Marvel may have indicated the order on the “Infinity” infographic checklist at the back of all “Infinity”-related books, but the same day release left some readers spoiled on this issue as they read “Infinity” #3 before opening the cover to “New Avengers” #10. As it turns out, “New Avengers” #10 is supposed to be read first, but whatever the reading order, this issue still delivers more deceit as the hidden agendas continue to erode the foundation of fighting the good fight out from under the members of the Illuminati.
Hickman continues to make up for lost time with this series by giving the Illuminati a new task at the behest of one of their own. Black Bolt sends the band of Avengers on a quest to find the long-lost son of Thanos. Unbeknownst to that group, Thanos’ son isn’t the true goal the leader of the Inhumans is tracing, and that plan continues to crystallize through the mad manipulations of Black Bolt’s brother, Maximus. Hickman also weaves the escapades of the Black Order tightly into this comic. Ebony Maw, in particular, plays a critical role for the future of this title and team, not to mention the eventual outcome of “Infinity.” As with “Infinity” and “Avengers,” Hickman uses chapter breaks, which are crucial in bouncing the focus between Illuminati, Inhumans and the invasion of Thanos’ hordes.
Mike Deodato delivers the artwork of his career in this issue. His depiction of Thanos is intimidating and powerful, very much inline with everything the Mad Titan is and allegedly is, and the closing shot of Thanos leering at the reader as his master plan truly begins to unfold is not unlike the parting image from the Avengers feature film. Frank Martin on colors and Joe Caramagna on letters add a gorgeous polish to this book. Martin does oversaturate the page a bit in the Spire of Val’Houth with the excessively warm backgrounds, but throughout the balance of the issue, his colors impact and match the mood Hickman’s story creates quite nicely. Caramagna, likewise, fits the tone and tenor. The caption boxes for Thanos and Doctor Strange’s astral form are properly distinct, as is the rumbling voice of Thanos.
In addition to drawing a stunning Thanos, Deodato hits all the right notes for the other characters: his interpretation of Hank McCoy is a massive, hulking Beast and Namor is haughty and brimming with attitude in Black Panther’s direction. Panther’s emotions meanwhile are shrouded, but there is no mistaking his attitude towards the prince of Atlantis. Deodato aids the story, inserting fair amounts of breathable white space and dynamic camera angles, making him just much a part of the storytelling in “New Avengers” #10 as Hickman.
“New Avengers” #10 is essentially “Infinity” #2.5 — rather essential reading for a greater appreciation of the full scope of the threats the Avengers and the Earth face. Hickman has been deliberate in building the relationships between members of the Illuminati and equally deliberate in illustrating the constant stream of overlapping, world-shattering threats characters in the Marvel Universe must face every day. As a companion to “Infinity,” “New Avengers” #10 is worth reading and provides an anxious adventure.