Marvel has multiple big events wrapping up this week. First, Infinity Wars is coming to an end and taking a Guardian of the Galaxy with it, and we’ve got thoughts on the finale to the nearly year-long story. Next, Spider-Geddon concludes as the spider-heroes of the Multiverse take on the Inheritors one last time, and we look at whether the series lived up to its potential. All this, plus a check-in with Kate Bishop and Friends in the latest issue of West Coast Avengers. This week’s Marvel Rundown is a can’t-miss!
Infinity Wars #6
Written by Gerry Duggan
Illustrated by Mike Deodato
Colored by Frank Martin
Lettered by VC’s Cory Petit
Reviewed by Alexander Jones
Infinity Wars has been an extremely chaotic and indulgent read up to this point. Writer Gerry Duggan’s aggressively strange scripts have gotten even stranger in the proceeding issues. This stuffed final entry into the series is a perfect example of the flawed, yet enjoyable experience the series has served up from issue one. The comic bears an extremely half-baked ending requiring a read through of Infinity Wars: Fallen Guardian to truly appreciate. However, there’s a certain audacity and level of bombast Duggan’s scripts deliver on that have made each installment of Infinity Wars a flat-out joy to read each month. While the pacing can be off with too much time spent on explanations, Duggan still delivers on some big character reunions and surprisingly witty outbursts of humor. The artwork for the story is also nothing less than divisive. Artist Mike Deodato’s linework is oblique and the digital techniques he lends to shading and modeling are dull.
The biggest criticism I would lend towards the issue is Duggan’s need to rationalize and define the science behind the script. The physical conflict in the story ends quickly and gives way to the complicated nature of the story. Spending so much time and details with a story that has little consequence is a disappointing way to spend script pages during the finale. Once the story finally gives way to the reunions and surprises at the end of the story, the comic becomes much more intriguing. Duggan is able to more evenly disperse these story elements at the end of the issue. Despite Duggan’s tendency to explain tedious story elements, the writer does a good job introducing an intriguing new Infinity Stone status quo that should make for some interesting stories going forward.
The last scene in the issue hardly brings the script towards any emotional resolution. Duggan is writing a story in a shared universe that has no end, but getting such a vague cliffhanger without a strong final moment made the issue come off as slight. While the first part of the story had a strong emphasis on Loki, Duggan wasn’t able to bring a resolution towards his arc in the final moments of the script. While there are a lot of great individual character moments, there is not enough cohesion in Infinity Wars.
Mike Deodato’s obtuse artistic contributions give the story a stilted aesthetic that doesn’t make Duggan’s script more clear. In pages where there are larger panels, the artist is able to convey more emotion in the page. The hollow, foreboding nature of the art can make the colorful script come off as stiff. Deodato doesn’t implement a lot of detail in the background, and his stilted, stiff characters do not convey an illusion of motion.
Infinity Wars #6 is an intriguing and flawed conclusion to the event series. I hope some of the big changes in the issue will affect the Marvel Universe status quo going forward. For big Marvel cosmic fans or people who are intrigued by the films, it is worth reading through a slightly obtuse story for the charming personality and wild tone of Infinity Wars.
Final Verdict: Infinity Wars #6 is a quaint, restrained issue meriting a BROWSE verdict.
Written by Christos Gage
Based On a Story by Dan Slott
Pencilled by Jorge Molina, Carlo Barberi, Stefano Caselli, & Joey Vazquez
Inked by Jay Leisten, Jose Marzan, Jr., Stefano Caselli, & Joey Vazquez
Colored by David Curiel
Lettered by VC’s Travis Lanham
Reviewed by Joe Grunenwald
Spider-Geddon is over. The sequel to 2014’s “Spider-Verse” storyline once again saw the spider-heroes of the Multiverse team up to defeat the Inheritors, though this time they were led by Miles Morales and Superior Spider-Man Otto Octavius rather than Peter Parker. The series provided an interesting showcase for those two characters and the other spider-folk around them, though the story of their battle against the Inheritors was ultimately less than satisfying.
Writer Christos Gage, working from a story by Dan Slott, does a nice job giving the characters throughout the series a chance to shine. And there are a lot of characters, with dozens of Spider-Men and -Women from across the Multiverse appearing. The final issue in particular shone a light on the Spider-Man of the hit PS4 video game, a character who has largely been a background player since his introduction in Spider-Geddon #0, and who it was announced earlier this week will be getting his own mini-series in 2019. The dynamic between he and Octavius is particularly fraught given that Spider-Man’s history with his own Earth’s Doc Ock, and the scenes between the two characters were entertaining. Also particularly satisfying was Miles Morales’s chiding of Enigma Force, the power behind Captain Universe. Miles standing up to a literal cosmic force—and his temporary wielding of said force—was just another example of how Miles came into his own as a leader in this series.
