This week we got a double dose of Infinity tie-ins with Avengers and New Avengers titles. On top of that, Hunger concluded to mixed results, we have issue 4 and the series rating below.
“Emancipation” is probably an over exaggeration for the title of Avengers 21. It picks up immediately after Infinity 4’s awesome conclusion and shows us the next strategy that Captain America and the Galactic Council have planned out. What I find most disheartening about the recent Avengers books is that there are only a few Avengers being seen, mostly Captain America and Captain Marvel, as they work with Gladiator, the Kree, and Skrulls to fight the builders and their Aleph army. Despite this lack of super hero focus, this issue gave us some visually amazing and “fuck yeah!” moments in the book.
The first comes with the Accuser Corps as they feel insulted by the Supreme Intelligence. Ronan and his hammer are just as wicked cool as Thor and his hammer in the previous Infinity issue. It gets me that much more excited to see Lee Pace as him in the upcoming Guardians of the Galaxy. There also seems to be the return of the spaceknights, a welcome throwback, and what appear to be creatures that look like Yondu, who will be played by Michael Rooker in the Guardians film as well.
This is also the issue where last resort measures are taken and Annihilus is allowed to unleash his Annihilation Wave into the universe from the Negative zone. Imagine a swarm of hive minded insects let loose to eat and destroy and consume. This may sound familiar to another entity which will be covered in a later review, Ultimate Gah Lak Tus. A swarm of insect like creatures who’s intent is pure elimination.
The real purpose of this book is to show that the Ex Nihili and Abyss are working to bring Captain Universe back to life in what is referred to as a ‘miracle.’ It is at this point in which Captain Universe gets to shine as an Avenger, rather than just a metaphor speaking guide for lost souls. It is here, the seeds of why the Builders are really advancing are sown. That a glimpse is seen as a final, damaged Builder retreats to another universe and leaves all the remaining Alephs to self destruct, destroying as much as possible.
Avengers 21 isn’t a huge issue in comparison to what has recently come before it, but it sows the seeds for what is to come. I made the mistake of reading New Avengers 11 first and while it wasn’t out of order, this sheds light on that issue which makes Hickman’s goal and end point very clear. Avengers 21 sets the stage for Infinity’s climax and conclusion.
New Avengers 11
New Avengers from the beginning has been a series that continually surprises and amazes me with what you can do with the most powerful people in the Marvel world. It never ceases to be dark and serious, but also surprising and fun. This issue proves to be no exception.
Picking up at the fall of Attilan around the end of Infinity 3, we see our first and last glimpse at Maximus the Max and Lockjaw. They seem to have a plan that isn’t touched upon again in this issue, but I assume it will be seem sooner than later. Immediately after, we find our Illuminati at an incursion point, a constant for the series. Here, a ‘herald’ from the other world descends and we get our first shock of the book, an Aleph. This totally caught me off guard and makes me wonder why this anti-Universe has an them as well as ours.
Without delving into details, they go with the Aleph to meet his masters, which Namor declares that “in [their] seemingly unending string of bad choices, this has the potential to be the worst.” I agree as their motives for going with the Aleph are unclear, but we meet…Builders! And some funky, different looking Ex Nihili that make me respect the gold and black omega symbol that much more. It is one of these Ex Nihilo that discover the Ebony Maw’s creature within Doctor Strange, a whisperer.
From here, shit gets real. We discover the builders used the Superflow to travel between universes, but it has collapsed (due to a white event). These builders also know that the Avengers have defeated the other builders from Avengers 21, due to the failed/dying builder from the end of that book escaping. It is here that we learn why the builders are headed to Earth, they are attempting to destroy ALL of them in every Universe. Much like the Illuminati have been doing at each incursion, except the builder tasks them with destroying their own.
So now we have why the builders have been tearing through space for all this time and why their path was directly at Earth. They are trying to destroy every existence of Earth to prevent the superflow from collapsing and killing everything. Jonathan Hickman blew my mind, since he’s been sowing these seeds since Avengers 1 and New Avengers 1.
If that was the book, I’d be content, but somehow they managed to through in Thanos’ forces attacking Wakanda and nearly defeating them, only to withdraw to Necropolis. Here, Thanos discovers the bombs the Illuminati have been making for incursions and his prisoners, Terrax and Black Swan. He ponders why they would store the ability to destroy their planet, leaving us hanging on what Thanos and crew plan on doing with these weapons.
New Avengers 11 is a book filled to the brim with information, relevance, and intrigue. We now know what the builders plan on doing and that Thanos has his sights on Wakanda. Will the Illuminati heed the words of the builders and destroy their Earth (probably not) or find a way to fix the superflow before it all collapses? I’m not sure but the next issue is post Infinity #6 and that’s way too far for me.
Rating: 9/10 – must read
Hunger 4 / Hunger Series
I was going to buy Hunger purely for the covers only. Adi Granov is by far my favorite artist and has been since I saw his designs for Iron Man, most remarkably the Extremis suit. However, as I’ve read through Hunger, I’ve found some love and hate for the series.
Joshua Hale Fialkov has done something in Hunger that I respect and even revere. He brought back relevant Ultimate Marvel characters and put them to use. Rick Jones was made the savior of all universes before Ultimatum by the Watchers (Ultimate Origins) and has been more or less off the radar ever since. Now we get to see what the Golden Boy has been up to and needless to say, he’s now fighting 616 Galactus who has merged with the Gah Lak Tus swarm. Between himself and Ultimate Versions of the Silver Surfer and Captain Mar Vehl, they need to stop the creature that has but one desire, consume.
A fun fact is that this is the second book this week to feature Hala, home of the Kree and Ronan as a main character. I feel this is to introduce people to the character before the Guardians of the Galaxy hits theaters but it is welcome to see the Accuser get some face time.
With the (almost dramatic) death of Mar Vehl in Hunger 3, we see Rick Jones has merged with his armor and has a Gah Lak Tus killer built into it. He has accepted his duty as savior of the universe and attempts to save the Kree people only to be caught by Galactus. One of the weaker points in this issue alone is the fact that dialogue gets super repetitive. “No” this and “No more die” that. We get it, you’re super heroes and fight for good, now put those words to actions.
Finally we get to the self sacrifice portion of the book and find out that Rick Jones has pulled the trigger, effectively destroying Galactus and the swarm. The Kree survive and Silver Surfer thinks all is well, but we find out that it is not. The Gah Lak Tus swarm is destroyed but Galactus (see, this is super confusing) is only weakened and headed for Earth. Rick Jones and the Watcher are outside of any known universes and a journey is in store (more books?), not before the Watcher is seen being consumed and adapted by the Gah Lak Tus remnants!
The issue I have with Hunger is not that the story is weak, but that it serves as a prequel to Cataclysm. It has no definitive ending, except Captain Mar Vehl is dead and the Kree live on, only to be murdered by Fialkov when he destroys the Ultimate Universe later. If Bendis is writing the main series, it’ll be a slow, drawn out death that may even get us through the next year. If you’ve been an Ultimate Comics fan since before the Loeb-otomy/Ultimatum (or a fan of Adi Granov’s cover work), then you should pick up this series, otherwise you’re better off reading a recap online.