Filed under: Exquisite Reviews | Tags: Alasdair Stuart, Aleph, Avenger, Builders, Captain America, Captain Marvel, chris eliopoulos, Dustin Weaver, Ex Nihilo, hawkeye, Hulk, Jerome Opena, jonathan hickman, Justin Ponsor, Kree, Marvel, Ronan the Accuser, Skrull, Smasher, Star Brand
‘The Left Hand of Death’
Written by Jonathan Hickman
Art by Jerome Opena and Dustin Weaver
Colours by Justin Ponsor
Letters by Chris Eliopoulos
Published by Marvel
£2.85 or £1.99 for the hard fought liberation of the settled worlds. Or owners of a SuperCard Go! Y’know. Whichever.
As Infinity comes into land, it becomes clear just how cleverly this story has been built. For a start, it’s two complete stories working in formation; the Avengers dealing with the Builders and Thanos essentially conquering Earth. The first is brought into land here, with a string of decisive victories breaking the Builder’s hold on the galaxy and ginally giving the Avengers the chance to go home. Of course it doesn’t go as smoothly as that but the war does at least end, and end definitively in this issue.
The first clever thing Hickman spins out of that is that, for the first time in a long time, the cosmic books feel relevant again. The Avengers have pulled off something all but impossible and they’ve done so in the full view of galactic culture. The response is as logical as it is unusual for this sort of story; deep gratitude and loyalty. There are Avengers worlds now and the team, not Earth, has real political clout on the Galactic circuit. The possibilities of what Hickman will do with a set up like this are basically endless. Even better he has his cake and eats it here; simultaneously tying off the Builder invasion but laying the ground work, presumably, for Avengers World.
The second clever thing Hickman does is show the price they’re paying; the fall of Earth. The Avengers may not be persona non grata back home but their absence will certainly be felt and the difference in political standing for the team should be pretty interesting to watch play out. Interestingly though, the Earth plot is a little weak this issue. We get Thane taken to meet Thanos, the illuminati riding to the (sort of) rescue and that’s mostly it. It’s not bad storytelling by any means but this is the first time characters have felt like chess pieces rather than people. They’re being moved rather than moving, and that damages the plot a little.
That being said, this is still the best crossover Marvel have put out in years. The script is remarkable and the art is absolutely its equal. Opena and Weaver’s complimenatary styles manage to cram the pages full of detail without overwhelming them. There’s a particularly great moment that manages to do the near impossible; evoking the raising of the flag on Iwo Jima without being a direct rip off of the image. Elsewhere in the issue there’s a neat sense of scales to Thanos and some very well handled action beats too. Yet again, Justin Ponsor and Chris Eliopoulos show just how good they are too, with the colours and lettering simultaneously emphasizing the fantastic elements of the book and grounding them in reality.
This has been a welcome breath of fresh air in a year choked with bloated and overly structured crossovers. With one issue to go, Infinity has done absolutely everything right. All that’s left now is the landing.
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