The cover to “The Infinity Gauntlet” #1 shows Thanos wielding the gauntlet, but at least three of the stones are missing from their settings, promising readers a “catch-them-all” spacefaring adventure from co-writers Gerry Duggan and Dustin Weaver, who also handles the art chores from top to bottom (save lettering, which is capably handled by Albert Deschesne).
Frequently throughout the twenty-page issue, Weaver fits five or more panels on the page, occasionally giving way to as many as twelve. He avoids full page splashes, giving readers more bang for their buck, and delicately crafts every panel as though it was designed to have the impact of a splash page. No image is crammed into the space Weaver allots, and every character, alien or silhouette is afforded room to breathe, emote and take action.
Sometimes, the space is played up for emotional impact, like when Gramps gives his granddaughter, Anwen Bakian, an assessment of her artistic skill; Weaver opens the panel up, dotting the landscape with detail, while emphasizing the sincerity and compassion in the elder’s face as he tries to bestow comfort. Other times, the panel — no bigger than a business card — tells an entire story, as when Anwen’s father, sister and dog leap from certain doom to the unknown. Weaver gives readers copious amounts of visual excitement and character depth, from sideways glances to the haunting look on Thanos’ face as his quarry settles into his sights.
Duggan takes every opportunity to collaborate with Weaver throughout the story. He scripts snappy, lively banter into the issue and gives life to the menacing hordes of gigantic bugs prowling after the Bakian family, setting up a magnificent, well-measured balance in its pages. Duggan and Weaver open the story up with notes from Anwen’s journal but quickly shift to introduce readers to Zigzag, the family dog, asking the readers to emotionally invest early and often.
“The Infinity Gauntlet” #1 flies under the “Secret Wars” banner, and Duggan and Weaver avoid locking the setting to any one spot within the Marvel Universe or Multiverse, which frees them up to take the concepts at play here, boil them down to names and notions and build everything up brand new. Yes, “The Infinity Gauntlet” #1 is much more impactful and a deeper, richer experience for seasoned comic book readers, but — given the general population’s exposure to Thanos and the Nova Corps in the Marvel Cinematic Universe — Marvel would be smart to consider handing this comic out to readers exiting showings of “Avengers: Age of Ultron.” This is a near-perfect gateway with smart, friendly characters, life-or-death stakes and a shadowy menace waiting to strike. There’s a lot to like in “The Infinity Gauntlet” #1, and a lot more to look forward to in future issues. Weaver, Duggan and Deschesne are a formidable creative crew and they’re ready to build a universe for new readers.