Here’s another post from the archive…
Marvel has a problem.
They don’t know how to end a story.
In fact, this problem had become so frustrating I had given up on Marvel big events and Marvel comics in general (with a few exceptions). The last big crossover I read, until recently, from Marvel was Civil War, which ended after multiple issues building toward a great slobberknocker of a battle between Tony Stark and Steve Rogers, with Captain America surrendering. That may have been the first comic I ever threw across a room.
Side note: It took Ed Brubaker to fix the problem in Captain America by writing Steve Roger’s assassination while in police custody. There’s an ending.
And I could list many big Marvel event story arcs that left me feeling totally let down at the end:
House of M
So when Age of Ultron came out, it was with very low expectations that I read the books. I am not a fan of Brian Michael Bendis. I believe he is one of the prime suspects at Marvel when it comes to not knowing how to end a story. But this is Ultron. One of the coolest Avengers villians ever! AND THEN: we hardly even saw Ultron. His one major appearance was in the end of the last book when he was defeated in a generic battle which we are given no details of or reasons for occurring.
That’s it I’m done with big Marvel events.
And then … Infinity. Damn it Thanos!
So here we have a great big intergalactic war story, written by someone who knows how to do the best great big stories, Jonathan Hickman. And Thanos! And Infinity! That must mean it has something to do with the Infinity Gems right? Yeah yeah. I know they were destroyed in New Avengers while trying to stop an alternate realities Earth from colliding with our own. But it’s called Infinity! Thanos + Infinity. The equation is simple. Can’t go wrong, right?
And for the most part it didn’t go wrong. Captain America leading an interstellar army against a seemingly invincible alien race hell bent on destroying Earth and everything between it and them? Check. Thor throwing his hammer around a friggin’ sun to build up enough force to blast a hole through a bad guy? Check. Kree, Skrull, Shi’ar, and every other alien race? Check, check, check, and check. Thanos being a bad ass? Bad ass check.
And then… well… the end.
First: No Infinity Gems.
In fact, I’m left really wondering to what the title Infinity is meant to refer.
Second: Thanos is defeated off panel.
Thats right, after 6 issues (16 if you read the Avengers and New Avengers tie-ins), and Thanos being a real SOB who (we come to find out is hunting down his long lost son with the intent of murdering him), Thanos is defeated off panel. WHAT?! Where is the pay off for the reader? We want to see Thanos defeated.
A good story is only as good as its end, and Infinity is a good story hurt by its end.
Come to think of it, maybe it’s not that Marvel doesn’t know how to end a story, but rather that Marvel can’t let a story end.
There seems to be a compulsive need in the house that Stan built for every big story to feed into the next big story. Every big event to be the start of some other new great big event. Age of Ultron fueled Angela’s introduction into the Marvel universe, Guardians of the Galaxy, and other things hinted at in its time-quake ending. Infinity is fueling the new Inhumanity story line coming soon. More Marvel NOW! issues. More Avengers series! Do we have 30 X-Men series yet? No single story ever ending satisfactorily because it is more concerned with starting the next. On and on and on and on…
And maybe here I have stumbled on the true meaning of Infinity.