There are four different artists/art teams on this comic, a staggering number even if the issue is 30 pages. Thankfully the reading experience isn’t hindered by the near-constant artist shifts, as all four teams have similar enough styles, or do a good enough job aping each others’ styles, that it’s difficult to tell where one artist ends and the next begins. This is due in no small part to the real superhero of the issue, colorist David Curiel, whose work helps maintain a cohesive look and feel throughout the issue.
Despite some decent character work, the actual story of this issue—and, really, of the entire series—hangs together by the thinnest of spider-webs. There were multiple tie-in series and miniseries for Spider-Geddon—Spider-Girls, Vault of Spiders, Spider-Force, the opening arc of Spider-Gwen: Ghost-Spider, plus a three-issue arc in Peter Parker: The Spectacular Spider-Man—and all of those disparate tie-ins come together in Spider-Geddon #5. Unfortunately the result for anyone who has only been reading Spider-Geddon and not all of the tie-ins is what feels like multiple dei ex machina all appearing within the span of a handful of pages, with editor’s notes directing readers to the books they need to read in order to get the actual full story. It’s disappointing to say the very least. Also, the explanation for how the team eventually defeats the Inheritors, while clever, was only barely set-up a few pages before it happened, and the exposition dump that followed to explain it felt like it was made up on the spot.
But then, this was never really a comic about defeating the Inheritors. They were just a reason to bring the heroes together, to propel the actual conflict of the series, which was between factions led by Otto Octavius and Miles Morales—between those spider-heroes who were willing to kill the Inheritors to stop them, and those who refuse to cross that line. That’s a big conflict to address, and could have raised some fascinating questions about the nature of heroism and the lengths a hero will go to in pursuit of justice. There are probably other, better comics that address that; what we’re left with here is a resolution that tries to have it both ways, and succeeds thanks to the magic of comic book science. As if that’s not disappointing enough, the resolution to the personal conflict between the two factions of spider-heroes was so predictable that characters actually joke about it in this issue. Everything wraps up just a little too neatly—which it had to, since there’s a new Superior Spider-Man title spinning out of this little event, and while we can have some moral ambiguity to our Octavius Spidey, we can’t have too much.
Ultimately, Spider-Geddon was an event with some nice character work but very little substance. It’s pretty clear this was put out solely to capitalize on the release of the Into the Spider-Verse animated film and the heightened interest in that stable of Multiversal spider-heroes. It’s a shame that this series couldn’t live up to the potential of its conflict.
Final Verdict: If you’ve been following the miniseries all along, you’ll want to see how it ends. Otherwise, SKIP this one.
West Coast Avengers #6
Written by Kelly Thompson
Illustrated by Daniele Di Nicuolo
Colored by Triona Farrell
Lettered by VC’s Joe Caramagna
Reviewed by Samantha Puc
West Coast Avengers #6 features this plucky team of superheroes (and their friends) separated from their leader, Kate Bishop, and either hanging in cages over a tank full of sharks or just straight-up fighting with the sea creatures down below. To escape, they all have to keep their heads, outthink, overpower, and outlast the super-villains who have teamed up to boot these young Avengers out of L.A.—but first, Kate has to find her way back to them. If certain figures from her past could stop appearing in the murder carnival where she and her teammates are trapped, perhaps that would be easier.
But where would be the fun in that?
The way past and present combine in this issue, set against one of the most ridiculous, pickliest situations these kids have landed in so far (which says something, considering what they’ve fought already in this run), marks Kelly Thompson’s strength as a writer while also giving Daniele Di Nicuolo an incredible playground to illustrate for each panel. America’s banter with Clint is particularly perfect in this issue and the small details in the art, like the blood dripping from Quentin Quire’s nose, are beautifully executed.
Triona Farrell’s color work in WCA #6 is awesome. Dramatically contrasting colors and solid backgrounds emphasize the peril of the situation and Kate’s panels, in particular, emphasize how outside of the norm everything feels, even for this team. Joe Caramagna’s lettering employs some great onomatopoeias to drive home the absurdity and severity of the action on the page.
This issue ends in a cliffhanger, but that certainly doesn’t mean it isn’t worth a STRONG BROWSE, maybe even a BUY. There are so many elements at play in this issue that are worth examining more than once, especially since we still don’t know exactly how sinister the figures from Kate’s past truly are. The remainder of this arc is bound to be a rollercoaster.
Final Verdict: STRONG BROWSE, leaning towards BUY.
Happy holidays, Marvelites! Join us next week for Ben Grimm and Alicia Masters’s big wedding day, and for our 2018 year-end review!
The Beat Staff is an elite group of trained ninjas.