by Etienne Paul, CMRO Contributing Writer
Written by Jonathan Hickman, Art by Jim Cheung
Published: October 2013
$4.99! That was the only thing I thought when I went to pick up this comic. I thought Marvel had done it again, big event, let’s up the price and screw a bit more out of the reader. About 30 pages of comic including covers and adverts, it is not worth this price. Then out of the corner of my eye on the purchase page I saw the page count – 142 – that is more than a graphic novel and considerably cheaper. When you investigate it further it breaks down into 55 pages of a ‘normal’ comic and 80 or so pages of a Silver Surfer flip-motion digital comic which has roughly the same content as a normal 22 page comic as each page is only 2-3 panels. I get my comics digitally, so apologies to you print readers out there, I have no idea what you get for your money, I would go an investigate in my ‘local’ comic shop, but its miles away and I feel I need a bath every time I leave that shop.
Marvel you are totally forgiven, even without the additional Silver Surfer comic, the main one comes in at over double the length of a normal comic even when you take out the seven completely white title pages that split the book up. I think this is the first time I have paid a higher price for a comic and felt like I ripped the company off, not the other way around. The comic also helpfully has a checklist for the comics that are needed to read and understand the series; I know it is a semi-cynical method to get you to buy more comics, but it looks like it is going to be invaluable as frankly the issues do not space even remotely logically.
I would like to have tried to read this as someone coming ‘cold’ into the continuity because I wonder if I would have had a completely different reading experience from it. The first two pages show the New Avengers detonating a world and leave no explanation or aftermath to it. I know what is going on because I have been reading that series, but the rest of the comic does not even attempt to put this into any context. The entire comic is split into six sections, some of which are completely unconnected to the others. This may have inadvertently answered my own question because there are a few parts in the comic that I did not completely understand, and I wonder if there are a few things I have missed in the build up, notably that I am shockingly behind with reading Nova and Guardians of the Galaxy both of which supposedly lead into this series.
Even without understanding exactly what is going-on on every page, as well I should not seeing as this is the first issue, the comic flows incredibly well setting up strand after strand of back-story pushing us one way and the next before the last page leaves us with that evil grin and just four words that make you shiver. There is so much plot and story going on here that I cannot remotely scratch the surface without prattling on for page after page about invisible assassins, metallic knights, Blackbolt’s five wives (?!) and a kid who looks and dresses exactly like Luke Skywalker…
I am completely sold, this comic is easy to read; so long as you do not expect all the answers right away: it is genuinely beautiful to look at with some incredible ‘effects’ pages; Blackbolt using his power is frankly awesome as is every panel with the four armed assassin creature: there are so many little moments, events that make the characters feel alive or that truly show their alienness. However, it does have some questions to answer, or at least comics still to be printed that needed to be read before this. For example, Captain Marvel; last time we saw her she was hanging in space for all we know dead, clearly she was not dead because the next months comic had already been solicited, but that does not explain how in this one she is completely normal working with Captain America. Then we have the event set up in that issue of Captain Marvel where a space city was being dropped on New York, but as it shows here that could not possibly happen because Attilan is already floating above it.
These minor annoyances aside this is over all a fantastic comic, as is the attached Silver surfer digital comic that I have barely even touched upon. You can see that this has been months or even a year in the build up with clear nods to the Avengers film; I can actually hear Thanos’ servants voice from the film when I read this comic it is done so well. There is enough comic here for three or four reviews, and I can only hope I have done it justice in just this one.