Apparently, Jonathan Hickman is taking the gloves off. Well, one glove. Well, actually, he’s putting one glove on. Not just any glove, oh no – this is the glove that slaps out with the power of a god. Did you guess it yet? That’s correct, true believers, writer Jonathan Hickman has brought back the Infinity Gauntlet. A glove fitted with the gems of Time, Space, Mind, Soul, Reality, and Power. Thanos once used this glove to kill half the Marvel Universe in an attempt to win the love of Lady Death.
The last time the Infinity Gauntlet was in play, the Avengers managed to squash an attempt to abuse the power, resulting in considerable fallout. Captain America was made aware of the Illuminati, the group formed by Professor X, Black Bolt, Namor, Iron Man, Reed Richards and Doctor Strange. At first, Cap was pissed that such an arrogant group came together, figuring they were best suited to lead the defense of planet Earth. Cap had a change of heart and agreed that each member of the Illuminati, himself included, would keep one of the gems hidden in a place only that specific hero would know about.
Jump ahead a year, and it’s time to unleash the Infinity Gauntlet again. Why? Well, the aliens Black Panther met have let the Avengers in on the fact that an ultimate destruction is coming. What that destruction is can be confusing. Let’s not forget, this is Jonathan Hickman we’re talking about. It has something to do with an early death in another universe that has caused a ripple effect leading to the destruction of ours.
If the Avengers can’t figure out how to stop it, the Infinity Gauntlet comes out and the destruction of another world goes down. To make this all more difficult, the Infinity Gauntlet is incomplete. The death of Professor X has forced these heroes to scour the planet looking for Xavier’s hiding place. Did I mention that Black Panther has straight up told Namor that he’s going to kill him when this is all over? For those who don’t remember, when Namor was possessed with the Phoenix during Avengers vs. X-Men, he destroyed Panther’s homeland of Wakanda. This is Hickman’s second issue – what happens when this guy really gets going?
The longer I look at Steve Epting’s art the more I realize that he’s as much about atmosphere as he is about gorgeous pencils. What Epting does is take these perfectly drawn characters and allow the backgrounds to dictate the mood of the scene. When the Illuminati is meeting, they are surrounded by darkness, creating the mood of how they operate from the shadows. The battle scenes are saturated with reds to give them more impact. Epting not only uses his skill with shadow and light, but also gives his colorist Frank D’armata plenty of room to work.
Overlooking the flaw that there are no real New Avengers in this starting story, Jonathan Hickman has pushed this title into a whole new arena.
(4.5 Story, 4.5 Art)