Soaring past 'Infinity'

THESE last few weeks have been pretty eventful for Marvel. The House of Ideas recently released two books that could have major ramifications for the Marvel Universe – Infinity #6, which wraps up Jonathan Hickman’s Infinity mega-crossover event and Uncanny Avengers #14, which ended with a series of shocking deaths.

Obviously, there are spoilers here, so if the Internet hasn’t spoilt the ending of these two books for you yet, consider yourself warned.

Infinity #6
Writer: Jonathan Hickman
Artist: Jim Cheung

NOW that is how you do an epic crossover event.

Of all the major events this year, Infinity has been the most impressive by far. Not only did Hickman serve up not one but TWO major threats (Thanos and the world-killing Builders), he also made this feel like a genuine event, and not just an excuse to have page after page of superhero-on-superhero action (I’m looking at you, AVX).

It has been a long, complicated story with the perfect amount of twists, subplots, great action, and with Infinity #6, he manages to tie everything up nicely with an ending that heralds the dawn of several new ages in the Marvel Universe.

The big guns opening up on Infinity’s other Big Bad.

But before we get to the consequences of Infinity, here’s a quick recap of what’s happened so far. Having defeated the army of the Builders and re-established contact with Earth, the spacefaring, battle-weary Avengers find out that in their absence, Thanos has invaded Earth in search of his son Thane.

While doing so, he forced Black Bolt to destroy the Inhuman city of Attilan with the Terrigen Bomb, which transformed thousands of people across the globe into superpowered Inhumans, Thane included.

With help from the Kree, Skrull, Shi’ar and Brood armies, the Avengers eventually break through Thanos’ blockade of Earth, and Captain America leads Avengers heavyweights Hulk, Thor, Captain Marvel and Hyperion in a final showdown with Thanos.

At the same time (in a story that spins off from New Avengers), the Illuminati (Mr Fantastic, Iron Man, Namor, Beast, Black Panther and Dr Strange) are embroiled in a battle of their own deep in the Wakanda underground, trying to prevent Thanos general Supergiant from detonating a world-killing bomb with the help of the captured Black Bolt.

Captain America brings the Avengers’ heavy-hitters back to Earth for a showdown with the mad Titan, Thanos.

This final issue is a 44-page whopper that truly deserves every single page devoted to it. After the slow burn of the first few issues, Hickman finishes his event with a massive bang, with a finale that features some cracking action sequences (every single heavy-hitter gets his or her time to shine), and a conclusion that sets up an intriguing future for the Marvel universe.

So what can we look forward to after this? The upcoming Inhumanity event for one, which deals with the increased number of Inhumans on Earth after the Terrigen Bomb blast. Matt Fraction (Fantastic Four, Hawkeye) will also be writing Inhuman, an all-new series that focuses on Black Bolt and the Inhumans.

Over in New Avengers, the Illuminati will be facing an even bigger threat than Thanos and the Builders; while the rise of Thane as well as the revival of the Kree and Skrull empires should make things very interesting.

The Post-Infinity future of the Marvel Universe is certainly filled with infinite possibilities.

Uncanny Avengers #14
Writer: Rick Remender
Artist: Steve McNiven

The Apocalypse Twins Uriel and Eimin, heirs to the throne of supervillain Apocalypse and protégés of Kang the Conqueror, arrived in the present day and fractured the Havok-led Avengers Unity squad, which comprises of X-Men and Avengers.

Their end game – to convince the Scarlet Witch to cast a spell that will end the war between man and mutant by transporting all mutants to a new world. However, Wanda has a different idea – with Wonder Man’s help, she plans to cast a spell that will summon the entire mutant race to help defeat the Twins. Unfortunately, her teammates have a different plan – take the Scarlet Witch out once and for all!

Thanos, meet Thunder ... and they didn’t even wait for the third Avengers movie!

Just like Infinity #6, this issue of Uncanny Avengers has some potential major ramifications for the Marvel Universe. Never mind the fact that three, yes, THREE major characters die here. Sure, the loss of Rogue, Scarlet Witch and Wonder Man will be keenly felt, but come on, you know death in comics doesn’t last – and besides, with new X-Men and Avengers movies coming up, they’ll probably be resurrected sooner rather than later anyway.

No, the real issue here is how powerful Scarlet Witch’s final spell (“All mutants of Earth ... RISE”) was, and how much will it change? The last time she cast a spell as powerful as that, the “No more mutants” spell, she almost wiped out the mutant population.

So what will happen when she compels all mutants to rise? Will it turn out as expected? Will we see the X-Men’s power levels rise? Will we see dead mutants rise from the ashes? Or will it just mean we won’t be seeing the X-Men sitting down ever again?

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