There may be comic readers out there that snicker at the idea of Free Comic Book Day itself, let alone a review of one of its free issues. But the quality of this year’s offerings is undeniable and completely worthy of analysis. So join Geek Insider as we review Marvel’s free comic book and their introduction to their intergalactic space odyssey Infinity.
Hickman Brings Strong Sci-Fi Themes to the Marvel Universe
Anyone that has been reading Marvel’s mainstream comic series under their “Marvel NOW!” banner will have noticed an increasing emphasis on characters and conflict that originate from outer space. Marvel’s Avengers series in specific has revolved around the alien being Ex Nihilo’s attempts at terraforming Earth into what he believes to be a perfect world by eradicating all sentient life and starting anew.
Writer Jonathan Hickman has been at the forefront of Marvel‘s ascent to the stars with his work on Avengers in which he has introduced many heavy science fictions themes. Mars has been completely terraformed by Ex Nihlo, genesis bombs have created a new race of humanoids on Earth with their own made-up language, the entire universe is being kept in check by cosmic “systems” built by an ancient race of alien engineers, and much more. It may seem bizarre to thrust colourful, larger-than-life super heroes into a world reminiscent of a Arthur C. Clarke or Iain M. Banks novel, but it works. It works really well.
For more backstory on the Avengers series then check out Geek Insider’s review of Avengers #10. Also, additional information on the events leading up to “Marvel NOW!” can be found in “On the Uncanny Avengers ‘M’ Word Debate”.
The Marvel Universe Sets Its Sights On The Stars
Infinity is due to be the next major Marvel comics event that will involve all of the characters in all of the current “Marvel NOW!” series. From what Marvel has hinted at prior to Free Comic Book Day 2013, Infinity will see the entire Marvel Universe head out into the cosmos to wage war against the intergalactic forces that threaten to destroy humanity. It’s no surprise then to see that Jonathan Hickman will be penning this epic chapter in Marvel history.
Infinity, released for Free Comic Book Day 2013, contains a short, teasing prelude to the Infinity story arc that aims to excite comic readers and to gain the readership of Marvel movie fans. How exactly does an intergalactic space adventure tie in with Marvel’s recent movies? The answer lies on the issue’s front cover. But never fear, all will be explained.
Infinity and The Gauntlet of Tribute
Infinity opens with a shot of deep space. Stars litter an unfamiliar sky and unrecognisable planets hang in the darkness. We’re then introduced to a a series of ominous new characters atop an alien mountain. A genetically engineered, parasitic “Outrider” assassin brings news to his master of a successful mission on the planet Ahl-Agullo. An agent of the Outrider’s master Corvus Glave travels to the decimated lands of Ahl-Agullo whose inhabitants have been culled in the name of their unseen conqueror.
The Ahl-Agullo native’s population has been reduced from sixty million to a few thousands. Fire has reigned from the skies and destroyed their towns, cities and civilisation. Their spirits have been crushed, but still they hold on. Corvus Glave deals the final blow when he informs the survivors of the death of Ahl-Agullo champion Augollux the Brave, and demands a tribute to his master. A tribute for The Gauntlet of Tribute.
A conqueror of worlds? Infinity? The Gauntlet of Tribute? Long time Marvel fans will quickly put the pieces together and realise what this all means. Even so, the reveal is made within the pages of Infinity itself: Thanos is back.
Thanos Conqueror of Worlds Is Back
Demi-god Thanos is one of the Marvel Universe’s most powerful and persistent enemies and is most noteworthy for his use of the Infinity Gauntlet to instantly kill half of all life in the universe. If you haven’t seen him in the pages of a comic book, then you might recognise him from the after-credits scene from The Avengers movie.
For a free, ten-page comic strip, Infinity is ridiculously entertaining and is more engaging that a good majority of comics on sale now. The dark, gritty depictions of barren aliens words and the grovelling creatures that live on them are wonderfully atmospheric. Penciler Jim Cheung has provided some astounding art which really shows on the face of the hideous Outlander and the equally vile Corvus Glave. These eerie worlds and characters are emphasised further by Mark Morales’ precise inks and Justin Ponsor’s exquisite colours.
The moment we’re shown the face of Thanos and the disturbing tribute he has demanded from the people of Ahl-Agullo is one of the most unsettling scenes I’ve read in a mainstream super hero comic for some time. It has dire implications for mankind and leads on well to the final few pages of the short story, which won’t be spoilt in this review.
Infinity: Coming this August!
Infinity is a fantastic taste of things to come once the Infinity story arc arrives this August. If you were able to get your hands on this comic as part of Free Comic Book Day 2013 then count yourself lucky as it’s potentially the best mainstream book on offer this year.
Did you grab Infinity? What did you think? Are you excited to see more? Be sure to get yourself up to speed on Marvel events with Geek Insider’s Avengers #10 review and let us know what you think by leaving a comment below!