Doom’s control over the new Marvel continuity is beginning to splinter as rival factions rise in power.
Three weeks after the events in issue #5, much has happened. Corvus Glaive and his wife Proxima Midnight have been captured, and Black Swan is now in Doom’s employ. Doom has tasked his daughter Valeria with discovering Stephen Strange’s murderers, and work has been rather difficult. Not only has it been impossible to figure out what the outsiders are up to, but Valeria has doubts about her father’s intentions — she can no longer fight the nagging suspicion that Doom may be the one actually guilty of Strange’s death.
With Reed Richards and his Ultimate Universe counterpart Reed Richards working on a plan to remove Doom from his throne, a new threat called The Prophet has begun taking over areas of Battleworld. Doom, wanting to focus his attention on the outsiders, tells barons Sinister, Maestor, and Madelyne Pryor to handle the usurper, which only tempts Sinister and Captain Marvel into starting some havoc of their own.
When I bought Infinity #3 (subtitled Kingdoms Fall) this morning, my local comic book guy told me that each cover is the color of an infinity gem. A nerdish glee welled up in me, as if I had myself discovered some hidden facet of the work.
But by the end of my first read through I was left with a very different feeling: disappointment.
Infinity #3 just seems to lack the substance of its predecessors. There are certainly some grand developments in both stories – Steve Rogers scores a big hit against the Builders while Thanos himself finally makes an appearance before the court of Atillan as he demands the blood of his hidden son. These are great developments featuring the classic mix of Hickman’s epic narration and punchy dialogue, but they need more explanation. What are the motivations of the Builders and their mysterious leader, the Creator? And just who is Thanos’ son?
Although these are certainly great threads to be answered later in the series, it seems a very real possibility that Infinity cannot be fully appreciated without the associated tie-ins. Riffing off Rick Johnston’s review over at Bleeding Cool, it would seem that the answer to these questions appear in the parallel-running New Avengers and Avengers titles. It’s my personal opinion — which I think many might share — that the core title of a crossover event should be fully readable without needing to consult tie-ins.
Looking over at DC, the recent Trinity War demonstrated this by giving its audience a single, defined narrative. And while Infinity is certainly a different breed of monster, this singular readability is a virtue that I hope Hickman restores by issue #6.
Kingdoms Fall also dangles another threat before our eyes: a parallel universe. And yes, that’s literally all the information about it that we are given.
Dustin Weaver and Jerome Opena continue to prove they are rock gods of comic book artistry. Opena particularly shines this issue, giving us even more epic space battles than the last and showing that he can illustrate a mean explosion or two. No complaints in this department.
It’s not over yet, but Infinity #3 takes a hit in the score because, story-wise, it doesn’t feel complete — not only does it run a few pages less than its predecessors, but it’s hindered by its reliance on tie-ins. For a halfway point, it’s a bit weak — even the issue’s sole twist, the parallel universe, is underwhelming because we aren’t even given enough to call it a proper tease. For all its faults, though, Kingdoms Fall is still a well-put together comic in a crossover event that can still finish strong.
Infinity #3 (2013) Marvel
Words: Jonathan Hickman
Art: Dustin Weaver and Jerome Opena
Colors: Justin Ponsor
Letters: Chris Eliopoulos