Jonathan Hickman’s run in the Avengers as it leads up to this year’s Infinity event is simply wonderful. Each issue rotating a large cast of hugely popular superheroes and also underutilized characters now given a little the opportunity to shine.
Did anyone of you think Shang-Chi was cool? How many of you even know who Shang-Chi was?
Then you throw over-the-top ideas like fighting the offsprings of terraforming godlike aliens and it’s hard not to be reminded of Grant Morrison’s JLA’s run who had his team fight an oncoming sentient Sun.
Of course Hickman is more than just a shadow of Morrison but what is exciting for me about this upcoming Infinity event, where the Avengers must fight against two threats including Thanos (the intergalactic powerhouse one. Not the one riding a chopter) is how it is somewhat a return to the old days: Good guys teaming up to fight a larger-than-life force of destruction!
Most of all the events in the recent years has had heroes fighting heroes. I mean before Avengers vs. X-Men there was infighting in JLA that led to the second Infinite Crisis.
It was bound to happen in our era I supposed. Serialized comic books as a contemporary pop cultural art form speaks to contemporary anxieties.
The age of terrorism brought about the fear of the possible evildoers among us (Secret Invasion) and the controversy of surveillance to fight possible threats (Civil War). The lost of faith of the experts and authority figures who were largely blamed for the financial crisis and our military international involvement echoes the sudden and continuing fall from grace of many fictional authority figure from Professor X to the Guardians of OA.
And then you have Fear Itself and Blackest Night forcing heroes to face their own demons or force out some terrible thing pushing them to evil.
It’s like everyone is trying to weed out if not the villains amongst them then the forces that might drive them to villainy.
And all the while your stuck asking yourself — where are the bad guys that we are sure are there?
Remember Apocalypse. When has he done something significant other than make good guys into horsemen. Apocalypse, stop being lazy. Ride your own damn horse to battle. I mean look at Thanos. He’s actually manning up.
Infinity is just getting started and there is a possibility that it would turn into a story about heroes vs. heroes in the middle. Hickman’s line up has Doc Ock in Spider-Man’s body, villains just a few issues ago and the fact that Captain America was mind wiped by his friends feels like a loaded gun to me. But I hope it want divert too much from staying as a team.
Because in real life we are facing complicated forces from multiple sides from a shrinking middle-class devastates the economy and climate change terrorizing us with coastal storms and tornados, we might need to stop focusing so much on weeding out the nondescript “bad guys” and start trying to focus on the more obvious problems.
And if can’t even imagine the superhero versions of our society to do it, can we believe that we can?