Hark! Beware Marvel fan for something comes out of space again to attack the planet in an enormous, bloated cross-over event. Yeah, I know Phoenix was just here to destroy the planet but this is different. This time it’s not a cosmic entity known for its destruction, it’s a Darkseid rip off with Michael Jackson’s fashion sense. Oh yeah, this is happening. I am complaining about a big cross-over event.
My problem with “Infinity” didn’t start with the crossover, I’ve had a grievance since Hickman relaunched “Avengers”—and “New Avengers”. No disrespect to Hickman, he weaves some fantastical tales, but his Avengers feel really un-Avengery. It started when he decided that Tony and Steve wanted to swell the ranks of the Avengers by hiring everyone as an Avenger. “Wait,” I hear you saying, “Didn’t they already do that in Heroic Age?” Yeah, and they did the same thing immediately after “Civil War”. It seems in the Marvel universe, Avengers hire everyone they can only to turn around and fire them two months later. It’s a weird sense of job security to think, “Oh no, the Avengers are letting me go. I guess I’ll stroll around, form a team up or two and get back in under the next hiring blitz.” But that’s not the strange concept when it comes to hiring for the Avengers.
Do you ever wonder why Captain America always leads the Avengers? It might seem obvious every time he’s punching someone but “Infinity” is the first book to really make a mockery of his role on the team. When did it become okay for Steve Rodgers to do missions in space? He might be a tactical genius but are you gonna toss a space suit on him and throw him into the gravity less void that is space. Will Hawkeye join him, floating in a bulky spacesuit with a bow and arrow he can’t fire? Let me phrase it differently, nuclear submarines are one of the most advanced weapons we have but that doesn’t mean we launched them into the desert of Iraq with some tank treads slapped on the side.
Avengers just doesn’t feel very Avengers-y anymore. They used to represent the cream of the crop, they were SEAL Team 6. They dealt with any terrestrial threat for the good of humanity. Lately though, Avengers seem to have formed a new branch called “Space is F&%$ing Scary.” Most of their battles take place beyond the hemisphere. Now in “Infinity”, when a galactic apocalypse seems nigh, the entire team is roused and launched into space. Even in that roll of toilet paper they called “AvX” they at least split into two task forces. All the people who could fly were sent to space, everyone who couldn’t stayed home.
Is it so wrong that I want my old Avengers back? I want some villain to have a devious plan, something that can’t be stopped once it’s set in motion. There should be fighting in some secret base and then a bomb should explode somewhere, that’s it, that’s the formula for a crossover. Instead I get to see Spider-Man dangling from a space ship in zero-gravity. It would be perfectly okay if Marvel wanted to do a Space Avengers, I mean they already have “Guardians of the Galaxy” but throw another one into the mix. At least then I could still have my regular Avengers doing what they do best. Put Thor, Captain Marvel, Adam Warlock, Iron Man, and Wolverine—there’s always Wolverine, at this point I just accept it as a comic book fan.
I don’t understand how this is a hard concept especially when “Invincible” got it so right. When the Viltrumite war happened, sure Mark could have recruited all the heroes from Earth, a few of them may have even helped. But the majority of them? They would have died immediately when someone punched a hole in their space suit. Mark recruited a force appropriate response to a very deadly situation and he recruited all the right people. Plus, if all the Viltrumites broke through and decided to invade Earth? At least there would be a contingent on the ground, give the world a fighting chance.
In the end, this entire crossover becomes an inside joke. Thanos has only become the villain of recent times because of the end reveal in “The Avengers” movie. In the book itself, an entire cadre of alien invaders tells Thanos to go to Hell because invading Earth works like all the—it never works ever. If “Infinity” were actually in on the joke instead of just the joke, I’d rate it way higher.