...Creators, Builders, Alephs, Gardeners - extra-terrestrial beings who have been getting on the Avengers nerves since Jonathan Hickman took the helm of this title, are heading towards Earth to destroy it. It seems Earth (616) is pivotal in the overall well-being of the universe, so taking it out is their idea of a fix and a good time. On their way, they will destroy everything in their path so various extra-galactic races and empires club together to defeat this common enemy. This includes the Avengers.
Meanwhile, Thanos, the mad Titan, is taking advantage of this distraction to stage a coup of his own. While the Avengers are away, Thanos will play.
This all takes place in the overall Infinity arc, and the tie-ins of the New Avengers and the Avengers. There are smaller tie-ins elsewhere but the crux of the event is here.
However, in the pages of this Avengers volume, numbering issues 18 - 23, we concentrate on the events out in space, as the Avengers head out into the galaxy to confront the Creators and Builders head on. Our heroes join forces with former enemies and the members of the Galactic Council to combat the oncoming threat.
This is all fine and the overall Infinity event is a great story. It certainly is a greater improvement on Age of Ultron and Avengers Versus X-Men.
But, and there's always a but. This volume (and the New Avengers volume) does not necessarily flow in an understandable line. For example, at the end of Issue 19, there's a point where everything looks bad for the Avengers, but in Issue 20, they've already fought back and scored a few victories. These victories must be contained in the pages of the Infinity issues, which is fine if you're reading the bigger Infinity volumes, but if you're reading the individual issues, or this volume, you may find yourself scratching your head and thinking "I've missed something here."
Despite that, this is still a very bearable read, even if you haven't got the bigger picture. I can just about understand what is going on, and I've just got this volume and the New Avengers tie-in, with the intentions of obtaining the whole thing when I can.
Hickman's story writing is complex and deep, and it takes time to gather speed. What started off in Volume 1 "Avengers World" about 18 months ago has finally made sense and I applaud him for keeping me hooked throughout.
The artwork by Lenil Francis Yu is magnificent and detailed, and whilst he's not my favourite artist out there at present, I'm liking his style more and more with each issue. His covers, in collaboration with Laura Martin are also great - dark, brooding and mysterious. The colouring is spectacular so all in all the whole artistic team have collaborated splendidly to this story.
This event will probably have some ramifications in the Marvel Universe for some time. After the dismal AvX and Age of Ultron, it's about time. Well done Marvel.