Infinity Crusade #5
Issue(s): Infinity Crusade #5
...whereas in the tie-ins there's just way too much time, sometimes an entire issue devoted to mindless punching. I compare this to (of course!) the original Secret Wars, which managed to have some really great fights in its individual issues, with cool pairings and fun uses of powers. And somehow it still had plenty of time for downtime scenes and the building of the larger plot. But this issue basically sets up a bunch of fights but leaves the details to the tie-ins, where we get pages and pages of slugfest. It's also worth comparing this series to Secret Wars II. That crossover had a similar format in terms of a core series plus tie-ins, but one difference was that the events of the core series did not happen in quick succession, which allowed the tie-ins to drill into events without things feeling so cramped. And those tie-ins also often used the space to explore the premise in more detail - i recognize the irony of holding up Secret Wars II as a positive example, but some good stories really did come out of the tie-ins (obviously your mileage may vary, but i'm thinking of the likes of Daredevil getting his vision temporarily restored or the Human Torch burn victim issue). As i've said before, of all the Infinity events this one had the most potential to do stuff like that, but it totally passes on that opportunity.
I also think that Starlin's neglect when it comes to the characters he wasn't interested in hurts things a lot. There are little, probably subjective things like how i don't think the Hulk in any incarnation should be using phrases like "one can only hope".
I can see Thanos or Warlock narrating like that and i hate to realize that their speech patterns are really just Starlin's basic way of scripting (an even more egregious example is Iceman in the top scan).
Mr. Fantastic loudly exclaiming the arrival of Windshear is also very silly.
I'm shocked that Reed even knows who Windshear is, but more importantly he doesn't seem like someone that Mr. Fantastic would be terrified of.
It's also weird how random most of the pairings are. The most obvious example is that there's no confrontation between Mr. Fantastic and the Invisible Woman. You'd think you'd want a scene of Reed acknowledging Sue's "little-spoken-faith" in some way.
Maybe the idea was to eschew the obvious in favor of some never-before-seen fights, like Puck vs. Firestar!
But, again, it's not like they're given much attention.
There's also at least one line that is flat out wrong: Darkhawk declaring that Sleepwalker is unknown to him.
Really, you forgot when you had a crossover with his book in Darkhawk #19-20?
This isn't to say that we don't have some fun moments, thanks to Ron Lim's art and Starlin's sense of humor.
Note Wolverine's gutting of Gamora above. That will lead to us learning something about Gamora next issue.
For what it's worth, there's also one bit of characterization that seems to be deliberate, but subtle. Storm, one of the Goddess' recruits, keeps rejecting the necessity to kill for her, unlike the other recruits.
You might think ok, that's just USAgent. But remember that he's supposed to have vowed to never kill again (Captain America #383). So the Goddess' control is apparently pretty strong. And we see something similar in Silver Surfer #85, so i think there's definitely an idea that Storm's inherent refusal to kill is retained even when controlled by the Goddess. I think that's kind of questionable considering Storm's post-Mutant Massacre actions, but there it is.
While all of the fighting is going on, Thanos fires his giant space gun at the Goddess, who is channeling energy through her followers throughout the universe. The gun fails to penetrate the Goddesses' forcefield. Thanos then teleports to the Goddess with the comatose Professor X and attempts to attack her psychically, but he fails again.
And then we see that the Goddess' plan is to cause the sun and all stars in the milky way to go nova and explode.
So that's kind of a huge letdown. She wants to destroy the universe, just like how many other villains before her? As i've said before, this whole series just feels like it was played all wrong. The story has been taking it for granted all along that the Goddess was "bad" despite being nominally "good", so when we find out that she has (very generic) sinister plans, it's like, so what?
I think Starlin and Lim's basic ability make parts of this an enjoyable read despite the clear flaws. But especially in the context of this being a major event involving nearly every Marvel hero and 40+ tie-ins, it's a real let down.
