Marvel Comics' next big event kicks off in Infinity Wars #1 from Gerry Duggan, Mike Deodato Jr., and Frank Martin. If the first issue is anything to go by, then this series will be the epic cosmic Marvel saga that fans have been waiting for.
Following up on the events of Infinity Countdown, the first issue of Infinity Wars is primarily focused on the first meeting of the new Infinity Watch. Doctor Strange holds the Time Stone and calls the meeting on Earth. He's joined by fellow Avenger Captain Marvel, who wields the Reality Stone, Star-Lord with the Power Stone, Adam Warlock with the Soul Stone, Turk Barrett with the Time Stone, and Black Widow with the Space Stone.
Duggan, Deodato, and Martin take their time in getting to that meeting. Each party gets a small sequence introducing them and their attitude towards the idea of a new Infinity Watch. With the wrong creative team, this could feel like a slow start or a drag on the pacing, but Deodato's unique framing and Martin's dark colors help give the book a sense of gravity. The visual style itself is imbued with a sense of foreboding that piles on the tension with each page.
At times, Deodato's unorthodox framing can feel like an indulgence, making the artwork undeniably his, but not necessarily serving any storytelling function. But when it works, it works well, creating a sense of time and movement that feel all Deodato's own, with the added benefit of making his splash pages, which are free of those signature borders, feel larger than the paper they're printed on, increasing the impact, and stressing the importance of what's being shown, be it a kiss or an all-out brawl.
If you've ever seen or read the Lord of the Rings, the Infinity Watch's meeting has a "Council of Elrond" feel to it. It is bigger than it intended -- some of the Stone bearers brought entourages with them -- and each member of the would-be Infinity Watch has a different idea about how the Stones should be used and protected.
Duggan avoids making the tone too self-serious by smartly cutting the tension with a bit of humor. Bullseye proves to be a great vehicle for this, as does the secondary plot in the issue, which follows Loki's quest for answers to some of the of his existential questions about the universe and his place in it. Loki's rapport with Flowa, the Asgardian librarian from Omnipotence City, is another comedic release valve for the story, but at the same time, just the sight of Loki sailing the stars on a Viking ship to a place known as the God Quarry helps to fuel the sense of scale and mystery at the heart of the story, and what he finds there raises some interesting questions about the origin of the Marvel Universe.
And then there's the big mystery villain of the series. We won't spoil Requiem's identity here, but we will say that this reveal feels earned and like a natural next step in this character's story. It still isn't entirely clear why this character felt the need to put on a mask and don this new persona in the first place, but there is still story left to tell and, if this issue's final page is any indication, plenty of fallout to deal with as well.
Infinity Wars #1 does an impressive job of balancing and breaking expectations. With a title like Infinity Wars, the series is bound to be thought of a follow-up to Marvel classics like The Infinity Gauntlet. In its first issue, it lives up to that legacy without feeling like a retread.
Gerry Duggan, Mike Deodato, and Frank Martin have delivered a brilliant opening salvo for a series that seems to be truly aiming for the stars. The issue is engrossing and leaves readers wanting more. With Infinity Wars #1, the next true Marvel epic has arrived.
Published by Marvel Comics
On August 1, 2018
Written by Gerry Duggan
Art by Mike Deodato Jr.
Colors by Frank Martin