Marvel's universe-shattering "Infinity" event kicks off in style this week, when the first issue of Jonathan Hickman and Jim Cheung's mini-series hits comic shop shelves. We here at MTV Geek got a sneak peek at Infinity #1, and wanted to share our initial (spoiler-free) impressions.
I must admit, I've had some reservations about all this 'Infinity' business. Marvel has been laying the groundwork for a long while now, branding covers of various titles with a PRELUDE TO INFINITY banner, teasing the comic-buying masses with cautiously measured announcements, scattered glimpses of artwork, and dedicated convention panels. There's been a lot of build-up for this event, and not a lot of solid information.
In addition, there's a lot for the creative team to accomplish in this first issue: explain the scenario, acquaint readers with the cast, introduce the threat, establish the stakes, put the wheels of the story into motion, and then leave us wanting more.
So as I started reading this issue, I was skeptical. But once I got past the first few pages of preamble, and the story actually began, I had to admit: it's only the first chapter, but it looks pretty great so far.
This isn't yet a story of massive intergalactic conflict – it's moving quickly in that direction, but right now, it's still putting the pieces on the board, setting the stage for the craziness to come. The Avengers are assembling and making plans, villains are plotting, and a massive threat is looming in the distance. Jonathan Hickman and Jim Cheung are an ideal team for this title, setting up huge ideas and delivering them in an easily digestible format, spanning galaxies with a few terse words and perfectly rendered ink lines. The narrative jumps from scene to scene, across the galaxy and back, and I never once felt off-balance or confused.
And while this is primarily the overture to a mammoth-scale cosmic epic, there's enough excitement and personal connection here to keep me engaged, with lots of familiar faces and foreshadowing galore. The tension level is high as the issue begins, and builds steadily throughout – there's a methodical turning of screws going on, Hickman carefully raising the pressure with each panel, and Cheung's art capturing every action and emotion along the way. Aliens, Avengers, Inhumans, and evildoers are all in place, and heading for infinite intergalactic catastrophe. Forget the previews and preludes and teasers and hype – everything up until now was just set-up. This is where the story really begins, and I'm excited to see where we'll end up.