Thoughts on “Infinity”

So let me finish off my very brief “Infinity” theme in comics with a look at a TPB simply titled “Infinity”. While many collections go issue-by-issue — including the covers of the various books — this one seems to ignore all of the issue specific stuff and instead tries to weave it into a narrative, more jumping from scene-to-scene than issue-to-issue. I appreciate this.

Unfortunately, it also reveals that the work doesn’t really have a narrative, which is a disappointment.

For the most part, it seems to be more an attempt to close off a number of existing plot threads and complications than to actually build a full-on narrative like Infinity Gauntlet and “Infinity War”. We have issues with the Inhumans, between Wakanda and Atlantis, the Illuminati and a host of other issues that all come up and get somewhat addressed — or advanced — in this collection. This makes it a bit like the Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode “Once More With Feeling”, except without the musical numbers. Except that as I commented there the advantage of what they did was that it allowed them to get those things resolve or out-in-the-open or advanced without boring the audience, as the coolness factor of the musical episode gave us something to follow while the potentially boring resolutions played out. Here, the main narrative would have to provide the same entertainment to avoid boring the audience, especially ones like me that weren’t as up-to-date on what was happening in the universe at that point.

And that’s where the lack of a narrative really hurts it.

Basically, the main narrative seems to be a galaxy-wide invasion by an overpowering alien presence, requiring numerous alien races to combine together to try to stop them (in some sense, similar to WWII except that the “Allies” are badly, badly outnumbered and don’t have reinforcements coming). They also face serious defeats early and often, making things worse. But then Captain America steps in and provides tactics that, with a gamble that pays off, turns the tide and so the very, very small contingent of Avengers ends up taking the fore and proving that Earth is a planet to be reckoned with. I guess.

At the same time, Thanos has come to Earth to try to find and kill his last remaining offspring, who is sheltering with the Inhumans. For some reason (to both parts, actually). His son ends up being triggered in his Inhuman powers by the Terrigen Mists and has strong death powers. Anyway, the allies rush to try to save the Earth, Thanos confronts his son, stuff happens, Earth is okay, the end. There’s really not enough plot there to carry a work like this, especially when compared to the others that had very focused and detailed plots that you could follow even if you didn’t know all the backstory (as I didn’t when I started reading them). So this work focuses a bit too much on plots that I would have needed to know to really enjoy it and doesn’t give an internal plot for me to follow regardless. As such, it’s a bit muddled and somewhat dull.

If it had had a stronger narrative and weaved its story better through the other events, it would have worked. There’s stuff there that’s cool and, if better developed, could have been very interesting. But at the end of the day, there’s just not enough there for someone to follow unless you really wanted to see some of the subplots resolved … at which point the presence of the purported main plots is going to annoy you for all the things you had to work through to get to those resolutions.

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