mob, just substitute planets for cities and take a bottle of purple spray paint to Al Capone and you get the idea. Part of why that is so well conveyed in this book can be attributed to the wonderful art of Jim Cheung, who draws an unbelievably intimidating Thanos. While we're on the subject, he also draws an awesome everything else. I've enjoyed his work immensely, especially his Young Avengers stints, and its nice to see him getting more mainstream shine on a book of this scale.
Hickman has brought in some pretty complicated concepts to Infinity, including The Builders, Ex Nihilo and Abyss, The Inhumans, Captain Universe, several other worlds, Evil Grimace and his cronies, etc, etc, and somehow makes them comprehensible. Also, props for finally making Black Bolt not seem like a gigantic punk (check pg 42 for that wonderful moment).
So far the events of this year haven't managed to keep my interest. Age of Ultron, while promising early on, lost me midway, and events like Wrath of the First Lantern and Trinity War never could hook me in the first place, but if Infinity keeps up to the bar set by its initial issue, I might finally be adding another trade to my bookshelf when all is said and done.