Quality Rating: D+
Chronological Placement Considerations: Here are the official tie-ins:
There are more tie-ins for this issue than the last one, i guess because the hero vs. hero fights are a better candidate for expansion than anything that happened last issue. Additionally, in this issue we see Thanos transport Warlock out of the Soul World to somewhere where "even Thanos might hesitate to follow". We'll see that in Warlock Chronicles #5.
Luke Cage is seen in a single panel crowd scene at the end before the universe seemingly explodes.
Crossover: Infinity Crusade
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (7): show
Chris Claremont himself played up Storm's willpower against psychic control quite a bit. She was the one X-Man who managed to tear off Malice's necklace in that one issue, not to mention there was that annual with Horde where she was one of only two X-Men to resist the fantasy worlds the citadel was conjuring (at least the first time around). Its not terribly unexpected to see some part of her leak through against the Goddess.
Posted by: Max_Spider | December 7, 2016 4:16 PM
As I wondered before, exactly how is the Goddess blowing up countless stars to kill everyone in the universe something that Infinity and Eternity shouldn't be worried about?
Posted by: Thanos6 | December 7, 2016 4:25 PM
Or the appointed Protector of the Universe.
Posted by: AF | December 7, 2016 4:35 PM
And yet she shows a trait that she has let go off for well over 100 months at this point.
The panel with Cap and Beast shows that Goddess is inspiring bloodthirst even in likely targets, for what it is worth.
Funny that the tie-ins panel mentions Warlock Chronicles #51 as opposed to #5.
Posted by: Luis Dantas | December 7, 2016 4:53 PM
Luis, not such a big mystery about Warlock Chronicles. Even the writers thought Infinity Crusade went on so long that Warlock Chronicles was up to #51 already. ;)
Posted by: clyde | December 7, 2016 6:09 PM
To back up Luis's point, ever since X-Men 175, Storm has been portrayed as willing to sacrifice her friends for the greater good. In X-Men 175, she nearly drowned Maddie (who was good at the time), in New Mutants 34, she was willing to kill Doug while the Shadow King was occupying his body without first seeing if there was a way to separate them, and in X-Men 219 she was seriously considering killing Alex for no real reason. It would have worked better if Storm had resisted the Goddess out of stubbornness, instead of suggesting that she's unable to kill her friends for the greater good, because, really, she's perfectly capable.
Posted by: Michael | December 7, 2016 8:46 PM
This shows how little of an impression Infinity Crusade made on me, that I completely forgot that the Goddess' end goal was to destroy the universe. Is any specific reason given for *why* she wants to do that? Is there any sort of rationalization that she tries to offer for how "good" is being served by total armageddon?
Posted by: Ben Herman | December 8, 2016 9:53 AM
I assume because you can't have sin without sinners.
Posted by: Thanos6 | December 8, 2016 10:25 AM
So the Goddess is basically just cribbing Judge Death's shtick: all crime is committed by the living, therefore life itself is a crime.
Posted by: Ben Herman | December 8, 2016 11:14 AM
Infinity Crusade didn't have a particularly memorable plot, but it was the little things that took me out of it, stuff like Darkhawk not knowing Sleepwalker despite the prior meeting or Sasquatch not being stronger than the Thing.
Posted by: Red Comet | December 8, 2016 11:27 AM
I really like Infinity Crusade, but bad continuity does annoy me. One of things like those I can skim over, but the big one in this cross-over is the number of times throughout the whole event that the Thing appears right next to Wolverine like they were buddies, despite Wolverine ripping his face off recently. It's like the artists were all told that the Thing were's a helmet now, but at no point did an editor point out to a writer or artist why he is wearing a helmet.
Posted by: Benway | December 8, 2016 12:11 PM
Yeah, I feel like during the Shooter era there would have at least been a throwaway line from the Thing about how he hates Wolverine's guts but will work with him for the greater good or something like that. It really is the little details and character interactions that keep people coming back to the concept of shared continuity across stories.
Posted by: Red Comet | December 8, 2016 1:56 PM
Did Storm's refusal to kill actually survive the 1990s? That sounds like the sort of thing Marvel would have changed just to be "hip."
And what about Captain America? "Die, infidel!" Really?
Posted by: ChrisW | December 9, 2016 7:38 PM
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