Tony Stark infiltrates New Attilan, setting off even more conflict in Civil War II #2.
Having losing best friend James Rhodes (War Machine) last issue, Stark kidnaps Ulysses from his new home to learn more about the young man’s supposed ability to see visions of the future.
While he studies and interrogates the boy, the Inhumans respond by following an enraged Karnak to Stark Tower. Captain Marvel and the Ultimates arrive with Maria Hill to defuse the situation. Together, they find Tony and Ulysses after the former has finished downloading a copy of latter’s brain for study.
Though you could chalk up Tony’s response to his best friend dying as something in between impulsive and insane, the issue never really gives the normally rational man a really good reason for infiltrating a sovereign country and kidnapping one of its citizens. While it’s clear that Tony wants to study Ulysses’ brain and precog abilities, it’s not like the Inhumans were against any sort of rational measure. It’s actually pretty clear that Medusa — having caught Tony in the kidnapping act — seems like she’s willing to help. When Tony refuses to go home, things escalate, turning a shaky situation into full-blown war.
Hot off the heels of a Civil War movie — which, in turn, was based very loosely on the comic crossover of the same name — comes Civil War Part Dos #1. Written by Brian Michael Bendis with beautifully rendered panels from artist David Marquez and colorist Justin Ponsor, the next big event in Marvel history explodes from the pages of its first issue.
After Terrigen mist rolls through Columbus, Ohio, a new batch of Inhumans are born. One of them, Ulysses, gains the power of foresight and predicts a major invasion by a Celestial — or is it Galactus?
With the Avengers getting the heads-up and calling in all of its membership and various allies, the threat is averted, and Tony Stark throws a celebration to honor the victory.
Curiosity gets the better of Captain Marvel Carol Danvers, and the Inhumans decide it’s time to become a little more transparent. They introduce Ulysses to the Avengers, and Danvers makes a move to bring the human crystal ball onto her squad — which causes Stark to express his reservations.
The Inheritors have been defeated, and it’s time for cleanup.
As the various Spiders return to their respective homeworlds after a long, drawn-out battle, Peter Parker oversees the aftermath. With the Master Weaver dead and gone, it’s time for a new Weaver to take his place, and the Superior Spider-Man won’t have anything to do with it.
Otto Octavius, hoping to deny his future demise, opts to cut the threads in a bid to give himself and the other Spiders free will, but a collective effort by the remaining Spiders puts Superior Spider-Man where he belongs — the past.
In the end, Karn takes up the mantle of the Master Weaver, and the Spiders without a home — thanks to the multiverse crumbling — decide to create a new team to help those worlds without a Spider-Man/Woman.
Last issue ended with a bombshell that felt appropriate as a tribute to both the title and character.
That said, Uncle Ben’s appearance as one of the Totems surprised a lot of readers, and The Amazing Spider-Man #13 deals with the reactions from the various Spiders — Peter Parker, especially — as the Inheritors wait for the prophecy to fulfill itself.
For the main group of Spiders on Earth-3145, things have come to a screeching halt. Thanks to the irradiated surface which is lethal to the Inheritors and the bunker’s built-in safeguards which prevent detection, the Spiders can rest a little easier knowing the threat of violence is lower than it’s been since the Spider-Verse arc began.
And while the Spiders get introduced to the Totem of this Earth, Solus and his brood wait for the prophecy to fulfill itself. As it’s foretold by the Weaver, it’s only a matter of time before the Bride and the Other for some untold reason come to Loomworld — the last place they’d ever want to willingly go.
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