New Avengers 30

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Today, Spencer and Mark are discussing New Avengers 30, originally released February 25th, 2015. 

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Spencer: Jonathan Hickman and Dalibor Talajic’s New Avengers 30 reads a bit like a textbook on multiversal theory. It’s about as dry as beef jerky, and is focused so strongly on explaining every minute detail about the Ivory Kings that it largely fails to address why they’re doing what they’re doing. The information contained within its pages will likely prove important as Secret Wars grows closer, but for the moment, New Avengers 30 feels like an issue that highlights the greatest weakness of Hickman’s Avengers books: a focus on plot that supersedes “story” or characterization.  Continue reading

Infinity 6

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Today, Ethan and Spencer are discussing Infinity 6, originally released November 27th, 2013. This issue is part of the Infinity crossover event. Click here for complete Infinity coverage.

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Ethan: When I was starting college, I knew – objectively – that I would at some point no longer be a student; I’d graduate, get a job, do the adulthood thing. But at the time, steeped in the day-to-day evasion of and frantic return to schoolwork, hanging out with friends, sleeping as little as possible, the thought if college actually ending rarely crossed my mind. And then BAM it was time to get up to go to the early-morning rehearsal for the graduation ceremony. College was finished, I was moving into a new apartmen and starting a new job. That sense of disconnect – when something long awaited feels as though it happens and is shoved into the past before we have the chance to actually experience – is the same feeling I’ve gotten during most of the turning points in the Infinity event, and the same is true of its finale. Continue reading

Infinity 5

Alternating Currents: Infinity 5, Drew and PatrickToday, Drew and Patrick are discussing Infinity 5, originally released October 30th, 2013. This issue is part of the Infinity crossover event. Click here for complete Infinity coverage.

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Drew: The ubiquity of three-act structures often makes the form of a story predictable. We know what’s supposed to happen in a second act — even if we don’t know the specifics of a given story — but what happens when a narrative breaks that structure? Infinity takes the form of a six-part miniseries, with primary crossovers into ten other issues. To further complicate things, the series has long followed an A/B structure as the avengers face two very different threats in very different locations, and the event itself could be described as the third (or second and third) act(s) of narratives started in Avengers and New Avengers. What do we expect of the fifth issue of Infinity (itself the twelfth issue of the event)? What it supposed to happen? Unfortunately, writer Jonathan Hickman doesn’t offer a particularly compelling answer in the issue itself. Continue reading

New Avengers 11

new avenger 11 infinityToday, Spencer and Patrick are discussing New Avengers 11, originally released October 16th, 2013. This issue is part of the Infinity crossover event. Click here for complete Infinity coverage.

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Spencer: When Infinity was first announced, we knew very little about it besides the fact that it would be vaguely connected to writer Jonathan Hickman’s two Avengers books and that Thanos was involved; once the first issue dropped, I declared that it was “the story if what happens when two different universe-ending threats hit at the same time, leaving the Earth absolutely helpless.” We’re over two-thirds of the way through the crossover and those words are still mostly holding true, but New Avengers 11 takes this concept to a place I would have never expected when Infinity began — yet a place that makes perfect sense — by tying the space-bound and Earth-bound threats together. Continue reading

Avengers 21

avengers 21 infinityToday, Ethan and Drew are discussing Avengers 21, originally released October 16th, 2013. This issue is part of the Infinity crossover event. Click here for complete Infinity coverage.

infinity dividerEthan: The Infinity arc has been many things: ambitious, epic, nail-biting, repetitive, crowded. The adjective that perhaps best describes the current bit of the story — Avengers #21 — is “compressed.” We’ve groused a bit about the many angles through which we were forced to watch the events of Starbrand wiping out a Builder fleet and an Avenger strike team freeing their teammates, so maybe this issue is a welcome departure from the exhaustive coverage of the previous battles. Yet I’d almost welcome an alternate perspective / re-hashing of the events of this issue, because it was anything but drawn-out. We get the meditations of supercomputers, hand-to-hand fighting across 6 different planets, absurdly dangerous decisions made by a handful of commanders far from the fighting. The brink of despair, total salvation, all in a couple dozen pages.

