In Review: Infinity Gauntlet #1

An unexpected hard invasion story that doesn't go Marvel until its final pages.

The cover: Once again, Marvel doesn’t list that there are any variants, but I was able to find two online. There may be more, but I gave up searching. The Main cover is by interior artist, and co-writer, Dustin Weaver. This is a close-up of Thanos with a torn cape wearing the Infinity Gaunlet, sporting all the soul gems. Behind him is someone wearing Starlord’s mask, but the hair looks way off to be the character I’m familiar with. Generating the light from the bottom of the image is not the gauntlet, but a family of Novas. That’s something I’ve not seen before, and that’s why I picked this book up. The first Variant I discovered was a picture of a female Nova standing strong, while behind her is a gigantic Thanos who looks ready to crush her. Sharp cover by Adi Granov, with great details on Thanos’ face and shirt. The last Variant I could find was the Scottie Young cover, featuring a Li’l Thanos standing against the backdrop of the universe saying, “Come at me, Bro!” I just don’t like this. Overall grades: Main A-, Variant Granov A-, and Variant Young D+

The story: In an unspecified, destroyed city a family of four is all that remains of the human race. There’s father, grandpa, teenager Anwen Bakian, and little sister Fayne Bakian. The city is shattered. There is no animal life, save the family German Shepard Zigzag (a terrific name for a dog) and there are no bodies anywhere. Whatever disaster befell this city, it’s been wiped clean. Anwen is the narrator of the story, saying all was fine until the bugs came; the bugs aren’t revealed until the middle of the book. Before their reveal, Zigzag is seen scouting for food for the family, and father and Fayne return with plenty. Dad has got on a makeshift eyepatch and grandfather has got a brace on his left leg and walks with a crutch. Looking at them in this surrounding, it’s amazing they’ve lasted this long. Anwen is a skilled artist and draws a picture of her mother, at least how she remembers her. The drawing brings immediate pain to father and grandfather. The tins that Zigzag found turn out to be dog food, so the family doesn’t eat too much. Dark is nearing, so they have to move. Along the way Anwen sees a tattered figure atop a building. When she looks closer the figure disappears. This character will not reappear until the final page. In the park it’s revealed that mom is gone because she was a member of the Nova Corps and had to leave during the bug attack because the corps needed reinforcements. The bugs soon arrive and the rest of the book is devoted to action and a surprise discovery on 17, a surprise arrival on Page 19, and a familiar face on 20. The story is by Gerry Duggan & Dustin Weaver, with Duggan doing the script. This is an uncommonly effective story of survival after a major invasion that doesn’t really touch on its Marvel roots until the final four pages. Having read this issue and been very impressed with this family, I’ll definitely be back for more. I’m hoping that this family unit can stay together in the face of cosmic Marvel powers. Overall grade: A 

The art: The linework and the colors are all accomplished by Dustin Weaver and he is a major talent. The opening page firmly establishes him as capable with a perfectly destroyed city and photorealistic dog. The partial double-page splash of Pages 2 and 3 show this ruined city in extreme detail. The introduction of the family members is great. Without looking at the dialogue, a reader can see that Fayne is energetic, father not thrilled with the memories Anwen has sparked, grandfather tired of all that’s befallen him, and Anwen focused on trying to have a normal moment. His is a fully rendered family unit whose facial expressions magnify the dialogue that they speak and hear. Even when silent, such as Anwen at the bottom of Page 4, her shock is the reader’s shock. It’s also on Page 4 that the first bodies appear, and they’re not graphic, but they do enhance the past disaster, and foreshadow things to come. Page 7 has twelve panels on it and it’s a great example of picking just part of an image to intensify the tension. The reader knows exactly what’s coming, but the tension and lack of understanding from the adults makes the family’s impending situation worse. The colors on this page, and throughout the book, are great, with a nice violet behind Zigzag’s maw and dad’s yelling face, giving readers a subtle hint that the barking dog and human aren’t that different. Because the majority of the book is set at night there isn’t much need for bright colors, though red is used often on the bugs. The colors do change with the events on Pages 17 – 19, where bright blues come into play. This is a nice change from the horrific pinks employed on 16 and the top of 17. Weaver is a talent that I’m going to keep on my radar. Overall grade: A+ 

The letters: Anwen’s journal entries, dialogue, whispers, sounds, screams, yells, and the To Be Continued are all courtesy of Comicraft’s Albert Deschesne. I like the journal entries and sounds the most, but wouldn’t her later entries not be in her diary, such as on Pages 9 and 10? If not, then readers are being told ahead of time that Anwen’s going to survive every obstacle of this series. Overall grade: A

The final line: An unexpected hard invasion story that doesn’t go Marvel until its final pages. When it does tie in to that vast universe it does so in the most heroic of ways. I will be looking forward to what the upcoming issues do. Overall grade: A 

Patrick Hayes was a contributor to the Comic Buyer's Guide for several years with "It's Bound to Happen!" and he's reviewed comics for TrekWeb and TrekCore. He's taught 8th graders English for 20 years and has taught high school English for five years and counting. He reads everything as often as he can, when not grading papers or looking up Star Trek, Star Wars, or Indiana Jones items online.
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