Review by Ian Keogh
Infinity Wars as presented here in hardcover is a return to the days when the cosmic space saga was epic and exciting, rather than commonplace. Although titled The Complete Collection, be aware writer Gerry Duggan’s name in the title is relevant, as this doesn’t include the spin-off Infinity Warps stories, even the one by Duggan. Also, Duggan set up quite a portion of what’s presented when writing Guardians of the Galaxy, also available in hardback.
Because “Infinity” is also part of the title there’s an inevitability the infinity stones are used, and because they can do anything up to and including rearranging the entire universe, in the past lazy writers have succumbed to the temptation to take the easy options. Duggan doesn’t do that. There’s very limited use of the time stone, for instance, so no easy cop-outs there. Alright, he does cop-out once, but would you rather see Star-Lord dead?
This is a story of two distinct parts, which is why separation in paperback as Infinity Countdown and Infinity Wars is no hardship. While the first is a prolonged prelude it serves up a full dose of excitement, and common to both is Duggan taking a large cast and constantly surprising with them. Who’d have thought Black Widow, the former Stilt Man or Bullseye, for instance, would have roles in a cosmic epic? Theirs are only small, but others who seem to drop out of the picture do play a pivotal part, Loki the most prominent among them, given a pleasingly sardonic turn, eventually well out of his depth and instrumental in an unusual solution at the end of the day.
Aaron Kuder and Mike Hawthorne share the art over the first half, working on different characters as their storylines pull together. The only moans are Hawthhorne sometimes drawing faces a little too manically and an ill-advised choice to present a jagged, angular Silver Surfer. Otherwise all good. Because he’s known for realism, Mike Deodato isn’t the obvious choice for the main story’s mixture of space opera and horror, but that’s why his pages work so well. When the horrors intrude into the real world, he’s convincing. Michael Allred draws a prelude beginning Warlock’s involvement, while Andy MacDonald and Mark Bagley each draw one of the epilogue chapters. They’re not as spectacular as Kuder or Deodato, but there’s nothing to complain about either.
Over the course of the main storyline to a greater or lesser extent Duggan involves Galactus, Kang, Loki, Thanos and Ultron, restores a few discarded characters back to the Marvel universe wiping their slate clean, and caps a thrilling saga with an innovative solution. There’s always a death in such epics, yet Duggan’s clever with that also, and manages to ensure it’s a blessing and a life restored, as explored in one of the epilogues.
If you’ve any appetite at all for a superhero space saga, Infinity Wars won’t disappoint, and that being the case, if you’ve got the money, you might as well buy the hardcover.