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Infinity 4

infinity 4-INFINITYToday, Spencer and Ethan are discussing Infinity 4, originally released October 9th, 2013. This issue is part of the Infinity crossover event. Click here for complete Infinity coverage.

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Spencer: As children, most of us swear we won’t grow up to be our parents. Maybe we just hate the way they nag us, or maybe there’s a more serious fault of theirs we’re trying to avoid; either way, while it’s possible to avoid our parents’ faults, more often than not we end up repeating those exact same mistakes we once declared we’d never make. Poor Thane—the half-Inhuman son of Thanos—has more reason than most to endeavor to never become his father, but unfortunately, it turns out he may be more like the Mad Titan than he ever feared. Continue reading

Avengers Assemble 19

avengers assemble 19 infinityToday, Patrick and Spencer are discussing Avengers Assemble 19, originally released September 25th, 2013. This issue is part of the Infinity crossover event. Click here for complete Infinity coverage.

infinity dividerPatrick: The Avengers is a fairly masculine construct. I recognize that most superhero teams are, but this one in particular makes you really look for the contributing female members. On a team that just recently exploded to include over 20 members, there are five women in group, two of which are bizarrely abstract concepts (Abyss, the Universe). They don’t perceive the world or act like human beings, let alone as human women. That leaves Captain Marvel, Black Widow and Spider-Woman – none of whom have gotten much attention in the main Infinity series or either of the flagship tie-ins. Kelly Sue DeConnick has been tasked with injecting a little feminine energy into the saga. Unfortunately, she’s made to retread the same events endlessly, and ground the same emotional beats into a fine paste for easy digestion. Well, Infinity fans, open up: we’ve got a piping hot serving of emotional paste for you… I just can’t promise that it’s fresh.

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Avengers 20

avengers 20 infinityToday, Spencer and Drew are discussing Avengers 20, originally released September 25th, 2013. This issue is part of the Infinity crossover event. Click here for complete Infinity coverage.

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Spencer: Hawkeye, Scarlet Witch, Quicksilver; the Avengers have a long history of welcoming reformed villains into their ranks. Ex Nihilo and Abyss are the latest Avengers to take advantage of this, but after serving as the villains of the first storyline of Jonathan Hickman’s Avengers — and after spring boarding the series’ central conflict — their reformation has felt just a little too easy. They basically became Avengers just because Captain Universe said so. I’m sure she knows best (well, kinda sure), but while I had no problem believing that these two were no longer threats to the Earth, I had a much harder time believing that they could reliably serve as Avengers. Now Ex Nihilo and Abyss are faced with their creators, their brothers and sisters…how will they react? Are they heroes, or villains?

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Infinity 3

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Today, Spencer and Patrick are discussing Infinity 3, originally released September 18th, 2013. This issue is part of the Infinity crossover event. Click here for complete Infinity coverage.

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Spencer: Infinity and its tie-ins have been dripping with ego and machismo. Between the Builders, the Illuminati, Thanos, J-Son, the Galactic Council, and even some of the Avengers, there have been a lot of big words and threats thrown around, and almost all of them are strong enough to back up their words with actions (except for J-Son, of course). This isn’t necessarily a complaint; some of the coolest moments of Infinity (such as the spree of sick burns in last week’s Avengers or the Skrulls’ touching suicide mission) have sprung from this kind of machismo. It’s exciting, but in this week’s issue, writer Jonathan Hickman flips our perspective a bit, reminding us of why we probably started reading comics in the first place: its always more fun to root for the underdog.

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Avengers 19

avengers 19 infinityToday, Spencer and Patrick are discussing Avengers 19, originally released September 11th, 2013. This issue is part of the Infinity crossover event. Click here for complete Infinity coverage.

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Spencer: What’s so special about Earth? It’s funny; in comics, human beings are usually portrayed as a weak, technologically backwards race, yet Earth is constantly under attack for some reason, constantly finding itself in the center of some of the most significant events the Universe will ever experience. So why is the Earth so darn special? Jonathan Hickman hasn’t given us any answers yet, but in Avengers 19 he does show us just how surprisingly significant the planet Earth has become in the grand scheme of things; for better or worse, the Builders have taken notice of Earth and want it gone. Good thing it’s an Avengers World.

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