Marvel's Infinity Wars #1 review: A fun ride that builds a story with meaningful, far-reaching consequences

Vinay Viswanath

Aug,20 2018 09:22:38 IST

War never changes…Infinity Wars even less so.

With the Marvel Cinematic Universe releases wrapped up for 2018, the timing for the debut of Marvel Comics’ latest major event chain couldn’t be better. It’s a great way to take advantage of the films’ popularity to tempt mainstream moviegoers to make the jump to reading the comics as well. And it looks like Infinity Wars has quite a tale in store for those willing to take that leap.

The main Marvel Universe has been through a lot over the decades, even being completely destroyed at the conclusion of Secret Wars back in 2015. But with the restoration of the Marvel Universe (Because in comics, nothing and nobody is ever truly gone for good), the infinity gems have slowly begun to re-emerge. And with their return, so too comes the danger and chaos that tends to accompany them as the heroes and villains of the Universe vie for control over these receptacles of the primordial forces of creation.

Series author Gerry Duggan has been writing for Marvel for a few years now, working primarily on Deadpool and the uncanny Avengers, but this is his first time at the helm of a major event’s storyline. Duggan also wrote most of the titles that led up to Infinity Wars, including the Infinity Countdown series and Infinity Wars Prime. Looking at the work he’s done so far, I’d say this mini-series is in safe hands and fans have good reason to look forward to what’s in store.

Cover of Infinity Wars #1. Source: Marvel Comics

Cover of Infinity Wars #1. Source: Marvel Comics

The artwork, handled by Mike Deodato and Frank Martin is similar to the what we’ve seen during Infinity Countdown and its various tie-ins, but at least to my eyes, is a notable step up. This is particularly evident when it comes to shading, with many of the panels using lighting in interesting ways for an overall effect that’s very compelling, particularly in panels that feature darker settings.

Until now the story has been a pretty slow burn as we establish the stakes and who’s involved. But now that Infinity Wars has kicked off in earnest, we should see the pacing pick up by the next issue. While skeptics were — perhaps rightly — concerned that Infinity Wars could turn out to be a half-hearted effort to cash-in on the runaway popularity of the similarly named but very different Infinity War in the MCU, this thankfully, does not appear to be the case.

Getting up to speed in a universe in crisis

Over the years, it feels like the Marvel Universe has been becoming increasingly dangerous at the cosmic level. With the loss of the original realm of Asgard and the Nova Corps brought to the brink of total destruction, these once powerful stabilising forces are now shadows of their former selves. And it is in this already too-fragile universe that Infinity Wars kicks off.

As its prelude, Infinity Countdown, drew to a close, Doctor Strange contacted everyone in control of an infinity gem and invited them to a meeting to discuss how to safeguard the gems, warning them all that they are now targets for those who would seek to wield the gems’ incredible powers. And at the end of Infinity Wars Prime, we’re given a memorable introduction to just the kind of person the good Doctor was referring to in his warning; a powerful and mysterious character known only as Requiem.

Requiem wastes no time establishing their credentials as a major contender for the Infinity Gems. Source: Marvel Comics

Requiem wastes no time establishing their credentials as a major contender for the Infinity Gems. Source: Marvel Comics

To make things worse, something’s deeply wrong within the Soul World, ie. the realm where all the souls claimed by the Soul Gem end up. Its once idyllic, verdant landscape is now barren, deserted and has seemingly been invaded by something unimaginably malevolent. Whatever it is, it’s safe to bet that it won’t be content with its conquest of the Soul world and will soon pose a threat beyond the confines of the Soul Gem.

The Soul World has seen better days. Source: Marvel Comics

The Soul World has seen better days. Source: Marvel Comics

A secondary plot that will no doubt tie into the main story at a later point is Loki’s quest to discover why he remembers events that have played out very differently from how they appear to have actually happened. Why this is isn’t clear to the reader, but could mean that we now have a Loki who’s from a parallel timeline, which begs the question of where OUR Loki is. (More about both Loki and Requiem in the spoilers section below.)

