Hickman plots a new course for Marvel event series in 'Infinity'

Hot on the heels of Age of Ultron, Marvel's last event comic and the exclamation point to Brian Michael Bendis' run on the Avengers books, comes the first issue of Infinity, which once again puts the Avengers at the forefront of a Marvel event. This time, the course is being set by current Avengers writer Jonathan Hickman, along with artists Jim Cheung, Mark Morales, John Livesay, David Meikis and Justin Ponsor.

So how did the first issue measure up? Here are a few thoughts from around the web:

Noel Thorne, WhatCulture: "Not willing to let the dust settle from their last “epic” Event, Age of Ultron, which ended just a few weeks ago, Marvel have kicked off their latest end-of-the-world, cosmos-spanning, life-or-death-stakes Event, Infinity, starring everybody’s favourite after-credits cameo, Thanos. Avengers and New Avengers scribe Jonathan Hickman is leading the charge this time around, his first Event title in the driver’s seat, and, though I’m wary of Marvel Events, Infinity isn’t bad. Well, it’s more complex than that – but then this is a Jonathan Hickman comic!"

J. Goodson Dodd, Comics Con Queso: "The first issue played out, for the most part, like an episode of a TV show. The story beats are concise and structured for maximum effect, but it is the final pages of the book, where we see our heroes putting a plan into action and a final page cliffhanger that could easily have been followed with a meme image of Michael from Arrested Development saying 'I Have Made A Huge Mistake' where things really clicked for me. You see, those last few pages didn’t feel like part of the narrative of this issue so much as a quick flash of what’s to come, similar to a 'Next Week on MARVEL' montage at the end of a TV show. The pacing and the implications make for effective drama, and while Infinity #1 is definitely a slow burn, it is also very much indicative of a quality mini-series that seeks to tell its story in a very deliberate way." (4/5)

Todd Allen, The Beat: "What did I think of it? Hickman’s a love/hate kinda guy and I’m not that fond of his frequently mechanical plots in the Marvel universe. I much prefer him over at Image on Manhattan Projects. I found the comic very pretentious, with the sense of momentous occasion too forced. It’s building off that initial Avengers plotline I didn’t much care for (the whole “Avengers’ World” trope was spun out of one of the worst lines of dialogue I’ve read in the last sixth months). The craft is there, but totally not my style. I’m not the intended audience for this book."

Don MacPherson, Eye on Comics: "Jim Cheung’s clean, crisp linework is just the sort of bright, genre style that shines with such an ambitious super-hero story. George Perez was the perfect choice for the granddaddy of crossovers, Crisis on Infinite Earths, and while Cheung’s style is quite different, it boasts the same sort of detail and energy that works nicely for a book with so much disparate, fun figures. Cheung’s work here put me in mind several times of that of Arthur (X-Men: the Asgardian Wars, Monkeyman & O’Brien) Adams and John (Trio, Fantastic Four) Byrne. The designs for the various new characters — from the Outrider to the members of the Black Order — are striking and appropriately monstrous. I wonder if the Outrider design is meant to evoke a sense of or comparison to the original Venom design, because I was definitely getting that riff as I read the scenes featuring the bizarre character." (7/10)

Doug Zawisza, Comic Book Resources: "Visually, this comic is most striking in the seven pages on Galador, featuring Spaceknights, Builders and Captain Universe. Washed in glowing reds and soft amber with stunning glints and gleams of most of the rest of the spectrum thanks to the coloring of Justin Ponsor, this scene is vibrant and alarming, filled with critical decisions and pure raw power. It may not be the most critical moment of the series, but it is definitely the most devastatingly gorgeous scene of Infinity #1 with its broad range of activity and emotion." (4.5/5)

Matt D. Wilson, ComicsAlliance: "And that’s ultimately why I came down on the side of liking this comic. Hickman seems to be going out of his way to defy the conventions of the big event. Instead of ticking off all the boxes, he’s delivering a story that takes an entirely unique approach, even down to the sort of chaptered structure that isn’t altogether different from the one he uses in his Image book The Manhattan Projects. And unlike other Marvel events of the past several years, which tended to front-load with lots of bombastic action in the first issue before slowing down considerably in the issues to come, Infinity seems to be very clearly pacing itself toward its climax well into its run."

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