Last issue, in Infinity #4, the battle on Earth went poorly for our heroes. Attilan fell and Black Bolt activated a Terrigen bomb with his voice, which altered every person on earth with Inhuman DNA. Thane, Thanos' son, was altered by this change, turning himself into a purple monster and killing everybody around him.
In space, the Avengers fooled the Builders by acting as if they were going to surrender. Thor was sent to negotiate the surrender to a single Builder on Hala, which was broadcasted to every other world they have taken. Thor threw his hammer to the sun and back, driving a hole through the Builder and killing it. Then, the Avengers took Hala back to join the rebel force.
In Avengers (Vol. 5) #21, the rebel forces regained many worlds which were ruled by Builders. After a failed attempt to kill the Builders, the rebels prepared for the worst. Elsewhere, a group of Ex Nihili revived Captain Universe. She continued to straightforwardly slay the Builders. When the ancient species was slaughtered, a command was sent to the Alephs to destroy everything.
In New Avengers #11, the Illuminati were caught in the middle of an incursion of Earth from another universe. There, they discovered that the other universe had Builders like their own. The Builders have been trying to destroy every Earth because it is the axis point of the death of everything in the universe. Therefore, they have been trying to kill every Earth. Thanos also took Necropolis in Wakanda, finding the Illuminati’s supplies of antimatter projection systems which they developed for the case of incursions.
On the thousands of worlds which the Builders have conquered, the captives have been using the rebel’s victory on Hala as inspiration for rebellion against the Alephs. The Avengers confront the last Aleph on Dockrum VII and the Hulk quickly smashes it into the floor. Oracle tells Captain America, “Every time the battle turned, it was you Earthers, you…Avengers…that won the day.” A cluster of residents of the planet hoist a makeshift Avengers sign on a pile of wreckage. “Dockrum VII is free again…and it is an Avengers world.”
Soon, every world is regained and an Avengers world. Later, Thor and Captain America have a short celebration with the other rebel leaders. But when Gladiator comes, he tells them that they have regained communication with the others and have discovered Earth has fallen.
In the hidden Inhuman city of Orollan, Thane is horrified over how many people he killed during his terrigenesis. The Ebony Maw approaches him, revealing how he had wittingly done all of this. Thane, though, doesn’t accept that this is all his doing since he is not like Thanos; he is a healer. Ebony Maw retorts that the terrigenesis revealed that he is a tyrant. The Maw wants to “increase” his “stature” by helping him control his gift and gives him a suit.
Thane dons the golden armor, hoping it will keep him from hurting people. The Maw explains that he must now touch someone to use his new abilities. He thanks him, but he retorts, “Gratitude is overrated.” Then, Thane is trapped in a containment field.
In Necropolis, Thanos observes how his men’s progress is going on disassembling the antimatter projection systems. Thanos suggests they get a member of the Illuminati to reveal it to them but they have Black Bolt. How inconvenient. Thanos orders Supergiant to get the information in a more direct way. But he tells her to do so with some delicacy because Black Bolt may still have uses. After all, he used to be a king.
Meanwhile, the Illuminati watch as the other Earth from the incursion is destroyed. Stark asks the others, “Is there something wrong with me that I’m happy we only have to deal with a simple planetary invasion?” Richards asks where they should start and Beast points to Maximus the Mad and Lockjaw on a ledge, hoping they can point them in the right direction.
In Necropolis, Supergiant is analyzing Black Bolt’s thoughts through his eyes. She finds the unlocking sequence for the weapons and also knows where a secondary trigger mechanism is. Thanos receives a transmission from the Ebony Maw. He demands that his “prolonged presence demands an explanation.” The Maw reveals to him that he has his son “trussed up tight…and ready for the knife.” Thanos tracks his location and orders he waits for his arrival. As he is leaving, he orders Corvus to prepare a vessel and Supergiant to prepare the bomb and “deal with this damned world once and for all.”
Soon, the Illuminati have been transported to Necropolis and the Black Panther is horror-struck by Thanos’ attack on his kingdom. Iron Man learns that the early warning system has been alerted in Necropolis and they have access to the bombs. Maximus the Mad also reveals that Black Bolt is there. Black Panther orders that they teleport to Necropolis and regain it first, before Wakanda.
In Orollan, Thanos is pleased by the Ebony Maw for finding his son, and the Maw is pleased that he pleases him. Thane asks Thanos why he is doing this, and he explains that he keeps his existence keeps him up all night. Thanos asks the Maw why he is in a class one containment field, and he is about to explain but is interrupted. In a glitch-prone transmission, Thanos’ guard alerts them that something has overrun the planet. Corvus Glaive exclaims to Thanos that something has happened on Titan.
In space, Oracle tells Gladiator that the watch station of Titan has been knocked off-line. The Skrulls, Kree and Shi’ar tell Captain America that they will help the Avengers save Earth. He has earned it, they say, and he gives the order to jump to Earth.
You know what I really like about this story? The Builders were all killed in Avengers and their purpose revealed in New Avengers. So Hickman quickly ties the whole thing up by crushing the Alephs and goes straight to Thanos, who is obviously the star villain of this comic. I’ve never read an event where some of the main villains are completely killed off in a tie-in. It’s crazy! There are very few tie-ins I can think of that are truly that important to the event itself.
While I did like the significance of tie-ins, my favorite part about this story is the battle in space where the worlds rebelled against the Alephs because of the Avengers inspired them. The Avengers World concept portrayed here, in my opinion, is golden and sounds like it will set up the next phase of the Hickman’s Avengers. I also like how the Avengers are now respected by the other inhabitants of the universe and how they are all teaming up to save Earth. I suspect this will also be part of the next phase of Avengers.
Now, the battle on Earth… It’s definitely interesting that Thanos has prepared to destroy Earth with the bombs the Illuminati developed. It looks like I’m correct about the Thane vs. Thanos battle and something is bound to happen to the containment field which has Thane captured so he will fight his father. At this point, I can still see Thanos being killed. I really can.
You know who else I could see getting executed in this event? Black Bolt. The guy’s practically sitting there, completely defenseless and ready to be slain. It’s kind of sad, really. Poor Black Bolt has been so beat up in Infinity and somewhat mishandled in this entire event. It doesn’t really affect my grading of this issue though, because he was somewhat in character limbo for years leading up to this.
I'm also happy to see the Illuminati finally doing something to defend the Earth from Thanos' invasion. It's really ridiculous how little they have actually contributed to the efforts to save Earth. They fought in the beginning but then pranced off to attend to other matters and talk while their world was being invaded. Didn't they assemble to fight this exact kind of event?
Lastly, Dustin Weaver and Jerome Opena are great on art. The visuals really are gorgeous. Weaver takes most of the art duties for this issue and I’m really impressed with it. As I’ve said earlier, his panel layout is brilliant and the architecture and random technology looks great. Thanos is menacing and Thane’s armor design is incredible. Opena, although he only draws 8 pages, has some cool detailed visuals too.
A great issue. The Avengers World approach is brilliant and I'm excited for the conclusion. Thanos vs. Thane!
Jim Cheung is coming back for Infinity #6!