Story: Jonathan Hickman
Art: Steve Epting
What They Say:
INFINITY The Illuminati experience their first incursion since reforming. Can the loose brotherhood of end times trust each other enough to use the Infinity Gems in unison? And a new member joins the Illuminati!
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
New Avengers spent most of its previous issue with a lot of talking and we get a lot more of that here, but it’s all very critical stuff. We also get some action and a great twist amid everything, which keeps it all moving right along. The fun with all of this continues to be seeing the way the characters interact as we get the real power players of Earth realizing that they face something significant and have the mental ability to process it for the most part, to think about it calmly and then to move forward in dealing with it rather than lashing out. Even Namor, to some extent, falls within this. As is said at one point, the crown is heavy for some of them as they know the real price of ruling and how it changes your perceptions of things and the world as a whole.
The interesting part here at the start is that we thankfully don’t spend an age trying to find the Mind Gem that Xavier had when he died. As it turns out, he left it and his position in the Illuminati to Hank, aka Beast, and now the bill has come due with that as Hank has those memories unlocked. He’s not exactly sure if he wants to join, as they’re all still dealing with the loss of Xavier, but it’s made clear that this position was gifted to him and it is his. Hank brings a different insight to the group when they get into a discussion point, about what someone will do to survive, and it works because mutants have long had a very different view of extinction compared to your average person or hero based on their lives. Though he’s not exactly totally sold on things here, being introduced to this other level and the responsibility with it is certainly right in Hank’s wheelhouse, as much as he hates to admit it.
With the Infinity Gems in hand, it doesn’t take long for an Incursion to hit and the group to try and use its abilities to save their world. It’s surprisingly short overall, tense as it is, and watching them work through what to do as Captain America takes on the role of being the most pure of them to focus his will on pushing away the other Earth is spot on. Each of them have their flaws, Steve included, but when putting on something of this level of power that gets the attention of immense beings spread across the galaxy? You want someone like Steve. It’s well done, though the twist of the gems shattering afterward is interesting as it puts them back in the same position as before, but with more tension. The way this group works has always been problematic, but now those tensions are on a whole other level. Seeing the dynamic shift within the group, and to see everyone side against Steve to the point they do, is very intriguing in its potential long term effects.
Another installment light on action means another installment that works very well for me. The team here is facing something very hard to process and comprehend with a kind of surreal aspect to it that definitely plays out well. The heavy focus on dialogue is spot on as there’s not much to actively do at the moment but to figure out what to try and do and how to react. Each of them brings their own histories to the table and I love watching that play out here, especially with the addition of Hank and his own view that was rather unrepresented before. This is not a tight, fun and comfortable team you want to hang out with. And that’s what’s needed considering the stakes. There’s a lot going on in this issue as it gives us our latest Incursion and the ramifications from pushing back against it, which is only going to spiral further.
Age Rating: 13+
Released By: Marvel Comics via ComiXology
Release Date: February 6th, 2013