The Secret Wars event at Marvel marches on, bringing a slew of tie-ins in its wake. Infinity Gauntlet is one of such titles and it features a broken family, Thanos, and bugs. Lots of bugs. But is it good?
Infinity Gauntlet #1 (Marvel Comics)
Infinity Gauntlet opens on the desolate ruins of a once-glorious metropolis. The Bakian family, a clan that spans three generations, are the lone survivors in this post-apocalyptic landscape with their sole companion being their dog, Zigzag. The story is primarily told from the perspective of Anwen, the elder of the two Bakian sisters.
Anwen takes a cynical outlook on their surroundings. Abandoned by their mother, a member of the Nova Corps, the family was without protection when disaster arrived. Anwen’s family consists of her little sister, Fayne, her father, and grandfather. The dynamics between the three generations make the quieter scenes of Infinity Gauntlet #1 engaging, as each member tries to deal with their situation in their own way. Anwen’s grandfather tries to foster her abilities as an artist, providing optimism even as Arwen tries to draw the mother she struggles to remember. Meanwhile, Fayne has not lost her child-like innocence, fascinated by her father’s stories of the past and blissfully ignorant of the hopelessness of their situation.
As the family wanders, Anwen notices a shadowed figure trailing them, but brushes it off as an illusion. The family eventually settles in for a park. When Fayne asks their father to tell them a story about their mother, Anwen interrupts. It becomes clear that Anwen blames her mother for leaving them behind to work for the Nova Corps. Unfortunately, this argument draws attention to the family, revealing the source of the apocalypse – the horde of bugs from the Annihilation Wave. The family quickly picks up what they can and runs, splitting up – Fayne with her father, Anwen with her grandfather – and trying to find a location to hide. Anwen becomes trapped in a nest, when suddenly, a blue light begins to glow from a gem besides her.
It could always be worse. I mean, have you ever tried the protein blocks from Snowpiercer?
Gerry Duggan and Dustin Weaver both share storytelling duties, with Duggan credited for the script and Weaver as the artist. The great triumph of Infinity Gauntlet #1 is Anwen. Charismatic and full of attitude, she makes for a great protagonist; cynical enough to be engaging, and youthful enough to grow from her situation. And yes, it’s nice to see a black family as the centerpiece to a comic from the Big Two.
Duggan’s script and Weaver’s art work so greatly together that it becomes hard to separate them. Consider the panel above. Duggan’s dialogue and Weaver’s facial expressions supplement each other in really fun ways, as Anwen sticks out her tongue in disgust as Zigzag sits eagerly waiting for his food. The whole comic is like this during the quieter scenes. And during the action, Dustin Weaver really excels. The Annihilation Wave is nightmarish, and while lots of artists can do scary bugs, Weaver’s horde feels violently efficient. These bugs are lithe and agile and truly feel like they were bred to be killing machines. That being said, Infinity Gauntlet #1 is not without its flaws.
The primary problem with the issue is the pacing. The chase scene towards the end of the comic doesn’t necessarily run too long so much as it plateaus. This is largely due to the environment. While Weaver renders this damaged metropolis with great care, the bleakness causes some panels to fall flat visually and it becomes harder to get a sense of motion between the characters and their surroundings. And a chase without motion isn’t a chase. This doesn’t kill the comic, but it does lessen some of the intensity. The second flaw to Infinity Gauntlet #1 has to do with its title. The original Infinity Gauntlet is one of the most famous stories in Marvel’s catalog and it is the go-to comic when referring readers to a story about Thanos. This issue features decidedly little of the purple titan, and while the end of the issue hints towards his arrival, it is still odd to read a book titled Infinity Gauntlet that has almost nothing to do with him. This is a very minor flaw, though, as the story and the new characters involved are quite engaging.
Is It Good?
Gerry Duggan and Dustin Weaver have made a very entertaining and engaging comic. Anwen Bakian is a great new face to Marvel’s pantheon of characters, and Weaver’s artwork really sells the broken nature of this Battleworld domain. That said, the book is titled Infinity Gauntlet, and it would have been nice to see more of Thanos in the first issue. Infinity Gauntlet #1 is a book well worth your attention, and is a great example of what the Secret Wars tie-ins can be.