Finally, before I go any further, I should probably mention that, *pause for dramatic effect* GROOT CAN TALK NOW! Yes, as part of an encounter during the Infinity Countdown, everyone’s favourite Space-Ent had the opportunity to literally meet his maker, who, as a reward for saving him from Loki’s influence, restored Groot to his original glory — full sized, seemingly more powerful than ever, and much more verbose.

Now it’s true that Groot has been able to bring more than his trademark three words to a conversation back when he was first introduced, but since his stint as a guardian of the galaxy began, he’s been a tree of few words.

Duggan’s revitalised Groot features the same third person voice as he did in his debut. Source: Marvel Comics

Duggan’s revitalised Groot features the same third person voice as he did in his debut. Source: Marvel Comics

Of all the changes to the Marvel Universe so far, this is definitely my favourite and I really hope that Duggan and future authors keep this going with future comics that feature the Guardians of the Galaxy.

Should you read it?

Even with only the first issue of the actual event series out, Infinity Wars and its related tie-ins already have all the makings of something memorable. The storyline that Duggan has set in motion has the potential to leave significant ripples across the Marvel multi-verse. And there’s nothing I enjoy more than a story with meaningful, dire and far-reaching consequences.

If you’re a long-term Marvel fan this series should definitely be on your radar. For those fans making the jump from the MCU to the comics, the story isn’t hard to follow and should be quite accessible. However, you may appreciate it more if you started with earlier events, at least Infinity Countdown, first.

It’s too early to say exactly where Infinity Wars is going, but it looks like it’s going to be a fun ride and I’m excited to see what Duggan has planned. I certainly recommend it.

[WARNING: MAJOR SPOILERS FOR INFINITY WARS FOLLOW]

Breakdown of events in Infinity Wars #1

If you’re still reading I’m going to assume that you’re okay with spoilers because I’m going to tell you everything that happens. So if that’s a problem, here’s your last chance to avert your eyes and leave this page.

Still here? Okay good, let’s get into it.

Loki’s journey to understand why his memory is out of sync with the rest of the universe has brought him and his companion Flowa to the God Quarry. Here he confronts the coven of witches who reside there only to be cryptically warned that “Infinity is at an end” before they appear to self-immolate.

At that moment they encounter an alternate version of Loki who appears to be from elsewhere in the multi-verse. Interestingly, this Loki wields both Mjolnir and all six Infinity Gems and appears to be a major hero from his universe and while their encounter is short we do get a few bits of important information:

Alternate-Loki is seeking the ‘Original Universe’ as he seems to believe that it is a key part of defeating Requiem and an as yet unrevealed character named Devondra. Finally, as Alternate-Loki opens a portal back to his reality we get a glimpse of a creature that Flowa describes as a soul-eater in battle against several other heroes. This creature appears to be very similar to what Adam Warlock encountered within the Soul Gem back in Infinity Prime and is likely the cause or perhaps a result of the corruption.

Back on Earth, Doctor Strange has met with the other custodians of the gems and is proposing the formation of a new Infinity Watch but before they can get much done they are attacked by Requiem who is wielding the Power Gem. (The Infinity Watch had only just realised that the Gem carried by Peter Quill was in fact, a fake.)

It turns out that Requiem — who has already killed Thanos — is actually Gamora. At one point in a previous storyline, Gamora had been trapped within the Soul Gem and although she was rescued/resurrected, apparently some part of her soul has been trapped within the Gem ever since.

Gamora is desperate to access the Soul Gem and reunite with the lost fragment of her soul even if she has to go through the entire Infinity Watch to do it; including her former comrades, the Guardians of the Galaxy. In fact, the final panel of the comic is her impaling Quill on her Power Gem enhanced sword, telling him that “nothing ever dies”. However, don’t start mourning Star-Lord just yet since Strange, who still has the Time Gem, could simply undo this right at the start of issue #2.

While I was disappointed that the answer of ‘Who is Requiem?’ was provided so quickly, I suppose it’s better that they didn’t drag it out since everyone would suspect Gamora anyway after the Power Gem was discovered to be a fake.

But with so many other unanswered questions there’s still more than enough to keep things interesting even without a mystery villain. That said, we still don’t know who Devondra is, so there’s also that reveal to look forward to as we go into issue #2.

Updated Date: Aug 25, 2018 13:29 PM